But the thing that has been most challenging in this novel is the writing of Calida Harper's world-view. She's not a Christian and doesn't have a high opinion of those who are. She has been burnt by her father, deserted by her brother, and let down by life in general. The only thing she clings to or trusts is her ideal of becoming a Successful Woman and all the posturing that must go into her life in order to bring that ideal to a reality. Therefore to write this novel (in first-person too!) takes a bit of mind bending. I can't have Callie's narrative sounding like my own, because I'm a Christian and Callie is not. (Not yet, at least.)
A person's world-view is the lens they view life through. Everyone has one and it flavors and colors their whole perception of the world. Callie's is green. She's jaded and cynical, though like everyone there is portion of her that is still whole and beautiful. But for the most part Callie lives under false pretenses, a sham veneer, and associates among people who are probably just like her. That's part of the reason she and Mr. Barnett collide so often--he's realistic and honest and hearty while she has carefully cultivated her persona so that she is only what she thinks she ought to be.
In fact, Callie's whole world-view can be summed up in this conversation between herself a friend.
“Jamie?” I paused and smiled at him—so jolly and puckish. “Have you ever wondered what it would be like at a masquerade if everyone suddenly removed their masks and could see each other for who they really were?”
“Not much, my sweet. And what would you be wantin’ to see the real person for? The whole point of the game is to be appearin’ like someone else.”
That was the point wasn’t it? Life was just a masquerade—mine more than most—and if I didn’t give Jules what he wanted he’d tear my mask from my face and let the world see the woman who truly lay behind the mask of Calida Harper. My lips trembled and I bit them to keep the tears back.
“It’s a masquerade, darlin’,” Jamie said with a wink. “Everyone’s actin’ like someone else.” He stepped back onto the dance floor and the crowd consumed him.
The privilege I have in this project is to show the gradual change of Callie's worldview as the plot progresses. It's so neat to have an intimate acquaintance with a character who will undergo such changes. But it is a challenge, personally, to think as an unsaved person would think. Every thought of Callie's is tinged with suspicion, jealousy, pride, or hardness, and it has been a great mental and writing exercise to create such a character and write her realistically without making her unlikable or distasteful. I've also grown to remind myself that there are dozens of Callie Harpers living in the world today who are just as precious and just as deceived as she is...just waiting to meet a Mr. Barnett who will take the costumes, masks, and puppetry away and show them the things that make a person truly great.