“The Principal was in a rage.” So begins Part II of Pandora’s Genes. As with the first part, the second seemed to come to me as if it had been dictated. I still didn’t know much about the Principal; but as I wrote more I came to learn the following things about him: that he was a brilliant and charismatic leader who was dedicated to restoring civilization; that he was given to drinking too much and to volatile mood swings; that he hated and distrusted women, yet had a compulsion for sex with very young girls; and that he loved and trusted Zach above all others and found it difficult to carry on without Zach’s presence and counsel.
The story is written throughout from alternating points of view. As I continued to write, into Parts III and IV, I came to know Zach, Evvy, and the Principal as well as any real people in my life. I thought about them constantly, and dreamed about them.
I am sure that for most fiction writers each character comes from a part of our own personality, which is transformed through creative alchemy. Obviously I have never been the charismatic leader of a society, nor a brave warrior; I have, however, been a fourteen-year old girl, yet I never had any more doubt about what Zach or the Principal would do than I did about Evvy’s actions.
I’ve been asked which of the characters I most identified with, and though you might think it would be Evvy, it was actually the Principal. He is a very complex man, and though several readers have expressed misgivings about his sexual predilections, I always saw him as a very sympathetic character, a good but deeply flawed man.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you a bit more about the Principal and where he and the others got their names.