About Writing, Alice and the Warden

Miranda Grainey

Aged 34. Blonde hair, usually in simple updos, blue eyes, oval-rimmed glasses. Lawyer.

Miranda is a foil to Alice.

She and Hackett were together for about ten or so years, then broke up three years before the start of the story. As described, “It was a comfortably low-maintenance relationship, and Miranda never cared how many hours I worked, because she was putting in just as many herself. In retrospect, I don’t think that either of us put an ounce of our hearts into it, and we were only together to ease the strain of our careers.”

However, Miranda was the primary motivation behind Hackett’s career advancement, because she cared about prestige and image. They worked well together as long as he kept moving upwards, but Hackett’s satisfaction with his position as warden put a strain on their relationship. Eventually, his desire to switch gears and begin a family is what brought their relationship to an end.

Miranda’s main weakness is that her self-image is externally defined. She needs the fancy job, car, money, etc, to feel like she has worth, and any threat to those things is a threat to her as a person. She rejects the idea of motherhood completely, because in her mind it would rob her of who she is.

She views Hackett’s marriage to Alice as a huge personal insult. They were together for ten years without ever once mentioning marriage, then out of nowhere he up and elopes with someone 17 years younger than him. Worse yet, Alice is a high school drop out, with none of the education or ambition that Miranda deems valuable. She writes off Hackett’s marriage as a lapse in judgment brought on by a midlife crisis, and hopes that they’ll eventually divorce.

She also listens to too much modern music.

About Writing, Alice and the Warden

Damon Rake

Obligatory link to Alice and the Warden

The night that I named all of the characters, I browsed through a database of surnames, came across Rake, and thought that it felt right for Damon’s character. The next day when I showed everything to my husband, he laughed his butt off and pointed out that one of the definitions of a ‘rake’ is: “a man who behaves in an immoral way, for example by having sexual relationships with a lot of women.”

Oh. Right. That’s probably why I thought it fit. Kept it anyway.

So yes, I know, but it wasn’t intentional.

Damon is thirty years old, straight auburn hair about cheek length, and brown eyes. He’s attractive, and deliberately goes for the ‘hot bad boy’ image, but his lifestyle is catching up with him and his looks are wearing out.

Damon’s background is fairly stereotypical: he grew up with a deadbeat mom and her steady string of boyfriends, many of whom were abusive jerks. Got into the party scene young and never made it to high school. Likes the freedom of a motorcycle, never thinks about the future, and has an almost narcissistic preoccupation with image. His moral structure is hedonistic and self-serving, and he’s full of a lot of anger and hatred that results in antisocial behavior.

Damon is smart. He’s good at reading people, and has an intuitive understanding of how to exploit and manipulate their weaknesses. He doesn’t make very many mistakes.

While he saw Alice primarily as an asset to manage and utilize, he was genuinely fond of her. In his mind, he rescued her from neglect, took her under his wing to provide for her, and gave her a purpose. Because of this, he kept her around for much longer than he ordinarily would have, until he thought that she was becoming too much of a liability for him to keep control of. He was aware that he was slowly destroying her, but was too nihilistic to stop.

He views Alice’s transformation as a betrayal of him and everything he taught her, but is secretly glad that she found somewhere stable and safe to land.

In about twenty years or so, he’ll have reformed enough to maintain contact with his daughter, Alicia. But that will be a long journey for him.