Have I introduced you to Ana Belén , the protagonist of my historical novel, A Decent Woman? Here is a brief characters study:
When my story opens in turn of the century Puerto Rico, we meet Ana Belén, a 40-year old Afro-Cuban midwife who grew up as a slave on a sugar plantation in Cuba. At age 20, her father hides Ana in the bowels of a steamer ship and she arrives in Playa de Ponce, Porto Rico in the middle of the night. She has no family or friends on the island, and yes, there is a dark secret. A secret that Ana fears will ruin her, her reputation, not to mention, her business as the only midwife in the Playa de Ponce.
Ana’s positive qualities –
Ana is a hard-working midwife, tough as nails, tender and loving with her clients and their children. Despite always hoping to appear stoic and serious, she has a fun side that is shared with a select few. She is highly intuitive, courageous, a loyal friend, and recognizes her need for a good working relationships with the male doctors and obstetricians who have just entered the birthing room. Ana becomes a fighter for the rights of women with no regard for social class when she realizes that men, society, and the Church regard her as an indecent woman. Although Ana understands that Ponce is male-dominated and knows her place in society, she fearlessly forges ahead with her work and her unlikely friendship with Serafina, a member of Ponce society. Her friendships later in life will include prostitutes and women, white, black, brown, mulatas, creoles, all labeled as indecent by society. She is a teacher and a mentor to young women. When Ana lets down her emotional walls, she becomes naive, hopeful, more trusting, and she finds love.
Ana’s negative qualities –
Ana is secretive, trusts no one, assumes she knows it all, and doesn’t make friends easily. She is leery of the men she meets and has no use for male doctors, which could cost her if she doesn’t learn the game and play by men’s rules. She is judgmental, stubborn, opinionated, and a bit naive with friendships and men. Ana is cautious, rebellious and at times, appears unfeeling because of her past as a slave. The love of her life could cost her dearly and in the end, she could make the ultimate sacrifice for a dear friend who has betrayed her.
This has been a fun exercise and I hope you will join me again.
My historical fiction novel, A Decent Woman, will be published this Fall with Booktrope.