Sinking our Teeth into the Inspiration Behind Aramore's Cutest Little Blood-Sucker
Whether she's mentioned in a review, or mentioned by a reader I'm speaking with after they've finished the book, without a doubt Becca Collier seems to be one of the most popular characters to come out of Welcome to Wis' Apothecary. It certainly makes me happy anytime a particular character resonates with a reader, but it pleases me all the more whenever Becca is mentioned, due to the inspiration behind the character - which I think may surprise you.
Becca was born on Peutte 6th, some 150 years before our story begins. She doesn't remember much from her time alive, and while the question of her past is at the center of her story, she finds herself drawn to Aramore for some reason. Though an immortal vampire, she resembles a 10-year-old girl, turned as just a child. And because her development stopped at her undeath, she still retains a pretty childish personality... just with a bloody appetite. So where did the idea of Becca come from?
(If you haven't read Pinky Promise yet, here's your light spoiler warning.)
Not only is she one of my favorite characters, but this illustration from @abundisart is one of my favorites as well!
Sweet but Deadly
"I mustered every ounce of courage in my body, then slowly turned around to face my creepy pursuer. But... it wasn't a madman or a monster I found myself in front of. No, standing there before me was just a small, innocent-looking little girl. She looked to be only about ten years of age. Phew!" - Welcome to Wis' Apothecary, Pinky Promise
We all know looks can be deceiving. If you're a fan of anime like me, then the trope of a monster disguised as something cute and innocuous may be something you're already familiar with. To me, characters like Luna Shadowcraft from ShadowVerse or Riful of the West from Claymore are exciting because of the dichotomy behind their characters. Of course, this trope exists in Western media too. Prince, played by Joey King, in Bullet Train (2022) comes to mind most immediately, though even that movie takes place in Japan.
Regardless, it was this concept that gave birth to Becca Collier. Not originally a character for my book, but rolled up as a character for a Dungeons and Dragons campaign I played with co-workers long before I had even dreamed up Isabel or the apothecary.
In fact, the scene from the excerpt you just read above was heavily inspired by a character introduction I wrote for the campaign, in which a young tavern worker is on his way home late at night after his shift. Let's just say in this second rendition of the story, Isabel makes out a lot better than he did.
At the time, I had just finished The Originals with my then-girlfriend, so when approached about DND, a vampire quickly came to my mind. (If you've watched the show, you may recognize the name Becca to be a certain homage). I just added a creative spin on the classic monster, and ended up liking the character so much, I "imported" her into the world of Wis' Apothecary. Role-playing is the perfect sandbox for creativity, and I wanted to continue exploring this idea of a little monster who wasn't evil, but just needed some guidance in the right direction.
Are Monsters inherently Evil?
"Cows feed on grass, humans feed on the cows, and vampires feed on the humans. Isn't that what you humans call survival of the fittest?" She spoke without even a hint of maliciousness. To her, it truly seemed just as natural as breathing. "Besides, you humans kill the cows. Becca just wants to drink a little blood." - Welcome to Wis' Apothecary, Pinky Promise
As I mentioned, characters like Becca are interesting to me because there's this dichotomy behind their characters. Becca might be a blood-sucking monster, but she has this childlike innocence about her. To her, hunting is like a game. A scary idea, certainly. But there's nothing malevolent about her nature. She just needs to eat, it's as simple as that. And as Isabel comes to realize, more than anything else, she's all alone. So of course, Isabel can't turn a blind eye - not even to her bloodthirsty attacker.
In Pinky Promise, I explore this idea that just because Becca is a monster doesn't mean she's evil. Certainly, there are cruel vampires. But people can be cruel too. While Isabel helps Becca search for answers about her past, their adventure becomes a literal search of self. Having escaped the vampire who turned her, Becca is on her own for the first time in 150 years. What kind of life does she want to live? Is there a place for her in Aramore? Can she be more than just a "monster?"
This all comes to a head, of course, in what I believe to be one of the most exciting scenes in the entire book, where there's a lot at stake for both Becca and Isabel. And while this blog post isn't about Isabel, for those who have read the book, we know the profound impact Becca has on our protagonist. She's also trying to find her way - as a witch - so their relationship is a very special one.
What's left for Becca Collier?
For those looking forward to more Becca, don't worry. She will appear in book two! While she won't have her own big story, there are big stories left to tell. In book one, some questions get answered and promises are fulfilled, but by the end of the story, there's still a dark shadow looming over Becca. She ran away from someone, and I can't imagine that someone staying quiet forever. But that's all I'll say on that for now.
She may have started as just some dice rolls, but now Becca is an irreplaceable part of the Apothecary universe. Far more complex than just a child or a vampire, her character also carries lessons on growth, rising above our own nature, and family. Plus, she's just incredibly fun to write.
So when people call Becca their favorite character?
Well, it makes me happy. But not terribly surprised.
What are your thoughts on Becca Collier? I'd love to hear them! Drop a comment below, or send me an email.
As always, thanks for reading. Until next time!