I am a redhead. Essentially that means I’m a freak. Red hair occurs in approximately 1-2% of the world’s population. Red hair appears when a person has two copies of a recessive gene on chromosome number 16. This causes a mutation in the MC1R protein and voila – red hair.
See…I told you I was a freak. Or perhaps a better way to say it is that I am a mutation. Ha! Now we’re all thinking about Zombies and crazy science fiction movies. Trust me when I say, I’d probably be the last person you want on your zombie apocalypse team unless you want me to fricassee up some brains. I’m a pretty mean cook, so I might come in useful there.
I point out my lack of zombie fighting skills because, for reasons unbeknownst to me, red heads have the reputation of being feisty, with kick ass tempers. One editor I know (who also had red hair), has rolled her eyes more than once at manuscripts that come through the door which describe their redheaded heroines as fiery.
While I have red hair and can get as pissed off as the next person, I’m pretty sure my mutated MC1R protein hasn’t caused me to be more violent or angry than a normal human being. (Or maybe those holes in my backyard aren’t caused by squirrels, but by my alter ego burying the remains of those who have ticked me off!) I will admit that I am stubborn and often think I can do more than I can possibly hope to accomplish in any given set of hours. However, that being said, I am less inclined to blame that on my mutated chromosomes and more on my determination to succeed.
When you consider that I myself have the mutated redhead gene, it isn’t so strange that I gave my heroine Rebecca Robbins the same affliction. Like most redheads, she looks blotchy when she cries and is burnt to a crisp when she stays too long in the sun. She’s even a bit hardheaded, because well…anyone who decides to investigate murders when they aren’t a law enforcement official would have to be. But perhaps it isn’t so strange that as a redheaded author, I don’t infuse the mutant chromosome characters I create with the stereotypical kick ass mentality. Rebecca can get pissed, but she isn’t going to fire up the temper unless it is really warranted. And unless you think a supply of roller skates will help when the zombies attack – well, she, like me, isn’t going to be a whole lot of help mowing down the undead.
But I hope that unlike a great number of fiery femme fatale redheads, Rebecca and I have more important characteristics than the ones that are attributed to the color of our hair. I hope when you get to know us both, you’ll find we are not only have an interesting genetic make-up, we’re pretty good people, too!