Do Hardheaded and Redheaded Go Hand in Hand? by Joelle Charbonneau

Very happy to welcome the multitalented Joelle Charbonneau to the blog today. Though most of you probably know her as the author of the Rebecca Robbins and Glee Club series, Joelle has also performed in a variety of operas, musical theater and children’s theater productions across the Chicagoland area. Today’s she here to talk about being a mutant*, and why she also made her heroine a mutant. (*Ok, ok, a redhead.)

Joelle CharbonneauI 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!

Joelle Charbonneau is a storyteller at heart. She has performed in a variety of operas, musical theater and children’s theater productions across the Chicagoland area. In addition to her stage work, Joelle has also performed with several bands and worked as a solo artist. While Joelle is happy to perform for an audience, she is equally delighted to teach private voice lessons and use her experience from the stage to create compelling characters in her mysteries. Skating on the Edge is the third book in the Rebecca Robbins mystery series, following Skating Over The Line and Skating Around The Law. The first in a new series, Murder for Choir, was published by Berkley in July of this year. To learn more about Joelle, visit her website.

1 Comment

  • sabrina ogden

    October 22, 2012 - 3:12 PM

    I love Joelle’s hair! I was really disappointed there wasn’t a redhead in our family other than my father… my niece has beautful red hair and her daughter has the same. I would have killed for natural red hair. I think it’s beautiful. Anyway… Joelle is the greatest mutant author around and I’m happy to know I haven’t been buried in her backyard just yet. =)

    Great post, Joelle!

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