The Big Idea: CJ Leede

Be the change you want to see in the world. For author CJ Leede, that means creating a villainous, monstrous female character because she didn’t see enough of them in the world. Dive into her Big Idea and see how she crafted a truly bad bitch in her novel Maeve Fly.


Can a woman be a monster without first being a victim?

There are times in life in which mortality and the world at large just nearly get the better of you. When you slip so far under that you barely know where you end and the rest of it all begins. This was one of those times. Precarious health of loved ones, grieving lost family, facing so many novel rejections, I’d lost count. I had just driven from California to New York to be with family in a pre-election, pandemic-ridden, vitriolic nation. I’ve crossed America plenty of times, and never have I faced the open hostility we were met with in the Fall of that year. Never have I felt such opposition, so much fear from so many. I was grappling with every painful feeling I’d ever felt, and one new one, one I had never known before and could hardly explain:


So I did what any writer would do. I turned to other writers, and all their rageful characters.

I wanted them dark. The more unhinged, the better. I craved villains, misanthropes, liars, anti-heroes, monsters, I wanted to live in worlds in which rules did not apply and none of the pressures of life weighed down on me while reading. I read and reread Story of the Eye, Notes from Underground, American Psycho, Fight Club. I watched all the monster and villain movies I could find.

And it helped. It really helped to escape into the darkness, into the chaos. But there was one thing I kept searching for and couldn’t find, one missing piece that felt elusive and yet… vital…

Maeve Fly: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Bookshop

Author socials: Website|Instagram

Read the rest at: The Big Idea: CJ Leede

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