Colleen’s story is a little tragic. She is Philip’s love interest in The Gallowglass. She is only 17, an age we now consider the end of childhood and the cusp of legal responsibility today. An age where we are still forgiving about the mistakes of youth. However, in 16th century Ireland, Colleen is a fully grown woman responsible for herself.
Philip is immediately smitten with Colleen. The way she walks, the way she talks, even the way she smiles and giggles when Philip is being stuffy or clumsy with his actions and words. She has long, dark curly hair that bounce around her fair skin. She is a voluptuous woman with ample curves. Finally, Colleen has sparkling violet eyes – a rarity anywhere. Physically, she is unique.
But the world has not been kind to Colleen. Through her dialogue and her actions we learn that she has been on her own for at least a year or so. Away from family and anybody who could help or protect her. Colleen has come to accept that her only real asset in this world is her looks and she is going to use them to the best of her abilities. This combined with her youth leads to a tragic story.
As a man, it was really hard to write complex female characters without falling into one of many different tropes. My editor told me Colleen was one of my most problematic characters at one point. I spent many hours in the re-writing process trying to change Colleen and make her more realistic.
Some might see Colleen as a conniving woman and maybe even a gold digger. I don’t see her that way, though. I see her as a woman who understands that she lives in a man’s world. Moreover, her beauty is something men want. Colleen understands that to get what she wants, she needs to weaponized her beauty. The question for the reader is how well does she do it? Find out by getting The Gallowglass.