Over the past few months I have enjoyed focusing on characters from my latest novel, Behind the Lies. A suspense story with plenty of free-ranging betrayal, it showcases the fast-paced life of Will Franklin, who faces unexpected professional and marital challenges while running an international biotechnology firm. 

A quick synopsis to catch you up—Biotech exec Will Franklin’s boss Chet angrily announces that he’s about to fire him for reasons vaguely suggesting impropriety; then, just hours later, he succumbs to a critical illness and lands in the hospital on a ventilator, leaving Will few clues with which to untangle the mystery of his possible transgressions. Can Will clear his name before it’s too late?

Next up in my blog writing schedule is Charlotte, Will’s wife in Behind the Lies. First pass at Charlotte would allow for an interpretation of a woman who lucked out and married a high-achiever with a solid path to success and riches. Big house, lifestyle of ease, one kid in an elite boarding school and one adorable lego-playing boy at home. This version would find Charlotte spending her time with ladies who lunch and adept at how to navigate to an expensive divorce attorney at the first hint of her husband’s infidelity.

But, let’s take a closer look at the enigmatic Charlotte—the woman behind the man. Will Franklin is a geeky, brilliant scientific mind key to a break-through at his Ivy League university who didn’t realize his own potential until Charlotte, the PR person assigned to publicize the news enlightened him, and shepherded him onto a path to monetize his talents and move to the biotech universe where his gifts were fully realized. While building trust the love match matured and together they strategized his career, always toward the goal of bringing more life-saving treatments to people like Will’s own parents, both of whom died early deaths witnessed by the young, impressionable Will.

That career journey took the couple to Asia and Europe for extended stints along the upward climb. It was Charlotte who engineered the promotional re-locations, gave birth to their two children and maintained a solid footing for her family. When BioteKem head-hunted Will to be their next CEO, it was Charlotte who saw the potential in this international biotech company and they moved back to the US, settling in Boston and bringing their family home.

When Will finds his footing as the successor CEO in waiting he doesn’t turn to Charlotte as often for advice and counsel and she ramps up her own career as a liaison between patients with incurable diseases looking for clinical trials that may help them. Charlotte is a devoted wife, mother and career woman with insight into the industry and human nature….which she will need as her husband trips into a fling with Bella, a young and beautiful rising star making waves with her own start-up company; could she have anything to do with the alleged impropriety?

Deeply hurt by her husband’s betrayal, Charlotte is eventually swayed by Will’s regret and apologies. The couple seeks therapy, keeping the family bonds intact while Will supports Chet’s family during his dire illness and death.

While protecting her heart, Charlotte always uses her head. It is Charlotte who connects the dots between Chet and Bella and has the capacity to look at the larger picture beyond Will’s situation to point in a direction that ultimately leads Will out of the mess he is in.

I enjoyed playing with the idea of Charlotte, seemingly the trophy wife, or ‘wifey’ of the successful man being seen for who she truly is. Women’s roles are often subjected to stereotypical thinking. I’m hoping Charlotte defied a bit of that.