Rachel’s older sister by a whopping 15 years - Kirsty followed the route in life that she considers one must: school, college, university (in her case, a degree in Teaching) and then straight into a career as a primary school teacher. She’s never actually left the education process, and this has affected her as a person: she’s never really entered the ‘adult world'.
Divorced with two millennial aged kids of her own, she’s not close to Rachel. Rachel was fine when she was a kid: she did as she was told, Kirsty could dress her up like a doll, put make up on her. But as soon as Rachel started to get a personality, become a teenager with ‘attitude’, Kirsty lost interest.
When Rachel was 15, Kirsty was 30 and couldn’t understand or relate to Rachel’s teenage angst. Or at least, she didn’t want to bother remembering her own teenage angst and therefore be more empathetic.
Rachel was the ‘black sheep’ sister in Kirsty’s eyes; couldn’t settle, liked to travel, wasn’t particularly interested in long term relationships and yet seemed to be the ‘apple of our father’s eye.’ Why couldn’t their father see that she, Kirsty, had done everything the ‘right’ way in life and also be approved of? What was so special about Rachel?
Kirsty was a slightly harder character to develop - fun yet tough at the same time. As the antagonist, she is an amalgamation of my two real sisters, and whilst we’re not close, it was also ‘fun’ to hype up the antagonism more.
The process of developing Kirsty’s disregard for Rachel stems from a deep rooted feeling in myself that my life choices were always frowned upon, especially when I seemed to be the ‘favoured’ child in the family set up. It felt to me that my two sisters tried so hard to do the right thing/follow the right path, and then 15 years later, along comes this little person who has her own personality and seems to be favoured, no matter what she does. I think this is the root of the issue in our family: jealousy. But it’s never discussed - just passive/aggressive snipes. Hence the development of Kirsty as the antagonistic character was easy; I was pulling from my own personal experiences.
I’ve had a fair amount of contact from people who’ve read the novel, thanking me for highlighting the background family drama and drawing parallels to their own family dramas too. It feels good to reach people.