#atozchallenge: J is for Madeleine Jakes

Kathleen Turner

Q: What is Madeleine Jakes’ origin?

A: Even though I had Caren and Denni essentially living on their own, I still wanted to provide them some kind of an elder presence, someone who’s not taking care of them 24/7 but is there as someone to lean on when times get tough.  Originally I didn’t plan to have her in that many scenes, relegating her to a tertiary character, but like Christine Gorecki, she evolved into someone who kept popping up at the most interesting and unexpected moments.  She’ll show up in a number of important scenes in The Persistence of Memories and The Balance of Light.

Q: How is she related to Caren and Denni Johnson?

A: She’s a family friend from quite a long time back.  She’s a retired Data Research Library archivist and now writes freelance.  She lives next door to Caren and Denni, frequently checks in on them, and occasionally keeps their place clean, especially when Caren’s stuck on a particularly hard case.

Q: That’s Kathleen Turner in that picture.  Is that who Madeleine is based on?

A: Actually, Madeleine’s a character I without a real-life inspiration…I originally created her as a typical older relative.  But the more she showed up, the more I realized that she was someone who might be older in age, but still embraces life as if she was 30.  She’s someone who rarely holds back her words and thoughts, and despite her disability (she lost a leg soon after the events of the Eighth Embodiment and has a cybernetic replacement), she sure as hell isn’t going to let life pass her by.  I can totally see Kathleen Turner pulling that off, throwing shade and putting people in their place.

Q: What is her connection to the Mendaihu?

A: [Shhh — don’t tell anyone, but she’s a Mendaihu Elder.  Nobody, not even any of the main characters, knows this!]

Q: Anything else?

A: She’s got an amazingly sharp memory, which is why she chose to work as an archivist.  She’s a mid-level certificated soulhealer and occasionally performs healings upon request.  She’s also adept at Lightwalking, but she hasn’t done that in at least a decade and a half, for very personal reasons.  She never married and rarely dated.  Caren will sometimes think Madeleine shouldn’t be so overly active because of her age, but she will remind her otherwise right quick, much to Caren’s embarrassment.  Denni absolutely adores her and thinks of her as an aunt, and will visit her apartment all the time.  She will never reveal this to Caren or Denni: she made a promise to Aram and Celine, two days before they died, that she would look over their daughters if they did not survive the case they were currently working on.

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