|Kadee Strickland is my headcast for Maggie|
Dog Days of Summer
The undisputed queen of the Lean Dogs, Maggie Teague knows how to hold her liquor, her babies, and her man. Outsiders may think her cool authority is her strong suit, but really, it’s her generosity, and her uncanny ability to read people.
I’ve gotten lots of requests for a Maggie/Ghost book, and rest assured, it’s next up in the queue after Loverboy. But for all those hoping it will be a story about “mature love,” well, it will, but we’ll also be taking a look at their beginning as a couple, and I think we all know by now that Mags was a mere 16 when these lovebirds first met outside a liquor store. Maggie with her big hair, red lipstick, and high-waisted jeans a la Kelly Bundy, and Ghost stubbly, mean, and mad at the world, but always with an eye for a beautiful girl asking him to buy her beer.
Maggie’s youth, though, was never intended as some sort of kink. Rather, the reasons are threefold: One, it’s very common to see young girls become involved with the MC world. They’re more impressionable, often times running from negative family situations, and drawn into the sense of security the life provides. Two, I liked the idea of Ghost realizing his high school ideal of the “perfect woman” wasn’t the perfect old lady for his lifestyle, that love and support were so much more important than superficial qualities. And three, for the family continuity. Ava’s mother married young, so it stands to reason she would as well. Behavior patterns passing down through the generations are a little bit fascinating, from a social science standpoint. And I love the theme of “we want better for our kids.” That Ava’s parents would feel conflicted for insisting she turn out different from them.
Sometimes I get a little irritated with the way the South is portrayed in fiction. The modern South, especially. Most of the clichés simply aren’t true. But some of those mothers like Maggie’s mom DO still exist, and I had some fun teasing one of those overzealous debutant moms. It’s no wonder Maggie rebels a little, and given her milquetoast father, it’s no wonder she was wildly attracted to a young Ghost’s easy authority and masculinity.
My favorite thing about Maggie, hands down, is the way she took Aidan on as her own without a moment’s hesitation. I think that speaks to her character more than anything. After that, it’s a given she’ll be a good mother for her girl, and that she’ll love Mercy, and Tango, and take care of all her damaged boys. I really wanted to explore the idea that someone could be a great mother without purposefully working toward motherhood. Mags wasn’t planning on it, thinking about it, getting all her ducks in a row, reading the books and such, but she was a sweet, good person who had lots of love in her heart for a motherless little boy.
Guys who want to become Lean Dogs have to go through a hangaround and then a prospect period, enduring hazing and proving themselves. Loyalty to the club must be complete, because the club does very illegal things and could get busted at any moment. The women – girlfriends and prospective old ladies – don’t endure the same tests of loyalty…but that’s where Mags and the other old ladies come in. It may seem harsh to put new girls through their paces, but with the threat of arrest hanging over their heads, and wives not wanting to visit their husbands in jail, it’s understandable. Maggie isn’t naturally a bitch – she doesn’t enjoy being mean for the sake of it, being catty like all those debutant girls she was forced to socialize with – but she takes her role as first lady seriously and takes the club seriously.
I like all my characters as people for different reasons. With Mags, I love that she doesn’t waver. She’s incredibly self-possessed and she doesn’t question her motives or actions. She knows what she believes, who she loves, and what she has to do to protect them. I also love her quiet, feminine strength. Unfortunately, sometimes, femininity is seen as weakness these days, but she’s unquestionably stronger than the men in her life. A Southern woman with grace, style, and the kind of confidence I wish I possessed.