There were a couple thoughts. The main one was, I just thought the character was more interesting. A lot of my early books, you’ll notice I did a thing where I’m like “I want to make sure that I’m doing the female character really well.” And you can see the problem in that sentence, and that is really how I approached it. I think I did do the female character pretty well in some of those early books, but they were all pretty similar, and over time I became more aware of my biases.
Now, there is nothing wrong with writing a book intentionally and saying, “You know what? Because of the way I want to write this book in this world, I’m going to make the cast almost all one gender or the other. It’s when you’re doing it consistently on accident, that there’s a problem. And I had to kind of sit down and say, “Did I do this because I thought it was best for the character, or did I do this because I love Inspector Javert and I just wanna have to have Inspector Javert in my book?” And that’s where the character came from, quite obviously.
And I sat down and said, “If I were going to build this character from the ground up to be my own character and I were trying to throw away all biases, what would be the best for the character?” And Ais being female was not “I need more women in the book,” it was more of, “If I’m throwing away these biases and building the characters, what works the best?” and I just really liked how that character came out when I was rebuilding.