First - Amanda is in no way a Mary Sue character. She's totally original and in no way related to myself. If you want/need proof go to WWOMB and look up my "Outside Influences" stories. Tiffany and Lexxie are characters based off of me and my personal experiences. Mandy, on the other hand, was created solely for the novel I'm writing to give more detailed information on the dragon universe than I want to put into the fanfiction pieces.
Second - I needed someone other than their humans for the dragons to protect and take care of, a hatchling if you will, and Mandy was perfect. She's independant enough to be her own woman but at the same time needy enough of family love that she fits in to the communities well. For the most part I use her when I need to impart some piece of lore to the readers as well as the dragons or I need a character for Mac/Horatio/Gibbs/Gil etc to go out of their way to keep safe and help as much as they can.
Thirdly - "The code is more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules" *giggle* Sorry, that's one of my all time favorite movies (I've seen it probably 500 times if not more) In the novel Mandy is 25 and on her own across the country from the communities with limited contact. I'm trying to build up a family feel before she leaves for Seattle (the closest city to me) and the crime lab there. I'm going to be working on writing exclusively from the end of August until January and hope to be able to get this book in submittable format. In fact I'll be asking some of you if you mind me sending your reviews along to the publisher with my manuscript as an example of how this universe works and a fan's response to it. Please feel free to tell me NO if you don't want me to. *grin*
As to Mandy's public relation campaign it's something that's bothered me since college when I'd see girls starving themselves just to meet society's expectations of them. In fact I did a project in my substance abuse awareness class on OTC meds and focused on eating disorders and the dangers of diet pills. Personally I've lost over 50 pounds with just diet/exercise because I can't have strange chemicals in my system because of the fibromyalgia, and people still say I'm overweight. I might develop this part of the story into a seperate novel at some point. Anything to help keep young girls (and boys) from ruining their bodies trying to fit into a mold they shouldn't have to.
Okay, I'm off the soap box now and I promise it won't leak into the writing too much. *grin* It just saddens me because I've always been the outcast and in a fairly unique position to watch girls and now women my age attempt to fit into that mold. They shouldn't have to.
As always enjoy the series and I'll keep posting as ideas come to me. Questions/comments/concerns or suggestions let me know and I'll adress them. That's a promise.