Professor Winni Davis is the Government's top scientist. Mostly, her position is on merit, but there were a few steps along the way that were achieved because she's been blackmailing the Chancellor, the head of the Government, for the last fifteen years.
Winni is ambitious and ruthless. Every decision she has made as an adult has been made with her science in mind. If it doesn't further her research, or put in place functions that will eventually further her research, she doesn't want to know about it.
Her entire adult life has been one long journey towards the greatness and recognition she knows she deserves. She's so focused on the experiments she needs to complete in order to prove her theories and move forward, that she's long since lost sight of any of the gentler emotions she'd once felt.
Winni is a genius. She chose her husband because he also is a genius, and his work complemented her own. Of their five children, two showed promise. The other three were 'encouraged' to marry fortuitously. Winni's youngest daughter rejected Winni's demands and disappeared several years ago. Her only son, Marcus, is showing disturbing signs of independence. Even her biddable husband, Harry, is becoming recalcitrant.
Winni's research revolves around accelerating growth, generally as it's applied to terraforming planets (creating a liveable atmosphere on a dead planet) and, more specifically, on food production.
Fifteen years ago, Winni made the premature decision to test her theories on human subjects. Most of the three hundred people died. Those who lived were terribly deformed physically, or suffered severe mental trauma. The man who was her partner in those experiments tried to forget it ever happened, and made sure no one would find out. He didn't bargain on Winni's own ambitions. The call he received from her a week after he became Chancellor made him realise how fragile his own success, and indeed his freedom, was.
Winni is on the cusp of success. She's just met the Planet Whisperer and realised what his talents could do to help her research. He's always worked alone, and has always insisted on only terraforming planets that show no signs of life. She aims to change his mind and manipulates Marcus into helping her.
I loved writing Winni. Trying to work out how her megalomania could be written so she comes across as, not just a mad scientist, but also a three-dimensional human being, was a challenge.