All villains are not created equal. Some are hidden and some are out in the open. The most interesting villains for me—the ones most fun to write—are ones who are portrayed in three dimension. Even more interesting are the conflicted villains who do bad things for a “good” reason. They keep me glued to the story, wondering if there is some way he or she will be redeemed.
In WOLF MOON, I wrote two villains, both werewolves. I used Magnus, the violent, unredeemable werewolf to threaten the mortals and his wife who thought she killed him because their relationship was abusive. Hopefully the reader buys in to his being the only villain until the reveal. The main villain of the piece is a hidden villain—Valerie. But the other side of her—a victim turned without her permission, abused by the husband who turned her, now doomed to live a long, lonely life without children, without other werewolves to keep her company—is tragic. I hoped to gain the reader’s sympathy for her, not only because I wanted to fool them into thinking she was innocent, but because I thought it made her more interesting. She is a murderer, but there’s a very different side to her.
Then there is Rebecca Dumas, an open villain in THE LAST VAMPIRE. The vampire himself is a villain, but so is the voodoo priestess who restores him from his mummified state to save her brother’s life. Danton is dying of leukemia, and Rebecca has done everything in her power to save him. Nothing the doctors could do worked but voodoo did. Now that is failing him as well. Desperate to save the young man who saved her from the stepfather who sexually abused her as a teenager, Rebecca will stop at nothing. And so her good intentions lead to a hell she couldn’t have imagined.
I loved writing Rebecca’s scenes, and I’ll be anxious to see how readers respond to her when the book is released next week. In the meantime, is there a villain who really sparked your imagination? One you wanted to read about despite everything he or she did?