With my Berkley Moon books, I want my readers to fall in love with my werewolf heroes. They have to be sexy and appealing. Not necessarily wildly handsome. But they’ve got to have that alpha male sensibility that make them larger than life. And they live by a code that’s outside the human norm. I love writing these guys because they represent my ideal fantasy men.
I’ve got more problems with the other major male characters in my stories– the villains. Even though I’ve got more leeway with them. They can be handsome or downright ugly. They can be charming or grating. They can be outwardly friendly to the h/h or outwardly hostile.
But you’re walking a fine line with these guys. If you make them pure evil, then they’re going to be less interesting to the reader. Still, you want the reader to be rooting for their downfall.
In the book I’m writing now, DRAGON MOON, the bad guy is a shapeshifting dragon who lives in a parallel universe and wants to invade our world. And I want the reader to understand how he developed into a menace to humanity. When he was weak and powerless, humans took advantage of him, giving him valid reasons to strike out against the human race. And things got much worse for him about a hundred years ago when the people who live in his universe developed paranormal powers.
But it’s not so simple. Because–um–how can I say this without giving away the secret of this book? He’s going to be the hero of another book. So he has to be bad enough to make a formidable enemy now. Then the reader has to understand how he gets rehabilitated. It’s an interesting challenge. And an unusual one, because I can’t tell you the exact situation. You’ll have to wait for DRAGON MOON (coming in November 2009) to find out what I’m dealing with.
Which brings me to the question–what do you want to see in a villain? And how do you feel about a villain ending up being the hero of another book?