Anna, aka, Michal, has such a unique take on creating villains. Read and enjoy my guest!
Authors are always cautioned to avoid Snidely Whiplash clichés when creating villains. “Remember,” we’re told, “Every villain is the hero of their own story.” But how do you do that? My answer: create characters that share a value I hold dear, but have it twisted. For instance I love justice. I hate when the bad guys get off with sentences lighter than they deserve, (if they’re caught and/or tried at all). My blood boils when CEO’s give themselves bonuses from taxpayer money used to bail out their too-big-to-fail companies. Don't we all? If we had the power to make them pay, how many of us would exact what we believe is just punishment rather than give them a chance to repent? Every time I binge watch Law & Order I root for guilty verdicts and am crestfallen when not guilty is announced.
In my novella Judge Aaron “Hangman” Denton’s lives only for justice and is dismayed when my heroine’s botched execution provides opportunity for her to be found innocent and receive a pardon thus voiding his sentence. For him, her innocence is a technicality. Sentence once pronounced should be carried out for justice to be done. Since the system refuses to do it, he takes it upon himself to make sure Mary hangs.
Wicked, right? But who can’t identify with the sentiment? I gnash my teeth when, in a favorite Law & Order episode, proof of guilt is excluded on a technicality. Yikes! I just looked in the mirror and saw Aaron Denton looking back at me.
This is why I love writing romance in general and loved writing One Breath Away in particular. When a value I hold dear gets trounced in real life, I can have a villain trounce it on the page but have it turned round right in the end.
Sentenced to hang for a crime she didn’t commit, former slave Mary Hamilton was exonerated at literally the last gasp. She returns to Safe Haven, broken and resigned to live alone. Never having been courted, cuddled or spooned, Mary now fears any kind of physical intimacy when arousal forces her to relive the asphyxiation of her hanging. But then the handsome stranger who saved her shows up, stealing her breath from across the room and promising so much more.
Wealthy freeborn-Black Eban Thurman followed Mary to Safe Haven, believing a relationship with Mary was foretold by the stars. He must marry her to reclaim his family farm. But first he must help her heal, and to do that means revealing his own predilection for edgier sex.
Then just as Eban begins to win Mary’s trust, an enemy from the past threatens to keep them one breath away from love…
His smile turned up the heat in his gaze. Mary frowned, painfully aware the smell of her passion lingered in the air, despite the woolen barrier of her skirt.
He stepped forward so his hand-stitched boots stood toe-to-toe with Mary’s second-hand shoes. “Eban Thurman, at your service, Miss Hamilton. May I get you something to drink?”
At her service? The air congealed. Mary gasped, trying to suck in air too solid to inflate her lungs.
“No—no, thank you. I’m not thirsty.” Her stutter mimicked the tremor between her thighs. She clasped her hands and planted them hard against her lap.
“It’s a really hot night.” He turned his hand palm up in a silent plea. “Perhaps you’d find a waltz more cooling.” He eased his fingers into her clenched hands. “May I beg the honor of this dance?”
“Yes, Miss Hamilton.” He tilted his head, slanting his smile to the right. “Beg.”
“You don’t strike me as the begging type, Mr. Thurman.”
“To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.” He tongue-swiped his full lips as if he’d just tasted something he wanted to taste again. “I know when it’s time to beg.”
She pursed her lips into a frown, fought back the urge to grovel and won. Barely.
Anna Taylor Sweringen writes erotic romance as Michal Scott. History has been an old passion of hers. Romance a recent one. The opportunity to combine the two came in the publication of One Breath Away. Michal has been writing professionally since 2008 and belongs to the inspirational, gothic and erotic romance chapters of Romance Writers of America. An unexpected, but intriguing combination of genres for a retired minister.
Wild Rose Press: http://bit.ly/2Bim5o7