Traci Douglass returns today with her second book in the Seven Seals series, Seal of Surrender, in which she talks about villains. Keep reading to also get my impressions of this book and make sure to sign up to win a copy......
The Finer Points of Building an Awesome Villain.....
I’m about to confess a shocking truth. Often times, the villains are my favorite characters to write in my stories. Why? Catharsis, dear reader. Catharsis.
Writing for the bad guy, the outcast, the super-evil ass-kicker, allows me the freedom to put it all on the page, to say the things I could never get away with saying, and do the things I could never get away with doing. At least not while avoiding jail time. But, even with an abundance of artistic license, I still have to make the wrong doer resonate.
When I started writing my first novel, I got some very sage advice from a wise member of my local RWA group. She reminded me that even though the villain of the story is the ‘bad’ guy - the person who stands in the way of your hero and heroine getting what they want - this dark figure must still be relatable. Otherwise, you’re left with a cardboard cutout of Snidely Whiplash twirling his moustache for the camera while the girl struggles on the train tracks. And who wants to read about that? Not me.
During the early development stages for a book, I always do a goal, motivation, conflict chart for each of my main characters, including my villain. It’s important to me to give my bad guy at least one characteristic that readers can latch on to. Some small drop of humanity that hopefully makes someone able to at least understand the actions this person is taking, the rational behind them, even if their choices are not what anyone in their right mind might do.
In SEAL OF SURRENDER, my villain is Archon, the bastard son of Lucifer and a soul-sucking mega-demon of the highest order. And yet, he’s got massive problems with his family life. I mean, who can’t relate to having a parent with unreasonable expectation you can never live up to and the loss of a mother’s love? Is he still a bottom-feeder who deserves a hefty serving of Scion ass-whooping? Of course. But now he’s multi-layered. He’s three-dimensions of twisted, tortured fun.
So the next time you’re reading one of your favorite stories, check out the villain and ask yourself why this character works so well for you? Chances are there’s a tiny bit of the bad guy in all of us.
Love, like War, will always find a way…
War has shaped every aspect of Irena Soldan’s life—her childhood, her work, her DNA. Unaware she is the genetic host of the second Seal of the Apocalypse, Irena battles for those who cannot fight for themselves. As a top human-rights operative for The Omega Consortium, her company provides both the financial backing required to undertake her task and a charismatic, publicity-loving boss to promote her cause. Life proceeds on plan for Irena until a mysterious, sexy stranger arrives claiming to be her guardian and Irena’s path takes a sudden, inauspicious turn for both the erotic and the lethal.
Chago has always been the quiet one amongst his warrior Scion brethren—the brooding, Spanish combat expert with a hidden soft side. A member of Divinity’s covert special forces, he’s protected humanity for more than a millennium. Still, his greatest joy comes not from the battlefield, but from tending the cattle herd on his remote Montana ranch.
Irena’s new assignment takes her straight to the heart of a bloody civil conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa and Chago’s mission demands he follow. Expecting a seething cauldron of female whoop-ass, he instead discovers a harbinger of peace amidst a world of ever-increasing violence. The explosively tense situation is further magnified by the cunning Omega Consortium leader, his ambiguous personal agenda, and an ancient foe whose audacious rise to power threatens the world’s very existence.
Despite the cataclysmic circumstances, an undeniable attraction ignites between Chago and Irena. Together, they must unravel the ancient puzzle of the Seals and discover her employer’s ulterior plans before they both become casualties of War. Soon, both are forced to choose between a past riddled with old torments or risk everything they treasure on a love capable of defeating evil incarnate.
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
The Seven Seals series continues in this action-packed story with a nice romance and an extremely likable main couple who are more than capable of beating the bad guy. Between the continuing battle to stop all the seals from being opened to stop Armageddon to a fight in a small country amongst those fighting for freedom, the Scion warriors are back in action.
Chago has tried to keep himself separate from the world when not being called on by Divinity to fight. Being on his ranch brings him the peace he needs after the death of his mate many years past. When given the opportunity to retire after this one last job, he takes it even though it means he'll come into contact with the creature that killed his love as well as finding a new woman who needs his protection. After not being able to protect his last love he'll do whatever it takes this time around to keep his new love safe.
Irena is a formidable opponent. Raised in a war zone she's not afraid to fight which makes her the perfect match to Chago. Their verbal sparring was both playful and sexy and I liked that she didn't let him walk all over her. She showed some backbone and was no weeping heroine. Though she doesn't believe all that Chago tells her about herself and her role in Armageddon at first, it's not long before her life is put in jeopardy and she realizes the sacrifice Chago is willing to make for her.
The final battle to save Irena and keep the Seal from being opened happened rather quickly and was a bit of a let down as the villain of this particular fight wasn't very impressive. Archon isn't near as vile as some of this story's secondary characters and his final moments are a further disappointment as things are left hanging. Another part of the story that didn't work for me entirely was the secondary storyline involving a civil war. It felt out of place and took time away from the main storyline.
The main couple were wonderful together and indulged in some very steamy sexual interludes along with some sexually tension-filled banter. They were a couple worth rooting for. It was nice seeing those sexy Scion brothers back together again. We get a brief glimpse of the couple from the previous book to see their HEA continuing which made for an even more satisfying conclusion to this story. With more Seals left to discover I look forward to revisiting this world again soon.
My rating for this is a B.
*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
Traci is the author of paranormal/urban fantasy and contemporary romances featuring a sly, urban edge, including her current Seven Seals series. Her stories feature sizzling alpha-male heroes full of dark humor, quick wits and major attitudes; smart, independent heroines who always give as good as they get; and scrumptiously evil villains who are—more often than not—bent on world destruction. She enjoys weaving ancient curses and mythology, modern science and old religion, and great dialogue together to build red-hot, sizzling chemistry between her main characters.
Traci is an active member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Indiana Romance Writers of America (IRWA) and Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Writers (FF&P) and is pursing a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction through Seton Hill University. Her stories have made the final rounds in several RWA chapter contests, including the 2012 Duel on the Delta, the 2012 Molly Awards, and the 2012 Catherine Awards. An earlier draft of Seal of Destiny won the paranormal category of the 2012 Marlene Awards sponsored by the Washington Romance Writers.
Other current projects include upcoming books in the Seven Seals series and a new futuristic suspense series with hints of the paranormal and plenty of romance.
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