As I mentioned in my last post, while I’m waiting for my latest novel, The Letter, to come back from the editor, I decided to do a minor edit on The Deception. The two stories are similar, and in the five years since I wrote The Deception, I’ve improved as a writer, so I wanted to go back and tweak some of the text to make the story flow a little smoother. However, as I was working I kept wondering where one of my scenes went. I recalled writing it, but I wasn’t seeing it in the file. Short story long, it had somehow been overlooked when the book was typeset, and I missed the error. Yikes!
Fortunately, it wasn’t a pivotal scene, which is why I hadn’t noticed it before. In the missing chapter, one of the villains is arrested and carted off to jail. The villain has committed a serious crime, and, in a prior chapter, another character has come forward with enough evidence to guarantee a conviction, so it had already been established that the villain would end up in jail. Then, near the end of the book, the villain is seen appearing in court. The missing chapter, however, is a nice, “you had it coming,” moment for readers, as you get to see the surprised villain put in handcuffs and hauled away.
The new, revised edition of The Deception, which includes the missing chapter, is now available for the Amazon Kindle, and the print edition will soon be available.
Few things are more fun about this job than creating truly evil, nasty, vile antagonists, and when it comes to mean, nasty and downright evil, Craig Walker from The Stalker is an absolute delight.
A writer by profession, Craig met Rachel, the leading lady, while doing a stint as a staff writer for a regional lifestyle magazine. Rachel considered Craig a mentor, and while he found her attention flattering, he had much bigger plans for Rachel, and they went well above and beyond being her mentor. His plans, however, were suddenly foiled when she accepted a promotion he felt she did not deserve. Unaware that she had applied for the position, he reacted with rage, and after a confrontation she ended the friendship. Craig, however, had no intention of letting Rachel go. He began stalking her, and he continued to stalk her long after the magazine went out of business. Craig wants Rachel. He intends to have her at all costs, whether she wants him or not, and he’s finally come up with new plan for getting his way with her, once and for all.
Craig was inspired by someone who once stalked one of my friends and made her life miserable for a number of years.
There are two kinds of women who get involved with married men. Some are like Carrie, the leading lady in my earlier novel, The Deception, who are duped into believing the man is single and available. Then there is the other kind. She knows upfront that the man is married, but she chooses to get involved with him anyway.
Annette, one of the antagonists in The Betrayal, is the latter. Not only does she know, from the get-go, that Jesse is a married man, she also knows his wife, Emily. Jesse, however, is nothing if not charming and seductive. He takes full advantage of the fact that Annette has become disillusioned with her significant other, and he uses it as the catalyst to initiate their affair. In her own mind, Annette has convinced herself that not only would she be a better wife for Jesse, she’s actually doing Emily a favor by breaking them up. She knows Emily put her dream of becoming a concert pianist on hold to help Jesse with his career, therefore, she is, “helping” her by freeing her so she can finally pursue her dream. Emily, however, doesn’t see it that way.
Jesse soon tires of Annette. He ends the affair and tries to win Emily back, but Annette has no intention of going quietly into the night. She comes up with her own desperate scheme to get Jesse back, and the consequences will forever change the lives of everyone involved.
Annette is a purely fictitious character, and, thankfully, not inspired by anyone I’ve ever encountered. There are, unfortunately, plenty of real life Annettes out there. That’s what makes her the woman you’ll love to hate.
What would a story of betrayal and adultery be without a cheating spouse? Jesse St. Claire, the unfaithful husband in The Betrayal, is perhaps my most complicated and enigmatic antagonist to date. Unlike Scott Andrews, the cheating husband in my earlier novel, The Deception, Jesse really isn’t a player. In fact, he’s never cheated before. A highly successful motivational speaker, Jesse steadfastly claims to love his wife, and, in his own strange way, he does. Or, at least he thinks he does.
Jesse has built his career on helping people take control of their lives, but his own life begins spiraling out of control when his wife, Emily, catches him in the act with Annette, his personal assistant. As Emily packs her bags and walks out the door, a determined Jesse tries to come up with a plan to win her back. Not only does he want to save his marriage, he also wants to save his career. Unfortunately for Jesse, his bad habits prove difficult to break, and his past soon comes back to haunt him, forcing him to once again betray his wife.
Jesse is a fictitious character not based on anyone I know. His inspiration comes from many stories of unfaithful men who claim to love their wives, which, for those of us who don’t cheat, is something we can never fully understand.
Sometimes the people we think we can trust the most are the very people who’ll betray us. As I mentioned in an earlier post,The Betrayalis also agood cop vs bad cop story. Kyle Madden, the leading man, is a good cop who risks his both career and his life to save Emily, the leading lady. However his partner, Beau Fowler, is also his nemesis.
A thirty-year police veteran, Beau has been a good cop who’s caught his fair share of bad guys, but during that time he’s also been passed up for promotions, oftentimes by younger officers he helped train. Now his luck appears to be changing. He’s been called to investigate a suspicious death at the home of a well-known motivational speaker. It’s the high profile case he’s been waiting for. All he has to do is get a conviction and he’s sure to get his long overdue promotion–even if it means framing an innocent woman. In Beau’s mind, people sometimes have the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Beau Fowler is a purely fictitious character, who, sadly, is inspired by the occasional bad cop out there who inflicts harm innocent citizens. Fortunately such officers are rare, as most are like Kyle; good people who put their lives on the line each and everyday.
If I had to list the most evil of the villains I’ve created so far, Denise Sanderson would certainly be at the top of the list, especially since she’s the last person readers would expect to be so evil.
Denise is a young nurse who seems to be genuinely compassionate and caring, but Denise has a darker side. When she was in nursing school, she frequented a bar called O’Malley’s Grill, and soon fell in love with one of the bartenders–Jeremy Palmer. Jeremy, however, didn’t feel the same about her, and when she tried to make their relationship more than friends he turned her down. Jeremy soon moved on and forgot about her, but Denise neither forgave, nor forgot, his rejection.
Jeremy and Denise would meet again, but under different circumstances. Denise, now a nurse, has been assigned to care for Cassie, Jeremy’s wife, who’s been seriously injured in a car crash. She quickly befriends both Cassie and Jeremy, and while Jeremy can’t quite place her, she seems familiar nonetheless. He feels he can trust her, but Denise will use his trust to unleash her revenge, and Jeremy’s life will never be the same.
Denise is a fictitious character, but she also represents a deep-seeded fear many of us may have. What if the people we trust to take care of us during our most vulnerable times really don’t have our best interests in mind?
They’re out there. The lying, cheating, scumbags. The players. Married men who put themselves out as single men. And like the predators they are, they like to prey on unsuspecting single women, looking for lasting relationships.
Scott Andrews, the antagonist in The Deception, is one of those predators. A handsome and charming software engineer, Scott can, and does, pass himself off as a single man, presenting himself as the perfect catch for a single woman looking for Mr. Right. And unfortunately for the woman, she has no idea that Scott’s married.
Scott is introduced to Carrie, the leading lady, by a mutual friend. As usual, he presents himself as a single man, and he hasn’t just fooled Carrie. He’s also fooled their mutual friend, Allison. Not only does Allison believe that Scott is single, she also thinks he might be a good match for Carrie, who’s still recovering from an earlier breakup. Scott quickly takes advantage of an all too vulnerable Carrie, but it won’t take long for her to realize things just aren’t adding up. By then it will too late, and the consequences will leave her life shattered.
Scott is inspired by someone I once knew, and by stories other women have told me. He may be a fictional character, but there are, unfortunately, many real life Scotts out there. Stay safe, ladies.
Sometimes characters can be problematic simply because of who they are. Such was the case for Laura Palmer, Ian Palmer’s ex-wife in The Reunion.
We all know that in real life, ex-spouses can be a headache, so it would have been all too easy for me to make Laura into a stereotypical bitch. But then again, life isn’t always what we expect, and being eternal optimist I am, I’d like think there are ex-spouses out there who are like my late grandmother–good people trying to make the best out of awkward situations. Besides, I didn’t want to make Laura too common and too predictable.
Laura bursts onto the scene as soon as she learns about her ex-husband’s new romance. Of course she wants to check out Gillian, the leading lady. Her motive, however, isn’t a scheme to try to win Ian back. She’s found someone else. She doesn’t want Ian back. Her motive is her children, and because she’s a good mother she wants to meet with Gillian to draw up the ground rules regarding the kids. Naturally, she’ll bring up Ian during the conversation. Laura is nothing if not direct.
As the story unfolds readers will see Laura not as a witch, but as a woman mislead into a marriage by a man who now admits he married her for all the wrong reasons. She may have looked like Gillian, but she wasn’t Gillian, and for too many years he made her miserable because of it. Fortunately for Laura, she’s found happiness with her finance, Will, and she’s built a new life for herself, helping him run a horse ranch near Steamboat Springs. For a “villain” she’s turned out to be surprisingly likable.
I seem to have gotten into the habit of creating some really evil antagonists. So much so that they’re even scaring me and leaving me wondering, “Where on earth are these people coming from?” Then my good friend and fellow author, David Lee Summers, explained to me that the antagonist doesn’t always have to be an evil villain. He or she could simply be someone whose goals are contrary to the protagonist’s goals. So, after listening to David’s comments, I decided to give it a whirl and come up with an “un-evil” antagonist. Someone who stands in the way of the protagonist, but has no evil intentions.
Harrison Tyler, or Hal, as his friends call him, is a nurse practitioner with an orthopedic surgeon, and he’s one of three antagonists who appear in The Journey. We first meet Hal during a time when Jeremy, the leading man, is missing and presumed dead, while Cassie, his wife, is still recovering from a broken leg. The time has come for her cast to be removed, and as luck would have it, the technician is out that day, the job falls on Hal, who immediately falls for Cassie. Her brother-in-law, Larry, is also there. He can see that Hal is a decent guy, so he encourages her to go have coffee with him. A reluctant Cassie finally agrees, just to get Larry off her back.
Cassie sees Hal as a friend who’s come into her life at a time when she really needs one. To Hal, however, Cassie is a rare find. And while he hasn’t quite fallen in love with her, he knows he wants her, and he’s willing to wait patiently until she’s ready for him. And if it means having to be persistent, if not a little manipulative, so be it. His intention isn’t to cause any harm. He simply wants to make Cassie his–before it’s too late.
Hal is a purely fictitious character and not inspired by anyone I’ve ever met in real life. He’s a nice guy who’s found himself in the awkward position of wanting something he can never really have, but still trying to reach for it anyway.
Larry was one of those characters I found a little intimidating to work with. He’s the younger son of Ian, the leading man in The Reunion. Larry is first introduced as an angry seventeen-year-old, bitter over his parents’ divorce. He’s been told, many times, that they went their separate ways because they were unhappy together, however, Larry doesn’t see it that way. Deep down, he thinks they broke up because he was a bad kid–a fairly common occurrence with children of divorce. His mission is to thwart his parents’ new relationships, and Gillian, the leading lady, is in his cross hairs.
When Larry isn’t trying to sabotage his parents’ happiness he’s a typical high school senior. He makes good grades, he has a good circle of friends, and, after graduation, he plans on attending culinary school and becoming a chef. Unfortunately, teenagers have a knack for getting themselves into trouble, and Larry is certainly no exception. Trouble will come his way when he lies to his father and sneaks out to a drinking party in the woods.
Larry is a fictitious character and not inspired by anyone in particular that I’ve known. However, as the story progresses, circumstances force him to change his attitude, and by the time he appears in the The Journey, he will have matured into a remarkable young man.