Thank you to the Qwillery for having me here today – I love this site! Also, I’d like to thank Kelly Mueller from Books-N-Kisses for putting together this fun blog tour for me. Well, I know from reading other blog posts here (I’m a regular reader), that most of us love a good hero. Of course, to have a good hero…you need a great villain.
Well, I’m under deadline right now writing Book 5 of my Dark Protector series, and when I need to organize, I turn to lists. So I hope it’s okay to throw a list out there.
The Top Five Characteristics of an Awesome Villain
- The villain has to be as smart if not smarter than the hero. The story would be no fun if the hero and heroine didn’t have their work cut out for them. The brilliant bad guys are the ones we remember. Hannibal Lecter was a genius, and Clarice Starling had to dig deep to thwart him. Of course, did she actually beat him?
- The villain has to know he is the villain—and embrace it—hopefully with a sardonic twist of humor. If you haven’t watched Timothy Olyphant in Live Free or Die Hard – watch it and not just because hey, it’s Timothy Olyphant. There’s a scene where John McLane (hero) taunts Thomas Gabriel (Olyphant playing the villain) about greed and money. Gabriel responds with, “You don’t think I deserve the money, John? Hell, I’m working my a** off here.” It’s sarcastic and funny and you get the feeling that Gabriel is laughing at everyone, including himself.
- The villain has to believe he’s right, even when everyone else knows he’s wrong. The villain needs to be as committed to his path, and believe it’s the right path, in order to show how committed the hero is to his path. Colonial Nathan R. Jessup in A Few Good Men is an excellent villain. He’s tough and thinks his way is the only way. And there’s a slight possibility that he is right—he works on the front lines and does keep people safe. But he lied and sacrificed two marines to do it, so we know he’s the bad guy. But what an excellent bad guy!
- A good villain needs to have the reader root for him at least once, if just for a second. Often, the villain has had a terrible childhood, so for a second you can feel for him. But, then he’ll go and do something so dastardly…that emotion goes away. In order for a villain to be truly effective, we have to see him as human. In fact, we have to see ourselves in his shoes, however briefly. (This is a bit of a stretch—but am I the only one who roots for the Road Runner to win…just once?)
- A good villain needs to have that moment of choice—he really needs to choose to be the bad guy with his eyes wide open so we can root against him. We don’t want the villain to fall into being the bad guy any more than we want the hero to naturally be a good guy. Characters need to struggle and fight to claim their role. In my series, (yes, you knew I’d talk about my books at some point, right? :-) ) I have an ongoing bad guy (Kalin the Kurjan) who goes from childhood into adulthood and in Hunted, he is actually faced with the opportunity to be good. He’s at that proverbial fork in the road…and has to choose a path. Guess which way Kalin chooses?
To sum up, the villain needs as many layers as the hero. The cookie-cutter ‘bad guy’ who’s just plain bad isn’t interesting. The bad guy who might turn good…but doesn’t…well, he’s interesting. We truly need a dastardly villain we can identify with in order to root for the hero to win. And the hero should win. :-)
I would love to give away a signed copy of either Fated or Claimed to a commenter here. Who’s your favorite villain?
About the Dark Protector Series
HuntedDark Protector 3
Brava. April 24, 2012
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
Ready Or Not
Moira Dunne is a witch—the quantum physics kind. Time and space are her playthings. Which might explain why her one-night stand from a hundred years ago has turned up to “claim” her—and request her family’s assistance with the war he’s brewing. But the more she learns about Connlan Kayrs, the more she comes to think this is normal behavior for him…
There’s Nowhere To Hide
When Conn and Moira tumbled on the moonlit grass, Conn hadn’t meant to mark her as his mate for all time. She was only twenty! But it wasn’t easy to wait for her. It was even harder to forget her. So when he finally returns for his wicked-hot witch, he’s ready to let the sparks flying. Even if he burns up in flames…
TemptedDark Protector eNovella
Brava, March 27, 2012
On the run from a mental institution and her vindictive half-brother, it’s safe to say that Sarah Pringle’s happy life as a schoolteacher is on hold. Too bad that as far as self-defense goes, “run and hide” is the best she’s got. And with the monsters that started her escape hot on her heels, that’s not going to cut it for long…
That is, unless Sarah has a bigger, badder, hotter monster on her side. Max Petrovsky is right at the top of the list of alpha male ass-kickers. And he knows exactly what Sarah’s up against. Good thing, because the minute he sees her something primal kicks in, turning everyday attraction into red-hot desire. As long as they’re cooperating, why not mix some pleasure with business? Of course, Max should probably tell Sarah he’s a vampire himself…
ClaimedDark Protector 2
Brava, October 25, 2011
Trade Paperback and eBook, 330 pages
A Daring Rescue
Emma Paulsen is a geneticist driven by science. But she’s also a psychic, so when a dark, good-hearted vampire frees her from the clutches of the evil Kurjans, she realizes he must be the man who’s been haunting her dreams. But with a virus threatening vampires’ mates, Emma may discover a whole new meaning of “lovesick”…
A Deadly Decision
As King of the Realm, Dage Kayrs has learned to practice diplomacy. Still, it’s taken three hundred years to find his mate, so he’ll stop at nothing to protect her—even if it means turning his back on his own kind…
FatedDark Protector 1
Brava, February 22, 2011
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
Cara Paulsen does not give up easily. A scientist and a single mother, she’s used to fighting for what she wants, keeping a cool head, and doing whatever it takes to protect her daughter Janie. But “whatever it takes” has never before included a shotgun wedding to a dangerous-looking stranger with an attitude problem…
Sure, the mysterious Talen says that he’s there to protect Cara and Janie. He also says that he’s a three-hundred-year-old vampire. Of course, the way he touches her, Cara might actually believe he’s had that long to practice…
Her favorite movie is "Life with Father" and her favorite book is "Raise High the Roofbeams, Carpenters." She has a journalism degree with a poly sci emphasis from Pepperdine and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Idaho.
Please visit Rebecca at: http://www.rebeccazanetti.com/
What: One commenter will win his or her choice of a signed copy of either Fated or Claimed from Rebecca!
How: Leave a comment answering Rebecca's question:
Who's your favorite villain?
Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.
You may receive additional entries by:
1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.
2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.
3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.
There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.
Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. You MUST leave a way to contact you.
Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Monday, April 23, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.
*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*