I’m fascinated by a good villain. Does that sound like a contradiction? Before I go any further, let’s get one thing straight. I detest evil. I abhor psychopaths. In books and movies, as well as real life. They aren’t the villains I’m talking about.
Most fiction stories have a hero (non-gender specific) and something to oppose the hero—society, his/her own personality, a person (the villain). Sometimes, the hero’s opposition is a combination of all three. In the original Star Wars, Luke fought the Empire, society personified by Darth Vader. It’s easier for the movie-goer or reader to have a person oppose the hero instead of a nebulous concept.
In the original Star Wars trilogy, Darth Vader seems one dimensional. He’s just plain bad. Only when we watch the prequel trilogy (Phantom Menace, et al.), do we understand what led him down the path to the Dark Side.
They say everyone is the hero of their own story. That is even more important for villains. What makes them tick? Why do they behave the way they do? What led them down that path? A good villain believes he’s right to do what he does. That doesn’t make it right in the eyes of the world, but in his (or her) own mind, the villain justifies his actions.
Yuri Grashenko, the villain in my romantic suspense One Red Shoe, is an ex-KGB agent who’s had to keep up with the times—an old dog learning new tricks. He’s head of security for a minor kingpin in the Russian Mafia, a job he hopes to retire from soon. His current job just might be his last. Yuri’s head will roll, literally, if he doesn’t recover the intel stolen by the hero. If only Yuri wasn’t tasked with training the kingpin’s son. Junior is a klutz and more of a hindrance than a help. But Junior isn’t the only deterrent. An Iowa tourist thwarts Yuri’s plans so much he thinks she must be an agent herself.
Defeating bad guys make good heroes. The stronger the hero, the stronger the villain. And vice versa. Readers don’t want to see the hero conquer a wimpy villain. Not enough conflict. When the story begins, the hero isn’t strong enough to defeat the villain. She has to grow, become more confident in her abilities, even learn new skills. By the final confrontation, she is strong enough to bring the bad guy to justice.
Wannabe writer rescues wounded spy while risking her heart.
Daria Mason’s life is too predictable. Nothing ever happens in her small Iowa town where everybody knows everybody else. But when she travels to New York City looking for a little excitement, she never expects to bring home a wounded spy.
From the moment agent Sam Jozwiak steals intel vital to US security from a Russian Mafia kingpin, Murphy’s Law takes over. No matter how he covers his tracks, the kingpin’s assassins find him. What’s worse than getting shot in the butt? Accepting help from an Iowa tourist.
Sam and Daria flee cross country with the assassins right behind them. Sharing danger and excitement—and a few kisses—with Sam soon has Daria convinced he’s the man for her. He thinks she’ll be better off once he’s out of her life for good. With their lives on the line, can she convince him they belong together?
Daria started running up the stairs to the fifth floor, hoping she would get to the restroom in time. As a teacher who couldn’t leave second-graders alone, she’d trained herself to hold it until scheduled breaks. But she should never have waited this long. Despite the cramping in her legs, she put on a burst of speed. As she passed the door to the fourth floor, she realized the stairs had gotten darker. She looked up to see if a light was out. On the half-way landing stood a man…pointing a gun at her.
She nearly wet her pants.
“What are you doing here?” the man demanded as he whisked his gun out of sight.
Daria froze. She clutched the rail with one hand, her bag of books with the other. She suddenly understood the line from Romancing the Stone because, just like Joan Wilder, Daria was paralyzed from the neck up. The rest of her wasn’t moving, either.
“Where are you going?” He had a faint accent. British, maybe. His eyes flickered with impatience. Hard glacial blue eyes. His voice, cultured with a hint of menace, frightened her more.
One Red Shoe is available at:
And wherever ebooks are sold.
Who are your favorite villains?
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched series, she is the author of The Pilot, the first book in a series about strong women on the frontier of space. One Red Shoe is her first romantic suspense. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and two grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com
Connect with Diane Burton online
Goodreads: Diane Burton Author
Diane Burton is giving away a $20 eGift Card from Amazon or Barnes & Noble to one lucky commentator. For extra chances, please use Rafflecopter below: