The Best Villain is a Hero Too
by P.R. Mason
As an avid reader, I enjoy learning about the authors' creative processes. So when Sandra gave me the opportunity to participate in her excellent blog, I thought I would write about how I created one of my favorite characters.
ENTANGLEMENTS, my recent release, is a paranormal romance/urban fantasy about a teen who enters a dangerous alternate dimension to rescue her stepsister. In plotting the story, I wanted to include a villain who's more than just a stock baddie. He had to be dark and evil, of course. But I didn't want him to be like a slasher movie automaton, acting inexplicably except for some psychopathically insane dementia. To me, an evildoer's far more insidious and scary if there's an understandable motive to his actions. So I set out to create a villain who's also a hero...or at least one who thinks he's a hero.
I started by considering that much of Entanglements takes place in a dimension where history has taken an alternate path to that of our universe. I imagined a place largely frozen in Victorian times. It's a London where paranormal creatures abound.
In researching Victorian England to come up with an historical figure that could serve as the basis for my villain, I sought to find someone who could have, if events were slightly different, come into a position of power and authority. The perfect candidate presented himself in the personage of His Royal Highness Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, the son of Britain's Queen. My decision to use Leopold was solidified when I learned he was afflicted with hemophilia, a genetic disease that prevents blood clotting and significantly shortens the life of a sufferer. Even a trip and fall can result in internal bleeding and death...which is what happened to Leopold in real life.
In my alternate history, the Queen, desperate to save her son, employs a wizard to find a cure. But this cure is less than successful and transforms Leopold into a vampire. The prince then sets about fathering a vampire aristocracy and gathering other paranormal creatures into his Empire
As a side note, a bit of unexpected synergy occurred in the selection of Leopold as the villain. One integral part of the Entanglements plot is that heroine, Kizzy, accidentally opens a vortex/portal to the Prince's world. In researching one such alleged vortex located in my hometown of Savannah, Georgia, I discovered that the symbol purportedly drawn to open the portal was a swirling circle. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a glyph used by Queen Victoria included this same swirl.
As Entanglements begins, the human race is on the verge of extinction in Leopold's world. Even though "free-range" humans are being rounded up and put into a feedlot system, the food supply for Leopold and his subjects is dwindling. He views the heroine, Kizzy, as the key to opening the portal to our world for exploration and plundering. Obviously, Prince Leopold thinks he's the hero of the story.
At one point, Leopold asks: “Am I so very different from you, Kizzy? You do all you can to save your sister and your friends. I merely do all I can to save my people. I wish to prevent them from perishing in unspeakable agony. How can that be wrong?”
And to her surprise, Kizzy sort of understands his logic. She recognizes the morality of monsters feasting on human flesh and using their bones as toothpicks is relative.
I hope I achieved my goal of creating a heroic villain or villainous hero. One the reader can empathize with even as he scares them silly. Please follow me on twitter @PRMason and visit my website www.prmason.net
Thank you, Sandra for allowing me to be here and for giving me the chance to connect with other readers and authors.
by P. R. MasonBlurb: She is driven by love. He is bound by duty. Together they are swept through a votex to adventure and danger.