Love to hate, giving villains that little bit of likability
I’ve always been one who thought that if you’re going to write a story you need a bad guy, someone for the hero(s) to fight against, someone that can create tension, action and suspense. While you want readers to hate your villain you also want to have that little gem that shows a tiny shred of humanity, something to give them just the small piece of sympathy and maybe a little empathy.
I’ve written two books (working on a third) called “The Newfoundland Vampire” and “Killer on the road” (book 2 of the series) and I wanted to write truly despicable villains that the readers would hate. For book 1 I had the idea that a vampire who lived for hundreds (or thousands) of years would ultimately get tired of doing the same nasty stuff day in, day out. I thought boredom would lead them to new depths of depravity or in the case of John Snow (the main villain for book 1) recklessness where he cared only for a thrill and nothing for the consequences. (Vampires are hidden from the public for obvious reasons) For John his existence came down to the thrill of fighting other vampires, nothing else mattered and ultimately his ego was his downfall as he could defeat two vampires at once.
To take an example from Television look at Walter White from “Breaking Bad. He does some horrendous things, ultimately comes to enjoy killing, intimidation and running an drug empire. The crazy part is that in the end you still liked Walt (at least I did), just a tiny bit, he was such a fully developed character and still had a few redeeming qualities that you couldn’t help it.
I’m no Vince Gilligan but for book 2 I tried to add a little more depth to my villains and had more chapters from their perspective. In particular, I gave the origin scene (for a vampire) to one character, Elizabeth Bathory (otherwise known as “The Blood Countess”). She doesn’t make excuses or do anything nice as such but the readers do get to see her strength of will and see some of the suffering that shaped her. I was very happy when my editor with Penumbra Publishing (the always-wonderful Pat) told me I had done a great job with her and given her just a little bit of humanity.
Stories need heroes and villains, some can be more heinous than others and of course you can blur the lines from time to time. The key here is to give your villains that little glimmer, that tiny chance of redemption or that quality that you can’t help but admire. I’ve always felt that we have all a little darkness inside us and one of the best parts about writing is exploring darker ideas in a safe and healthy way. I hope you’ll come along to see the villains that inhabit my vampire series and maybe even love to hate a lucky few.
Book II: Killer on the Road
Genre: Horror / Paranormal / Romance / Vampire
Publisher: Penumbra Publishing
Date of Publication: August 31, 2013
Number of pages: 193
Word Count: 74,020
Cover Artist: Nils Dannemann
Joseph O’Reily is still adjusting to the lifestyle and the dangers that come with being a new vampire. He and Cassandra recently fought to the death with Cassandra’s estranged husband John Snow, and now Joseph has experienced his first ménage a trios, as only a vampire can. As if all of this was not complicated enough, he and Cassandra have been tasked with hunting down and killing a rogue vampire, Donald Rathmore.
Another of John Snow’s creations, Donald is an evil misogynistic killer in his own right. Donald has no interest in avenging his creator’s death, but killing Cassandra is at the top of his list.
While Donald continues his murderous spree, Joseph and Cassandra always seem to be one step behind him. The chase is further complicated as they encounter other vampires and learn more about the mysterious nature of the Vampire Council and the coming war between good and evil.
Joseph is only now beginning to trust Cassandra, and this trust will be shaken when he discovers she has even more secrets than he imagined. Her idea of justice and morality is at complete odds with his own. Despite all his powers and growing skill, Joseph is tested physically as a vampire and emotionally by Cassandra. This time the answers and challenges may be too much for the young vampire to handle.
Publisher: Penumbra Publishing
Number of pages: 224
Word Count: 86,737
Like every other geek alive, Newfoundland native Joseph O’Reily secretly wants to be a superhero. At thirteen he fantasized about being a vampire, and ten years later he’s still fantasizing – but mostly about a beautiful redheaded woman who has eyes only for him. The one thing different about Joseph’s adult fantasy is that, amazingly, it comes true one night when he goes to a local university pub. Cassandra Snow, literally the woman of his dreams, invites him to her place for an evening of personal pleasure. Of course he’s not going to say no. But when strange things start happening afterward, Joseph quickly learns that not all dreams should come true.
Charles O’Keefe lives in the beautiful province of Newfoundland, Canada, with his wife and two feline ‘children,’ Jude and Esther.
He works in IT support and enjoys many hobbies and activities that include writing, reading, watching fantasy/science-fiction movies and television shows, gaming, poker, walking, Pilates, and of course fantasizing about vampires.
To find out more about Charles, go to Twitter and Facebook or visit his web site.