Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Welcome Guest Author: Christy Reece


Vile Villains and Why We Love Them

One of the best things about writing fiction, especially romantic fiction, is creating characters. Getting inside their heads and figuring out what makes them tick. I so enjoy watching characters evolve as they appear on the page. And that includes creating those dastardly villains. The more evil and twisted they are, the more they fascinate me. What made them into the soulless, heartless and self-absorbed creatures they’ve become? Childhood trauma? A brutal event that changed them forever? Or were they born that way? The possibilities are endless and infinitely entertaining.

Since I write romantic suspense, I always have at least one villain or more in my books. One person, group or entity that my hero and heroine must fight against and defeat, thus ensuring, once again, that good triumphs over evil and thereby delivering them the happy ever after they so justly deserve. Whew! That’s a big responsibility. Which means my villain must be worthy of going to all that trouble.

One type of villain that always intrigues and frightens me more than any other is the one who sees absolutely nothing wrong with his or her devilishly wicked deeds. With this kind of villain, everything he or she does is totally justified. There’s no conscience, no comprehension, no guilt. Other than perhaps the fear of getting caught, the consequences of their actions are meaningless, dust in the wind. Making the evil person identifiable and understandable is often a difficult if not impossible task.

The villain in my new book, NO CHANCE, is like that. Filled with moral superiority, believing his station in life, his wealth and background, gives him the right to do evil things. He commits vile acts that would disgust him if done by other people. However, this man is so self absorbed in his delusions of superiority, he’s oblivious to the anguish he causes others.

People like that scare me…but they also fascinate me. However, I sincerely hope I never meet anyone like that except between the pages of a book.

Who is the vilest or meanest fictional villain you’ve read about? What made him so vile? Could you understand his motivation or was he completely beyond the bounds of comprehension? I'm giving away two copies of my new book to commenters today!

64 comments:

lois greiman said...

Welcome Christy and thanks for joining us. Your book looks great. And your villain sounds dispicable... How wonderful.

Keri Ford said...

Hi, Christy.

Worse villian? He's in a currently unpub'd book that I critiqued that was AMAZING. I don't really care for scary dudes, and this one was way over my security blanket line. Can't say much about the book aside from it might be have a home soon. ;-)

Ida Brugler said...

Hi Christy
Great blog!!!

The Worst villian???????

I have so many flosting through my head... But one that sticks out is is Barny Simpson in Charlaine Harris's An Ice Cold Grave..Not sure If that counts, But He is an Evil man that preys on boys.. And I cannot comprehend how anyone can Do anything to another human let alone a child..
Have a great day!!!

Mary G said...

Hi Christy
You know I love (to hate) your villains. They are so brilliantly written. I was a psychology major & they fascinate me too. Now I know some people can't be fixed. I like the way your heroes "take care" of the villains in your books. Donald Rosemont from your first trilogy is the vilest villain I've ever read. What made it worse was that he was so nondescript (although villains don't wear signs LOL). It was the first time I read a character that I did not want to know what made him tick. I just wanted him dead (painfully). What does that say about me though?

Christy Reece said...

Hi Lois, thanks so much! I'm thrilled to be here!

Yes, my villain is deliciously despicable and he was such fun to write!

Christy Reece said...

Hi Keri, wow, he does sound like an interestingly scary guy. I hope the books finds a home soon so we can read about him.

Christy Reece said...

Hey Ida!

You know I do agree that kind of villain is about the vilest of the vile. And doesn't the name Barney Simpson sound so nice and unthreatening? Interesting!

Lori said...

What a gorgeous cover! I think the most scary villains are those that feed into a fear that we all have, or one that I can relate to. Villains that come to mind are Karen Rose's, or especially the one from Leslie Parrish's second book. He mimicked email scams and then decided that the victim was too stupid not to see through it, so they deserved what they got. Scary, because you can imagine someone actually falling into that trap.

Michele Hauf said...

Welcome, Christy! I love villains. Well-done villains are not easy to come by. I can't think of any that stand out for me recently, though I did love the villainous faery queen in Wicked Lovely.

And I still love Alan Rickman's Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood.

Christy Reece said...

Hey Mary, I wondered if Donald Rosemount would be your pick. Poor, skinny wimp looking creature that he is. (:

What bothered you the most about Donald, do you think?

And, btw, I'm absolutely thrilled that you chose him as your vilest villain. So, what does that say about me? (:

Linda Henderson said...

I think the villians that are in J.D.Robb's In Death books are always horrible. They kill people in such vile ways. I love the books, but the ways these people die always freak me out.

Mary G said...

Good question Christy
There are villains that may do things to you against your will but Donald took away his victims' will. He made them do things that were out of character. Actually he took away their character too.
He was such a pathetic little creature, I guess it gave him a feeling of power to lay these strong characters low (& I wasn't going to think about what makes him tick LOL).

Christy Reece said...

Hey, Lori! Thanks! I love my cover too!

And I think you're right about the villains feeding into our deepest fears. I know when I'm watching a movie, I'm not disturbed by ghosts or monsters. I guess I don't see them as a threat. However, you put a psycho after a family? Yowza! I'm hiding my eyes and screaming at the screen. (LOL. No, you don't want to watch a movie with me).

I watched The Last House on the Left the other night, the remake. Oh wow, that was one disturbing movie. Evil, evil, evil people!

I love Karen Rose's villains! And I have Leslie Parrish's trilogy but haven't had the time to read them yet. I've heard wonderful things about them. Definitely need to get to reading!

Ida Brugler said...

Christy,

That's what I thought when I was reading the book.. It can not be him, But I guess it is the ones you would never ever think about.....

Aly said...

Hey Christy!

I have to agree with Karen Rose's villains b/c that is the first author that really came to mind. Every book I finished, I swear she couldn't make anyone worse...and then she would! LOL!

And Allison Brennan has some pretty nasty villains as well.

But I have to admit that I really do love a horrible villain b/c they make the story that much better :)

CrystalGB said...

Hi Christy. Lisa Jackson's and Iris Johansen's villians come to mind. They are bad people.

Christy Reece said...

Hi Michelle! You're so right. Well done villains are hard to come by. They're often harder to write than the hero and heroine.

Wicked Lovely. Who wrote that? Sounds interesting! And there's just something odd about a faery queen being wicked. Must be from my childhood, but my idea of a faery queen looks like Glenda the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz.

Oh yes, doesn't Alan Rickman perform a deliciously evil villain? Amazing actor!

Christy Reece said...

Hey Linda! Yes, definitely vile vicious villains in JD Robb's books. And the evil things they do just have you shaking your head.

I'm in the midst of writing synopses for a new trilogy and I thought I'd come up with a unique idea for my third book in the trilogy. My villain is over the top evil. A friend of mine just sent me an article she thought I might be interested in. it detailed almost exactly what my villains are doing! I guess it shows that no matter what the mind of a writer comes up with, someone has already done that evil thing. Which is just downright scary!

Crystal (cmac) said...

Ahh those rotten villains that make us appreciate our heroes even more...
There are several that give me the creeps in a major way. Christy you do a great job with the villains. I have to agree with Mary G Donald was pretty bad. The ones that I find most frightening are the ones that enjoy hurting and killing people. (especially children)They make me want to kill them myself lol.

Karin Slaughter has some pretty evil villains. I actually have taken a break from some of her books because the details are pretty vivid. I like her books don't get me wrong! I just have to take it in small doses. I don't know why. Also Lisa Gardner, Lisa Jackson, and Irish Johanson can come up with some heartless characters too.

KylieBrant said...

Christy, welcome to the Top Down! I agree about the movies--monsters and horror flicks don't do a thing to me. An evil predator, however, that's all to easy to imagine! Evil exists, in human form, and that's why vile villains instill true fear.

oklanannie said...

Hi Christy!

Great subject matter!

Donald Rosemount and your latest villain in NO CHANCE are two of the most evil and maniacal creatures I've had the "pleasure" of encountering in a book. I saw no sign of remorse in either. Both are self-serving and egotistical. But they certainly are memorable and pack a wallop of suspense into your stories.

Karen Rose has indeed written some bizarre and warped characters, as well. I also think Linda Castillo has written some villains that are beyond cruel and mindboggling, too.

Jackie P said...

Christy,

Donald Rosemount was the villian that had me in the chair with my feet up. :) You come up with some of the creepest characters but Donald was scary.

oklanannie said...

And then there's Rosemount's "doctor in crime" accomplice, who is still running free. He's a self-serving evildoer, too. He made my skin crawl as well. I'm hoping he'll be caught in the upcoming books and that Cole will be the one who gets the honor of "sticking it" to him!!

Cindy Gerard said...

Hi Christie. Welcome to the 'vert!

Top down, vilest villain - Hannibal Lector. I still get chills thinking about him.

Criminal Minds creates some seriously diabolical villains in their episodes too!

Great cover, BTW!!

Christy Reece said...

Mary, I think that's a good point about Donald. Having him take the will, the very character of a person away from his victim, gave him power. And, his delusions of being above mere humans helped him to justify his actions. That way he could do anything he wanted with them.

LOL. I always smile when I think about how Shea tricked him at the end. That's one of my favorite parts. (:

LSUReader said...

I read a lot of mysteries and thrillers, so I've "met" lots of villans. To me, the worst ones are the ones who appear normal and have no underlying mitigating circumstances to explain their horrendous behavior. Lisa Gardner has a villain just like that in "The Next Accident." Tami Hoag has some truly creepy bad guys. I agree with earlier comments that J.D. Robb's In Death series has memorable ones, too.

Michele Hauf said...

Christy, WICKED LOVELY is Melissa Marr's runaway YA hit. It's about faeries and mortals, and the hero's mother is the faery queen. And to me, faeries are more malevolent than benevolent. It's just the way I swing. ;-)

Christy Reece said...

Ida, I think you're right. It seems to be the ones you'd never suspect. Which is sad, because then you start suspecting the ones you'd never suspect because it's always the ones you never suspect! LOL. A vicious circle!

Christy Reece said...

Hey Aly, Yes! Karen Rose's villains...I'm thinking Count to Ten in particular, just freaked me out. I've reread that book about half a dozen times because I adore the book and her writing, but there are a couple of scenes I just can't read again.

And Allison's villains. Yes again! Especially the first book in her Prison Break trilogy. Can't remember the guys name. Milton or something like that? But oh, he was so evil and scary. That was one of my favorites of hers.

But you're right. Villains can make a good story even better. Not only does it ramp up the suspense but the anticipation for him to get caught is so exciting. And when they get their just deserts, it's a wonderful triumphant feeling. Yay, the good guys won again!

Christy Reece said...

Hey Crystal!

Yes, both authors create superb villains. One of the best ones in recent memory was Lisa Gardner's villain in The Perfect Husband. Oh my. Was his name Jim? I'm terrible with names. But he was one scary freaky mean guy!

robinky42 said...

I am reading Shayla Black's Doomsday Bretren Novels. The villain in this series is a nightnare. The things he does just to get his way.

Razlover's Book Blog said...

Hi Christy,

Great post and I love the cover! Love reading your books!

Wow what a great list of villians so far!

I would suggest villians by Anne Stuart, Kay Hooper, Beverly Barton, Chelsea Cain, Erica Spindler, Brenda Novak, etc. Wow I could go on but I think that is enough for now!

Christy Reece said...

Hey Kylie! Thanks again for inviting me to blog here!

It's funny about monsters and horror flicks not bothering us. My husband can watch movies like Cape Fear and The Strangers (have you seen that? Truly scary!) and not flinch but movies like The Ring, which didn't bother me at all, freaked him out. That girl crawling out of the television set had him running out of the room! (:

Christy Reece said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christy Reece said...

Hey Crystal (cmac). Glad you enjoyed Donald! (:

And I agree, the meaner and more evil the villain, the more we appreciate the hero. And the more we root for him.

Yes, I've had to take a break occasionally when the villains are just so vile. Reading and writing them can get so intense, you just want to get away from them for a while. But, I admit, I have to go back to them because I absolutely love it when the villains are vanquished!

Christy Reece said...

Hey Oklanannie! Glad you 'liked' Donald and William! As I mentioned in my blog, I think those kinds of villains scare me more than any simply because they don't see anything wrong in their actions. Everything they do is justified in their minds. Kind of hard to reason with that kind of evil.

And I love Karen Rose. I haven't read Linda Castillo but sounds like I need to!

Christy Reece said...

LOL. Jackie, I love the image of you in your chair with your feet up as you read RUN TO ME. That's just about the coolest thing I've heard in a long time. (:

Christy Reece said...

Oklanannie, you just gave me an idea about Cole and the evil doctor. I'll have to wait until SECOND CHANCE comes out to share what it is. But wow thanks! (:

Christy Reece said...

Hey Cindy!

Gotta say, you create some pretty diabolical villains too!

Yes, Hannibal Lector very very scary. And you know, I can't decide if he is evil because he just likes to be evil or he's just crazy. He did seem to enjoy his evilness a bit too much in my opinion.

LOL. If you see my Facebook status at night, then you know, I am a Criminal Minds addict. And you are so right. Some of their unsubs would make my villains look like choir boys.

Thanks, I love my cover too!

Christy Reece said...

Hi LSUReader, yes, those kinds of villains are truly scary. The ones who seem to have no reason to be bad. Who seem to have had every advantage in life, but for whatever reason, don't have the moral compass or conscience to care about their actions. Villains who have had horrible experiences in their past are still scary, but maybe more understandable. The other kind I definitely can't comprehend. Which, in a way, is what makes them so fascinating to me. Go figure! (:

oklanannie said...

I'm always glad to help out those LCR guys and gals!

There's a question about some "editing" that was done to one of your books because the hero had done something unforgivable -- do you think you'll ever disclose what that "something" was??? I'm so inquisitive and it's driving me crazy!!

Emmanuelle said...

Characters, good characters are what matter the most for me when I read a book. I need heroes to fall in love with and villains I can hate or at least blame.

One of my most memorable villain I've read is Phoebe Sommerville's cousin in It Had To Be You. This one isn't a romantic thriller but it has a super villain, and I mean SUPER. The guy is guilty of deception, manipulation and rape. When he gets a good trashing in the end, you can't help but being satisfied.

Congrats on your new release ! This book definitely sounds like a winner.

Karyn Gerrard AKA~Drew said...

Your book sounds wonderful!

I just read Hannah Howell's "If He's Sinful" And that had a female and a male villain. Revenge was the motivation, and jealousy, always good reasons for a villain!

Christy Reece said...

Hey Michelle, thanks! Will be on the lookout for Wicked Lovely. I definitely need to expand my reading. Faeries can be bad. ):

Christy Reece said...

Hey Robinky42, thanks for the recommend on Shayla Black. Sounds like a series I need to add to my list!

Christy Reece said...

Hey Razlover, thanks! Talking villains is one of my favorite things! Second only to talking sexy heroes. (:

I love my covers too. And I'm thrilled you love my books!

Wow, yes, you've listed some great authors who have created some super creepy villains.

Wouldn't it be fun to put a whole bunch of villains together in one book and see who came out on top? Of course, since most of them aren't redeemable, then it would be hard to know who to root for. Then it would be just another Jason versus Freddy. Sigh...never mind. (:

Crystal (cmac) said...

Oklanannia I was wondering the same thing when I read that lol!

Kara C said...

Hey Christy,
Did Cindy really mention Criminal Minds? LOL I immediately thought of a couple of my 'favorite unsubs' after I read today's topic! :) (thinking - pig farmer, or the guy who killed Hotch's exwife...)
I agree with many of the villians already listed. Oklanannie has already decided she and I are 'literary kin' and it seems we agree again today! I'll add the bad guy from One Scream Away by Kate Brady. I wouldn't want to anywhere NEAR him...or the pig farmer.

Christy Reece said...

Hi Oklanannie! Yes, after LAST CHANCE comes out, we'll discuss it.

Now, I didn't think it was bad at all. My editor had a teensy problem with it as in, she thought it was unforgivable. LOL. I changed it because I have learned she's infinitely smarter than I am. If she thought it was unforgivable, readers probably would too. And I didn't take it out completely, just manipulated the story a bit. It turned out soooooo much better than I ever thought it would! My editor is brilliant!

Christy Reece said...

Hey Emmanuelle, thanks so much!

And you have just named one of my top ten all time favorite books! It Had To Be You is awesome! And you're so right, Phoebe's cousin was incredibly evil. I so love how it ended. I can't think of that book without smiling. The cousin definitely got his comeuppance!

Christy Reece said...

Karyn, thanks so much!

Oh, I love a revenge/jealousy theme for a plot line. And if it's the villain, all the better. Will add If He's Sinful to my ever growing list of must reads. Thanks!

Christy Reece said...

Crystal (CMAC) LOL. I promise, I'll share soon. And I don't want you to get a bad impression of Lucas. He's totally heroic and what he did was out of love.

"And that's all I can say about that" to misquote Forrest Gump. (:

oklanannie said...

Okay, Christy or Kara or someone will have to fill me in on the "pig farmer" villain -- I don't watch Criminal Minds (don't throw rotten eggs at me!!). Is the villain really a pig farmer?

But Kara, you are so right about Kate Brady's "One Scream Away". I had totally forgotten about Chevy Bankes and his "dolls."

Kara C said...

Oklanannie,
Somehow I'm not surprised you've read, and liked that book. LOL
If I had rotten eggs to throw at you...
Christy's responsible for my CM addiction. It is the one and only show I watch on tv and it's all her fault. You should try it sometime, but, depending on the episode, I'd watch it in the daytime, with a group of people.

Christy Reece said...

Hey Kara! Isn't that amazing? Just shows you that Criminal Minds is appropriate for all occasions. (:

Yes, the Boston Slasher (was that his name) who killed Hailey was about the meanest unsub they've had. And the pig farmer one was bad too, but his brother was really the mean one. LOL. Here I am, defending an unsub!

Oh yes, the villain in One Scream Away--major scary and creepy!

chey said...

I think the most evil villains are the ones that you don't know are villains 'till the very end of the story.

Christy Reece said...

Oklanannie and Kara, in defense of my Criminal Minds addiction, I present the following evidence:

Hotch, Morgan and Reid.

Need I say more?

Okay, for those who don't watch CM, maybe I should explain. These men, Hotch and Morgan, are gorgeous, brave and totally wonderful. Reid is brilliant, charming and so sweet. All are romance hero material!

And they always get their villains. (:

Christy Reece said...

Hi Chey! Yes, love those! I adore being surprised and then, in your mind, you go through the entire book and try to figure out why you didn't know they were the bad guys! So much fun!

Kara C said...

The Boston Reaper, not that I'm obsessed or anything.
And no defense required, although those ARE three really good reasons. :)

Christy Reece said...

Kara, yes. Reaper! I didn't think slasher sounded right. He was actually a stabber, but knew that wasn't it either. See, isn't it nice to have an obsession to share. (:

Pamela Keener said...

Hannibal Lector is the worst of the worst. I agree the brother in Die For Me by Karen Rose was truly frightening.
Love & Hugs,
Pam

Christy Reece said...

Hi Pam, yep, another hand up for Hannibal Lector! And you're right. the brother in Die For Me was EVIL!

Love and Hugs back! (:

Christy Reece said...

Hey All, I had a blast today, discussing nasty villainous villains, with a side track of Criminal Minds.

Thanks to the fabulous authors of Riding With The Top Down for allowing me to visit!

Hope everyone has a wonderful evening. As for me, I'm about to sit down to an episode of Criminal Minds!

All the best!
Christy

oklanannie said...

I'm very appreciative that I was fortunate to already receive a signed copy of NO CHANCE. I should have asked my name be withdrawn from the contest when I posted today. I've sent an email asking that another person be chose who hasn't read the book or who has never experienced the LCR experience and your writing. I hope this doesn't present a major problem. Today's interview was great and lots of fun! Thanks.