Saturday, September 22, 2012

Jason Matthews, the Deadly But Never Seen Villain in "The Reunion"

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I'll usually have more than one villain in my novels, and Jason Matthews is one of the antagonists you meet in The Reunion. Interestingly enough, he's never actually seen, but his presence is most certainly felt, and he has a major impact on the story.

Leading lady Gillian, has a history of getting involved with the wrong men. An artist by profession, she tells Ian, the leading man, her story of visiting Tombstone, Arizona, to do some research after being commissioned to do a series of paintings about the Old West. While in Tombstone she happened to meet Jason, a bartender and street performer. Handsome and charming, Gillian asked Jason to model for the paintings. He not only accepted her offer, he quickly swept her off her feet. Gillian believed she'd finally found her true love, and the two eloped a short time later.

Gillian's happiness with Jason, however, would be short lived. Instead of being the man of her dreams, Jason became her worst nightmare. She eventually divorced him, and because they had no children, she believes he's in the past. Nightmares, however, sometimes have a way of recurring, and her worst nightmare comes to life once again when she learns that Jason has murdered his current wife. He's now on the run, and the authorities believe he's looking for her. What makes the character even more sinister is the fact that he's lurking, but never actually seen, leaving both Gillian, and Ian, to wonder where and when he will finally strike.


MM

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Meet Alex Montoya, Leading Man in The Deception

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Alex Montoya, the leading man in The Deception, has to be one of the most likable, not to mention sexy, characters I've ever  created. He's strong, yet quirky and vulnerable at the same time. The American-born son of a Spanish immigrant father, Alex is American in every way, while his father still clings to Old World customs and traditions.

Alex and Carrie, the leading lady, have a friendship dating back to the fourth grade. They remained friends through high school, but when they ended up going to colleges on opposite ends of the country they drifted apart. Ten years later Carrie deeply regrets letting Alex go. After her identity is stolen, and she's accused of a serious wrongdoing as a result, a friend arranges for her to meet with a bright young attorney who can help her. Much to her surprise, that bright, young attorney is none other than her long-lost best friend, Alex.

I created Alex in part as homage to a friend who was the first American born child of Italian immigrant parents. While proud of her heritage, she too sometimes found herself in conflict with her parents whenever they tried to impose their Old World expectations on her. He was also inspired by a real-life cousin who's an attorney and dedicated family man. In fact, the book is dedicated to him. 

If I had to describe Alex in one word, it would be loyal. He's the kind of man who's willing to go the extra mile for the people he cares about, while not expecting anything in return. That's what makes him a positive role model.

MM

Saturday, September 15, 2012

It's Jarring, Life Shattering, and It Can Happen in an Instant

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I'm starting to get some feedback on The Deception. For the most part it's been good, with some minor criticism here and there, but that's to be expected. After all, none of us can please all readers all the time. However, one comment was about the sudden end to one of the characters. I'm told it was too jarring and too over the top.

Warning! Spoiler Alert!

I decided to kill off a character in a traffic accident, and no, I don't warn you about it. That's because it's one of those things in life that really does happen, without warning, for the victims or their survivors, and afterwards life is never the same. It's a reality I know all too well. About ten years ago I lost a young cousin to a car crash. It was completely unexpected. One minute he was a healthy twenty-year-old man. The next minute he was gone forever.  My own life hasn't been the same since 1992, when I was sideswiped by an armored car going sixty-five miles per hour in a twenty-five mile per hour zone. I'm still alive, obviously, but it left me with a permanent injury. Twenty years later I'm still flabbergasted about how my life was changed so suddenly.

That said, my decision to kill a character in a car accident may indeed seem over the top for some of you. Others, however, disagree. Since the character who is killed is one of the "bad guys," I've been told by other readers that the scene made them fell vindicated, as they thought it was the character's "bad karma" that got them there.

Like it or not, it's one of those tragic events that happen all too often. I guess the point I'm making is to never take life for granted. It can, without warning, come to a sudden end.

My thought for the day.

MM

Friday, September 14, 2012

I'm Beginning to Scare Myself

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I've had some wonderful feedback on some of the antagonists in my novels, like Ryan Knight in The Reunion, and I'm pleased to be creating people you love to hate. The other day I was describing an antagonist I'm developing for my new novel, The Journey. Her name, at least for now, is Denise Sanderson, and she's going to be exceptionally nasty. As I was describing her to a fellow author I had to stop myself in mid sentence and say, "You know, I don't know where these people are coming from, but it's kind of scary when I stop and think about it."

Ask any novelist and they'll tell you that after awhile the characters will start creating themselves. They'll tell you who they are. That said, they still spring from somewhere deep in our creative psyche, so where are all these bitches and bastards coming from? I've always considered myself a good person, and I've always tried to treat others the way I would want to be treated.

Some of my villains, like Jason and Ryan in The Reunion, were inspired by some of the not-so-nice people I've encountered in my own life. Writing about them has been very cathartic because it really has helped me release a lot of previously unresolved issues. But other antagonists, like Maggie in The Deception, and Denise, in The Journey, are totally fictitious. They have no real-life counterpart--at least no one who I can recall, so it's made me wonder. Do I really have some deeply buried darker side?

Probably. 

Whether we want to admit it or not, all of us have a dark side. These antagonists represent our fears. They represent the sense of outrage, frustration and injustice, that most, if not all of us have encountered at one time or another. These antagonists give us the opportunity to vicariously act out our own anger and frustration. Maybe that's why we're so delighted when we finally see them get their just desserts. It gives us a chance to purge our own demons, and that's a good thing. That said, they still scare me.

MM