For today's stop, Josephine has contributed a guest post about one of my favorite types of characters ever: the redeemable villain. First, though, here's a little more about the book, which releases on Tuesday:
Author: Josephine Angelini
Series: The Worldwalker Trilogy, book #2
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
Worlds divide, magic slays, and love lies in the second book of Josephine Angelini’s The Worldwalker Trilogy.
"You think I’m a monster, but my choices, as ruthless as they seem, are justified."
Lily is back in her own universe, and she's ready to start a new life with Rowan by her side. True, she almost died in the Pyre that fueled their escape from New Salem, and must hide her magic for the safety of everyone she cares about, but compared to fighting the Woven, the monstrous creatures inhabiting the alternate Salem, life is looking pretty good.
Unfortunately, Lillian, ruthless ruler of the 13 Cities, is not willing to let Lily go that easily. If she can’t persuade Lily to return to her world, she will force her to come back by doing away with the ones she loves.
Picking up right where Trial By Fire left off, Firewalker is another sexy, fast-paced, heartbreaking thrill ride from internationally bestselling author Josephine Angelini!
My (Rambling) Thoughts on Redeemable Villains
by Josephine Angelini
Villains are such interesting characters. I think they shape the plot of a story even more than the hero. No bad guy, no obstacles. No obstacles, no plot.
Here’s a little secret: the type of villain a writer chooses says a lot about him or her. It’s almost more indicative of who we are as people—our fears, our internal quirks—than the character we create to be the hero. Think about it. The hero does what is right, and there isn’t a lot a leeway in that. Save the world, or not save the world? Save the world, of course. If not, your hero is a dink. But the villain? That’s where writers dig deep and find out what scares us. This is when we go to the dark corners of our minds and shine a light on the wee beasties there.
I came up with the idea for my WorldWalker Trilogy through the villain. I was lying in bed, chasing sleep, when a disturbing thought occurred to me. I thought that if I ever went to a parallel universe and met an alternate version of myself I’d probably hate her. I’d have the same reaction I do when I hear my voice on an answering machine, or when I see myself in a video and I wasn’t expecting it. That knee-jerk ew feeling I get whenever I have the misfortune to view myself from the outside.
And I’m not talking about looks. It’s not like I see myself and think, “Look at those giant buckteeth. Never noticed that before.” I already know my teeth look like they could chew their way through a fence post. I’m fine with that. The reaction that I have to seeing myself is something deeper. Something atavistic. There’s a special kind of horror to being literally face to face with yourself. You can’t escape your own failings. In many ways, we are our own worst enemies.
I made my hero and villain two different versions of the same person. Two sides to the same coin. But that concept comes with a problem. Two sides have to meet in the middle somewhere. If a character is good in one world and evil in another there has to be a reason she turned evil. Somewhere on the inside of even the worst character there’s a reason she became that way. Understanding that reason makes us sympathize with her, even if is just a bit.
I think it’s hard for a writer to completely hate his or her villain. There are always exceptions, but I think when we try to write even the most loathsome of characters the process of creating them makes us sympathize. On top of that, villains tend to have more interesting backstory than heroes do, and writers love them some backstory. By the time we’ve worked out all the kinks we’re so darn invested in our bad guys that we just can’t not love them.
This is probably the reason it’s so common for bad guys to turn out to be the heroes by the end of a long series. Take Darth Vader, for example. He’s the ultimate bad guy in Star Wars but by the time we get to Return of the Jedi, he’s the hero. It’s Vader, not Luke, who kills the Emperor. I wonder if George Lucas intended that when he wrote the first draft of the first movie or if he just got so caught up in loving Vader as the story deepened that he had to make him take off the black hat in the end. Or black mask, as it were. Redeemable villains are almost inevitable when you’re writing long, epic series. And anyway, after two or three books, who wants to see a bad guy stay a bad guy? There’s no character arc there.
Redeeming a villain is surprisingly easy. Readers love it. It’s chronicling the downfall of a hero that’s hard. Everyone loves a redemption story. No one wants to watch a favorite character make all the wrong choices and end up evil. Lately that idea has been gaining more traction with me. Doing it, and doing it so it breaks the readers’ heart instead of just pissing them off, would be a real feat.
Next series. :)
I agree...I'm usually much more intrigued by the villain than the hero. So much potential there! And, gah, I would love to see a story about the fallen hero and the redeemable villiain...a role reversal of the most epic kind! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Josephine!
About the author:
Josephine Angelini is a Massachusetts native and the youngest of eight siblings. She graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in theater, with a focus on the classics. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband.
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Thanks to Macmillan and Fierce Reads, we've got a finished copy of Firewalker to give away to one lucky winner! Open to U.S. residents only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
August 25 - Live, Love, Read
August 26 - Winterhaven Books
August 27 - The Starry-Eyed Revue (you're here!)
August 28 - Once Upon a Twilight
August 30 - FierceReads Tumblr
August 31 - YA Bibliophile
September 1 - FictionFare