Villains! I love the little devils. Not because I’m secretly a sadist who likes to see all her happy little characters tormented by some nasty villain…well, OK, maybe I do, but mostly I love villains because in them, I see the opportunity of redemption.
There’s nothing that chimes my bells more than a bad boy character, a person who at some point in his life, made a choice that led him into a path of no return. Mind you, I don’t like characters who were born bad—Magoth, a demon lord in my dragon books, is one of my favorite characters, but despite wishing I could turn him around and make him a hero, I know in my heart I can’t because he never truly was ever good to begin with—but give me a man who made some bad choices and was damned because of them, and I’m on the spot ready to bring him back to the fold.
That’s one reason why Baltic, one of my dragon heroes, is my favorite of all the dragons. He started out as the villain, a man who had committed acts so heinous, everyone feared him. So far as anyone knew, he was a psychopathic murderer bent on the destruction of everyone and everything. He remained that way through the three silver dragon books, with only a hint in the last one that perhaps there was more to him than was obvious.
I knew the moment I first wrote the words “dread wyvern Baltic” that some day, I was going to take this uber-villain, and turn him into a hero. I couldn’t resist—he was just so bad, so apparently focused on everyone’s destruction, I had to find out what had made him that way, what forces had driven him to become the most hated character in all of dragon history, and spin him around.
It turned out the force that had sent him on a spiral of villainhood had been love. Baltic loved and lost, and that loss drove him more or less insane with grief. The depths of his love, the power it held over his mind, and how it forced him into choices that others would never have made is what intrigued me. I loved exploring just how far his vengeance would take him simply because I knew how much pain he suffered every single moment of his existence.
The joy, of course, was when it came time to write Baltic’s books. Redemption, how sweet thy name! I reveled in the opportunity of taking a villain that readers had despised for three books, and finding a way to not only make them love him, but more importantly, make him whole again. The answer was again love—what once destroyed him, now could make him a warm, funny, loving person, one who still had enough naughty quirks to satisfy my bad-boy lust, but who could now be free to conduct heroic acts…even if they were done with a villainous flair.
Heroes are well and fine, but give me an angsty, tormented villain, and I’ll happily plot his redemption, glorying in his badness every step of the way.
For an Excerpt from the upcoming The Unbearable Lightness of Dragons Click Here.
Katie’s page: http://katiemacalister.com/
For as long as she can remember, Katie MacAlister has loved reading. Growing up in a family where a weekly visit to the library was a given, Katie spent much of her time with her nose buried in a book. Despite her love for novels, she didn’t think of writing them until she was contracted to write a non-fiction book about software. Since her editor refused to allow her to include either witty dialogue or love scenes in the software book, Katie swiftly resolved to switch to fiction, where she could indulge in world building, tormenting characters, and falling madly in love with all her heroes.
Two years after she started writing novels, Katie sold her first romance, Noble Intentions. More than thirty books later, her novels have been translated into numerous languages, been recorded as audiobooks, received several awards, and are regulars on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. She also writes for the young adult audience as Katie Maxwell.
Katie lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and dogs, and can often be found lurking around online.