A big welcome to JC Nelson who is here to telling us how it’s good to be bad and celebrating the release of Free Agent, The Grimm Agency (published on 7/29/2014 by Ace books). Want to win a copy? Enter via the widget below.
It’s Good to Be Bad
I confess I love a great villain. Someone who isn’t just the man or woman in black, twirling his or her mustache and laughing evilly. Not that I have anything against evil laughs. In fact, it seems like most of the time, the bad guys and gals have more reasons to laugh.
But when I’m reading a great book, I want three things:
A fantastic hero or heroine. Someone I can root for, empathize with. Someone who makes me laugh, maybe cry, who can make mistakes and do wrong, but for the right reason.
A larger than life antagonist. A villain worthy of a villa in Mexico, who is going to give that hero or heroine a run for their money. One for whom raising the stakes is par for the course.
An ending that could only happen because of the hero, the heroine, and their conflict with the villain. If I can substitute a girl scout for the main character and get the same ending, I will be sad.
Today I’m focusing on number 2: The antagonist. Villain. Opposing force. I believe in villains who are doing what they do for a reason. They didn’t just get up in the morning, look at their phone and read “BE EVIL.” Or “BE REALLY EVIL.” I am ok if they get up and read the morning comics and laugh an evil laugh, though, because sometimes, Dilbert is really funny.
The point is, the great baddies are the ones who have goals of their own, the drive and power to get them done, and every intention of carrying them out. And if everyone in the build, city, or world winds up dead, that’s unfortunate but acceptable.
The best villains aren’t villains in their own eyes. They might not be sympathetic to the reader, but they’re consistent. They have reasons, and dog help anyone who gets in their way.
That’s what I strove for in Free Agent. I laid out my villains, put them to work accomplishing their dark designs, and then added someone guaranteed to conflict with them.
Marissa, the heroine, works for the Fairy Godfather. She’s a get-the-job done, genre savvy, intelligent woman who has survived the happily-ever-after business on skill, smarts, and high quality ammo.
Oh, and did I mention she’s stubborn, with a protective streak?
So when we put a smart, strong, stubborn woman on a crash course with someone who doesn’t care how many people get killed, you can bet we’re in for fun. Though I’m sorry to say there are no evil laughs, you are welcome to laugh evilly at all the right moments.
I love a great villain, because they’re what put the triumph in triumphant victory. And if they have an evil laugh, so much the better.
So the question I have for you is simple: What villain do you most love, and why?
Signed ARC of Free Agent
Free Agent by JC Nelson
Available on 7/29/2014 by Ace books
When it comes to crafting happily-ever-afters, the Agency is the best in the land of Kingdom. The Fairy Godfather Grimm can solve any problem—from eliminating imps to finding prince charming—as long as you can pay the price…
Working for Grimm isn’t Marissa Locks’s dream job. But when your parents trade you to a Fairy Godfather for a miracle, you don’t have many career options. To pay off her parents’ debt and earn her freedom, Marissa must do whatever Grimm asks, no matter what fairy-tale fiasco she’s called on to deal with.
Setting up a second-rate princess with a first-class prince is just another day at the office. But when the matchmaking goes wrong, Marissa and Grimm find themselves in a bigger magical muddle than ever before. Not only has the prince gone missing, but the Fae are gearing up to attack Kingdom, and a new Fairy Godmother is sniffing around Grimm’s turf, threatening Marissa with the one thing she can’t resist: her heart’s wishes.
Now Marissa will have to take on Fairies, Fae, dragons, and princesses to save the realm—or give up any hope of ever getting her happy ending…
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About the author
- Interview with Max GladstoneJuly 29, 2014
- Deadly Destinations: Gina Rosati & win AURACLEAugust 8, 2012