I approached this topic from several directions. Every version ended up sounding like a 9th grade English essay: The Symbolism of the Color Red in The Red Badge of Courage, or The Symbolism of Wild Pigs in Lord of the Flies.
I examined the villain of my current release, And Jericho Burned. Randy Butler is a little man with a big ego, enormous paranoia, and an uncanny knack of finding a person’s vulnerability and exploiting it. He has no conscience, no morals, and a charisma that appeals to a certain segment of the population. By using a blend of anti-government rhetoric and Old Testament religion, Randy has started his own cult and formed a new nation he calls New Sinai. And of course, every nation needs an army, so Randy declared himself General and that’s where his real trouble began.
If he had confined himself to ranting, he would have been fine. But he and his alleged army started stockpiling weapons. Big weapons. Nasty weapons. You know: the kind of armaments that makes the government raise its eyebrows and send in the troops—who happen to be werewolves in this instance—to find out what’s really going on.
Dwight Swain wrote: “A villain is the personification of the danger that threatens your hero.” So I put on my 9th grade English essay analyzing cap to see if my villain had fulfilled his obligation. As every character is the hero of his/her own story, I decided to look not only at the romantic leads but the other characters in the story.
To the pack of government secret agent werewolves, Randy Butler represents the alpha male of his pack. Like all alphas, he demands unquestioning obedience. But Randy is a bad alpha. He doesn’t make decisions based on what is best for the pack, but what’s best for Randy Butler. Poor leadership could result in the end of the pack, something werewolves don’t like to contemplate.
To Randy’s ragtag followers, he is yet another unfulfilled promise, which is the story of those people’s lives.
To his wife, Randy is another version of her abusive father, except Randy is sober. Children of abusers tend to repeat the patterns in their adult relationships. She’s on track.
To werewolf Stoker Smith—the story hero—Randy is much more than a bad alpha (another story conflict for Stoker). He is also claiming Stoker’s mate for New Sinai. Stoker waited his whole life to meet Lucy Callahan. He’s not going to give her up. This takes the werewolves’ reconnaissance mission from government obligation to the personal. If Stoker loses Lucy, he will be alone for the rest of his life.
And to the heroine, Lucy Callahan, Randy represents the greed she fears motivates Stoker (she has a small inheritance, which Randy wants so he can buy more weapons), the loss of her only family (her sister is married to Randy), and the claustrophobia that has plagued her since childhood. “No one in and no one out,” of New Sinai. That includes people, media, and thoughts. Randy stifles all independence and anything that might spark rebellion.
Conclusion: Randy Butler fits Swain’s definition of villain. My 9th grade English teacher would be so proud.
Title: AND JERICHO BURNED
Publisher: SOUL MATE PUBLISHING
Date Published: FEBRUARY 11, 2015
Genre: SEXY PARANORMAL ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
Word Count: 87,000
Lucy Callahan will do anything to save her sister, even if it means marrying a stranger. Even if that stranger is an undercover government agent out to destroy the cult holding her sister hostage. Even if that stranger is a . . . werewolf.
Stoker Smith caught his first whiff of his future as the band finished their set.
His spine tingled as he inhaled the scent of something sweet and wonderful, like a mountain meadow in spring; something female and green that hit his nose like a bronco kick to the gut. As he tried to separate the layers of fragrance mingling in a potpourri of perspiration, stale beer, and the perfume marinades in which the honky-tonk angels had soaked, he realized there was another element lurking in the atmosphere of the bar.
She was terrified.
She needed him. Now.
“Come on, Stoker,” Tokarz de Lobo Garner—Toke Lobo to fans—said. “Break time.”
Stoker switched off his electric keyboard and threaded his way through speakers, equalizers, Luke’s drums, and the other paraphernalia of the band to the edge of the chicken-wire enclosed stage.
“She’s here,” he murmured to Tokarz. “And she’s in trouble. I need to find her.”
“Who’s here?” Tokarz asked.
AND JERICHO BURNED is the second in the Toke Lobo & the Pack series. The first book is MOONLIGHT SERENADE. Night Owl Reviews gave AND JERICHO BURNED 4.5 stars and named it a Reviewer Top Pick.
MJ Compton grew up near Cardiff, New York, a place best known for its giant.
Although her 30-year career in local television included such highlights as being bitten by a lion, preempting a US President for a college basketball game, giving a three-time world champion boxer a few black eyes, a mention in the Drudge Report, and meeting her husband, MJ’s urge to create her own stories never went away.
MJ still lives in upstate New York with her husband. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Central New York Romance Writers. Music and cooking are two of her passions, and she enjoys baseball and college basketball, but she’s primarily focused on wine . . . and writing.
Website & Blog www.comptonplations.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/MJ-Compton/e/B00J9DFFIG/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1