ChocLit author Victoria Cornwall is my guest today and is sharing a great post about the fun she has creating the baddies in her novels! You’ll find lots of info about Victoria and her novels along with buying links below her guest post
The Perfect Antagonist
“Is he a goodie or a baddie?” I asked my husband. At the time we were watching a complicated film plot with so many twists that it was hard to know who the antagonist was. My phrasing may have sounded like a child’s question, but he instantly understood what I meant. After a short discussion we decided he probably was the baddie. Armed with our new understanding, we settled back to watch the rest of the film and felt confident that we were rooting for the right person.
From an early age, children are warned to stay away from “baddies,” either through stark warnings, books or films. Stories need an antagonist to stir up trouble and conflict for the main character(s). Historical romantic fiction is no different. Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca had the housekeeper, Pride and Prejudice had Mr Wickham and Poldark had George Warleggan. They can add spice to a story that keeps us turning the pages and the romantic leads apart.
I love creating the antagonist. I love the process so much that at times I have to rein them in or I will run the risk of creating a character so dark, so outrageous and so wickedly manipulative, that they begin to steal the limelight from the two main characters. However the antagonist is an important character in a story and deserves to be more than a two-dimensional villain.
There should be a valid reason for their behaviour, whether it’s as a result of something that happened in their past, a weakness they have or an emotion they cannot control, such as jealousy, etc. The antagonist must truly believe they are doing the right thing in order for them to achieve their goal. Their feelings, emotions, inadequacies and behaviour may be illogical or outrageous to the reader, but the reader must understand the source for their decisions.
I loved creating Silas in The Thief’s Daughter. Even his name sounds sly which fits his character perfectly. Brought up in a family of thieves, stealing for a living is all he has ever known and to him breaking the law is a legitimate profession. At a young age, he saw his parents and his older brothers arrested and taken away. Only his younger sister, Jenna, remained by his side. They have an unbreakable bond which was formed as they struggled to survive the squalid conditions of 18th century England. As a child she looked up to him and in return he protected her. In her eyes he felt like a king, but things change. Now she is a woman and sees his flaws, whilst he sits in a debtor’s prison with creditors to pay. At a time he needs her help, she begins to care for another man who looks down on people like him and Silas realises he is losing her to someone he hates. His demands, jealousy and fear set off a chain of events, which risks all he holds dear. Silas’s manipulation and lies stir up terrible conflict, but I hope that after hearing his back-story the reader will understand the source of his decisions, if not going as far as feeling sympathy for him.
There are two antagonists in my second novel, The Captain’s Daughter. I won’t reveal the main one as I would not want to spoil the story, but the housekeeper is the first one Janey meets. The housekeeper takes an instant dislike to Janey as she is young, pretty and has climbed the servant’s hierarchy at lightning speed to gain the positon of lady’s maid. The housekeeper feels that Janey has not earned such a position, and her jealousy and resentment multiplies the more successful she is in the role. Her greatest fear is that Janey will one day steal her position and take over as housekeeper.
The insecurity and jealousy of one protagonist and the manipulation and flaws of another, will eventually come together. Although the moment is brief, its after-effects are life changing and far reaching for Janey and all who care for her.
The Thief’s Daughter is now available to purchase in paperback and eBook and The Captain’s Daughter is available to buy as an eBook.
The Thief’s Daughter
Hide from the thief-taker, for if he finds you, he will take you away …
Eighteenth-century Cornwall is crippled by debt and poverty, and the gibbet casts a shadow of fear over the land. Yet, when night falls, free traders swarm onto the beaches and smuggling prospers.
Terrified by a thief-taker’s warning as a child, Jenna has resolved to be good. When her brother, Silas, asks for her help to pay his creditors, Jenna feels unable to refuse and finds herself entering the dangerous world of the smuggling trade.
Jack Penhale hunts down the smuggling gangs in revenge for his father’s death. Drawn to Jenna at a hiring fayre, they discover their lives are entangled. But as Jenna struggles to decide where her allegiances lie, the worlds of justice and crime collide, leading to danger and heartache for all concerned …
For buying options click HERE.
The Captain’s Daughter
Sometimes you need to discover your own strength in order to survive …
After a family tragedy, Janey Carhart was forced from her comfortable life as a captain’s daughter into domestic service. Determined to make something of herself, Janey eventually finds work as a lady’s maid at the imposing Bosvenna Manor on the edge of Bodmin Moor, but is soon caught between the two worlds of upstairs and downstairs, and accepted by neither, as she cares for her mistress.
Desperately lonely, Janey catches the attention of two men – James Brockenshaw and Daniel Kellow. James is heir to the Bosvenna estate, a man whose eloquent letters to his mother warm Janey’s heart. Daniel Kellow is a neighbouring farmer with a dark past and a brooding nature, yet with a magnetism that disturbs Janey. Two men. Who should she choose? Or will fate decide.
For buying options click HERE.
Cornish born author, Victoria Cornwall, can trace her Cornish roots as far back as the 18th century. This background and heritage has given her an understanding and knowledge of Cornish rural life which is the inspiration for her writing.
Following a fulfilling twenty-five year career as a nurse, a change in profession finally allowed her time to write. Her writing has been shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romantic Fiction in 2014 and her debut novel, The Thief’s Daughter was a finalist in the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award.
She likes her romance books to have a strong background story but at the centre is the unmistakable emotion, passion and even pain of loving someone.
She is married with two grown up children.
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