Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Loving the Anti-hero with Marie Lavender of Upon Your Love

Loving the Anti-hero

We all love a good hero. He fights on the side of good. He often saves the day. He is, for lack of a better word, a go-getter, and usually someone who comes to earn the heroine’s love. Sure, that’s even the case for all of my romance books. Most readers will side with a hero because he is, well, a hero.

But sometimes, a character comes along that really surprises you. I am a writer who loves to make a villain bad enough for the reader to detest him as well. Whether the novel is a romantic suspense, urban fantasy or even a historical tale, villains always get on a hero’s last nerve. However, while writing my latest release, Upon Your Love, something unusual happened. I began to notice sides to the villain that perhaps weren’t so bad, not as I thought before. The villain essentially became an anti-hero.

Urban dictionary defines an anti-hero as follows:

“A flawed hero, and therefore, much more interesting than the more traditional heroes. They can be working on the side of good, but with a tragic flaw, or a horrible past, or for reasons that are selfish and not entirely ‘pure’. They can also be working for the side of evil, but with hidden noble intentions, or other underlying complexities. These darker heroes can be jerks, pathetic, hard, jaded, or mean. However, all anti-heroes must have enough heroic qualities, intentions, or strength (physical including attractiveness or mental) to somehow gain the sympathy of the audience. Mostly they are intriguing and therefore can be very, very SEXY, especially if you love bad boys (or girls).”

So, what went into my decision that this supposed villain was not, in fact, a true villain but instead an anti-hero?

Yeah, he’s a total baddie. No one could dispute it. But once the reader sees the deeper reasoning for his unsavory actions, he or she could easily understand his anti-hero qualities.

As with all of my other characters, I actually came to love him as a character. For readers, he becomes someone you love to hate yet also reluctantly love. It’s inevitable. And even though book three of the Heiresses in Love Series is the final one, the villain became fascinating enough to leave my mind open to using him again. Perhaps an off-shoot will occur, and next time he’ll be the reformed hero. Who knows? The muse always has a way of pulling me in odd, creative directions.

I’m not trying to give any plot elements away; I simply wish to posit that now and then, our characters often surprise us as much as they shock the reader.

And in this case? Loving the anti-hero was a pleasant yet unusual surprise.

29083654Upon Your Love 
(Heiresses in Love Series, #3)
by Marie Lavender 
705 pages
Published February 28th 2017 by Summer Solstice Publishing
The Hill family saga concludes as loyalties are questioned, faiths will be tested and undying love may come at a terrible cost…

Fara Hill, mother and faithful wife, is torn between her family at home and her urge to be at sea. Soon, she learns some disturbing truths. Was the past a fairy tale instead of reality?

Chloe Hill, loving wife and young mother, questions her faith when her husband sets an ultimatum she cannot meet. Will she be able to keep her marriage from falling apart?

Adrienne Bellamont Hill, born of a valiant captain and a fiery redhead, is untamed to her core and will bow to no man. Then Christian du Plessis enters her life with an offer she can’t refuse. Discovering the man behind the polished gentleman, she is drawn to him in many ways. Holding out for love is a family tradition, but can she resist the temptation of passion?

Christian finds this young woman to be a fascinating challenge, and is torn between keeping his distance from her and succumbing to her charms. A fierce battle of wills ensues as he sees she is much more than he ever imagined.

But danger lurks, threatening to destroy everything…

Can these two strong-willed individuals unite in the cause before time runs out? 


June 1, 1894

Christian went for a simple look that evening, dressed in a white shirt, black trousers and black boots. He took an overcoat because of the fine mist in the night air, and left the house in a cab. He paid the driver handsomely, bribing him to keep the location to himself. The man winked and dropped him near the ruins of the St. Charles Hotel, two blocks from Canal Street. He walked the rest of the way, remembering the horrors of that destruction. Four people had died, and one had gone missing, while many others were injured. One man had even jumped in a panic to his death from one of the hotel’s windows. Most people stayed away from the ruins. Even Catholics were superstitious about the ghosts inhabiting the place from recent, and past, fires on the property. Some even posited that the site was bad luck for any man who dared build upon it. Still, industry would keep going, he thought. As a businessman himself, he knew the value of a good piece of land.
He reached the stone ruins shortly, picking his way amongst the piles of rubble. Only one façade, a small wall of the building, remained, and he’d keep away from it just in case it decided to come loose tonight. As the ruins spanned nearly an entire city block, though most of it they’d begun to clear away, he wasn’t certain where his accomplice would be. In preparation, Christian eased his dueling sword out of its scabbard. 
“Is that you, Laroque?” he heard a man call out of the darkness.
Instead of answering, he waited for the figure to appear. 
A glowing ember from a cigar gave away his hiding spot. The man leaned against a half pillar, smoking, before he tapped the stub out on a slab nearby, then his opponent stepped closer. 
“You’re not Pierce Laroque,” he declared, with a scowl.
That the man knew of his friend’s appearance made it obvious he’d been watched for some time. A street lamp nearby gave him enough light to see his opponent, who had dark hair, a trimmed beard and wore clean, pressed yet dark clothing. 
“No, I am not. But, I will represent him.”
“Are you family? A cousin?”
“A lawyer then?”
He shook his head. 
“Then why are you here? And how did you know to come?”
“I have seen the letters. I know what you want. And let’s just say I have a personal reason for keeping Pierce alive.”
The man laughed. “Do you? I think I would rather see Laroque here, confront him for the life I never had.”
Christian scanned the young man’s features. It was quite possible he was Pierce’s half-brother. He had the same color of brown hair, but his eyes were a pale blue instead of brown, most likely from his mother. Without the beard, he might look a lot like Pierce. This man’s physique was different, though. Instead of being slender, he was tall and broad of shoulder with muscles well-honed by manual labor. 
“Why did you not make yourself known before? Perhaps your father wouldn’t have turned you away, being blood.”
The sneer on the man’s face could not be missed. “That’s a rather naïve stance to take, Monsieur. Do you imagine Monsieur Laroque would have welcomed me with open arms? He tossed my mother away without a thought.” 
He knew the bastard was right. It didn’t ease the sick dread in his belly. The man would still pursue Pierce, and take more drastic measures than he already had. 
“Then why not punish your father? You could have. Easily.”
He scowled. “That may be true, but is it not a greater punishment to get rid of his cherished son?”
Christian repressed a sigh. “It’s possible you don’t realize just what kind of man your father is. Do you imagine Pierce has it easier? Just a couple of months ago, the man threatened to take away his inheritance if his son did not marry right away.”
A shoulder lifted. “So he marries. Even if he chooses a cold fish for a wife, he stays in good standing. Do you think I have any compassion for someone who left my mother penniless? You don’t know what it’s like to not know when you’ll eat. You don’t know what it’s like to watch your mother die before your very eyes.”
His lips firmed. “Perhaps not. But, do you honestly believe pursuing this vendetta against Pierce will help your circumstances? If Pierce is gone, will your father accept you into his good graces?”
“I want nothing from that man.”
“Then why seek vengeance at all? Monsieur Laroque has always been a cold bastard, to his son and to anyone whose path he crossed. His treatment of you and your mother was simply par for the course. Do not make the mistake of believing you were the first. You were likely one of many.”
The man’s blue eyes flashed. “You will pay for that, Monsieur.” He pulled his sword from the belt at his waist. He began to unbutton his evening jacket, setting it aside upon the rubble.
“Will I?”
The bastard waved a hand dismissively as he turned back to Christian. “Why does your ami Pierce not fight his own battles? Why do you champion this duel?” A dark brow lifted. “Is he a coward? Or too much of a fop to attend his own funeral?”
Christian scowled. “You don’t want to push me.” He drew a deep breath. “If you must know, Pierce had no awareness of this meeting. He is a good man, a fine gentleman. No, he is not instructed in the way of the sword. He is an intellectual; his pursuits are academic. But, I warn you, Monsieur. If you place his fiancée in danger, he will retaliate. So, even though I represent him here, he is not harmless when pushed.”
“Are we going to fight then?”
“That is up to you, Monsieur.”
“Places?” The man pointed to a space in the rubble which had been burnt to a fine dust. 
He nodded and followed him there, then took position. Though Christian’s sword was at the ready, he did notice the way his opponent held his. Someone had taught him, and taught him well. This would not be an easy match.
He nearly missed the first lunge, but caught it in time with a parry, which his opponent then defended with a riposte. No mediators had been present to call en garde or allez, and they required no seconds so the duel had begun. Nightfall had set in and they now fought by the light of the moon. As they fought alla macchia, or in an out of the way spot with no judge or rules, they were pretty safe from onlookers as well. No one would expect anyone to fight near the ruins. Since dueling had been outlawed, there were few places to carry on discreet melees. Both locations which were used at one time, the Live Oaks near City Park and St. Anthony's Garden behind the St. Louis Cathedral, were patrolled constantly.
As the duel progressed, he realized he’d been right. The man knew what he was doing. But, how had he accomplished it if his circumstances were as dire as he’d said? Unless he was a self-made man, and had gradually moved up from the dregs of society. Judging by his gentleman’s attire, and well-trimmed beard, he thought that was possible. Christian might respect him if the man’s aim was not to harm Pierce.  
“What is your name?” he ground out after he spun to avoid a flying parry. It was also quite the challenge to avoid twisting his knee in the process with the slick rubble beneath his feet.
“Does it matter?”
“Indeed. If I am to fight to the death, I’d prefer to know who I killed.”
His lips twisted, though they disappeared briefly into his dark beard. “You appear so certain. Who is to say it will occur in such a manner? Perhaps you will be the unfortunate one, Monsieur.” 
Christian lifted a shoulder, and then blocked an oncoming thrust. “In any case, I would still like to know who I’m fighting.”

“My name is Marcel Armistead. In any case, you wouldn’t know of me.”

Heiresses in Love Series

About the Author:

Bestselling multi-genre author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 24 other books. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title - winner of the "Broken Heart" themed contest and the "I Love You" themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers' Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers' Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial's Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader's Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 10 Authors on Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 25 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several multi-author anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series, The Blood at First Sight Series and The Code of Endhivar Series.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Due to time constraints we may not be able to personally respond to every comment made, but we do read and appreciate them all. 📚❤️🙂

✋ RBtWBC has a zero-tolerance policy for review harassment and author bashing. Such comments will be deleted at the the blog's discretion.