Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Favourite Villain…

There really is only one villain for me but I am not sure if he is a villain. I mean of course, Emily Bronte’s Heathcliffe. He is a bad boy, intent on revenge, ooh but he gives me the shivers. I wonder is it a case of me wanting to tame the man? Isn’t that what a lot of women think, to their cost, that they can redeem the guy?

Heathcliffe is a one-woman man; I think that is what makes him so attractive. But when you look at how he treats his wife and Hareton and Cathy’s daughter, also called Cathy (just to confuse matters!) well can you even like him? I guess not, but there is something in his passion for Catherine Earnshaw, for his wildness and his maleness that attracts me.
I think most of us would like Heathcliffe to have some kind of revenge on Edgar Linton, but he goes too far. Nevertheless, he is an intriguing villain and one who stays in your mind forever.

As to my villains, I have had manipulative people in my historical novels, and the bad ones have usually been “factual” villains. I save all my ire for Henry the Seventh! However, recently in my romantic suspense novels I have “bad” people who are not necessarily villains. Although, my dictionary gives the description of a villain as a: scoundrel, or rascal or criminal. I should amend my statement; my bad people fit those descriptions, to a more or lesser degree. So they are villains. Confused? So am I!

Some of my villains are psychologically scarred – that is my destructive characters in Breaking the Clouds and A Poisoned Legacy and Eden’s Child. I have a good old-fashioned villain in Shadows of the Past, where only the heroine, Alva, recognizes him for what he is! And this can also apply to my latest novel A Fatal Flaw!

At other times nasty people have turned up, the mother of Helena in Fortune’s Folly, who breaks up the happy marriage of her daughter and Andreas. The friend of the family in Bitter Betrayal, who is a really nasty piece of work.

I love writing about these dreadful people but they must never overshadow my hero and heroine, otherwise it would be a different kind of book. No, they do their worst but I try to keep them in their box and only let them out when I want to, and not when they want. And if you think that’s easy, I have to tell you it’s not. These people must fascinate the author, then they will most certainly fascinate the reader – and that’s what it’s all about, a partnership!



  1. You're right, Nargaret. Villians must be fascinating to the writer to be fascinating to the reader! Complicating matters further, villians must be positively or negatively fascinating to our characters.
    A heroine sees good in a bad guy's soul. A hero battles evil to affirm justice, save the girl, redeem himself. Such are the great battles of our everyday lives.
    I love stories between a hero and heroine, but I remember more, reread more often, the stories with an active antagonist.

  2. I'm ashamed to say, I've never read Brontes' stories. I started once, and just couldn't get into them. But I've heard lots about Heathcliffe.

  3. Great comment about not allowing the 'villain' to overshadow the hero and heroine, Margaret.

    And must confess that Heathcliffe has never held any attraction for me at all, I've only read Wuthering Heights once (and am not even sure I actually finished it) because an 'anti-hero' like Heathcliffe doesn't really appeal to me.

  4. Have you ever read Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott? It's really good - and by one of Charlotte and Emily Bronte's favorite authors. It has an character that you could say "he is the villain, but is he a villain?" about. If you don't enjoy reading it you should try the audiobook of it narrated by Micheal Page. Hope you enjoy it!