OF HEROES AND VILLAINS
by Lisa Marie Rice
A writer's mind works in quite mysterious ways. It often works in circles, slow circles that come to completion over the space of years.
DANGEROUS SECRETS started years ago with one very clear scene in my head. A man--a very rough and tough man--watching his own funeral from afar. He did what he had to do. He isn't supposed to be there, but he simply cannot turn away, because he left a woman behind whose heart has been shattered.
That wasn't much to go on, but it was such a dramatic scene. It struck such a chord in my heart that I couldn't let it go. Who was this man? How could he leave a grieving woman behind?
Nick Ireland was born.
He does have his reasons for what he did. In fact, the tug of war between Nick's strong sense of duty and even stronger love for Charity forms the emotional core of Dangerous Secrets.
Duty has never been a problem for Nick--it has always come first, second and third in his life. A Delta operator who had to leave the service due to injury, he joined the Unit--a top secret Homeland Security agency tasked with dealing with the interface between terrorism and international organized crime. In both his jobs, he has had no problem in giving his all to fighting his country's enemies and has always been more than willing to lay down his life.
But, now, duty is asking him to betray a woman he has come to love more than life itself--a woman who is tender yet strong, and as honourable as he is.
A strong hero needs a strong villain as counterpoint. Those who read my books regularly know that I spend a lot of time on my villains. I don't like lust--or blood-crazed villains. No serial killers with crazy rituals for me. My villains are smart and sane. They are also sociopaths and see no reason why you can't simply strike down whoever stands in their path towards power and money.
I think Vassily Worontzoff is my favourite villain of all time. Vassily has been tried as few humans ever have been in the history of mankind. He survived the Soviet Gulag, perhaps the most cruel institution ever created, a blot on the history of humankind. He survived, but the love of his life did not and died a horrific death. Vassily survived and turned into a monster.
This is not an excuse for what he became but an explanation. That a man of Vassily's culture and stature turned into a monster is another emotional core of the novel, in counterpoint to Nick's character development.
I get a lot of rather surprised fan letters (well, emails actually), commenting that my hero and heroine have strong moral lives. Well...yes. They are not dissolute characters out for a hot time, willing to swing from the chandeliers to get it on, and with a lifetime supply of sex toys in the chest next to the bed.
They are honourable people who are often astonished to find themselves falling in love. Sexual heat is a part of that process. With any luck, the reader realizes that the intense sex between hero and heroine is a one-off. It only works like that with each other. The heat serves to bind two people together who will stay together for the rest of their lives, literally through good times and bad, through sickness and health. Till death do them part.
Frankly, I hope they get together again on the other side!