Why Your Villain Shouldn’t Be a God…

and Other Rules of I’ve Shamelessly Broken

When choosing a villain for your novel, it’s never wise to choose a god. This is because gods are very powerful, otherwise they wouldn’t be, you know, gods. It’s especially unwise to choose a god as your villain if the hero and heroine of your story are mortals. Even if they are very special mortals with very special powers. Because chances are, if their powers were strong enough to defeat a god…they too, would be gods.

All of this seems eminently sensible to me now, but when I began my Mythica series for HQN Nocturne, I thought the idea of war gods as villains seemed like a fantastic idea. Wouldn’t it be great to pit my modern day hero and heroine against Ares, Greek God of war? Think of the excitement! I was infatuated with my world, in which war turns men into the monsters of ancient myths and the gods still walk amongst us. There was no room for doubts!

At least until the part of the manuscript where my hero and heroine land themselves in deep trouble. Now, the best writers get the hero and heroine into so much trouble that the reader has no idea how they’re going to get out of it. The problem was, I couldn’t figure it out either! I spent many sleepless nights over my debut novel, POISONED KISSES, trying to make sure that they found their happily ever after. I think it was all worth it, but I don’t ever want to work that hard again!

People who meet me on the street would never suspect that I’m a rebel, but as a writer, my inner subversive loves to come out and play. I say this because making my villain a god wasn’t the only reckless thing I did in this book.

First, I had my heroine impersonate the hero’s ex-fiancee in order to get him into bed.  Next, I had my hero shapeshift into a different man to trick the heroine in just the same way. I also knew better than to write a bad girl heroine; the safest kind of heroine is someone mildly flawed so that every reader can imagine herself in the role and concentrate on the redemption of the hero. Well, forget that. I decided to gamble on the idea that readers would appreciate the journey of the heroine just as much.

Kyra is a nymph of the underworld, a daughter of Ares with daddy issues and emotional baggage that wouldn’t fit in a freight train. She’s a knife-wielding avenger, a torch-bearing redeemer, and an all-around tough girl with very soft, tender, insides. I love her and I hope readers will love her too!

About the Author

Website: http://www.stephaniedraven.com

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Stephanie Draven is currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies. She lives there with her favorite        nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books.

Stephanie has always been a storyteller. In elementary school, she channeled Scheherazade, weaving a series of stories to charm children into sitting with her each day at the lunch table. When she was a little older, Stephanie scared all the girls at her sleepovers with ghost stories.

She should have known she was born to hold an audience in her thrall, but Stephanie resisted her writerly urges and graduated from college with a B.A. in Government. Then she went to Law School, where she learned how to convincingly tell the tallest tales of all!

A longtime lover of ancient lore, Stephanie enjoys re-imagining myths for the modern age. She doesn’t believe that true love is ever simple or without struggle so her work tends to explore the sacred within the profane, the light under the loss and the virtue hidden in vice. She counts it amongst her greatest pleasures when, from her books, her readers learn something new about the world or about themselves. Stephanie also writes historical fiction as Stephanie Dray and has a series of forthcoming novels from Berkley Books featuring Cleopatra’s daughter.

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