Elisabeth Naughton | Enraptured with a Good Villain
April 26, 2012
Thanks so much to the crew at Fresh Fiction for inviting me to stop by!
Anyone who's read my books knows I love a good villain. For me, the villain has
to be as clever as the hero/heroine, otherwise they're no fun to outsmart.
†Villains are fun to write because authors can do just about anything with them.
We don't have to worry about redeeming them at a later date. But just like
heroes and heroines, villains have to have their own goals, motivations and
conflicts. And they have to grow and change as the book/series progresses.
Sometimes what was important to them at the beginning of the book isn't what
they're after at the end. Sometimes they're motivated by greed, sometimes
revenge, sometimes power. But they ALL have reasons for why they do the things
they do. And well-developed villain can be just as compelling as a main
character. In fact, in a suspense-based book, they're really the ones who
challenge the main characters and keep the book moving at a rapid pace so
readers are eager to see how the main characters will eventually win.
I have to admit, I'm a sucker for a good villain. Hannibal Lecter in Silence
of the Lambs is probably one of the most compelling villains I've ever seen.
As a reader/watcher, you want to know why he turned out the way he did. He's
well-rounded, with a complete backstory and his own goals and motivations.
Another great villain is Darth Vader from Star Wars. Admit it...when you
first watched the original Star Wars movies (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes
Back and Return of the Jedi) you wanted to know why Darth Vader was
so evil. What happened to him? Why does he hate the rebels so much? And I know
some of you were rooting for his redemption in the last movie. Compelling
villains make us WANT to know more about them. And in doing so they make us root
for our heroes even more because we want good to overcome all that evil.
In my Eternal Guardians
books, I have several villains. The main villain – Atalanta – is a
woman who made a deal with Hades for a shot at immortality and a chance to exact
revenge on the race she feels shunned her. There's a reason she's so
evil—not only because she was shunned, but because her lover was exiled
because of her and then killed—and as the storyline has progressed, you
see that revenge isn't enough for her anymore. She wants power too—which
for her, is the ultimate revenge...against everyone who ever wronged her. But
she's not the only villain. There are others—gods like Hades
himself—who want the power Atalanta is seeking. And as entertaining as it
has been for me to develop these villains, it's even more fun to see readers
enjoying that push/pull not only of the main characters against the villain, but
of the villains against each other. Because nothing in real life is ever easy.
It shouldn't be easy for our characters—main or villain—either.
To celebrate the release of ENRAPTURED, the fourth book
in my Eternal Guardians series, Sourcebooks is giving away two copies of the
book to two commenters today! Just answer this question to be entered into
the drawing: Who is your favorite villain of all time and why?
Orpheus—To most he's an enigma, a devil-may-care rogue who does
whatever he pleases whenever he wants. Now this loose cannon is part of the
Eternal Guardians—elite warriors assigned to protect the human
realm—whether he likes it or not.
Orpheus has just one goal: to rescue his brother from the Underworld. He's not
expecting a woman to get in the way. Especially not a Siren as gorgeous as
Skyla. He has no idea she's an assassin sent by Zeus to seduce, entrap, and
ultimately destroy him.
Yet Skyla herself might have the most to lose. There's a reason Orpheus feels so
familiar to her, a reason her body seems to crave him. Perhaps he's not the man
everyone thinks... The truth could reveal a deadly secret as old as the Eternal
As unrest in the Underworld threatens, seven
warriors descended from the greatest heroes in all of Ancient Greece may just be
mankindís last hope.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A former junior high science teacher, Elisabeth Naughton traded
in her red pen and test-tube set for a laptop and research books. She now writes
sexy romantic adventure and paranormal novels full-time from her home in western
Oregon, where she lives with her husband and three children. Her work has been
nominated for numerous awards, including the prestigious RITA Awards of Romance
Writers of America, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, the Golden Leaf, and
the Golden Heart. Her recent release, ENRAPTURED, was recently
named one of Publisher Weekly's Top Ten Romances of Spring 2012. When not
writing, Elisabeth can be found running, hanging out at the ballpark, or
dreaming up new and exciting adventures. Visit her at www.elisabethnaughton.com to learn more about her and her
books. Her next book in the Eternal Guardians series, ENSLAVED,
will be in stores in November 2012.
39 comments posted.
Re: Elisabeth Naughton | Enraptured with a Good Villain
I agree with you. A good villain is an important piece of the puzzle. I think that Heath Ledger did an amazing job playing the Joker in the Dark Knight.
(Kristin Bingham 12:53pm April 26, 2012)
thank you for the chance at such a great giveaway. i love the cover, it's gorgeous and the book sounds wonderful. i can hardly wait to read it and see what happens between these two. :D
i think one of the scariest "villians" i ever saw was in Jack Nicholson in The Shining. to this day i can't watch a movie of his without seeing him in that role in my head(that and one flew over the cookoo's nest). i guess that's is what makes him the superb actor he is, he really makes you feel he is the crazy guy he is playing. LOL!
(Tammy Ramey 1:22am April 26, 2012)
Love, love, love the cover. It is gorgeous!
The first villain I thought of was Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. That is my all time favorite movie.
Good luck and happy writing!
(Tracie Travis 1:38am April 26, 2012)
Hi, how are you? I just found out about this series and am very excited to get started on it!
(Britney Barlow 2:47am April 26, 2012)
Sounds like a book I'd love to read...thanks for a chance to win it!!!
(Bonnie Capuano 5:49am April 26, 2012)
A good villain is an important part to a story because it helps to create conflicts and move a story along. I can not really think of any villain in particular who I can claim to be my favorite. The closest I can think of is Draco Malfoy who played a bully in Harry Potter but by the end of the series he showed potential for changing and it seemed his heart was no longer in being a villain.
(Chelsea Knestrick 6:09am April 26, 2012)
That's tough. There are so many good ones. In a book probably Voldemort. He isn't even alive until the end of book 4 and there is still so much fear from him.
(Pam Howell 7:59am April 26, 2012)
A weak villain devalues the fight.
(Barbara Hanson 8:20am April 26, 2012)
I have always loved Jafar from Aladdin or Ursula from The
Little Mermaid. I know they're Disney, but they were the ones
I grew up with.
(Karin Anderson 9:25am April 26, 2012)
Hannibal was a good villain....
(May Pau 10:27am April 26, 2012)
i love a book with a villian. plus this has multaple villians that is even better plus romance weee im all in i just love the cover of the book
(Denise Smith 10:58am April 26, 2012)
The nerd in me says Darth Vader of course... lol or oooh Kathy Bates in Misery she was so creepy and good in that role. Or even Keyser Soze (Kevin Spacey) in Usual Suspects. He was such a mystery, so clever, and he got away with it all.
(Sharon D 11:02am April 26, 2012)
What a good question - it is interesting how we are drawn in by the villains. It is difficult for me to pinpoint any one villian - but for some reason Scarlett and Rhett from Gone With the Wind (one of my favorite stories and movies of all time) come to my mind - while they are not REALLY villains, some of their actions are certainly along those lines and caused them to lash out at each other.
(Felicia Ciaudelli 11:07am April 26, 2012)
Villians are good, give the story some excitement.
(Wilma Frana 11:17am April 26, 2012)
I'm going to take you waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back. The Wicked Queen from Snow
White. I have read hundreds of books since then with lots of villains. I can't
single any particular one out. They just set the pace.
(Sandra Spilecki 11:34am April 26, 2012)
I would say Sauron from the Lord of the Rings. Great books, and great movies.
(Kathleen Conner 11:39am April 26, 2012)
My most favorite villain of all time would have to be the Goblin King for the movie Labyrinth. He was evil, but so sexy you couldn't help but like him.
(Molly Frenzel 11:52am April 26, 2012)
Gustavo from Breaking Bad is my favorite villain
(Shirley Younger 12:03pm April 26, 2012)
Lex Luther from Superman
(Diane Sallans 12:07pm April 26, 2012)
My favorite villain is definitely Darth Vader and for the reasons, you have mentioned in the post.
(G. Bisbjerg 12:13pm April 26, 2012)
For me there are the scary non human villians, like Alien and the shark in Jaws, that were horrifying villians. And then one of the first villians I remembered as a kid was Khan from Star Trek II. He had a fleshed out backstory, so you totally understand the why of him, but he was single minded and scared me, waiting to see if he would actually kill off one of my favorite characters.
(Cathy MacDonald 12:24pm April 26, 2012)
Oddly enough, it would be Roger Thorpe, played by Michael Zaslow, in the Guiding Light. You absolutely loved to hate him yet he was very charismatic and a wonderful father. And of course, you have to go with Lord Voldemort, played by Ralph Fiennes, and the character in the books. Just pure evil and very intelligent, but not quite as smart as he thought he was...
(Kelli Jo Calvert 1:09pm April 26, 2012)
That is quite a different take on a villain. I like it!
(Marjorie Carmony 1:15pm April 26, 2012)
I love a charming villain. Hannibal Lector was one of my favorites. He was a monster but he wouldn't allow rudeness. He was a charming psychopath.
(Stacie Deramo 1:19pm April 26, 2012)
There have been a lot of favorite villians. Bad boys rock. They can be really dangerous. I think maybe my first exposure to mysteries were the Sherlock Holmes stories, so Moriarty was my first villian. Like a first love, you never forget your first villian.
(Sandy Fielder 2:35pm April 26, 2012)
ITA about a good villain making or breaking a story and
sometimes they are more memorable than the hero/heroine.
One of my favorite villains, from X-Men, Magneto. Just love
him! And this is before any movies were made, I read comic
The Eternal Guardian series is fantastic!
(Cynthia Netherton 2:44pm April 26, 2012)
I have a lot of favorite villains and one of them is JR Ewing from Dallas. He was just so mean but it was still a surprise when he was shot.
(Maureen Emmons 4:19pm April 26, 2012)
I will say that Lex Luther is my fav villian... what a foe for Superman.
(Colleen Conklin 4:19pm April 26, 2012)
I like Moriarty as a villain, because he's such a genius and, therefore, the perfect counterpoint to Sherlock Holmes.
(Janie McGaugh 4:54pm April 26, 2012)
I haven't read a book lately that contains a true villain. Sounds intriguing.
(Gladys Paradowski 5:47pm April 26, 2012)
My favorite movie villain is Heath Ledger when he played The Joker in the Dark Knight. He did such fabulous acting!
(Linda Luinstra 6:00pm April 26, 2012)
Thank you for your post, Elisabeth.
My favorite villain? Hard to choose, and most have already been mentioned.
But one who hasn't in Gollum in "The Lord of the Rings". He's an antagonist, one who gives the good guys plenty of grief. But not really evil. Just obsessed, even possessed. He's a stand-in for anyone in the grip of an obsession, addiction, or compulsion.
Good luck with the release of "Enraptured!
(Mary Anne Landers 6:58pm April 26, 2012)
I can't wait to read this book, see how you turned this demon almost villain into
My favorite villian is Darroc from the Fever series. He makes you feel for him, but
deep down he still falls on the wrong side of the line.
(Lexi Hansen 9:05pm April 26, 2012)
I must confess that I read more "good guy" books than bad, so I really had to wrack my brain. The only person that I could think of would be Count Dracula. He would only come out at night, and was mysterious, harsh with his victims, yet he had a tender side, which I liked. Even though my pick isn't really brutal, I would still love to read your book. Perhaps I could be converted.
(Peggy Roberson 9:51pm April 26, 2012)
Snape from HARRY POTTER eve though he turned out to be a hero in the end.
(Mary Preston 10:09pm April 26, 2012)
(Lisa Kendall 11:38pm April 26, 2012)
I haven't read any of this series yet, but they look like they would be good. Winning one would be wonderful
(Susie Kerner 12:27pm April 27, 2012)
I was thinking real hard, but couldn't summon any villain that I actually liked... I'm sure there were, but I just can't think of any. Haha, don't get me wrong, I love my bad boys, but grr, memory's a bitch when it's elusive. Haha, but I was scrollin through the comments and I agree with Molly Frenzel. I think the Goblin King from Labyrinth IS sexy. Haha. :D
(Chia Yet Peng 1:03pm April 28, 2012)
My concentrations off track and I can't think of any, since I prefer to think of heroes of the male persuasion.
(Alyson Widen 9:29pm April 29, 2012)
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