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Maria McKenzie | Bad Girl as Protagonist

Maria McKenzie



Unchained Trilogy #2

June 2013
On Sale: June 7, 2013
Featuring: Lavinia Hargraves
ISBN: 1484900162
EAN: 0000000000000
Kindle: B00D9VHQ86
Add to Wish List

Also by Maria McKenzie:
Masquerade, June 2013
Escape, August 2012
The Governor's Sons, October 2011


Lying,  scheming, adultery, murder, multiple marriages, and extreme dislike of children are just a few things that make a bad girl really bad.  Readers may not fall in love with protagonists that exhibit these negative characteristics, but at least there's never a dull moment with them!

I am thrilled to be at Fresh Fiction to tell you about my new novel, MASQUERADE: Book Two of the Unchained Trilogy.  Last year I was here to introduce the first part of the trilogy, ESCAPE.  In that story, Lori is a slave girl, and Daniel Taylor, the white man who falls in love with her and helps her to escape.  Eventually, they have three children, and Lavinia is their youngest.  Her story is told in MASQUERADE: 

Celebrated actress Lavinia Hargraves lives life as a masquerade. She hides her Negro ancestry to pursue her dream of becoming the world's greatest actress.  She elopes with Vernon Hargraves, the owner of New York's premier theater company, to acquire all that she could ever want: a new life as white, stardom on the stage, and an abundant supply of money. The secret of her mother's slave-girl past could easily destroy the life she has constructed.

Lavinia, who passes as white, despises her sister, who is kind and good, and hates her mother for being black and a former slave.  At seventeen, Lavinia runs off with fifty-four year old Vernon Hargraves, only because of what he can do for her.  Although Vernon truly loves Lavinia, the feeling isn't mutual on her part.  From that storyline, it's clear to see that Lavinia isn't the nicest person around. 

Unchained Trilogy
August 2012

Unchained Trilogy
June 2013

What drives some bad girl protagonists to be so bad?  Sometimes, mental illness can play a role.  If Lavinia had lived today, she probably would've been diagnosed with Narcissistic personality disorder, which, according to MayoClinic.com, "is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism."

Lavinia's personality, combined with her actions, make for some rather interesting situations, to say the least.  Lavinia joins the ranks of other bad girls in fiction, including Ellen Berent from the 1944 novel, LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN by Ben Ames Williams.  Ellen Berent, like Lavinia, is mentally imbalanced.  As well as having some unresolved father issues, Ellen is overly jealous for the attention of her husband, Richard Harland.  She indirectly causes Richard's crippled younger brother to drown, and then, when pregnant, throws herself down the stairs to cause a miscarriage. Without a baby, she won't have to share hubby's affection.  Finally, when it becomes clear that Ellen's adoptive sister Ruth is attracted to Richard, Ellen commits suicide, making her death appear to be murder and framing Ruth for the "crime."  Unbelievable!  Oh, yeah, it's fiction... 

Another motivation that drives bad women is control.  Let's take a look at fiery southern belle Scarlett O'Hara, from Margaret Mitchell's 1936 novel GONE WITH THE WIND.  Scarlett's sanity is in tact, but she's a total control freak!  Scarlett is determined to marry Ashley Wilkes (the wrong man who's already betrothed to his cousin, Melanie), and after the war, driven to save her plantation, Tara.  Scarlett marries once for spite (Charles Hamilton to make Ashley jealous) and twice for money (Frank Kennedy, her sister's fiancé, and then the handsome rogue, Rhett Butler).  Scarlett eventually does fall in love with Rhett, after she's been married to him for a while.  But when she realizes this, and that a life with Ashley never would've been realistic (after numerous attempts to get him to dump Melanie, before, during and after her marriages), Rhett has had enough and leaves her.

The need for power, status and money drive some bad girls, like Undeen Spragg, the ruthless heroine from Edith Wharton's 1913 novel THE CUSTOM OF THE COUNTRY.¬† Undine is a social climber, who through multiple marriages and divorces, experiences the pleasure of money and aristocratic titles. Eventually, she settles on marrying someone from her hometown.¬† He's a millionaire, his money is new, and he's actually on her original social level.¬† At this point, Undeen has all that money can buy—yet she wants more.¬† At the end of the novel, she imagines what it would be like to be an ambassador's wife—a position she can never hold due to her divorces.

Bad girls may not endear themselves to readers, but their escapades are certain to keep the pages turning!  Who are some of your favorite bad girls in fiction? One commenter will win a signed paperback copy of MASQUERADE.




23 comments posted.

Re: Maria McKenzie | Bad Girl as Protagonist

Can't think of any favorites but I like how some bad girls
make a turn around and becomes a better person. Especially the
ones that has a story to what led them to be how they are.
Then it all makes sense and they aren't truly bad.
(Lazydrag0n Puff 12:35pm July 13, 2013)

A huge thank you to Fresh Fiction for hosting me today! Hi, Xoun, you've made a good point! It's great to see a bag girl redeem herself.
(Maria McKenzie 1:53pm July 13, 2013)

Personally, I really like Undine---she was just so driven.
(Sue Farrell 2:33pm July 13, 2013)

Hi, Sue! Yes, Undine was driven, indeed. Perhaps driven is an understatement;).
(Maria McKenzie 2:48pm July 13, 2013)

Lavinia ~ I am already hooked ~ seems like the perfect lady for a Southern Lit book, not a *bad* girl but I can't wait to find out!
(Susan Coster 4:55pm July 13, 2013)

Masquerade sounds wonderful. I hope I win! Meanwhile, I am going to
gets scalped and start reading it. . .
(Susan Mahaffey 5:56pm July 13, 2013)

Hello, L.Lam, I wasn't familiar with Nix and had to do a little research on her. A soothsayer gone mad--what a juicy character!
(Maria McKenzie 6:36pm July 13, 2013)

@Susan Coster: Hi, Susan! So glad Lavinia has you hooked:). I hope you enjoy her story!

@Susan Mahaffey: Hi, Susan, thank you! I hope it's fun read for you:).
(Maria McKenzie 6:40pm July 13, 2013)

I would have to say Scarlett O'Hara. With all the back stabbings she did to her siblings, she really have good intentions. She is someone that audience would love to hate but can't blame her for making the most of her situations.
(Kai Wong 7:05pm July 13, 2013)

@Kai: Hi, Kai! Scarlett definitely made the most of her situations. When life gave her lemons, she made lemonade--big time;).
(Maria McKenzie 8:29pm July 13, 2013)

Bad girls are forever trying to prove themselves to others.
They seek approval, but lack the savvy to be appropriate
unless something is in it for themselves. They are driven
to do the wrong thing because that is what they know best
and because of their flaws, we are drawn to them like honey
beckons flies.
(Alyson Widen 10:29pm July 13, 2013)

While I was reading your posting, Scarlett O'Hara popped in my head, and there was your explanation of her!! Outside of her, and because it's late for me, and I'm so tired from housework today, nobody comes to mind!! I do love the cover of your book, however, as well as the story line, and would love to read your book!!
(Peggy Roberson 11:49pm July 13, 2013)

This sounds amazing... I can't wait to pick up the book and start to read. It's nice to see a different kind of female protagonist.
(Nicole Swirsley 4:23am July 14, 2013)

It seems that you like bad girls. There are many on T.V. but I can't think of one in books that hasn't been mentioned. Evelyn Harper on Two and a Half Men is one.
(Kathleen Yohanna 6:49am July 14, 2013)

@Alyson: Well said, Alyson! They have such nerve and it's fun to see how they do things we'd never think about doing!

@Peggy: Hi, Peggy, thanks for your kind words! So glad you stopped by even being tired after all your housework:).

@Nicole: Thank you, Nicole! I hope you enjoy it:).

@Kathleen: Hi, Kathleen! I've never watched Two and Half Men, but I'll have to check it out to see Evelyn Harper in action:). I must admit, bad girls are fun to write--I also think lots of actresses would rather play a bad girl role than a nice one;).
(Maria McKenzie 7:10am July 14, 2013)

Definitely agree that Scarlett O'Hara is the best written bad girl to date. She knows what she wants and goes after it.
(Pam Howell 9:21am July 14, 2013)

i love the bad girls i dont have a favorite
(Denise Smith 9:45am July 14, 2013)

@Pam: Hi, Pam! I agree--Scarlett is the best bad girl written to date. No obstacles could ever hold her back!

@Denise: Hi, Denise! All bad girls are fun to read about--and fun to hate;).
(Maria McKenzie 2:13pm July 14, 2013)

seems like a good read; thanks for the giveaway!
(Barbara Studer 5:16pm July 14, 2013)

I've always loved reading about Rebecca Sharp in VANITY FAIR.
That's some miss!!
(Mary Preston 6:49pm July 14, 2013)

Can't think of any bad girls but it always makes a novel interesting.
Thanks for the giveaway! Hope i win a copy.
(Sarah Bauman 7:50pm July 14, 2013)

Bad girls always make me shake my head. I can wrap my mind around how
they think they run through life.
(Laura Gullickson 10:18pm July 14, 2013)

@Barbara: Hi, Barbara, and thanks you for your comments!

@Mary: Hi, Mary! I've never read Vanity Fair, but I've heard about bad girl Rebecca Sharp!

@Sarah: Hi, Sarah, thanks for stopping by:). Bad girls always add spice to a novel, don't they?

@Laura: Hi, Laura, I know what you mean! It's a shame that people really do exist that act like those bad characters. When they end up on the six o'clock news, I always wonder how they thought they could get away with such despicable stuff!
(Maria McKenzie 9:08am July 15, 2013)

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