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L is for Love #AtoZChallenge

Shortly after I selected love as today’s topic, I read this in Genuine Lies by Nora Roberts, the novel I’m reading at the moment (well, one of the novels I’m reading at the moment): “‘Delrickio is evil.’ Kenneth brought his gaze back to hers. ‘It’s in his blood, in his heart. Murder, the destruction of hope, of will, are only a business to him. He fell in love with Eve. Even an evil man can fall in love. . . ‘” (259).

I found that timely. Part of this discussion was to be about the capacity for love in villains or anti-heroes.

All of the novels I write contain love relationships in some form or another, whatever the genre. Whatever type of love characters experience, love always factors into a story somewhere.

It’s difficult to picture evil characters falling in love, but depending on the nature of the evil, they can and do. Sometimes that’s their saving grace. Sometimes that’s another character’s destruction.

When I first got the idea for The Experiencers, I contemplated the possibility that a man who murders for a living could fall in love. Could someone like that have a wife? Would he love his children?

According to the book Writer’s Guide to Character Traits by Linda N. Edelstein, Ph.D., “A Professional Murderer is generally married and has a family who is completely unaware of his professional activities” (152).

My main character, Michael Valiant, has a wife and, while he doesn’t want to have children, he loves his wife. One of the villains in the story, Jim Cornell, also has a family. Michael’s partner, Torque, does not. Each of these three men display a different capacity for love.

Michael keeps his activities a secret from his wife, but loves her in a real way. As we find out in A Ring of Truth, his love has been tested in the past. This ability to love provides him with the moral fibre he needs to make the decisions he does when he uncovers the Agency’s agenda.

One of the controversies in The Experiencers is the swiftness with which a relationship develops between Michael and Carolyn. There’s a reasonable, logical explanation. You may or may not pick up on what it is in the first book, but it’s there. It’s not “love at first sight” nor is it Stockholm Syndrome.

Cornell views his family more as status, as part of his estate, as his legacy. His wife remains home and should be grateful to him for what he can provide. From his boys, he wants respect. But his love doesn’t include fidelity, which becomes evident in A Ring of Truth.

Torque doesn’t have a family, and has sex with a variety of women for his own pleasure. He doesn’t want anyone to get close. This reflects on his partnership with Michael.

Getting back to love at first sight, I’m a believer, so my romance novels reflect it. I define love at first sight as an undeniable physical attraction that draws two people together into a relationship built not only on physical chemistry but an emotional connection as well. The relationship may begin with the physical, but it has the potential to evolve into unconditional love.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be problems in the relationship, but the arc leads from mutual attraction to mutual love.

I found developing Arnie’s character particularly enjoyable. Arnie was the satyr I mentioned in a previous post. I won’t say anything more about what happens to him, but it was fun getting him where he had to go.

In my opinion, though, evil characters don’t have the capacity for true, unconditional love. They can’t, especially if they’re sociopathic. But unless the character is Sauron, they will be able to achieve some level of love, though it won’t be expressed in a healthy, mature way.

Works Cited:

Edelstein, Linda N., Ph.D. Writer’s Guide to Character Traits. Cincinnati: Writer’s Digest Books, 2006. Print.

Roberts, Nora. Genuine Lies. New York: Bantam Books, 1991. Print.

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2 Responses

  1. The second atoz blog I’ve read on this subject today! (No surprise there I guess!)

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