Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Should A Villain Find Redemption?

Redemption of a Villain

Many authors have written a vile character into their stories that intercedes in the happiness of the main characters.  A well thought out villain can make the hero or heroine look more noble, smarter and brave.  The meaner, more intelligent and conniving, the better.  I like it best when the hero seems out-matched by the villain.  How will he ever win?  How can he ever overcome the tretchery and evil to save his heroine?  Yes!  I love that kind of villain.
But what if the villain comes to the crossroads of consequences of his/her evil ways and decides to seek redemption?  What?  A reformed villain?  How can that ever work?  Well, I, for one, think it might just work out perfectly.  Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride has such a villain.  I’ll let the reader be the judge.

 A haunted house, a trunk and a date with destiny.

Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride
By Sarah McNeal
Available at Western Trail Blazer Novels
Available at Amazon.com
Also available in print soon
Joseph Wilding left his prosperous Virginia ranch and his grieving father to live in obscurity and guilt over his brother’s death until he marries Lola instead of Callie McGraw, the woman he abhors but whose life he was attempting to save.
Lola discovers a warp in time in an old trunk when she falls into 1910.  She finds herself married to Joe, a stranger shadowed by secrets.  Mistaken for Callie McGraw, a thief and a woman of ill repute, Lola finds her life is threatened by a scoundrel who believes she stole his money and only Joe stands between her and death.
With danger threatening all around and secrets keeping them apart, can Joe and Lola
find their destiny together or will time and circumstance forever divide them?
When she entered the dark confines of the saloon, she sensed right away that something was wrong.
Instead of the usual hum of conversation, silence prevailed, and there were no familiar greetings from the regular clientele when she entered the establishment.  The hair on the back of her neck stood on end and goose bumps ran up her arms. 
A rude hand grabbed the back of her dress and pulled her against a protruding belly.  She knew before he spoke that Weston was back in town.  “Did you miss me, Callie?”  He ran a heavy hand down her front and pinched her breasts.  “I been lookin’ forward to getting back here so we could have us some fun.”  His fetid breath filled the air around her with its sickening stench.
Lola gasped as he ran his hand lower.  Her thoughts bumped against each other in panic.  If only Joe had come in for a few minutes! But Joe was half way to Martin’s farm by now.  With sinking dread falling into her stomach, she realized she was on her own.  Bluster and lawyer talk might work.  “Let me go, Taylor, or I’ll sue you for assault and battery.”  Another thought passed through her mind and she added, “And sexual misconduct in a public establishment.”  Was there such a law? 
“Don’t you sass me now, Callie.  I’ve come to collect what belongs to me.  If I don’t git my money, I’m taking you with me and make you work it off.”  He gripped her tight around the waist and started making for the door when a voice called out, loud and clear halting his retreat.
“You let her go, Taylor.  That’s not Callie you fool.  Her name is Lola and she hasn’t done anything to you.  Let her go, I say.”  Banjo walked toward them with a big butcher knife in his hand that he must have picked up from under the bar.
Lola’s fear doubled into a knot that sat in her throat and threatened to cut off her breath.  “It’s okay, Banjo.  I’m okay.  I’ll just go along with Weston for now and we’ll talk things out.”  She took a shaky breath trying with all her might to summon up her courage.  “I’m sure, once I talk to him, he’ll know he has the wrong woman.”
“Get out of my way, you good for nothing snot nosed boy.  I ain’t got time for wet nursing right now.”  Weston spewed spittle when he talked turning Lola’s stomach until she thought she might throw up right then and there.
“Shut the hell up, Taylor.  Let her go, or I’ll put this knife right through your heart.”  Banjo inched closer and closer. 


Paris said...

Interesting question. Even villains have a story about what shaped them. Delving into that realm could make for an exciting and complex book.

Personally, I love redemption as a theme for romance novels and westerns are among my favorites--along with the time period you've used. Have you been peeking at my wish list:)

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Paris, I do agree that redemption is a good theme for many genres including Westerns. The first 50 years of the 20th century is my favorite time period. I especially love 1910-1930. The things that changed in that small amount of time economically, industrially and socially is astounding.
Thank you so much for dropping by and commented on my blog, Paris.

Brenda Hyde said...

Redemption is a favorite of mine too, and I do like when the hero seems overwhelmed but then finds the inner strength to do what is right. It's very sexy:)

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I love your little moon symbol--it's so cool. Thank you for coming by and leaving a comment for me, Brenda.

Tina Donahue said...

I like the idea of a hero finding redemption. Makes for a richer story. Great excerpt!! Hope you have many happy sales. :)

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Thank you, Tina. In the case of Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride, the redemption has to do with the villain but, I agree that a hero who has been a bad boy is all the better when he seeks redemption.

Delaney Diamond said...

Redemption works in a story if the villain's reasons for his behavior cause the reader to feel sorry for him or his actions are not so bad that the reader can't forgive him. It's a tough one for sure. The villain in this story doesn't seem like a nice guy at all, so it would be interesting to see how you reform him.

Paige Tyler said...

I definitely think it can work. I did it with the hero in DEAD SEXY, and it totally made the book! It sounds like you made it work with your hero, too! Congratulations on the release!


Sarah J. McNeal said...

Delaney, we can always count on you here at SNSD to come in and support us. Your kindness and support does not go unnoticed.
You just might be surprised by the villain in Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride. That's all I'm saying. ha ha

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Paige, in Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride, it isn't just the hero and heroine that seek redemption--it's the villain. Thank you for dropping by and commenting on my blog.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for redemption, Sarah. Great excerpt. As you know, I have an affinity for time-travel and, more recently, cowboys. Another to add to the TBR pile. :D

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Thank you Liz. Me too, I loveth the time travel story. I also loveth the ghosties. Thanks for your kind words and for dropping by to see me. You're a busy lady, so I really appreciate it.

Rawiya said...

I'm all for it too. Even if the villain may be horrible, everyone deserves that chance to redeem themselves.

Great post Sarah!

Penny Rader said...

I love stories where the villain is redeemed. Marilyn Pappano does a fantastic job redeeming villains.

Anonymous said...

I do love a realy bad villian to help the hero grow. Remember that good and bad are subjective. The evil priest or ruler may be precieved as the good guy by his followers while the rest of the world views him as a monster. In my 1st book I chose not to redeam the villian. It fit the story line that he die. I did it in such a way that the hero didn't violate his code of honor. I also did the same in my 2nd book. I have in a couple of my upcomming WIPS. One story the vilians are the hero's own brother & Sister. The brother will be redeamed while the sisterwill pay for her crimes, especially for killing their father. One story has no definate villian as it spans over decades of the hero's life. Some of the many villians he encounters during his life are really bad and some are not actually bad, just that their wants and needs cause the hero pain and suffering.
This brings up an interesting question to me. If the "villian's" only crime in the story is, through their actions, causes pain and suffering to the hero or someone the hero loves. Does this really make them a real villian? Example the woman the hero loves & wants to marry has another who, for the sake of the story, loves her only not just as much as the hero. The hero lives in another state and the other lives only a couple of miles away. The other guy is also her EX husband. She first chooses the hero, but the other person (who does have a history with her) talks her into remarrying him instead. She does not tell the hero she has changed her mind and is now married to the other guy. She pospones the wedding. the hero tells her a month later that he's planning to come see her. That is when she finally tells him that she has remarried her former husband. Is she or her now husband really a villian or even a bad person for what they did to the hero?
Hoe about when in a moment of weakness a person does something truly out of character, say give in to temptation and cheat on his wife or girlfriend or tell a lie about someone to get a job or promotion. Does that make him a bad person, never to be forgiven or trusted again? How about a boy who kills his Dad to keep him from beating his Mother again for something minor?
I just thought I'd put these questions out there to make you go HUMMMMMM!
G W Pickle

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Hey Rawiya. Okay, maybe Charles Manson shouldn't get redemption but some villains may deserve it. Good to see you here. Thank you for stopping by.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Hello Penny. Some villains deserve redemption but not all. Some people are so dark and evil, there is no redemption but other's, find a way to change their ways for good. Thank you so much for dropping in and leaving a comment for me.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Now GW, I see you're trying to make a dollar out of a penny here. Lots of people do stupid things or things that come out badly by mistake. Sometimes they even do things that hurt others because they're thinking only of themselves. But a true villain does things with evil intentions--not by mistake or opportunity. They also do these things without conscience. So Intension and Abscence of Conscience are what make a truly vile villain.
Thank you for coming by and leaving a comment, GW. I appreciate it.

Cheryl Pierson said...

Hi Sarah,
Oh, yes, I think a villain can find redemption--just not in a Cheryl Pierson story. LOL But I love the way you fleshed out your "CALLIE" in Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride and gave her some redeeming qualities. That is such a good story, and I enjoyed her very much. Great post!
Hugs, Cheryl

Renee Vincent said...

Great excerpt Sarah. I could just smell Weston's putrid breath as I read it and feel his disgusting hands as if he were groping me.

Was still hoping for Joe to come in and kick his butt...but no...you didn't let me read any further. Who's the tease now?

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Well Cheryl, your villains are more like Mason--completely screwed in the head and without a conscience. They would never want redemption.
Wow, thank you for those positive comments about my character, Callie.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Well Renee, we're all bunch of tease artists. Now every time I see your name I think of Gerard Butler...a welcome grope for that man. Thanks for coming by.

Adele Dubois said...

If a villain is merely misguided, he can be redeemed, and make for an interesting story character. However, if the villain is truly evil, and has committed senseless acts of violence, I don't think he's redeemable.

Best of luck with your release, Sarah! Your villain sounds interesting.


Fiona McGier said...

This sounds like a great book, Sarah, and you've been looking forward to getting it out for so long! Good luck with sales.

JaneE2059 said...

Hi Sarah--This story sounds great.

Redameter said...

Well Sarah, I'm late to this one, but wanted to leave a comment. I think you have a winner on your hands with Harmonica Joe and I wish you loads of luck with it. It'll be on my TBR list for sure.

Keep writing Sarah, I loved the excerpt and I perdict success as your future.

Love and blessings

Sarah J. McNeal said...

You're right, Fiona, it has been a long time coming. It certainly didn't help that I had a bout of Writer's Block right in the middle of writing this story. and then everything else went wrong, too.
Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Hello Jane. Thank you for that very nice compliment.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Rita, I really do appreciate your super kind words. You are the sweetest. Thank you so much for coming by--no matter the hour.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Adele, thank you so much for coming by. In regards to the villain in Harminica Joe's Reluctant Bride, you might be right--then again...

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I'd like to announce the winner of my blog comment contest:
I'll send you your copy of Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride ASAP.
Thank you to everyone who came to visit me and left a comment. I really appreciate your support.