Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Heroes and Villains
The working title of this book was originally The Loveday Justice which I thought that while the family had to bring their arch enemy to account for his evil deeds, it sounded upbeat and put my heroes in a good light. About a third of the way through the writing after a discussion with my insightful editor it was suggested it was changed to The Loveday Revenge for greater impact. Revenge is a much darker theme than justice and I felt needed to be written in a suspenseful and dramatic way. Fortunately it did not involve too many changes to what had already been written but the end product was so much more powerful than I had thought possible. The Loveday Revenge has been described as the most emotionally intense and suspenseful of the series so far. I am delighted to say that it has been the fastest and biggest selling of the series.
Dashing memorable heroes need strong and well motivated enemies to bring out their strengths and failings.
Here is an extract that shows the motivation of the family’s arch enemy Harry Sawle. He has been one of the main protagonists throughout the series and recently the Loveday’s have always won in a battle of wills. Harry is hidden in the garden spying on the family.
Harry Sawle flexed his hands and then balled them into meaty fists. The knuckles were scarred from the scores of beatings he had given out over the years. They had made him an undisputed ruler amongst the smugglers. He no longer had to use his fists, unless he wanted to feel the pleasure of hearing bones crunch or flesh cave in at their industry. Now he paid others to do his dirty work. He may not be respected amongst the community but he was the most feared. That was accolade enough. He had also become rich, certainly richer than St John Loveday. Then within a year everything had changed and he had been brought close to ruin due to the men gathered in that room.
His blood boiled with the force of his anger. There was no place in his heart for compassion or mercy. A burst of easy laughter within jerked him from this malignant reverie. He saw their laughter as a further affront. It was time the proud Lovedays were brought to heel and learnt that no one crossed Harry Sawle and lived to tell the tale.
He could pay thugs to kill his enemies but that would be too easy for these adversaries: he wanted them to suffer first. A sardonic grin puckered his scarred cheek. The flesh was blackened from a musket misfiring during a confrontation with Senara Loveday. Every time he caught his reflection in a mirror or window he was reminded of his hatred for that family. Had he not poisoned the herd at Trevowan and also the calves at their cousin Hannah’s farm. She had cost him a cargo interfering with his smuggling activities last year and she would learn what it felt like to lose a great part of what you had worked for over the years.
St John would also feel his wrath. He had dared to issue a warrant for his arrest. That arrogant pride must be humbled and St John humiliated before he met his end. And that would be just the start of his revenge, Harry vowed. There would be more – much more.
Then there was Peter. The one Harry had dismissed as the weakling, pious Loveday with no backbone. The parson had proved his mettle last year and showed that he could be a formidable opponent. Worse still, he continued to preach out against the evils of smuggling from his pulpit. Harry glowered into the room where the young preacher paced the floor addressing his elders with a confidant air. His manner was that of a general on the battlefield whose troops listened to him with respect.
His eyes narrowed and fury scorched his gut. Inside the richly furnished house Adam Loveday held court as proud and influential as any Lord of the Manor. He was one of the most respected and liked men for miles around. The renovated building built in a bygone age of grandeur had once been owned by nobility and was testimony to Adam’s wealth. That the house had been a partial ruin with half its roof missing and only the skill of the shipyard’s carpenters had made it possible for it to be restored economically never entered Harry’s mind. He saw only its present glory.
The smuggler spat onto the grass. Adam had risen high and achieved so much more than himself. As a younger son Adam should have been content to serve in the navy and attain a modest paying commission. Not only had Adam inherited the shipyard but his innovative ship designs had made it one of the leading yards in the county. Adam, out of all his family had the most to lose. Harry grinned evilly. That was how it should be and would make this vendetta all the sweeter.
Adam was his main adversary – his greatest threat. They had been enemies for most of their adult lives and too often Adam had got the better of him. Adam had dared to pit to his strength and wits against him; had never backed down from a fight and for all his fine manners, it had been Adam who usually emerged the victor. That would now end. Adam Loveday would suffer at each persecution inflicted upon his family by Harry’s men. Adam would be the one who paid the highest price.
Sawle watched from his hiding place as the family departed. His punishment upon each of these enemies must be carefully planned. He knew his victims well, their strengths and their weaknesses. Each would pay the ultimate price for their treachery against him.
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Kate, Revenge is a far more evocative and dramatic title. You bring the Loveday family to such vivid life through Sawle's eyes, while revealing Sawle's own brutal and warped character. Readers unfamiliar with the Loveday series have a marvellous treat waiting for them.
Jane, Thank for you for very complimentary comments. Villains can be such fun to write and it is oh so satisfying when they get their comeuppance - eventually.
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