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Friday, June 21, 2013
Author Extra: Human Aspect by Elizabeth L. Brooks
Human Aspect by Elizabeth L. Brooks
Dauch has never doubted his clan's wisdom: Humans are fit only as prey and slaves to the shapechanging lochmari. Nor has he ever doubted his place in his clan: As the Warleader's son and heir, his only true rival is his despised cousin, Afel. But when, on the very cusp of manhood, he spies human lovers in the lochmari forest, he is suddenly faced with questions he had never thought to ask -- and a dangerous new infatuation. Dauch hopes to find a way to embarrass his rival and gain the woman he wants, but his anger and obsession will only pave the path to his doom unless he can learn something no lochmar has ever known before: how to love.
I love the idea of watching the world through the eyes of a "bad guy". I love diving into their heads and figuring out what makes them tick.
Are they seeking revenge? Wounded and simply lashing out indiscriminately? Do they have a mental disorder such as sociopathy or psychopathy that makes them incapable of empathy for their victims?
Or maybe it's a matter of culture.
In "Human Aspect", the lochmari are indisputably the bad guys of the world. These warrior shapeshifters raid human villages, stealing supplies and taking prisoners for slaves, and they have absolutely no remorse about it. To the lochmari, humans are merely another species of animal. Not only that, but the very survival of the lochmari depends on those slaves they take.
My main character, Dauch, is a product of this culture. He's a warrior's warrior, highly competent, indifferent to pain, (mostly) obedient to the chain of command, contemptuous of those who don't share his values. By all rights, he should be thoroughly unlikeable as a character...
And here's another question I love to explore, when I'm writing: how do you reform a bad guy? How do you make an unlikeable character sympathetic to the reader so that they forgive him for his failures? How do you make him overcome those failures and strive to become a better person?
Sometimes, all it takes is love -- and sometimes, it takes the crushing weight of a curse.