Currently working on: Book 5
Mood: Immersed (but still breathing)
I surely do love the dark, wounded, brooding, bad boy alpha hero (shocking, I know) but, man, he can be hard to write.
You’d think it’d be easy. After all, a dark hero is like a brownie recipe: There aren’t that many ingredients:
- One black leather jacket
- 2 cups worn-denim-clad butt
- A dash of arrogance
- Brusque one-liners to taste
Do not overbake. You know you want your dark hero gooey in the center.
That’s it. And yet any brownie connoisseur knows, the variations on the basic recipe are endlessly yummy. Even without the frosting.
But I find that dark heroes — much like brownies — are opaque. In the same way that I don’t like to share brownies, my dark heroes don’t like to share with me. That’s the problem with taciturn, emotionally aloof loners — they won’t talk even to their creator.
I just started writing Book 5 of the Marked Souls series, and Ecco muscled onstage as the hero. In my original sketch of the full series, I knew some basics of the Book 5 hero but I didn’t have a name. So when Ecco claimed the honor, I shrugged and thought I’d let him audition.
I forgot that you don’t LET a dark hero do anything. Ecco was originally a walk-on character in SEDUCED BY SHADOWS, Book 1 of the Marked Souls. He was willing to voice what the other characters were afraid to say, so I thought he’d be a great sidekick. But then he started kicking back.
Here’s the scene in VOWED IN SHADOWS (April 2011) where Ecco let me know he wasn’t going to take ‘wait’ for an answer much longer. Archer, the hero from SEDUCED, is talking with VOWED’s Jonah. The boys are in the kitchen, whipping up dinner (and tempers) as they discuss doing some unauthorized recon:
Ecco shook his head. “Better wait for the boss.”
“Since when do you obey the rules?” Archer asked.
“Since the girls started coming round and breaking them. Playing with them is more fun. And way scarier.” Ecco glowered at Jonah. “The next one was supposed to be mine.”
Jonah’s hackles rose in atavistic response to the challenge. “They aren’t trading cards.”
Ecco tapped the spoon against the side of the pot and turned slowly. “They should go to the strongest fighters.”
Jonah flexed his fingers. “They did.”
“Knock it off, you two,” Archer snapped. “We don’t understand the mechanism of the bond, but you can be sure there’s more to it than muscle.” He gave Ecco a long stare.
The big talya returned the look, and in his hands, the spoon seemed suddenly lethal.
Jonah smoothed his hand down the back of his neck. The short hairs prickled against his palm. What was wrong with him? He wasn’t the sort to beat his chest and crow. But the incense scent of Nim was still on his skin. This was why saints renounced the temptations of the flesh.
“I’d join that advance team,” he said. “If Nim is in danger from her demon’s strength, I want that anklet.”
“Not to mention, who knows what havoc Corvus could wreak with the artifact at his disposal.” Archer swept his hand over the map again, encompassing the city with his gesture.
Jonah remembered the pull of Nim’s allure. “I think the artifact does the djinn-man no good without the matching demon. Which is why Corvus went after Sera last winter.” He flattened his palm on the map. “Which is why we’ll have no trouble finding him again.”
Ecco stirred the soup with unnecessary vigor. “Because he’ll be coming for Nim. And you don’t seem to care.”
Jonah stared at him from beneath lowered brows. “Tell me again how you think you could have her, and I’ll show you how much I care.”
Archer sighed. “Your mark is on her, Jonah, as surely as the demon’s. Ecco is just teasing you about taking her.”
“No he’s not,” Jonah said, just as Ecco protested, “No I’m not.”
So now we’re stuck with each other. And despite his quickness with one-liners (he’s probably the sort to like lots of extra chocolate chips in his brownies) Ecco has proven remarkably silent about his feeeeelings. And I need to know those before I can let him close to his heroine. Or, more to the point, before the heroine will let him close to her.
But how do you get a dark hero to open up when even the worst demons of hell have only made him giggle? Have you ever had a tall, dark and silent type (real or imaginary)? How did you get him to share his heart with you?
Post your ideas in comments and a random winner will receive a signed copy of Christine Warren’s BIG BAD WOLF.