With such a personal backround to the story, it gives me great pleasure to be part of the launch celebrations for The Eden Tree by Peter Worthington. The Eden Tree is published by Clink Street Publishing on 19th July 2016 in e-book and paperback and is available to purchase from online retailers including Amazon and to order from all good bookstores.
Today, Peter is telling Linda’s Book Bag readers all about why he prefers to write from a hero’s perspective.
The Eden Tree
Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” John James Morgan knew the day he was born. Two days before his sixty-first birthday he found out why.
John is a happily married businessman, father and grandfather, living in Cheshire, in the heart of England. Happy, that is, until his family face a crisis. A terminal one. At the local market, a flower-seller tells John a story that changes his life. Assured his destiny is in his own hands, John crosses the globe in pursuit of a religious artefact which has remained hidden for two thousand years. Presented with an antique box containing maps, parchments and a bag of leaves, John returns to the UK and witnesses a miracle. With the box in his possession, John and his family find new friends and enemies; lives are threatened and people die, although some will be healed. With the help of many different people, from all walks of life, John’s journey will finally lead him to the discovery of an extraordinary and mysterious tree. But what will this Eden tree mean to John, his family, their faith and their future?
The Eden Tree is author Peter Worthington’s first novel; a fictional account based on his own experiences with his son, John Wesley, who underwent treatment for cancer but sadly passed away shortly after his seventh birthday. The Eden Tree has allowed Peter to give his much-loved son “a happier ending.”
Heroes or Villains? Which is easier to write and why?
A Guest Post from Peter Worthington
The question appears easy to answer but actually isn’t. Even with a central hero in a storyline an author needs to make a backdrop for that heroism. In that backdrop there is often the murky world of the villain. For a writer I find it a bit like cleaning the drain. We know it’s unpleasant but the job has to be done. Once the depraved character has spoken and behaved wickedly I can leave the stench and debris behind. Preferably on the page and not in my life!
An author has to write with authenticity from several points of view. I prefer to write as a main character as a hero, a protagonist who may have several villains hindering his quest. Their villainy becomes part of the plot. Will our hero foil them? Or will he become like them?
It forms easier in my mind to imagine my character as a good guy as that is how I see myself! Often as an author I need to explore “the dark side” but don’t like to remain in that mind-set. Does it taint an author when he or she steps into the villain’s shoes? Can a writer imagine evil deplorable deeds and behave in print as villainous and then easily switch to the hero? I suppose since childhood we have developed play-acting skills and can disassociate ourselves from the hateful villain.
It is heart-warming when a reader tells me that they appreciate a character. In my writing I try to reveal the caring hero. One who feels he serves a higher good. But I am aware that some characters in my novel are repulsive and I hope readers don’t believe that I admire those evildoers. Soap opera stars who play the villain are vilified in real life. That is scary!
In case anyone thinks I am becoming a monk, I have written short stories with my main character as a villain. For example, “The cell was eight feet wide” was about a man escaping from jail. Despite his unsavoury character I had one reader tell me she admired him and wanted another episode! In another flash fiction: “Insanity: my family says I am” a teenager escapes from an asylum and creates chaos. The surprise ending shocked many readers.
Often in writing an author will have his protagonist make choices. A hero will make the brave, praiseworthy and altruistic choices. I believe that readers feel better when they see that despite some flaws their hero is one that embodies trust. One that they admire and seek to copy. It is easier to write from a hero’s perspective as we all need noble embodiments to imitate.
In my novel The Eden Tree I have created some heroes and villains and have tried to talk and think the way that portrays them. Greed, selfishness, prejudice and criminality all are evidenced in my villains. They are traits I recognise and seek to avoid. It is interesting that no one who has read my novel so far finds the actions of James and his friends as wrong, and yet they are hackers. When I wrote the novel I considered the hackers as heroes in the story. Heroes can have weaknesses.
With all his roughness I also enjoy writing about Sean, one of my main characters, who is tough but vulnerable. A hero. It is easier to write about a military type who won medals than a lowlife who fled the battlefield. It is also easier to write about my hero John who chases his destiny and brings benefits to all.
So in the main I find it easier and I prefer to write about a hero as I identify with the desires, beliefs and actions of a hero. I don’t think an author places themselves or their characters in the role of villain easily. At least I don’t. I prefer my readers to feel that they can associate with my protagonist and cheer him on. Most of us like the ‘bad guys’ to get what is coming to him, and as an author I am the same. It heartened me when my editor wrote “YES!” in the margin when editing my novel. She found empathy with one of my characters’ actions and that pleases any writer.
About Peter Worthington
Today Peter Worthington lives in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire with his wife Margaret. Peter has enjoyed a bright and varied career as a church minister, ﬁnancial adviser and internet consultant. Now retired he is busier than ever thanks to his three grandchildren, studying for an Open University Degree in Creative Writing, voluntary work, playing World of Warcraft, serving on the board of a housing association and writing. He has previously published short stories in a number of Christian magazines.