It’s once again thanks to Book Connectors on Facebook that I have encountered another talented author and am delighted to be part of the launch celebrations for Liz Mistry’s novel Unquiet Souls. Unquiet Souls is the first in a new crime series featuring D I Gus McGuire and was published by Bloodhound Books on 30th July 2016. Unquiet Souls is available for purchase here.
In celebration, Liz has kindly written a guest post for Linda’s Book Bag all about creating a villain.
What is the link between the abduction of a little girl and a dead prostitute?
When the body of a prostitute is discovered DI Gus McGuire is handed the case. But what first appears to be a simple murder soon turns into an international manhunt for the members of a twisted child trafficking ring.
McGuire who is suffering with problems of his own, he must pick his way through the web of deceit and uncover the truth in time before the body count rises.
Can McGuire identify The Matchmaker before it’s too late? And can he trust those he is working with?
Unquiet Souls is the first book in a dark and compelling new police series.
Creating a Villain
A Guest Post from Liz Mistry
The main villain in my novel Unquiet Souls is a quite despicable character called The Matchmaker. The Matchmaker is the leader of a child trafficking ring who is out for revenge from the woman responsible for nearly putting him out of business ten years previously.
It is easy for us to imagine the unkempt, smelly, erratically behaving person on the street as a killer, but in fact the world’s most notorious villains, have been charming, plausible and, worryingly, often only caught by a simple mistake. Often evil exists in plain sight; apparently normal, sane and law abiding- think Jimmy Saville! In my mind those characters are more chillingly scary. So, it was with this in mind that I worked on characterising The Matchmaker as a despicable sociopath gradually unravelling as the story unfolds.
Writing many scenes through The Matchmaker’s eyes, I deliberately developed his emotionless manipulation. His speech patterns are cold and his interactions with his ‘minions’ abrupt. Showing him interacting with his wife whilst planning his nefarious deeds showed the complexity of his character and when his true identity is eventually revealed the reader will, I think, be surprised at how normal he is.
In order to emphasise The Matchmaker’s persona, I contrasted him with the other villains in Unquiet Souls. The Provider, is cocky and arrogant, trying to flaunt The Matchmakers authority. He isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, whilst The Facilitator is a professional, firmly in The Matchmaker’s thrall.
Whilst I enjoyed putting myself in the minds of these characters I could only ever do it for short bursts of time and I was always glad when I could leave them and inhabit the world of a less sinister character like Compo, the geeky computer whizz kid or DS Alice Cooper, light-hearted efficient detective.
It’s all about getting a balance between the darkness and the light… after all without darkness there would be no light and vice versa.
About Liz Mistry
Liz Mistry was born in West Calder, Scotland and educated at Stirling University before moving to Bradford for her PGCE, where she settled with her husband, Nilesh, her three children, Ravi, Kasi and Jimi and her two cats. Liz taught in Inner city Bradford schools for many years. Suffering from depression for many years, Liz used her writing to help her through the darkest times. She is currently part-way through an MA in Creative Writing from Leeds Trinity University, which she acknowledges as being instrumental in developing her confidence as a writer. Liz is co-founder and main contributor to The Crime Warp Blog.
Liz is available to write articles on many subjects including; ‘Writing with depression’, ‘Why choose an MA in Creative Writing’, ‘Why crime fiction does it for me?’, ‘Creating a villain’, ‘The cross- genre nature of crime fiction’ … and more.