Villains: Why authors love to write them


Seb Kirby

continues bestsellers’ musings on the villain: why we write them and what makes them compelling for both authors and readers.

villain with a knifeIn my latest psychological thriller, Here the Truth Lies, I wanted to create a villain who was ruthless and heartless, yet driven by forces outside his own control. I found this in Evan Cargill, a military-trained killer for whom all sense of remorse had been long ago destroyed by events in his brutalising past.

All that captivity.

The years in the children’s homes they forced him into were difficult but nothing compared with the times he spent in the Middle East, first as a soldier of fortune, then as a hostage.

They tried to break him every which way but all they did was hone his spirit of defiance. Each time they tortured him, he felt his body responding, strengthening, becoming ever more resilient. Each time they trashed him and left him for dead, he recovered, stronger, more determined.

He survived.

Time to take back what is owed.

But how can you reclaim a childhood?

That’s where it all began. The never-ending struggle that became his whole life.”

Where a villain comes from

I drew some of the inspiration for this character from Mary Shelley’s observation: “No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.” Evan Cargill does not see himself as a villain. He believes he is doing nothing but good in the string of gruesome murders he carries out. He sees the killings as wholly justified.

He’s not the main character in the story. That’s Emma Chamberlain, a young journalist facing her own struggle to make sense of her past. But in Cargill, I think I’ve created her dark counterpoint.

Here the Truth Lies: psychological thriller by Seb Kirby

About the book

Sometimes your past is stranger than you ever imagined.

Emma Chamberlain has a consuming ambition: to prove the innocence of a convicted murderer sentenced to life. But the more she digs into the evidence, the more she is forced to confront threatening secrets about her own past that lead her to the ultimate question – who is Emma Chamberlain?

To discover the truth, Emma must expose those responsible for a dark conspiracy that has ruined the lives of many and now threatens her own.

Seb Kirby

BestSelling author Seb Kirbywas literally raised with books: his grandfather ran a mobile library in Birmingham, UK and his parents inherited a random selection of the books. Once he discovered a trove of well-used titles from Zane Gray’s Riders of the Purple Sage, HG Wells’ The Invisible Man and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to more obscure stuff, he was hooked.

He’s been an avid reader ever since.

He is author of the James Blake thriller series, Take No More, Regret No More and Forgive No More; the science-fiction thriller, Double BindEach Day I Wake; and Sugar for Sugar. His latest book is another psychological thriller, Here the Truth Lies.

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