Guest post by Stephanie Draven

Why Your Villain
Shouldn’t Be a God…

and Other Rules of
I’ve Shamelessly Broken

 Dark Sins and Desert Sands

Gods are very powerful, otherwise they wouldn’t be…youknow, gods. Therefore, as an author, it’s especially unwise to choose a god as your villain. This is especially true if the hero and heroine of your
story are mortals. Even if they are very special mortals with very special powers. Because chances are, if their powers were strong enough to defeat a god…they too, would be gods.

All of this seems eminently sensible to me now, but when I began my Mythica series for HQN Nocturne, I thought the idea of war gods as villains seemed like a fantastic idea. Wouldn’t it be great to pit my modern day hero and heroine against Seth the Destroyer, Ancient War God of Egypt?
Think of the excitement! I was infatuated with my world, in which war turns men into the monsters of ancient myths and the gods still walk amongst us. There was no room for doubts!

At least, I didn’t have any doubts until the part of the manuscript where my hero and heroine landed themselves in deep trouble. Now, the best writers get the hero and heroine into so much trouble that the reader has no idea how they’re going to get out of it. The problem was, I couldn’t figure it out either!

I spent many sleepless nights wrestling with the story in DarkSins & DesertSands, trying to make sure that my modern day minotaur found his happily ever after. I think it was all worth it, but I don’t ever want to work that hard again!

People who meet me on the street would never suspect that I’m a rebel, but as a writer, my inner subversive loves to come out and play. I say this because making my villain a god wasn’t the only reckless thing I did in this book.

First, I decided that my hero would be an Arab-American soldier accused of working with the enemy. Having been imprisoned for two years and tortured, he has transformed into a modern day minotaur. He has a few anger management issues to work out and his initial behavior with our heroine isn’t
pretty. I also gave him mind-control powers. That’s right. Orgasms on command, ladies. I’m not shy about saying so.

And though my hero is guilty of the crimes the government accuses him of, he isn’t a completely innocent man. I liked playing with those shades of grey and giving him a redemptive character arc.

Next, I decided to include a teenaged prostitute and a goddess of whores in this novel. Can’t wait to hear what the moral majority is going to have to say about that.

When it came to my heroine, things were even trickier. Layla is the minion of an evil god, so she has a very dark past that she doesn’t want to remember. When our hero enters the picture, she becomes a hot mess. It takes a long time before she gets her shit together enough to be worthy of our hero, but that was alright with me. The safest kind of heroine is someone mildly flawed so that every reader can imagine herself in the role and concentrate on the redemption of the hero. Well, forget that. I decided to gamble on the idea that readers would appreciate the journey of the heroine just as much.

I love her and I hope readers will love her too!

Below the links to Stephanie’s book, you will find link to an excerpt from Dark Sins & Desert Sands

Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble,

Barnes & Noble


4 thoughts on “Guest post by Stephanie Draven

  1. As one who thoroughly enjoyed both Poisoned Kisses and Dark Sins & Desert Sands, I scoffed when I read the title of this article. It was the gods as villains that was the real treat for me. I totally geeked out and ate up the pages like they were candy.

    As a writer, I can appreciate the trials and tribulations of making the obstacles a little too hard to overcome. But you know what? These seemingly impossible challenges you set yourself and your characters up against make the end result that much more enjoyable. I certainly do hope you keep challenging yourself.

    And it’s why I can’t wait to read this next book with the minion of an evil god. Keep up the great work!!

  2. First I really loved reading about this book and I adored getting into the mind of the author. Lol – I too dabble – aka am a bit add btw so she is an inspiration – I content myself with writing short stories thus far.

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