November 12, 2012
I have been involved in an online discussion with thriller authors Russell Warnberg, Tom Bryson, Segedy Michael, Laurence Atelier and Sean Smith on whether thrillers reflect the political divide.
The debate has moved on to the whether people are simply good or evil and therefore should characters in thrillers be portrayed that way?
I personally don’t believe that people are either all good or all evil. I enjoy reading and writing stories in which the characters are not black and white, and both hero and villain have flaws and redeeming qualities. What could be more fascinating in a psychological thriller than a mass murderer who is a loving father? I enjoy conveying to my readers what motivates my villains to do the terrible things they do – how they arrived at their political world view. Let us not forget that a terrorist believes what they are doing is right, just as the victims believe their world view is right. Violence to achieve an outcome is a terrible thing and should be condemned but my point is that I think characters should reflect the complexity of human beings. In THIRST I allow the reader to glimpse a brief act of humanity by the villain and there is a moment in the story when a reader might even pity him. That doesn’t stop the reader from also feeling horror at what he is about to do.
I am keen to hear what my readers think on this topic? It’s fun and interesting to hear people’s often very different views.