Monday, May 21, 2018

Lady Villains Need Love Too

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Lady villains sometimes get the fuzzy end of the lollipop in terms of motivation. Jealousy over a lost love or anger at being rejected are all fine reasons to go to crazy town, but there are so many other more compelling reasons that are so much more interesting.

Fury at your family's mistreatment for one, is a pretty driving reason and it is one I tried to explore in writing my female characters in the second book of my series. 

In the Wind Reapers, Ajala is an incredibly strong, loving, and therefore shockingly ruthless character. Some might argue that she is the villain of the book, but I disagree. I think that her goals just happen to be diametrically opposed to the protagonists (Charlotte Blackburn's) but that they are not, in their purest form...diabolical or bad.

She is a woman fighting for the survival of her family and extended clan. Those vicious Reapers everyone fears came from somewhere. They weren't born on those massive walking machines that troll the Wasteland. And now, as conditions get worse and her people start dying, she has to act in the only way she knows how.

Ajala is a leader, a mother, a warrior, and a formidable negotiator. She is valiant for her own cause and it is why she was one of the most interesting characters to write...

Now, as I headed to speak with Ajala, the clank and clatter of the Wind Reaper’s legs kept time with the sway of the vast vessel. With the sun going down and hiding our location, we moved using the thermal winds to fill the craft’s massive sails. Most of the debris cleared, the fire scorched deck still showed the scars of our battle. 

Yet as I peered at the patchwork material mounted on the reconstructed masts I couldn’t help but be impressed by the speed with which the people recovered from the sky marauder attack.  Ascending the ladder to the outlook tower, I pushed through the heavy hatch.

Ajala started speaking before I pulled off my gas mask. “Beautiful, this horrible place, is it not?” She leaned, arms crossed, looking out of the cracked windows. The gold discs woven to the ends of her scarf reflected the dimming light. “All angry and red and steaming.”

“It is the stuff of nightmares.” I walked over, leaned on the opposite side. My hand twitched, wanting to scratch at the slice in my neck, but I didn’t want to give her the satisfaction. “But then again…”

“Yes, I know, you aren’t a Reaper.  We find beauty in this wasteland.”


A jagged seam glowed in the dark landscape and then flared with ignited gas that burned a dozen stories high.

Ajala’s eyes narrowed with the flash of brilliant orange and blue fire. “Myself, my people, we all were chambermaids, plantation slaves, and factory workers.”

“Before the quakes.”

She nodded. “Scratching for our piece of freedom before the hand of God smote us all.”

“And so you forged a life out here in damnation.” I let my gaze travel the ink swirls at the corners of her eyes and thought them strangely beautiful. Like the henna designs on the hands of women in India from my books. “Why…why did you leave the Texas-Louisiana Dome?”

“Texiana,” she snorted, a derisive sound that flashed heat into her eyes. “An atrocity for both states. And I did not leave voluntarily, in any case.”


Find out how Ajala's story turns out and what part she plays in the thrilling steampunk series, The Blackburn Chronicles. And don't forget to check out the #FreeReads as well!



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