I love a story with magic, and so I’m thrilled to welcome April Kelley Jones today to talk about creating the villain for her exciting new novel, The Curse Breaker.
Creating a New World
You’ve heard the advice, to write what you know? But when your book is set in a fantasy universe, how do you research something that doesn’t exist?
For The Curse Breaker, there was no book I could find at the library to tell me about what my characters might eat or what the geography of the different cities would look like. Even though writing fantasy comes with loads of room to write anything into being, there are plenty of things I’m still learning about how people behave on and off the page.
Writing a Really Good Villain
So for my debut novel, I turned my focus onto writing a really good villain. I revisited all my favorite bad guys, taking notes on what parts of their personality I loved to hate and which of their actions I could see the reasoning behind.
Then, I tried to get into the mindset of my antagonist. I wanted to know what made her tick. What were her dislikes, her temperament, her daily schedule? If I were the Queen of the Underworld, what would my motives be?
I must have done an okay job at it because my husband’s favorite character (and the one he quotes most often on his social media pages) is my villain.
The Curse Breaker
Eris’s sister is missing, and Magic is definitely to blame! Eris knows only Magic can bring her back, but even as a Light Magic born, is she strong enough to save her sister?
Knox is cursed to spend his days as a corpse and his nights trying to find the prophesized girl who can break the curse. If he can’t find her by his 20th birthday, he’ll stay dead forever.
Eris and Knox will discover there are scarier things in their path other than curses and half-truths. If the Queen of the Underworld has her way, everything and everyone will die. The only thing standing in her way is the curse breaker, and Eris will have to choose between saving herself or everyone she loves.
The Queen paced in front of her blood-red throne. After so many years, she was finally going to meet the thief who had stolen her amulet. And when she did, she was going to slowly sever every one of their limbs, one by one, before feeding their soul to Madame. The thought made her smile a wicked smile. That would teach them to steal from the Queen of the Underworld. Stupid humans were always trying to prolong their lives in the most feeble ways. Tonics, magic, deals. Death was something that could never be avoided entirely, but they didn’t seem to think that universal rule applied to any of them.
Three more months and her amulet would call to her like it always did when she could get free of this place, and then she would have her revenge. Whoever they were, they had been granted twenty years that did not belong to them, and she would make sure they paid for that stolen time. That was part of her job, after all, not that she was complaining.
“I apologize for being late, your Majesty.” Madame hurried in, a little out of breath.
The Queen turned and stared at a slightly disheveled Madame. Normally her long hair was braided and wrapped elaborately around her head, causing her to look like a long-lost ancient queen from the human world.
“We can discuss that in a moment. I called you here because I have a proposition for you.”
“I am but your humble servant, your Majesty.” Madame feigned humility they both knew she did not possess.
The Queen rolled her eyes and continued. “If you can find the insect that stole my amulet before three months are up, I will give you a special treat.”
“I will find the human. I will make it suffer.” Madame smiled.
“No. You will not touch a hair on its head. Bring it to me, and I will deal with it.” Madame looked disappointed but nodded.
The body of a girl suddenly appeared in the air in front of them, along with one of her servants. Madame examined the girl for a moment, but then seemed to lose interest once she realized the girl was neither alive nor dead. The Queen walked over and swept the girl’s long black hair back enough to see her face. She scrunched up her nose at the young girl’s beauty.
Snapping her fingers again brought new servants running.
“Take her and put her with the rest of the cursed.”
The women gently plucked the girl from the air. The Queen wondered how many bodies lay waiting in the limbo between life and death. Not that she would forgive the vermin that had stolen her amulet, but she would enjoy watching the human be tortured by all the souls it had trapped prematurely in the Underworld. Eternity would not be long enough for all the lives that heartless human had taken trying to break the curse that came with stealing something born from the Underworld’s power. Since the human had not been able to break it thus far, she continued to collect bodies stuck in the in-between, their lives connected to the cursed one’s. When that insect finally died, so would all of those souls, and she would have a lovely new collection of pets.
The Queen smiled to herself as she watched one of the servants wrap her arms around the girl’s legs while the other wove her arms around the girl’s back. Slowly they carried her out, leaving the Queen to her thoughts again.
About the Author
April Jones has read, written, or edited her way through numerous fictional worlds. When she’s not teaching or writing, she spends her time trying to learn other languages or keeping her mischievous cat from eating the pet fish. She received her bachelor’s in English and her M.F.A. in creative writing.
A Tennessee native, April currently lives in Michigan with her husband and three children. You can find her poems and short stories published in various literary magazines across the internet and in print. You can also check out her debut novel, The Curse Breaker. For more information visit her website thepathtostory.com
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Wow! That is an awesome excerpt, April, and the Queen really is a scary villain!
Thank you for joining us today!