Friday, February 17, 2012

The Faces of Evil and Building a Series with Motive



Congratulations to Tammy, the winner of Debra Webb's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated.

At the end of October I launched a brand new endeavor, the Faces of Evil series. Sounds creepy, doesn’t it? The concept came to me several years ago (at the time it was called the Scales of Justice). I wanted to create a scale of evil and write a series focused on that scale beginning with the least heinous of deeds. Mind you, the least heinous of those evils doesn’t exactly equate to light or vanilla when it comes to bad. Even the lowest level of evil can include murder. The seemingly nicest person can snap or be pushed into a situation and end up committing murder. Where that act fits in terms of depravity is all in the motive.

Jess Harris, formerly a special agent with the FBI, can tell you a little about evil.

Any act of evil committed by one or more persons against another is driven by motive. Every motive tells a unique personal story, painting a vivid picture that reveals the dark inner nature hidden beneath the image presented for the world to see. All of us possess a basic goodness, but we each also harbor the potential for evil. The choice not to cross that moral line ultimately separates the good from the bad. For those who cross that line life’s journey is forever altered. Where that journey begins and how far one drifts into the depths of depravity is fueled by desire and desperation. Some plummet directly into the deepest, blackest recesses of that hungry abyss. Others linger near that thin line, clinging to a rapidly unraveling thread of goodness while the darkness seduces them closer and closer until the thread snaps and evil is born.

Something else Jess points out is that expert opinions differ on the idea of whether serial killers are born or are made but the one point they all agree on is that neither Charles Manson nor Ed Gein were serial anything until that first act of evil was committed.

Once I found myself in the right place to begin the series, I realized that motive was indeed the foundation for what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. Originally, the concept was more focused on solving the case and finding justice. As I fleshed out the series I realized it was the motives that intrigued me the most. The impetus for the crime and the differences between the truly heinous villain and the heinous act committed by your average, everyday person.

Eventually the main protagonists emerged. Jess Harris in the midst of personal and professional crises. Dan Burnett, the seemingly has it all guy who has never faced personal or professional hardship. Jess and Dan have two things in common: the relentless determination to ensure justice and the smoldering desire to have what they seem to have lost—each other.

With the main protagonists on page, I needed a compelling ensemble cast. Sergeants Chet Harper and Lori Wells showed up on the scene. Both hardworking, dedicated detectives. Each with their own personal and professional baggage. Other members of the team seemed to create themselves. Once I started, they came to me in a rush.

Then came the hard part, developing the stories. Each one had to feature a crime and a villain more heinous than the last. The idea sort of propelled me back to square one. After all, murder is murder, right? Not really. We’re back to motive again. That made my job a lot less difficult. The focus had to be on the motive of the crime and how that same motive resonated through every level of the story.

Once the plot line of the crimes was established, what about the relationships of the characters? Again, I turned to motive and the one thing in life none of us can escape—human nature. Humans make mistakes. They celebrate victories and mourn defeats. They have desires and hopes and needs. All I had to do was ensure my characters were infinitely human and the rest would take care of itself.

Jess and Dan have a long history. They were high school sweethearts. In their forties now, they have a lot more living to do and a lot of decisions to make. There are opportunities to right wrongs in their careers and in their personal lives. The journey won’t always be easy, but they have ten more books to get it right! If you haven’t already gotten your copy of OBSESSION and IMPULSE, the first two books in the Faces of Evil series, I hope you will. Both are available as e-books and in trade paperback. POWER, book three, will be out next month!

Tell me about your favorite series and one lucky commenter will win a trade paperback copy of both OBSESSION and IMPULSE!

The paperback giveaway is applicable to US and Canada addresses only. Outside of these countries any potential winner will receive a digital copy.


Giveaway ends 10pm EST Feb. 17th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email justromanticsuspense @ gmail.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

32 comments:

  1. Good morning! It's Friday and beautiful here in Huntsville, AL!

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  2. Hi! My favorite series is the Colby series.

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    1. Thanks, Tewanda! I hope you'll try the Faces of Evil series as well! OBSESSION and IMPULSE are available as an ebook and in trade paperback!

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  3. meeeeeeeeeeeee....LOVE your books.....

    mjdownfam@comcast.net

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  4. I LOVE YOUR BOOKS AND MUST AGREE WITH TEWANDA LOVE THE COLBY SERIES

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    1. Hey Amanda! Give OBSESSION a try! I think you'll love it too!

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  5. Good Morning :)

    I have just started reading your books...so my fav series is the "in death" series by JD ROBB.

    I am looking forward to your new series, Deb..did you research any REAL crimes for ideas for this series ?

    Have a wonderful weekend !

    ~ Kym

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    1. Hey Kym, my inspiration often comes from real life. Particularly in OBSESSION!

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  6. Soooo looking forward to reading these!

    www.judgenotbythecovers.blogspot.com
    Celina

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    1. Hey Celina, I hope you'll enjoy them! I'm having a blast with this series!

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  7. My favorite is the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J. R. Ward. I also a Bama girl! Thanks for the chance.

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    1. Hey Shelley! Have you read Jessica Andersen as well? She's awesome! There are LOTS of terrific authors featured here at JRS!

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  8. Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooters.

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    1. The Troubleshooters are awesome! Suz is amazing!

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  9. Oh I love your books and I can't wait to read your latest!!!

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    1. Thank you! I am so excited about the Faces of Evil series! It's my heart!

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  10. I loved these two books and can't wait for Power. Once I started them, it was very difficult to put them down!!

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    1. Bless you, Terry! I am so thrilled you enjoyed the books!

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  11. Hi Debra,

    I have so many favorite series. I love your Colbys series, Also, B.J. Daniels' Whitehorse. Montana and Julie Miller's The Precinct.

    yenastone@aol.com

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    1. Thanks, Tammy! I hope you'll give the Faces of Evil series a try!

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  12. I like JD Robb's In Death Series and Kay Thomas' Bulletproof series. You books sound great and I'll be checking themn out. Kathy @ KathyIvan dot com.

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  13. It was neat to hear of your story coming in a rush and how they eventually formed in your mind. Thank you. barbarap@eastlink.ca

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  14. WOW this sounds like a great series I can't wait to read them! One of my favorite series was Lori Foster's Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor and I absolutely adored Dirty! will there be more Jackie Mercer?

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    1. Deborah, be sure to check out OBSESSION! And yes, there will be more Jackie Mercer books! There is a short story featuring Jackie and Dawson in the Thriller 3 Love is Murder anthology coming out the end of May!

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  15. I enjoy series of books.. have not read yours yet as I only recently found you as an author. My next purchases of yours though will be the faces of evil series. Hard to pick a favorite series, hmmmm would it be Christy Reece's LCR, Cindy Gerrard and her BOI'S, or even Cherry Adair and the Tflac. But once I find an author who writes series and I enjoy the sriting style I tend to continue to read them. So looking forward to what you write.

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  16. All great series, Linda! I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the Faces of Evil!

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  17. Have a terrific weekend, folks! Be sure to read a great book!

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  18. Well the Colbys have long been a favorite. I also enjoy JD Robb's In Death series and Diana Palmer's Texans.

    seriousreader at live dot com

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  19. I'm really looking forward to reading your books. I'm fascinated by the topic and the criminal mind. Really looking forward to Faces of Evil!

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