Thursday, May 13, 2010

Guest Author - Annette McLeave (Interview & Giveaway)

Last fall, Ottawa paranormal romance writer Annette McLeave joined me for the launch of her debut novel Drawn Into Darkness, the first book in her Soul Gatherers series. I loved the down to earth heroine. Today she returns to launch the highly anticipated follow-up, Bound by Darkness.

Annette is giving away two copies of Bound by Darkness and will also be here to chat. Annette asks the question, "What quality do you think tips the scale between a mediocre villain and a great one?"

You can view Annette's previous post here and read my review of Drawn Into Darkness here.

Welcome Annette!

The Demons Have It

One of the best parts of writing paranormal stories is the world building—pulling arcane details from the depths of your imagination to frame the environment in which your hero and heroine must battle to save the day. My protagonists often pop into my mind fully formed. I’m not sure where they come from, but bringing them to life on paper is more of an interview and peel-back-the-layers process than it is a study in raw creativity.

My villains, on the other hand, are more organic. They owe an element of their personas to the demons of record—Lucifer, Beelzebub, etc.—but I take a lot of liberty with demonkind. Thanks to Dante’s Inferno, I envision hell as a series of rings, each world filled with unique horrors and each ruled by a powerful demon lord. I created my demons to match the horrors of the rings—but my own, rather than Dante’s. The demons in my hell are matched to the angels in heaven—for every righteous archangel, there is an ambitious archdemon; for every soul-collecting psychopomp, there is a soul-thieving pith demon.

Great fun.

My demons all have a common ability to manipulate fire, but each breed has its own skills as well. In Drawn into Darkness, the first book in the Soul Gatherer series, the primary bad was a lure demon—a demon who could appear as a human and manipulate thoughts. In Bound by Darkness, which released last week, the threat is a set of demon triplets known as Maleficus, Mestitio, and Malumos.

Here’s an introduction:
“Excuse me?”
She spun on her heel.
Standing behind her was a dark-haired man in a plaid shirt, maybe thirty-five. His arm was hooked over the shoulders of a young girl with glasses. He smiled and held out his Nikon camera. “I wonder if you’d be willing to take a picture of my daughter and me in front of the temple?”
She peered deep into his blue eyes before responding. He seemed genuine.
“I’d be happy to.”
They got into position, beamed into the camera lens, and remained pleasantly patient as she snapped a couple of photos. Family photos. Cheery mementos of happy times. Her hand trembled as she passed the camera back to him.
“Thanks,” the man said. His daughter tugged on his arm, stage-whispering a plea to go throw a coin in the huge L-shaped reflecting pool. He handed her a pocketful of change, watched her wander off for a moment, then favored Lena with another smile, this one laced with warm interest. “I really appreciate your help. It’s always hard to get shots of the two of us.”
Lena racked her brain for the right words to discourage her new admirer. Before she could speak, however, a frumpy woman with gray hair and a wooden walking cane bumped his arm. Her admirer gasped. A perfectly natural response to a sudden jarring, one that would have gone unnoticed by someone less attuned to the sound of a thrall demon passing from one host into the next.
The ancient gold amulet around her throat began to pulse, and her gaze zeroed in on his eyes again. Yes, there it was: the inky stain of evil. The demon Malumos had made his entrance.
A formidable villain cast against a valiant hero almost always results in great entertainment. What quality do you think tips the scale between a mediocre villain and a great one?


To celebrate the release of Bound by Darkness, I’m giving away two signed copies to today’s commenters. I’m also running a release contest on my website until the end of May, so stop by for more chances to win. Good luck!
  1. Open internationally.
  2. Leave a way to notify you if you should win.
  3. Blog, tweet, post on Facebook or other social network sites for an extra entry. Leave a comment here to let me know.
  4. Giveaway open until Midnight, May 19, 2010 EST.


  1. sounds like a great series. a good villian is one that scares me in the dark. A great villian is one that scares me in the daylight lol.
    Please enter me in the contest for the book.

  2. Pamk--Great distinction. Nothing like a villain that makes you look over your shoulder!

  3. A great villain is someone who is really evil but blends in so you don't know that he is the villain until it's to late.

    sgiden AT

  4. Sandy--Nice! The ability to disguise his true nature is an excellent quality in a villain. Makes him all the more creepy. And dangerous. I especially enjoy "trustworthy villain" stories where the reader knows who the villain is, but the hero doesn't.

  5. This series sounds like one I would really enjoy.


  6. Love to win!
    Please enter me.

  7. Cait--Thanks!

    Michael--Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Please enter me to win as well! Thanks - Miranda
    mdwartistry at yahoo dot com

  9. Love your covers, count me in!

  10. For me a great villain is one that has such a dark charisma that you are tempted to listen to him/her even though in your heart you know what is asked of you is wrong.

  11. Sweet--Thanks for visiting.

    tetawa--I've been very lucky with my covers. The colors and the burning sword are fab. The guy's not bad, either. ;-)

    Sullivan--Oooh. Darkly charismatic. I like that one, too. A villain so bad he's good.

  12. This series is already on my TBR list.

    I think what really pushes a mediocre villain to a great villain is his/her lack of humanity. Their lack of conscience, ethics, morals...the fact that they lack the desire to redeem themselves...that is truly frightening.

    *posted on facebook


  13. What a great question!

    I think a good villain is one that grows within the story. A great villain is one that stays with me after the story ends and seems to grow of its own accord. One that seems to come alive out of the story.

    sleepingaurora at gmail dot com

  14. Thanks for the great interview and contest. I really look forward to reading this series!!

  15. For me, a great villain is one that has real motivation for his bad actions. I don't like villains that are just evil because they were born that way. I prefer ones who turned bad because of something that happened to them. You may disagree with their actions, but at least you can point to a reason why they went bad.


  16. s7anna--A cold-blooded villain who will stop at nothing can really reel you in. Do you ever find yourself intrigued by the reasons they desire what they desire?

    Ms. Laura--I know what you mean. Hannibal Lechter is one of those villains that lingers with you after you close the book.


    Jen--I'm with you. I enjoy getting insight into the villain's inner thoughts and motives, even if they creep me out.

  17. Oooh, sounds interesting.

    Villains... I like those who have a burden in their past, that made them evil.

    carianmoonlight at gmail dot com

  18. What quality do you think tips the scale between a mediocre villain and a great one?
    Hmm - a great villain is one who is truely evil. There is no hope of redemption. They love being evil and thoughly enjoy themselves when doing the most horrible of things.

    Love the sound of your books will have to look them up :)

  19. This sounds very interesting, and I really like the cover. Please enter me in the drawing.

    Thanks GracieA


  20. Sounds like a great read. I would love to win this.

  21. A great villain is has no remorse and has no sense of right from wrong. I think authors need to step out of their comfort zones to write these characters. They should make a readers skin crawl. Ok, maybe not that bad, but BAD *g*

    A good villain is the kind you come to love at the end of the book.

    Cyrus from Jennifer Armintrouts Blood ties series is a great example of both types.

  22. Silent Raven--Horrific pasts can produce wonderful villains.

    Emmad--That's two votes for totally unredeemable bad guys. :-)

    GracieA--Thanks for stopping by!

    Jen--Good luck in the draw.

    RobinK--I agree. Creating a truly memorable villain is easier said than done, but so worth it if you can pull it off.

  23. Hi, Annette,

    I enjoyed the interview!

    A great villain to me is one that is "real" -- a fully-realized character -- and not just a stereotype.

    Thanks for the contest!

    karenwitkowski AT

  24. Hi Annette - I love this series!! A great villian to me is one that is physically beautiful but through their actions emits a darkness that is soul deep - their actions leaves a reader shivering and wondering how did the author ever come up with that one. annhonATaolDOTcom

  25. Ohhh! A new series & author for me to read! Woot Woot! Thank you for sharing this information!

    Shared Event link on facebook:

    Have a great day everyone!

  26. I think a great villain is one who can manipulate people so they don't realize he's evil until it's too late.
    I'm looking forward to checkout out your books Annette, sounds like a great series.

  27. A great villain is one who is truly evil, who is truly frightening, yet you are still drawn to them for unknown reasons. And you don't know what they are really capable of.

    icewoman96 at gmail dot com

  28. Ooh this definitely sounds good. A great villain is sneaky and diabolical...none of the obvious evil, more of a hidden evil.
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  29. To me a great villian is the person you least expect it to be!

    Please enter me for this one, it looks awesome.

    I follow on gfc

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  30. I think to be a great villain, the character has to be believable and consistent. They also have to be intelligent. There is nothing worse that a seemingly dumb villain.

    I also like my villains to be pure evil, no redeeming charateristics.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    Carol T (International entry)

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  31. KarenW--I think a cardboard cutout villain can sometimes be more annoying than a 2D hero. Where's the tension?

    Cybercliper--Thanks! Darkness that's soul deep. I don't know why but that description really works for me. ;-)

    YzhaBella--I hope you get the chance to check the books out and let me know what you think.

    Barbara--Manipulative. Yup, I like that quality, too. It suggests he's got a cause he's willing to fight for.

    Stephanie--Hidden depths make him all that much harder to beat, don't you think?

    throuthehaze--Diabolical, sinister and sly. You really like them evil. :-)

    Martha--Has the reveal of a book villain ever shocked you?

    buddyt--I agree! Intelligence is a must. Of course, that means the hero needs to be super-smart to beat him. ;-)

  32. A great villain must have great motivation and he does not contradict himself.


  33. Sounds like an exciting series, please sign me up!

    +1 Tweeted here:

    +1 spread the word on Facebook:

    +1 posted on my contest sidebar (right one) on ym blog:

    Thank you!

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

  34. I think a great villian is cunning and makes the reader loathe him through his actions.


  35. Sounds like a really interesting series. Count me in!

  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. Ooooh, sounds like one of those that will keep you half the night reading and the other half trying to sleep with the light on as you're too afraid to turn it out.

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  38. I recently read Drawn Into Darkness and really liked it! I'm sooo looking forward to Bound by Darkness and Brian's story. He was a hoot in book 1!

    Thanks so much for the chance to win,

    mishtakes AT gmail DOT com

  39. Personally, I like a villain that the reader can actually relate with.
    This sounds like a fun book and I'd love to be entered for it.

  40. This sounds like a great series; I look forward in starting it.

    Posted on Twitter..

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  41. I can't wait to read this book! Thank you for the interesting interview and great giveaway!^O^

    Giada M.

    fabgiada @

  42. I'm dying to read this book so would love to be enter!

    kalynnick AT yahoo DOT com

  43. I think a great villian has a human side. One that you could say, hey he could be my neighbor. It draws you into the character and gives it more depth. Not that I want a sociopath living next door to me.

  44. Great covers on both books. Thanks for entering me and for holding the contest.

    K. Bryan

  45. Hi Annette!
    can't wait to read your newest book!!!
    a great villian is one that isn't easy to defeat and knows your most secrets fears...
    greetings, Ina

  46. This book and series sounds fantastic! I love a villain who can creep me out day or night! Wooooooaaaaahhhhhh!

    Please count me in!


  47. Thanks for the post SciFi Guy! I had read Drawn into Darkness and wanted to read the next book, but forgot the title and author. I keep meaning to start an excel file to keep track of all my authors, but never do.

    Congratulations on the new release, Annette. I look forward to reading it.

  48. this sounds like a great read. Can't wait to read it.

  49. Shared on Facebook - user name jellybelly82158!/profile.php?id=100000594583971

  50. Shared on Twitter - user name jellybelly82158

  51. i think the quality that tips the scales is the villian's ability to bring the good over to their side; a great villian can do it with ease, sometimes without us realizing....

    this series sounds awesome! thank you for the contest!

    k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

  52. To me, a great villain is someone who has personality, a clear goal which shouldn't be just "doing evil", and a twisted code of honor. I also like a villain who could have been a hero in different circumstances.

    mhamalainenenator @

  53. This sounds like a really interesting series.
    Count me in, please!


  54. I think that a great villain garners a bit of sympathy from the reader. But because of his over the top, crazy, and most of the time very creepy antics you just love to hate a great villain.

    patronus89013 at yahoo dot com

  55. Sign me up for signed copy! thanks

  56. I'd love a signed copy. That's awesome! Count me in!

  57. A great villains always catches the protagonist off guard and can never be redeemed.

  58. well i seen andy griffin in some old movie, and he was a BAD BAD guy , sheriff ... and i cant stand him since, lol
    and i almost hates bian denahey, whenhe played john wyne gacy,,

    they did way to good a job!!!!! cause they who i think of , wheni think villians

  59. You are a new author to me. Your book sounds really good.
    Sue B

  60. Sounds great, I look forward to reading it.


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