Along Came a Spider…Crafting a Female Villain for my Second Book

First of all, I am very happy to announce that my second novel has just been published on Amazon and Barnes and Noble as an eBook and soon a paperback. This book was a real challenge for me, because my story and my characters have moved past the original Phantom storyline and into adventures that are completely new. I had to decide how my characters would behave in their new situation, and create a compelling story to propel them along. And of course to set the stage for Book Three!

In the latest installment of my ‘Disfigured’ Series, called ‘About-Face’, I had a fine time creating a really evil villain to pit against Erik and Sylvie. Villains are never bound by society’s norms, never have to worry about being politically correct. While the good guys in your story have to navigate their problems in the ‘right’ way, villains never have to worry about things like that. They just go ahead and do what they want. And usually, they do not feel the least atom of guilt about their misdeeds. Many times, villains also have mental issues, and I have to say I think the villain in my new book is pretty twisted.

I really wanted my uber-villain to be a woman. It does seem as though when a female villain behaves very badly it carries more shock value than if a man were doing the same things. Women are generally expected to be the gentler sex, after all! I created Edythe Arlington to be somewhat of a mirror image of Erik, the Phantom, as he was when we first encounter him. Edythe becomes obsessed with him rather in the same way he was obsessed with Christine Daaé in the Phantom of the Opera story. And she is capable of wreaking just as much havoc in her own way as he ever could.

Edythe knows Erik is married, but she doesn’t care. She wants what she wants, and she wants Erik. She believes he is a kindred spirit to her, that they are soul mates. And why wouldn’t she want him? He is brilliant, talented, full of animal magnetism, mysterious and much more interesting than other men.

By chance only, not by design, Edythe is American. She is young and very spoiled, beautiful, and possessed of complete confidence in herself. She also has a fiery temper. She thinks on her feet and can make plans to carry out her nefarious schemes at the drop of a hatpin. She is fearless. She can use both mental and physical forms of attack depending on the situation. If she were a man, she would be like Moriarty.

But she is not without a tender side; in this case she is devoted to her younger brother, Matthew, and quite protective of him. She cares for her father, but knows how to manipulate him to serve her own ends. And in spite of the fact that she doesn’t really know Erik, she believes herself in love with him. But when he spurns her advances, things take a decidedly deadly and dangerous turn.

When Sylvie, my heroine, comes up against Edythe Arlington, she has no idea how to deal with her. Sylvie has never in her life encountered someone like Edythe, so bold and determined, and so casually cruel. Bound by her upbringing to be a nice person, Sylvie is rendered speechless when Edythe says something horrid to her. But Edythe’s arrival on the scene provides the catalyst that pulls Sylvie out of a terrible depression. She begins to feel again. And what she feels is jealousy.

If, when you read ‘About-Face’, you feel frustrated that Erik doesn’t have a chance to deal with her as she deserves, don’t worry. Just wait for the next book! I can promise you this: there will be trapdoors!