I am delighted to feature Sacha Black today. For those of you who don’t know Sacha, she is the founder of the Annual Bloggers Bash and Bash Awards. (More about the Bash at the end of this post). Please join me in congratulating Sacha on the release of her first book, 13 Steps to Evil: How to Craft Superbad Villains, a step-by-step guide to creating multi-dimensional villains and much more.
Why did you write this book? This book started out as a couple of blog posts. Everything I’ve learnt on my journey to publishing, I’ve blogged. I guess as both a consolidation of my learning and a way to give back and share the lessons and mistakes I’ve made so others don’t have to. When I was studying villains it was no different. I wrote up the things I’d learnt as blog posts and I was fortunate enough they proved popular. But that told me that kind of content was not only wanted but needed too. So the seed was sown for 13 Steps To Evil.
Did you feel there was a gap in the market for this type of book? Absolutely, because of the popularity of the posts, I did some research and discovered that although there were lots of blog posts, there were only a couple of books out there that covered the topic and none were as in depth as I wanted. So absolutely there’s a market.
Does the book shed new light on a common issue? I think so. It comes at villain-creation from a different angle. For a start, it’s based on a myth busting concept. Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.
Most writers have hero-worship syndrome. Blindly concentrating on their hero and creating his or her depth of character and forgetting that a novel isn’t just one character.
So 13 Steps To Evil tries to blow that concept apart by suggesting the villain is actually the most important character in an author’s book. Why? Because a villain is the source of conflict, and without conflict, there is no story and no need for a hero.
Is it a topic that a lot of people can easily relate to? Absolutely. This isn’t a stuffy textbook. I purposely use really well known character examples from books, film and TV because most people will have heard of all, or at least most of the examples. I try to sprinkle a little humor and sarcasm into the book and provide a couple of thought provoking exercises at the end of each chapter.
How will the book help writers? The book is an easy to understand, step by step guide to creating Superbad villains. Each step has bite size chunks of info a summary and a couple of useful questions/exercises. There’s also a free checklist to go with the book, a short course and I’m also opening up a Facebook group for the short course completers where they can discuss their ideas/feedback with each other, and I will be in there monitoring it as well.
It will take writers from the basics all the way up to their ultimate warlord.
Who’s your favorite villain? Can you ask me that? That’s totally not fair! Honestly, I have a penchant for anti-heroes. The first anti-hero I ever fell in love with was Beetlejuice, I secretly wanted to wear his stripy suit. I love Deadpool too, with his ego and outrageous sense of humor, Loki, Patrick Bateman, Dexter, GAH there are so many. If we’re talking pure villain, then one of the best has to be Hannibal Lecter, surely?
Sacha Black has five obsessions; words, expensive shoes, conspiracy theories, self-improvement, and breaking the rules. She also has the mind of a perpetual sixteen-year-old, only with slightly less drama and slightly more bills.
Sacha writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her wife and genius, giant of a son.
When she’s not writing, she can be found laughing inappropriately loud, blogging, sniffing musty old books, fangirling film and TV soundtracks, or thinking up new ways to break the rules.
Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.
Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?
In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover:
How to develop a villain’s mindset
A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
Why getting to the core of a villain’s personality is essential to make them credible
What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs