I introduce to you, Edward Granger, the antagonist of my novel, A Tree Firmly Planted. Tree is the story of three women — two sisters and their maid — and the men in their lives. These women come of age just as their home state, Tennessee, enters into the Civil War.
I was inspired to write this after reading Abigail’s blog about her evil character, Christopher. She answered questions posed in a meme called Beautiful People. What a fun way to develop a character!
In that light, here’s Edward:
1. What is Edward Granger’s motive?
If asked, Edward would say that his motive is to construct a better society, one in which evils such as poverty and war have been eradicated and in which scientific progress points people to a better future. However, he has spent more time accumulating money and power and creating mayhem than he has in actually doing something constructive. His true motive is to protect his sense of self, which is more fragile than he realizes. He rests his identity not on God, but on personal power and the ability to control others. Edward does not admit this even to himself. He is sharp when it comes to reading others, but he is deceived about himself.
2 . What are they prepared to do to get what they want?
Edward will do anything to get what he wants, provided that he can justify it to himself. Unfortunately, he is very creative in justifying evil methods. To Edward, the end justifies the means.
3. Are they evil to the core, or simply misunderstood?
Edward has indulged his sinful nature to the point that he no longer hears many stirrings of his conscience. He is not beyond some desire to repent, however. He also has some admirable qualities, though even these are tainted by his evil.
Is he misunderstood? Yes, although that neither excuses nor fully explains his dark side. He guards his core so tightly that even he does not understand the workings of his own heart. He is more interested in what he can get out of others than in having truly intimate relationships. Unless it suits his purposes to be well thought of in the moment, he does not care whether other people understand him or not.
If Edward would open up, we (and he) might find that there are deep hurts in his innermost being. His relationship with his father was difficult. However, Edward does not give either us or himself the chance to go there.
Will Edward ever embrace redemption or will he reject it? That is a question to be answered in By Streams of Water, which is book two in A Tennessee Trilogy.
4. What was their past like? What about their childhood? Was there one defining moment that made them embrace their evil ways?
Only the author knows. Well, the author and anyone who is reading this blog knows Edward’s secrets. Edward’s father indulged him with material things, but he did not connect with Edward emotionally or spiritually. Edward saw his father as being weak, and he has vowed never to be weak as his father is. He started out in life with good intentions, but he took some wrong turns in pursuing them. His heart has been gradually growing colder.
His mother was a woman whose example might have led him in another direction had he chosen to follow it. Likewise, he has a dear cousin whose influence might have helped him if he had let her in. In fact, any number of people have held out truth and light to him. So far, he has refused to see.
5. Now that they’re evil, have they turned their back on everyone, or is there still someone in their life that they care for? (Brother? Daughter? Love interest? Mother? Someone who is just as evil as they are?)
Edward does have a love interest. I can’t say more without giving some of the plot away.
6. Do they like hugs?
Edward does enjoy a hug, but only when he initiates. He is too controlled to enjoy spontaneous affection. Others find him too intimidating to hug.
7. Are they plagued by something? (Nightmares, terrible thoughts?)
Edward is plagued by an external threat. I can’t say more without giving away too much of the plot.
8. Who are they more similar to: Gollum or Maleficent?
He’s not fully like either one. Power might be to Edward like the ring is to Gollum. The more he seeks to possess it, the more it possesses him. He still has his wits about him, though. Like Maleficent, he is a schemer, but he’s way too confident to be jealous of a rival.
9. If your villain could have their choice of transportation what would it be?
Edward already has all the swift horses and the carriages that he needs. He travels in luxury on ships and railroads. He travels around the globe pretty regularly.
What if he could peer into the future and see cars and jets and rocket ships? He’d be the first one to try these newfangled inventions! I think he’d be happiest driving a sports car along the windy roads of Monte Carlo, but, unfortunately for him, he was born too soon for that.
10. If you met your villain in the street, how afraid would you be? Are they evil enough to kill their creator?
Edward Granger is a dangerous man. Of course, I’d be afraid to meet him in the street, but I like to think I’d reach out to him. Would he kill his creator? He would kill the creator metaphorically, by believing that he is his own creation. He would never accept that he is a character in a book or that the author has any say so in his life.
He is evil, but is he as evil as his reputation says? I leave it to readers to decide. Perhaps, more will be revealed in By Streams of Water.