Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Varian Krylov for taking the time to talk with us today.
Title: Bad Things
Author: Varian Krylov
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Photographer: Ekaterina Zakharova; Cover design: Jay Aheer
Genre/Sub-Genre: BDSM, Contemporary, Crime Fiction, Erotica, M/M Romance, Menage/Poly, Thriller
Xavier makes a lot of people nervous. The rest, he flat-out scares. More than his hulking, tattooed body, it’s his predator’s gaze that makes people feel vulnerable, as if he had the power to read their thoughts and see their soul. For his lovers, it’s Xavier’s ravenous appetite for all things carnal—for the taste of flesh under his tongue and the feel of a trembling body under his control, for whispered pleas and muffled cries—that makes him dangerous.
But recently, driven by a festering rage against the men who attacked his sister a decade ago, Xavier has developed a taste for a different kind of hunt and conquest: stalking men who do truly bad things and punishing the predators he sniffs out. The problem with vigilante justice, though, is sometimes the man in your trap is innocent.
Carson suspects he’s playing a risky game with dangerous men. But the lies are convincing, especially when they’re slipped to him among hundred dollar bills. He never guessed how big and dark the secret hidden under all the lies and money could be. And he has no idea he’s not the predator, but the prey, until it’s too late.
And you can’t beg for mercy when there’s a gag in your mouth.
But when Carson escapes from Xavier’s trap, he’s forced to accept that Xavier is far from his most dangerous enemy. Xavier may even hold the key to overcoming the painful past that has kept Carson prisoner for almost two decades.
Making the Bad Guy a Sympathetic Character.:
Men I love to hate are my favorite characters, whether in the books I’ve written, or in others’ novels, films and TV shows (Eric Northman from True Blood, Madmen’s Don Draper, Frank Underwood from House of Cards and Dexter come to mind—they’re cocky, they hurt the people who love and trust them, but it’s so fun watching them do their dastardly deeds.
However, it’s a precarious dance, not letting these miscreants slip into the the danger zone of being the man I just hate (yes you, Walter White! even though I adore and admire the hell out of Breaking Bad, from the writing and directing to the acting to the cinematography).
There’s more than one way to make a bad guy sympathetic. I suppose one reason it’s not more difficult is because so many of us are inherently attracted to the idea of the bad boy. They appeal to our longing for the adrenaline high of danger, and I suspect one reason Fifty Shades of Grey has such massive appeal is that many people long to be the one to tame the devil and find his hidden, gentle side.
Several of my novels have wicked antiheroes. Are they sympathetic? Maybe not all of them, but a few have proven to be my readers’ favorite characters.
In Abduction, Conrad kidnaps a young woman with the goal of forcing her to experience all the sexual fantasies she’d woven into the stories she’d posted online. Conrad holds Devan hostage, and when she escapes, he tracks her down and keeps her imprisoned along with Vaughn, the man she thought she’d found refuge with. Conrad carries out his plan, even forcing Vaughn to participate.
In real life, of course, Conrad would fairly be labeled a kidnapper and rapist, yet of all the characters I’ve written, Conrad has been the one readers tell me over and over they are crazy for. I think one reason readers love to hate (but really love) Conrad is his unwavering, confident seductiveness. He knows exactly how to provoke the responses he wants, and ultimately he succeeds in giving Devan (and even Vaughn) exactly what she needs. So, in Conrad’s case, for many readers (I think), though not all (I know!) the ends justify the means. And I suspect this is one way of making a bad guy sympathetic in fiction: he can transgress just about any legal and moral boundary, as long as what he does ultimately brings benefit, rather than harm.
After is positively riddled with bad men, some of them about as sympathetic as Fred Phelps on a puppy-killing spree. But then we have Smith and Gareth. Smith is the ranking officer left in charge of a military base in the wake of an apocalypse that has decimated the population. When Eva shows up several years later, Smith believes she may be the only woman left alive, and the last chance for the survival of humanity. What he chooses to do is reprehensible, but his choice is a selfless one, it’s forgivable.
Gareth is born in another part of the country, after the apocalypse, and embodies the opposite of Smith’s rational utilitarianism. In a world where the few women who remain are owned as sex and reproduction slaves, Gareth abstains from participating in the culture of sexual slavery, but engages in a sick game of raping the rapists.
And Xavier? It’s entirely possible he’s not sympathetic.
When Dangerously Happy came out, readers wrote to me about this tertiary side character far more often and… let’s say enthusiastically, than about the two principal characters. It was the Conrad effect all over again. I got a ton of requests to give Xavier his own novel.
I pondered the idea for a while, and at first I couldn’t see giving Xavier an entire story of his own, because I was thinking from within Dario’s and Aidan’s world. But when I finally wised up and started imagining what Xavier’s world would be like—not safe and warm and nurturing like Dario’s loft in Dangerously Happy, but a truly dangerous world where bad things happen—Xavier’s story came together. And to all of you who told me that Xavier made you nervous, or that he scared the crap out of you in Dangerously Happy, I’m telling you now, he was on his good behavior with Dario and Aidan.
Be careful what you wish for…
When Xavier moved in, Carson struggled against the restraints. “Fucking . . . Come on. This shit’s not funny anymore.” Pleading gaze upturned from under his dark lashes.
Xavier laughed. “What’s that look?”
“Come on, Xavier. I know I fucked up. Of course you’re mad. But . . . come on. We’re . . . ”
“What are we, Carson?”
“I thought we were . . . ”
“Did you think we were friends?” Xavier laughed. “Did you think that you sleeping on my couch and cooking me a couple meals makes us friends?”
He breathed in the smell of him. Nervous sweat rising over the scent of soap. He caressed his cheek.
Carson went dead still, then tried to mold his frightened expression into sternness. “You could go to jail for this.”
Carson’s whining was getting on his nerves. Xavier lifted the lid on the chest of dark brown leather and took out the ball gag. Too funny, that perplexed expression on Carson’s face, then horrified incredulity as he figured it out. Sitting on his thighs, gazing into those shimmering blue pools of terror, Xavier got it on him before he could complain much more.
Xavier grinned. “You’re not the first guy I’ve had cuffed to this post. And that gag in your mouth isn’t the only toy in my box of treasures. But it is one of my favorites, because it means I don’t have to listen to a bunch of whining and begging. I mean, I love whining and begging. I get hard for whining and begging. But only for the first few minutes. Then it gets incredibly fucking tedious.
“But the thing I really love about the gag is, it’s so much easier to get to know someone when they’re being quiet. Just watching their face. Looking into their eyes. Without a bunch of blah, blah, lies, blah, blah rationalization to muddy the truth.”
About the Author:
Growing up near Los Angeles, I spent much of my time frolicking in the Pacific Ocean and penning angst-twisted poetry. Now I’m living in sunny Spain writing pathos-riddled fiction. I’ve always loved the music and substance of words, always loved writing in well-worn notebooks by hand, tapping at the keys of the computer, and, of course, conjuring up stories. And from my earliest memories, I’ve always been fascinated—maybe obsessed?—with sex and sexuality. In my writing, sex is the medium, the expression, and the tool of discovery for my characters’ insecurities, the needs that drive them, the comfort they can’t live without, the joy and relish of life that makes each of them intense, strange, and alluring.
9/22: Rainbow Gold Reviews
9/23: Velvet Panic, Multitasking Mommas
9/24: Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings
9/25: Cathy Brockman Romances
9/26: Michael Mandrake
9/29: My Fiction Nook
9/30: Amanda C. Stone
10/1: It’s Raining Men
10/2: Romance the Night
10/3: Queer Town Abbey
10/6: Decadent Delights
10/7: Wake Up Your Wild Side
10/8: MM Good Book Reviews
10/9: The Novel Approach
10/10: Parker Williams, Iyana Jenna
10/13: Nephylim, The Blogger Girls
10/14: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
10/15: Love Bytes
10/16: Inked Rainbow Reads
10/17: Prism Book Alliance, Dawn’s Reading Nook
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
|This post may contain affiliate links.
|Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews. The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.|