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What makes us root for the good bad guy? By Jacqui Rose

Jacqui Rose. Pic by Koobunt PhotographyAfter a two week break, I’m back with the book tour for Jacqui Rose’s new book called ‘Toxic’. Today, Jacqui talks about why we root for the good, bad guy.

Having just re-read ‘Wuthering Heights’ recently, I was struck by how much I was rooting – as always – for Heathcliff, albeit he is downright mean and abusive at times. But no matter, each time I read the book I re-fall in love with him!

So, it got me thinking what is it exactly that makes a good bad guy? I call them, good bad guys because I like to put the villains in two different categories. There’s the bad bad guy where he has no redeeming qualities and the reader is relieved to see him caught in the end, and then there’s the good bad guy, where even though he may live his life outside the law and at times be harsh and cruel, we still want him to escape capture or even sweep us off our feet!

My books are full of good bad guys and even though they do terrible things and treat people badly at times, most of my readers are rooting for them, myself included which is a strange phenomenon when we think of what they have done. In an extreme example you only have to look at Dr. Hannibal Lecter in ‘Silence of the Lambs’, a monstrous person who’d committed horrific crimes, yet the whole way through the book, we’re still rooting for him!

I think to root for a good bad guy certainly isn’t about what they look like, though it doesn’t hurt for them to be chiselled and taut! but like all characters it’s about the emotional depth of them, and especially the emotional torment they’re suffering or have suffered.

To create a great bad guy, it’s important from the beginning the readers are behind them. He must have a level of emotional depth above and behind the hero in the story because it’s vital that readers can connect to the reason why he’s acting so badly and what it is which is driving them to such extreme behaviour.

I think this is an essential ingredient so even though the reader might be conflicted by the fact that they’re cheering on the villain of the piece, what will over-ride this moral dilemma will be the emotional connection and the sympathy through the understanding of the character as well as the sense that the bad guy is only in this position for reasons beyond their control rather than by choice.

Toxic

By me making the good bad guy complex, where on the surface it just seems like they have a desire to be bad, but at the same time creating a under the surface narrative where the nature of the behaviour is driven by love, passion or desperation – all emotions that readers can relate to – rather than the readers seeing my good bad guy as completely evil, readers will see him as merely flawed with a possibility of redemption, hopefully they will continue to root for him throughout.

In my latest book ‘Toxic’, the character of Alfie Jennings returns and he very much fits into the good bad guy category. Alfie often seems and behaves like he’s just a tough guy; ruthless and at times out and out uncaring with a driving ambition just to get and stay on top no matter who he hurts. But right at the heart of Alfie there’s a vulnerability, a softness, a man who was damaged by his upbringing, a man when he does love, loves with passion and intensity and as such, Alfie is one of my readers favourite characters which is just great, because it’s always so much more fun to write the good bad guys rather than the hero. We all love a villain!

You can buy Toxic from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Mine By Susi Fox

Mine‘Mine’ is the latest book by Susi Fox.

You wake up alone after an emergency caesarean, dying to see your child. But when you are shown the infant, you just know. This baby is not yours. No one believes you. They say you’re delusional, confused, dangerous. But you’re a doctor.
Do you trust yourself? Because you know only one thing – You must find your baby.

Mine is an intoxicating thriller, that will keep the reader hooked throughout. The story is primarily seen through the narrative of Sasha, a first time mother who has finally given birth after years of trying. This should be a happy time for her and her husband Dan, but Sasha is convinced that the baby she is told is hers is actually not and so ensues a story of investigation, doubt and paranoia.

The story starts just as Sasha wakes up after an emergency caesarean, Sasha is confused and desperate to see her little girl but when she is presented with a baby boy instead, she is convinced that the baby is not hers and is determined to find her baby. Sasha is a doctor and is aware of circumstances can change during the pregnancy, but no matter how many times she is told the boy is hers, Sasha declares otherwise.

‘Mine’ is cleverly written, it’s written in both the past and present tense, both through the narrative of Sasha and Dan and gives an interesting insight into their relationship. Their first meeting, their history and just how much their desire to have a baby consumed their relationship.

Right from the very beginning the story is dark and claustrophobic, set primarily within the confines of the hospital, what should be a happy moment for the couple is instead riddled with sadness and suspicion. The story is a rollercoaster right from the very beginning, I found myself urging Sasha to bond with her little boy and other times, with suspicious characters and situations, began to wonder if Sasha could potentially be right, and it’s not all in her head like everyone suspects.

A chilling tale about the dark side of motherhood, this book is an intense story where everyone is a suspect. Creepy and scarily believable, ‘Mine’ will leave you breathless when you reach the final page.

You can buy Mine from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Relight My Fire By Joanna Bolouri

Relight My Fire‘Relight My Fire’ is the latest book by Joanna Bolouri.

When Phoebe and Oliver had their happy ending, they thought the hard part was over. And now, with a five year old daughter, they are far from the blissful hedonistic lifestyle of when they first started dating. Not one for giving up, Phoebe creates a sexy wishlist: a jar where they can ask the other for anything they’ve ever wanted in bed – or out of it. But with distractions aplenty, will they be able to relight the fire in the bedroom?

I spent the weekend with my head in this funny and fresh tale. A frank and honest reflection on relationships, with hilarious situations and witty one-liners.

This is the third book that I’ve read by Joanna and this book sees the welcome return of Phoebe Henderson who appeared in one of her earlier books called ‘The List’. In this book, Phoebe is hurtling towards her 39th birthday and feels that her relationship with her boyfriend called Oliver is growing stale, so with the advice of her best friends, Lucy and Hazel, she enlists the help of a therapist called Pam, who helps them ignite their fires.

As they progress with their therapy, Phoebe and Oliver begin to discover things about themselves as well as their relationship.

Joanna is a fantastic writer, she writes wittily and from the heart. With a strong relatable leading woman who makes for delightful reading. Phoebe is my new best friend, she’s frank and straight to the point and with her best friends, they’d be perfect for a night out.

Fun from the very start, ‘Relight My Fire’ is a deliciously, naughty book, a story that had me snorting throughout, a must read for all fans of Mhairi McFarlane.

You can buy Relight My Fire from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Mad Book Tour – Extract

MadOn the book tour for Chloé Esposito’s new novel called ‘Mad’, sit back and enjoy an extract from the exotic tale.

Taormina, Sicily

Holy fuck; my sister lives here?

Dollar signs flash in my eyes. The villa is ridicu- lous. This place must cost a bomb.

‘Do you own this?’

‘I inherited it from my parents.’

Oh yes. I remember Beth said. They died. Poor Ambrogio.

He was only thirteen. Thirteen and a millionaire. Actually, that’s awesome. He probably didn’t mind. And lucky for him, he’s an only child, no snotty big sister to split it with.

‘Benvenuto!’ he says.

Ambrogio opens my door and takes my hand. The seats are so low I need it, especially in these heels. How do people walk in these things? He pulls me up and I steady myself on the top of the car, shield my eyes and blink into the sun.

‘Wow.’

It looks like the set of a luxurious fashion shoot: Vogue or Elle or Vanity Fair. I expect to see Gisele Bündchen reclining on a sunlounger: gold lamé bikini, daiquiri, tan. Where are the cam- eras? The lightbulbs flashing? The photographers clicking? I’m reminded of the faraway fantasy worlds of Condé Nast Traveller and The Sunday Times Travel,of all those dream properties in ‘A Place in the Sun’; except, clearly, I am here, so this must be real.

Ancient pink buildings with terracotta roofs sprawl across acres of garden: manicured lawns, manicured flower beds. The flowers are so beautiful they’re singing: red geraniums, purple fuchsias, every shade of blue, frangipani, bougainvillea, jasmine.

It’s paradise, Eden: roses and cactus flowers, violets and camel- lias. Towering palm trees wave in the breeze, their green leaves exploding like fireworks.

Then I see the pool: cool, deep, seductive. Lava-stone tiles frame opal blue. Inky water sparkles in the stark Sicilian sun; flecks of light blind me as I stare. Palm trees and roses reflect in its mirror: a Hockney painting,anoasis. Cream linen deckchairs and parasols surround it, quiet and neat on the crazy paving. The water looks calm and far too inviting – it’s all I can do to stop myself jumping in. I want to splash around like a hot girl in a pop video, pretend I’m a teenager on spring break.

I turn around and gawk at the house. The villa itself doesn’t even look real, like a still from a golden-age Hollywood movie, something romantic by Federico Fellini or the set from Roman Holiday. I look around for Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Crumbling walls are covered with ivy, emerald leaves shining almost too green. The sign by the door says:

‘La Perla Nera’. I catch a glimpse of marble through an open window, curtains billow in the breeze like tethered clouds.

I don’t know how long I stand here staring. I think I’m dreaming.

Someone calls my name.

‘Alvina?’

I don’t know about you but I think this sounds like the perfect book to enjoy by the pool!

Louise Pentland

“LouiseLouise Pentland is a lifestyle and beauty blogger, vlogger, author and fashion designer. Her two YouTube channels have a total of over 3.7 million subscribers and her debut book, ‘Life with a Sprinkle of Glitter’ was a Sunday Times best seller. 2017 sees her turn her hand to fiction writing with the release of her debut novel, Wilde Like Me. She is also a champion for Gender Equality and female empowerment and in 2016, she was named as a United Nations Change Ambassador for Gender Equality.

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
    I’ve always loved writing! English was my favourite subject in school, I achieved an A at GCSE despite my teacher, Ms Cramp telling me I ‘didn’t have the aptitude for the written language’. I guess my Times Number One Bestseller says differently- heh heh.

    In 2009 I began my blog ‘Sprinkle of Glitter’ and wrote articles on this regularly for many years. When books came into my life in 2015, it took a back seat for the author life but if ever I have a gap in books I’ll pick it up again. Now I love writing my books and was so proud to release my debut novel Wilde Like Me and that it got so much love from readers. I hope to write many more books in the future.

  2. What made you write female fiction?
    Pretty simply, it’s what I most love to read.
  3. You’re extremely popular on social media with over 2 million followers, how have you found social media has developed over the years?
    This is a massive question. In short, just like any industry, it has matured. It began is quite underground and mysterious, grew in following, people were frightened of it, traditional media began to understand and embrace it, corporations followed, now it’s a huge power for good (mostly). It allows us to connect and learn and progress and care. I’m excited for it’s future.
  4. What’s your favourite book of all time?
    ‘Bridget Jones Diary’ by Helen Fielding.
  5. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    I can’t say I’ve memorised any opening lines I’m afraid, and I couldn’t possibly pick if I had.
  6. Wilde Like Me

  7. What piece of advice would you offer to aspiring bloggers?
    Produce content regularly so your audience can rely on you.
    Never lie.
    There’s no point trying to copy someone else because they are already the experts in their field, be your own unique self because nobody is as good at that as you are.
  8. If you were starting your own book club, what other authors would you ask to join?
    Lindsey Kelk, Helen Fielding, Sophie Kinsella, JK Rowling,
  9. Who’s your favourite literary hero or heroine?
    Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter.
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    A book detailing how to get off the desert island with the least amount of strife.
    The Bible, because it would take me a really long time to get through it and I might find some good life answers.
    All 7 Harry Potter books for the same reason as above.
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Quite simply, keep writing. Write everyday even if you think it’s rubbish. Ask people to read what you write so you become accustomed to that fear of judgement and read too. I hear a lot of people wistfully say, ‘I’d love to be able to write’ and I always reply, ‘You can, just start’.
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    My laptop and no children!! Generally my cats will jump up for a cuddle because if I’m writing, my lap isn’t full of a baby or little girl and the cats take their chances where they can!
  13. And finally do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    I am so excited for the release of the second book in the Robin Wilde series, called ‘Wilde About The Girl’ which is out in August. It’s my best kept secret this year because I’ve been dying to spill all the details but I won’t spoil it for you (I think my publishing team would scrap me if I did!). I can tell you though that each character progresses on their personal journey, we have life and death (woah), romance where you’d least expect it, a secret snog in a cupboard and a bunch of new characters to love or hate! It. Is. Juicy.

Follow Louise Pentland on Twitter Louise Pentland for updates or check out her YouTube Channel at Louise Pentland

You can buy Wilde Like Me from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.