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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Death and Taxes? Well, death anyway.


I have been writing an historical deaf private investigator for a couple years now. My "Discreet Gentleman" was snapped up by Desert Breeze Publishing who, as far as I can tell, will take as many of Brander Hansen's stories as I can find the time to write. There are three books released now, with two more coming in 2013.

Brander lives in Norway in the early 1700's and he solves crimes. Sometimes he does so at the request of the local regent, but at other times it's on behalf of Prince Christian VI, the future king of Norway and Denmark.

Brander is a typical hero in many ways, but he is very atypical in others ~ besides his being deaf. In the first book, he forces a serial killer to ingest his own poison, proving the man's guilt when the murderer dies. It was a hard scene, but a necessary one.

Now I'm writing the fourth "Discreet Gentleman" book, and heading toward the conclusion of the major plot line. In doing so, I realized that Brander needs to kill again.

Having your hero kill another man is not a decision to make lightly. The circumstances must be such that the reader actually cheers the hero on. As an author, I must create a situation where the reader can place herself in the character's position, and agree that the hero or heroine is pushed to such extreme actions.

They must be able to fully understand the character's motivations ~ so those motivations must be fully developed by the author. Even if the reader is violently against capital punishment, they have to believe in, and agree with, the character's reasoning process. Even if they disapprove of the killing itself.

If the motivations as presented by the author are not absolutely clear, the reader will back away, cringe, and separate themselves from the character. This is not a desirable response for any author.

In the first "Discreet Gentleman" story, the serial killer's most recent victim was Brander's youngest brother. That is a pretty believable reason for taking justice into your own hands.

In the current manuscript, the soon-to-be victim has made a personal attack on Brander, causing quite a bit of strife ~ including his wife Regin's miscarriage of their first child.

When I first plotted this book, the murder was not included. But as I wrote my way toward the conclusion, I realized this was the only way that this plot could be satisfactorily resolved. Brander needed to show strength. Passion. Anger.

And the willingness to protect his family at any cost.

I have not written the death scene as yet, but I am looking forward to it. Brander knows the man is a criminal. And this criminal has simply gone too far. When the two men meet, the confrontation brings out all of Brander's fears and angers. His desperation and his frustration. His sorrow. And his rage.

Pretty juicy stuff.

I believe my readers will agree.

3 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

How cool that you've got a publisher for as many "Discreet Gentleman" books you can write! Really Awesome!!!

I agree, gratuitous violence including death is as offensive to many of us as gratuitous sex.

Judy said...

I've been wondering how you were going to handle this. Looking forward to it!

Sarah Raplee said...

I admire the way you don't flinch away from the hard stuff in your books, Kris. Characters must face difficulties and make hard choices in order for books to have a lasting impact on readers.