07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Friday, September 16, 2016

Behind the Mask #amwriting #villains & #superheroes

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of SciFi and supernatural stories to engage your emotions.
And I have a thing about masks. Not a good thing. They freak me out. My sister was an avid collector of painted and decorated porcelain masks, a big thing in the 80s when we were teens. She had them on her walls, her clothing, her notebooks...*shudders*

I don't know why she, or anyone else liked them so much. I guess some find them beautiful, or enjoy the artistry of them, or the anonymity mixed with art they confer. I do know it was their blank, impassive expressions and empty eyeholes that disturbed me. Hollow shells behind which anything or anyone could hide. Expressionless miniature faces whose hollow eyes followed me around the room.
Which is probably why the main antagonist in my debut novel Keir wears a mask. The Emissary begins as a blank, anonymous appearing character, but soon the truth behind the mask emerges to the detriment of all.
He's not my only masked character though. In my superhero romance When Dark Falls, masks are (naturally) the norm. What's a superhero without the trademark mask? Okay, yeah, any fan of the Marvel films will know a mask isn't obligatory, but it's probably one of the first images that leaps to mind at the word superhero. No? Just me then. :-P
My heroes wear them in their superhero guise, while my villain has been described as a 'steampunk Darth Vader' with his 40s inspired gas mask/breathing apparatus and all black clothing hiding a scorched and scarred body. Again, the mask hides a secret as well as enabling a badly burned villain to stay alive and wreak their evil. Bwahahaa!
But all is revealed in the end.
So while I might not like masks myself, I've managed to channel my personal aversion into something constructive that has hopefully both chilled and entertained my readers. I guess it's not such a bad thing after all...
Want to chat? Find me on Twitter as @pippajaygreen or visit me at my website: pippajay.co.uk
(Non-book images courtesy of free images via Pixabay.com)


Sarah Raplee said...

I enjoyed your post, Pippa! I can easily picture a "steampunk Darth Vader!" The whole Super Hero Secret Identity thing is a part of our culture now. I wonder if facial recognition software can ID someone in a partial mask? Interesting thought...

Pippa Jay said...

Thanks Sarah!
Well, I suppose it depends on the mask. The very simple eye mask probably isn't going to stand up to facial recognition that relies on facial contours, while something like Ironman's could hide anyone. But I read an article recently where hackers used a 3D printer to replicate someone's face to fool a security system that relies on facial recognition, so it still doesn't take a huge amount to bypass something like that.

Sarah Raplee said...

So obvious and yet I didn't think of that! Those tricksy hackers!!!

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Great post, Pippa. I like the way you used your past history to create better villains. :-)

Pippa Jay said...

Thanks Lynn!