Thursday, December 5, 2019

Why I wrote Dark Hunter and why I write my novels

Buy Dark Hunter
Dark Hunter differs from the other Zeta cartel novels.  In the other novels, Kyle, Arturo, Quique and Jorge are thoroughly human. They love their family and friends. They just happen to be career criminals. Rip, the dark hunter, is different.

When we first meet Rip we see him track and catch his prey. When he gets to his victim, we see he is so filled with pain from loss that he has overloaded. He is human, but he is not in control. He is insane from grief.

Then, as he starts his murder, evil consumes him. Rip calls it his monster. It rushes in and by the end of the first chapter the human part of Rip has been burnt out completely. The bit that is left looks human but there is nothing inside. Rip is basically an empty vessel for the monster, a beast that lives for the hunt.

That's why I started the book with the quote from Nietzsche, “Whoever fights with monsters should see to it that he does not become a monster in the process. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”

Rip stared into the abyss and it rose up and consumed him.

Most of my characters are pretty dark. After writing about Kyle the enforcer, Arturo the cartel boss, and Quique the hitman, I wanted to write a story about a hero who is all monster. A man with no humanity. So, Rip was born.

As for Morgan, she is blueblood Cartel. She grew up with violence, she knows exactly how it works and she can see its deep dark seductive power. But she made a moral decision and turned her back on it.

It takes incredible strength to do that. Morgan did it and she expected to be rewarded with a civilian life rich with ordinary blessings like a marriage, children, friendships – and a general absence of gore, blood and violence.

But she miscalculated. Because she is in a small town and everybody knows her history, she is not accepted. When we meet her, Morgan is essentially existing in limbo.

Now when the monster meets Morgan something very interesting happens. Rip does not become human because of Morgan's goodness. He is incapable of that. He simply sees her as a toy, an interesting thing to play with. And as a bit of camo so he can pretend to be human because the cartel don't like monsters.

Morgan is terrified of the monster until she sees that he has absolutely no intention of hurting her. She knows it's not a kindness in him, that it’s only because it would spoil his game. Morgan is not fooled into thinking the monster has any humanity.

Then Morgan does something very remarkable: she reaches into the abyss and tries to search for the human. She hopes to find the man Rip was once.

When Rip realises what she is doing, he tells her to stop because he knows there is just no human left. Morgan does not give up. She also starts telling Rip how to protect himself from the cartel. This is necessary because the monster has been living outside of human society for so long, that he has forgotten even the most basic social niceties.

With Morgan teaching the monster how to survive amongst the very flawed humans that are the cartel, she hopes this will reawaken the human in him.  The thing is, Rip learns to mimic the cartel, but he remains a monster. The only person he has feelings for is Morgan.

Morgan is a good person and she never really understands the truth. At the end of the novel, she thinks that she has brought Rip back into the fold.

So, Dark Hunter is a bittersweet romance.

Like I said, Dark Hunter is the least accessible of my stories. Rip is not lovable, but he has three things going for him. The first two are easy to see: Rip is very brave, and he has an excellent sense of humour - a nasty one because he is a monster. The final positive is that he is self aware, seeing he is a monster, and he also knows Morgan is a force for good. Most monsters destroy their antithesis, but Rip recognises she is his superior.

Morgan I'm afraid is also not very lovable. I feel that is my fault because I'm not very fond of moral people. I never did like Fanny Price; I always preferred Mary Crawford.

My Morgan doesn't preach or anything, she just quietly does what she knows is right. Maybe if I had her running around in circles and having agonies of thought and emo attacks, she would be more accessible. But Morgan is ex-cartel. She'd be damned if people saw her flinch!

She's also not beautiful. There is a strong push to having pretty heroines because romance is about escapism and a large number of readers crave to read about beauty. Also, sweet feminine heroines are currently popular because of the rise of fundamentalist Islam in Asia and the religious Right in the USA and Europe.

So, would it have killed me to make Morgan pretty and much more interested in clothes and feminine stuff? No, but this is where my writing ethos comes into play.

When you write, you have ask, "Okay, what do I want out of this? Do I want financial success? A piece of art? To help people with advice or maybe just to entertain?"

I write because my creative journey teaches me about myself and other people. Living with Rip helped me see into the darker parts of my character. It was the same with creating Morgan. She helped clarify a few ideas to me. 

It may seem a little odd to be writing about my dark pornographic pulp fiction novels in this way, as if they are True Literature, but I spent a year and a half writing this book. I wrote and rewrote and thought about it, sweated over it, and then I did it all over again.

When I re-read it last week, I could see all the flaws in it because well that's what authors do. We're like software engineers; there's always one more tweak to make, and that leads to a total overhaul of the product. Honestly, it's a disease.

Anyway, writing for myself means that sometimes I am developing characters and situations that do have broad appeal (Helpless sold super well as did The Bonus). Dark Hunter was not one of those times but that's okay.

I'm very glad I wrote it and I think that's what matters. At the end of your 120k words and months of sweat and tears, you ask yourself, “Was is it was a good experience?” and I have to say, “It was worth it.”

So, there you go. If you have comments, brickbats or whatever, I'm always interested in hearing from you

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