Rogues, Scoundrels, and Beasts
My first scoundrel was Han Solo. He was loud and arrogant...and I was young. I didn’t know it was the beginning of a trend. Oh, there were others over the years who started hinting at a deeper aspect to my personality. Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Draco Malfoy. Dean Winchester. The Beast...from any version of Beauty and the Beast. Captain Hook from Once Upon a Time. I think it was around the Captain Hook fascination that I started thinking that I have a thing—a thing for guys who you shouldn’t want to want.
It worried me. What did it say about me? Did I not appreciate nice guys? Do I not like to be treated right?
But, then, there was Black Widow. And Catwoman.
Okay, so I like conflicted people. As I examined why I liked scoundrels of all types and genders, I recognized that I saw something in them that I didn’t find in the too-good-to-be-true characters. There’s a reason why Captain America and Superman had always bored me—they stood for a black and white sense of right and wrong. Batman, on the other hand, well, he saw shades of gray. The darkness and scarred past within these characters called and received an answer in my soul. I wanted them to have their recognition and get a chance at really living.
When I was in high school, I knew I was different. At the time, I thought I was going mad. The dark thoughts that would frequently overwhelm me left me certain of it. I didn’t find out until later that I was dealing with undiagnosed and untreated obsessive-compulsive disorder. I never saw myself in the heroes of stories. They were simply too good. They deserved their happy ending. I was less sure that I did.
Today, I’ve been listening to “Evermore” from the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. It was added for this 2017 retelling and the Beast sings it as he releases Belle. The depth of emotion in the lyrics and tone are just unsurpassed by any of the other songs in my opinion. It’s both exultant and disheartened all at once. This contradiction is most obvious in the line: “Now I know she’ll never leave me—even as she runs away.” He’s winning and losing all at once—and recognizing that the winning was worth the losing.
When I started writing, I knew I wanted to give a voice to the flawed and misunderstood. Typically, my stories do have villains, but my protagonists aren’t unflawed and wonderful. Even any magic has a darker side. I don’t write about the popular and perfect because their stories don’t interest me. I will always want to know what made the Beast a beast. I want to get inside the mind of the cursed, troubled, and angry because that’s the path that intrigues me—the one that strays into the shadows.
In Secrets of Skin and Stone, both Piper and Grisham have darker secrets they’re hiding. Piper is struggling to keep her OCD symptoms under wraps and Gris’s is a more supernatural secret, but he plans to, somewhat literally, fly through town and leave it in his dust. I wanted Piper’s story, in particular, to see the light. Everyone deserves to be recognized and to be loved for who they are—at their core. I think inside we’re all both beautiful and beastly and both sides deserve a happy ending. I hope that comes through in this book.
Who are some of your favorite conflicted characters? And what’s your favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling/reimagining? (I’m a bit of an addict when it comes to this. My Kindle is full of them that I’ve read or need to read. I will love you forever if you find me a new favorite.)
Thank you for letting me take time on your site.
Meet Wendy Sparrow!
Wendy Laine is the penname of author Wendy Sparrow. Writing is in Wendy’s blood as are equal parts of Mountain Dew and chocolate. Wendy has been telling tales since she was a child with varying amounts of success. Her parents clearly anticipated her forays into the paranormal because she heard “The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ over and over. She lives in Washington State with a wonderful husband and two quirky kids and is active in Autism and OCD support networks. She can usually be found on Twitter where she’ll talk to anyone who talks to her and occasionally just to herself.
Meet Secrets of Skin and Stone!
Something is wrong in Hidden Creek. The sleepy Alabama town is more haunted than any place fiend hunter Grisham Caso has ever seen. Unearthed graves, curse bags, and spilled blood all point to an evil that could destroy his gargoyle birthright. The town isn’t safe for anyone, and everyone says fiery Piper Devon knows why.
Piper wants to leave Hidden Creek behind. She’s had enough of secrets—they hide in the shadows of her room and tell her terrible things are coming. Too-charming city boy Grisham might be her only chance to save herself.
To survive, Piper and Grisham have to shed their secrets and depend only on each other. But what lurks in Hidden Creek still might take everything away from them, including each other.
Secrets of Skin and Stone
By: Wendy Laine
Release Date: June 5, 2017
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