While Captain Shelby may be the most eccentric character of my writing career, Doomsday Man (a.k.a. Mr. DM), is certainly the most unsettling. To know him is much like exchanging polite, stimulating conversation with someone capable of things we’re too naive or ignorant to fathom. We know something’s out of place, but his charm is so perfect, we’ll need a whole novel to figure out what exactly is going on.
So from where did this dark stranger in Revenge of the Sea come? How was one of my favorite characters from all of my books born?
I have to say, to a large degree, I really don’t know. But I have a good guess.
Last year, I wrote a Christmas novella entitled, Goth Town. The dark protagonist, Lord Gothly, was enjoyable to write. How I longed for a supremely sophisticated, even jovial villain … one who made it highly difficult for readers to hate him. Of course, this is a wonderful tenet of writing villains: if you can’t feel sorry for him, he’s simply no fun, nor likely to be very memorable.
But I guess I still yearned for more than just an entertainingly unique Christmas story bad guy. I craved a dark protagonist with a complexity, an intelligence, even an amiableness that went so far, readers could cheer for him, even refuse to accept what he is, must be, in the end.
Mr. DM needed to be born.
And now he’s here … just waiting for you.
Oh, how I wish I could tell you what he turns out to be. What he really is. I wish I could tell you not to be afraid …
But then I wouldn’t be a novelist.
Yours in literature,