J J Dare, author of False Positive and False World, delights in creating evil characters. A fellow collaborator in the Second Wind serialization, Rubicon Ranch, J J Dare created the monstrous victim in Rubicon Ranch: Necropieces, the second book of the series, along with a couple of his offspring. She calls her evil characters Bad Wasps.
We’re starting a new book, Rubicon Ranch: Secrets, and seeing how much fun J J Dare has with her evil characters, I’d considered exchanging my ongoing character for a bad wasp, but my character, Melanie Gray, still has so much to accomplish that I can’t just dump the poor woman. She needs to find out who killed her husband and why, and she needs to resolve her feelings for the misogynistic sheriff.
I considered writing another character in addition to Melanie, and I almost gave up when I couldn’t think of a character I’d be willing to spend the next year with, but then I discovered Lydia Galvin. Or rather rediscovered her.
Lydia was an offscreen character in the first book of the series, Rubicon Ranch: Riley’s story — Sheriff Bryan’s lover. Told from the sheriff’s point of view, she was a grasping woman who wanted him to divorce his wife and marry her, but when he wouldn’t fall in with her schemes, she ended up turning him in to the disciplinary committee.
Here’s the excerpt (written by Lazarus Barnhill):
“Anyway, Lydia Galvin . . . Lieutenant Lydia . . . she and I had an affair. What Lydia wanted was love. And she wanted me. She could not believe I didn’t love her to the extent she loved me. She wanted me to leave Monica. When I wouldn’t, she threatened to tell her. I told Monica first, as a preemptory strike. Lydia had visions of confronting Monica. Boy was she surprised when Monica confronted her. Monica told her to be content with what she had with me, that she was going to mess up all our lives if she kept on.”
Bryan paused for a reaction from Melanie, but her serene face gave no indication of her thoughts.
He took a sip of tea. “Somehow Lydia got the idea that if she came between me and my career, between me and my marriage, I would magically realize how much I cared for her. Once she told the right people on the force what was happening, the disciplinary procedures couldn’t be stopped. And of course discipline issues on the police force become public record. I had been the beloved, fair-haired boy before. It was so totally different to become the pariah. Lydia came to me—even after I had cleaned out my office and watched them paint over my name on my parking space. She came to where I was standing and said, ‘Can’t you understand how much I love you?’”
“What did you say to her?”
“I said, ‘I’m still licensed to carry a sidearm in California and if you come near me again I’m going to shoot you between the eyes.’”
On rereading the passage, I realized how much of a philanderer’s point of view it portrayed. In trying to see the situation from Lydia’s side, I got the impression of a woman, perhaps a bit lost, perhaps hard used by the sheriff who obviously wanted only one thing from her, and it wasn’t the love she so desperately craved. It must have hurt her deeply to try one last time to connect to the man she loved, and to have him threaten to kill her. Might this (and whatever in her background that made her so desperate for love in the first place) have turned her into a stonehearted woman willing to kill to serve her ends?
I’ll find out in the coming months as I develop the character. It should be fun to discover if she’s a bad wasp or merely a woman who’s had too much pain in her life.
f you have not yet checked out Rubicon Ranch, you can do so here: Rubicon Ranch.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+