I have a special guest today, Andy Peloquin, who is sharing with you some really neat research he did for his series The Last Bucelarii. Without further ado, here is Andy.
In late 2015, I wrote a blog post titled "Inside the Mind of a Killer". In it, I shared some information I had learned from a paper the Secret Service had written on assassins and killers. For example, did you know there are eight major reasons to become an assassin?
To achieve notoriety or fame
To bring attention to a personal or public problem
To avenge a perceived wrong; to retaliate for a perceived injury
To end personal pain; to be removed from society; to be killed
To save the country or the world; to fix a world problem
To develop a special relationship with the target
To make money
To bring about political change
Why am I sharing this? Simple: the main character in my dark fantasy series The Last Bucelarii is an assassin. Not your usual "hero" or protagonist, I know, but I feel that's what makes him so much more of an enjoyable character.
When you first meet the character "the Hunter", you see him killing for the simplest motivation of all: to make money. He demands such high fees that only the wealthiest can pay him. But he never fails, so he has earned a reputation for being ruthless and relentless. Plus, he can't be killed, making him the perfect unstoppable killer. All what you'd expect from a classic "villain".
But as you delve into the character more, you come to understand that his real motivation is a bit deeper than just making money. In fact, it's more along the lines of #4.
You see, despite his immortality, he has no memories of his past. His first memory is walking into Voramis (the city where he lives), and he can't remember anything beyond that. The only thing he has from his past is a dagger, one he named Soulhunger due to its lust for death. It is a persistent voice in his mind, driving him to kill, begging for blood. If he doesn't kill, the dagger gets louder and more demanding until he has no choice but to give it what it asks for. He kills to end personal pain--the pain in his mind resulting from the dagger's demands.
When I started writing this character, I wanted to make him an unflappable, unshakeable, ruthless person who never felt fear. But that's so dehumanizing! After all, humans know fear, have to fight to overcome it on a daily basis, so a character that felt no fear would be a hard one to relate to. I had the motivation for his killing (to make money), but that couldn't be the ONLY motivation. As I read over the list of motivations, I found that the one I liked best was the "end personal pain" one. A "hero" would champion a cause, but an anti-hero would have other motivations. His primary motivation, though he won't admit it even to himself, is to find peace from the voices in his mind. Only by killing will he silence the voices and find the peace he craves.
Thanks so much for being a guest on Angell's Life, Andy! This was fun!
Do you want to learn more about Andy's books? Well, keep tuned because I was so excited when I read this guest post, that I went and got both books! I will have the reviews up soon.
Are you as enamored as I am and don't want to wait? I totally get it. You can grab a copy of Blade of the Destroyer,the first book in the series on Amazon for $3.99. And the second book just came out this weekend, and you can grab Lament of the Fallen, for $3.99.