I am excited to welcome author Seth Skorkowsky, who’s celebrating the release of his new novel, Dämoren.
‘IN THE SAME VEIN AS SUPERNATURAL, HELLBOY, AND BLADE’
A secret society of monster hunters.
A holy revolver forged to eradicate demons.
A possessed man with a tragic past.
A rising evil bent on destroying them all.
Matt Hollis is the current wielder of the holy weapon, Dämoren. With it, he stalks and destroys demons. A secret society called the VALDUCANS has taken an interest in Matt’s activities. They see him as a reckless rogue—little more than a ‘cowboy’ corrupted by a monster—and a potential threat to their ancient order.
As knights and their sentient weapons begin dying, Matt teams up with other hunters of his kind such as LUIZA, a woman with a conquistador blade; ALLAN, an Englishman with an Egyptian khopesh; MALCOLM, a voodoo priest with a sanctified machete; and TAKAIRA, a naginata-swinging Samurai. As the hunters become the hunted, they must learn to trust one another before a powerful demonic entity thrusts the world into a terrible and ageless darkness.
Why Our Heroes Shouldn’t Get Along
As an author, I want you to like my hero. In fact I want you to love my hero. I want you to celebrate his victories, and weep at his defeats. In stories, like Dämoren, with a large cast of heroes, I want you to love them all (some more than others). One of the easiest traps for authors to fall in to, is having their heroes all love each other, and together, defeat their opponent. After all, if your heroes dislike each other, then how can the reader possibly like them all? How can we trust our reader to decide? They should dislike the enemy, not each other, right?
Would Star Trek have had the same appeal had Bones and Spock not clashed at every single turn? Each time they had an obstacle, Bones wanted to solve it morally, and Spock logically. Did their constant fighting damage anyone’s love for them? No. If nothing else, we loved them more for it.
Dämoren‘s heroes face a horrible obstacle. In order to survive, they must learn to work together. The easiest way would be for them to unify, maybe bicker a little, but stand as one against their enemy. But that would be soooo boring. I didn’t want bickering. I wanted outright disdain between my heroes.
The personification of that disdain is Malcolm Romero. Malcolm is one of the senior knights in the Valducan Order and his feelings about Matt Hollis become strikingly clear in the first thirty seconds. Malcolm doesn’t dislike Matt because he’s written to be a jerk, blind to how awesome Matt is. His reasons are just and logical. He’s a good man, but that doesn’t slow down his harsh treatment of Matt.
Not wanting him to be a flat, antagonistic hero, whose whole purpose seems to be being contrary, I put a lot of care in making Malcolm as believable and rounded as possible. The end result was that I fell in love with him. He’s one of my favorite characters in the novel, and the reason for that is because he is strong willed, and that he cares. Yes, he is a jerk at times. Yes, I know readers will scream obscenities at the pages in frustrations at him (prayed for it, actually). But Malcolm’s dedication to those he loves and what he believes in, is what makes him who he is. Having him get along with Matt would be a betrayal to him and to the story.
Real people don’t always get along. Good people often dislike one another. Characters should be the same. Spock and Bones might not get along, they might not be friends, but can you imagine how Star Trek would have suffered had they conveniently forgotten their principles and not fought?
Dämoren is a story about people. They might not all like one another, but they stand for the same goals. Their differences are what make them real. An author should trust that their readers will see beyond our characters’ disagreements and still care for them as long as they’re believable.
Seth Skorkowsky was born in Texas in 1978. He currently lives in Denton, Texas, with his wife, and works for the University of North Texas. His short story “The Mist of Lichthafen” was nominated for a British Fantasy Award (long list) in 2009. Dämoren is Seth’s debut novel. He recently signed a two-book deal with Rogue Blades Entertainment for his “Black Raven” sword-and-sorcery collection. When not writing, Seth enjoys travel, shooting, and tabletop gaming.
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