By Maggie James
This is a proud week for me, as my fourth novel 'The Second Captive' has now been published. For fun, this week's blog post is an interview with the book's antagonist, Dominic Perdue. Who wouldn't want to ask a psychopath what drives them?! (From a safe distance, of course). I'm making the post part of my 'Five' series, so I'll be posing five key questions for my latest bad boy to answer.
Before we begin, I'll give some background as to how I created the character. For me, it was essential to give my readers an idea of why Dominic behaves the way he does. The best way to achieve that, I decided, was to write several chapters from Dominic's point of view, as though I'm inside his head. It's always fun trying to think from the perspective of someone so warped! Dominic's a deeply disturbed man, but he's unable to change the way he operates, despite having a great deal of insight into his behaviour. (For those of you who've not read the book, he kidnaps eighteen-year-old Beth Sutton, keeping her in captivity for two years before she escapes).
Why the picture of actor Ian Somerhalder below? It's because when I craft a character, I like to hold an image in my head of what they look like. For me, Ian encapsulates best how I see Dominic Perdue.
Right then, let's sit Mr Perdue on the interview couch and ask him my five questions (whilst avoiding plot spoilers!)
1. How can you justify the kidnapping of Beth Sutton?
Easily, for two reasons. First, Beth represents the chance to put right a past misdeed, something terrible that has always haunted me. Restitution, that's what I call it. So, no matter what you think of me, I mean well. Really.
Second, I'm good for Beth. At twenty-eight, I'm older, wiser, more experienced; I can provide the stability and guidance she needs, and which she's not getting from her home environment. She should be grateful to me. I do so much for her, and ask for little in return.
2. Why Beth? What drew you to her?
Well, I'm reluctant to give plot spoilers, so I'll have to watch what I say! When I first meet her, Beth appeals to me partly because she's so vulnerable. At eighteen, fresh from school, she's naive and easily fooled, making her easy prey. All it takes is wine, a little flattery and charm, and she's hooked. Although our first meeting is not so accidental as Beth believes...
3. Do you honestly believe you can make Beth happy? Given that you kidnapped her?
I do. It might sound weird to you, and to your readers, but remember I'm a deeply damaged individual. For Beth, life with me has many advantages. What I provide for her is secure, good and safe. At eighteen, she's unsure what she wants from life - well, I've removed all reason for confusion. All she has to do is be my companion and keep me happy. In return, I provide her with a stable home, the food she eats, the books she reads. All her material needs are met, without worry, without struggle. Beth doesn't have to think about paying a mortgage, going out to work or raising children; I release her from such mundane concerns. That's why I say she should be grateful to me.
4. How did your mother's death affect you?
I've never recovered from the shock. Is it any wonder I'm such a damaged character, given my upbringing? I was seven years old, remember, when I discovered my mother dead from a brain aneurysm. She'd been my rock, the only good thing in my life, my defence against the monster that was my father. Without her, my world disintegrated into a loveless wilderness. Until I found Beth Sutton, and brought her home to live with me. You don't begrudge me that, do you? Everyone deserves some love in their life.
5. To what extent are you your father's son?
Ah, Lincoln Perdue. Hardly a candidate for 'Father of the Year' award, was he? Small wonder I didn't turn out so well, with him as a parent. He made my life a misery, scarring my soul, driving me to abduct Beth. I'm a better man than my father was, though. I'm very sure of that. For one thing, I'm far more self-aware. Driven by his temper and his prick, Lincoln Perdue lacked the self-control I possess. Well, usually, anyway. I admit that at times, Beth drives me to violence, but the responsibility for that is hers, not mine. Not my fault if she chooses to ignore the rules, is it? And whilst sex might have been my father's motivation, I'm above that sort of thing. I'm glad not to be ruled by my genitals. Sex holds no appeal for me. Another thing for which Beth should be grateful.
So, to answer the question, life with Lincoln Perdue has moulded me into the man I am, but now he's dead I'm free to express myself. If that means I abduct a young woman, so be it. As I've said, I kidnap Beth to set right a past wrong, and to give her a better life. Does that make me a monster? Not in my view. Don't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes, as the saying goes.
Oh, and thanks for creating me.
Thank you, Dominic!
I hope you enjoyed meeting my latest psychopathic character! As an author, somehow it's more fun to create the bad boys and girls of fiction. For me, it's a challenge to present them so that they're not one-dimensional in their flaws, and in a way that my readers understand why they act so badly. If you have any queries about how I crafted Dominic Perdue, or if you'd like to ask the man himself a question, then leave me a comment. I'll do my best to answer on his behalf (avoiding plot spoilers, of course!)
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