I’m sure you’ve heard that every character in your book considers themselves the hero of the novel. It’s why you need to know the goal, motivation, and conflict of every character (or certainly the primary and secondary characters). But can every character really be a hero?

One of my favorite things to do when I write a series, is to take the villain of a book and make that person the hero of another. I got an entire series out of doing that, actually, with my Storm Series books (the first book I wrote in the series, Magic in the Storm, has the hero’s mother as the villain. With so many protests about that, I wrote her back story: Storm on the Horizon, which didn’t answer the question of how she became the villain completely enough, so I wrote Bridging the Storm, which finally did).

I find villains fascinating. What makes them so bad and what makes them actually good–because every villain must have some good points (I call them fuzzy socks). And if someone has some good points, then why couldn’t they then become the hero of the next book or (or the previous one, as in the Storm Series books).

So many authors will take secondary characters (usually the hero’s best friend, sibling, or someone like that) to be the heroes in the other books of the series, but why not the villain?

According to my daughter, who reads ALOT! Her favorite story is one where not only is the hero the villain of a previous book, but one of the people they hurt becomes a love interest–they not only have to atone for their sins but must come to grips with how they (possibly inadvertently) hurt others in the process. I think that makes for a fantastic, complex, and fascinating story!

So, of course, I’m going to do that for the next book I write. Even better, it’s going to be a Christmas novella, so atonement and having the Christmas spirit of forgiveness will help matters along nicely. It’s definitely not easy to take a villain and make them into a hero, but who doesn’t love a writing challenge? Just as we make the lives of our characters difficult, the life of a writer can’t really be that much easier, can it? I mean, that would just be boring!

No, I’m going to take my villain (who tried to kill the hero and heroine of two other books in the series) and turn him around. He’s not only going to be invited to the wedding of one of the people he tried to kill, but fall in love with someone who was inadvertently affected by his machinations. It’s going to be fun, challenging, and… well, let’s see if I can pull it off!

So, tell me, people, do you like villains who redeem themselves? Or do you stick to easier heroes for subsequent books in a series?