“The rifle was comfortable in his hands. Familiar. Less like a complex weapon than like an extension of his arms and eye, a part of him. It made him feel complete, filling the emptiness that lived inside of him.”
Hades is one of the four main characters in my YA thriller, Project Pandora. Unlike the other brainwashed teenagers in the Project, Hades is conscious during his kills. He doesn’t hesitate to pull the trigger, because that is exactly what he has spent his entire life being trained to do.
When I first began writing about Hades, I didn’t intend for him to be a sympathetic character. He was supposed to be a villain with no redeeming qualities, who would eventually get exactly what was coming to him. However, as I delved into his viewpoint, I realized that in his own way, Hades is not a villain, at least not in the traditional sense. His situation is even more tragic than the rest of the characters’ situations. He did not begin life as a monster—he was reshaped into one. And even as he tries to convince himself that he is the one in control, he has close to no control over his own life.
As soon as I began sympathizing with him, his character became much easier to write and played a greater role in the story. Usually, at some point in the writing process, I imagine random bits of dialogue and scenes. With Hades, I had no difficulty envisioning how he would respond to situations. He isn’t restricted by the same moral codes as other characters, which makes him more fun to write about. However, at the same time, his personality isn’t so alien that I can’t imagine his reactions.
After Hades became a main character, I decided that I didn’t want him to be the villain. At least not the main villain. With that in mind, I began to give him more sympathetic traits so that he wouldn’t come across as entirely evil. Through his relationship with Elizabeth, I showed that he’s capable of loving someone, even if it’s only one person. I gave him guard dogs and added a couple scenes where he pets the Rottweilers and shows them affection. Multiple times in the story, I compare him to a wild animal. I figured that at the very least, showing that animals accept him helps highlight his feral nature, even if it doesn’t redeem him.
A couple times in the book, I also showed him in a vulnerable state, which was kind of strange to write about. In almost all circumstances, Hades is the one acting out against others, so it was weird to imagine violence being committed against him. Even though those scenes were difficult to write, I hope that they’ll allow readers to see a different side of him and sympathize with him. And if not, I hope that he’ll at least become a character that readers love to hate, because that’s pretty fun, too.
Tyler Bennett trusts no one. Just another foster kid bounced from home to home, he’s learned that lesson the hard way. Cue world’s tiniest violin. But when strange things start happening—waking up with bloody knuckles and no memory of the night before or the burner phone he can’t let out of his sight—Tyler starts to wonder if he can even trust himself.
Even stranger, the girl he’s falling for has a burner phone just like his. Finding out what’s really happening only leads to more questions…questions that could get them both killed. It’s not like someone’s kidnapping teens lost in the system and brainwashing them to be assassins or anything, right? And what happens to rogue assets who defy control?
In a race against the clock, they’ll have to uncover the truth behind Project Pandora and take it down—before they’re reactivated. Good thing the program spent millions training them to kick ass…
Young Adult Suspense [Entangled Teen, On Sale: August 1, 2017, e-Book, ISBN: 9781633756861 / eISBN: 9781633756861]