Chuck Bowie talks about...
The Road To Redemption
Here’s the thing about human nature: it is messy.
You’ve seen them: the guys who raise hell on Saturday night and wouldn’t miss going to church on Sunday. Or that teacher who has zero patience for most of her students, yet always has a snack for the child who has forgotten their lunch. In fiction, as in life, the lines between good and bad can become blurry. And sometimes, that’s where the tasty part rests.
In my novel Three Wrongs, Donovan, my Thief For Hire protagonist, does bad things. He’s a thief and a liar. When the going gets tough, his instinct for self-preservation causes him to step over the line. And bad things can happen when you cross the line.
A series of conversations and events cause Donovan to re-imagine what his life might be like if he was to reverse some of the wrongs. It calls to mind Saint Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. But what if he nevertheless wanted to make a profit from this conversion? Life, in fiction or otherwise, is never clear-cut.
There is a scene, early on in Three Wrongs where Donovan places someone in harm’s way, with disastrous consequences. We don’t like our protagonist, at that point. He is a bad man who has inadvertently done a bad thing. Readers have shown that they don’t like badness at the beginning of a novel, a steady diet of inexorable badness throughout, and an unsettlingly bad ending. (I don’t do that, by the way; I’m not tough enough) So, why do we keep reading Donovan?
Donovan has a soul. Yes, he’s broken, in his way. Events throughout his life have formed and informed him. He carries his history into each day and it sits like a bully-angel on his shoulder, demanding that he stands up for himself. But he knows right from wrong, after a fashion, and he tries to makes amends. And we like that. This is part of what makes Donovan interesting. We want to follow him, to understand why he is bad and how he will try to make amends.
As a writer, I created this person who does bad things, but who may wish that he was a better person. Once he had sprung to life, his actions, together with his personality got me wondering: where will this dichotomy between good and bad take him? Three Wrongs is a suspense-thriller series about a Thief For Hire.
Naturally, I had to find out, for instance, if he back-slides. I explore this element in subsequent episodes.
So, is he a bad guy, trying to be good or a good guy, trying to be bad? I find him, in all his complex, imperfect glory, interesting. Initial reaction from my readers suggests that they want to know what happens to him.
Maybe a little bad isn’t so, well, bad, after all.
Sean Donovan is doing all right; he has two offshore bank accounts and an American one as well and all three are filling up nicely. His network of clients know his business plan: he is willing to acquire whatever rare or inaccessible product is needed, be it the security plans to an art gallery, a rare Etruscan goblet or a recorded conversation from a former American President. And he will steal it and deliver it to them, no questions asked nor answered.
But he is becoming dissatisfied. In addition to the physical wear and tear inflicted on his body by adversaries, he is now becoming weary of the toll his newly-discovered conscience is exacting from these highly illegal exploits. A series of lies to his most recent client has caused him to think about the impact of his deeds and he doesn’t like how it makes him feel. An idea begins to form; what if he was to undo his last three wrongs? And what if he nevertheless wants to benefit from turning over this new leaf?
This story follows Sean Donovan as he travels from Bucharest to London to Montreal and New York. Will he repent his wicked ways? Will he quit the business before those who he has wronged catch up to him? Will he discover that three wrongs don’t make a right?
THREE WRONGS has me hooked.. It has just gone to the top of my 'to read' list.
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