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Flawed heroes, a messed-up heroine, and twisty-turny moral journeys
Sometimes I think I might regret going around telling everybody how I got the idea for “The Disillusionists trilogy” but I think it’s sort of funny. At least to me!
I had just read this depressing book that takes a super dark view of humanity. It made me feel really awful, and I thought, if I had an enemy, I would give them this book as a gift, so that they could feel as disillusioned as I did. (In fact, I actually recommended it to somebody I was mad at. LOL. But I am not a terrible person! I swear!)
Then I thought, what if there were people who disillusioned others professionally? Instead of a hit man who kills people, there would be a psychological hit squad that disillusions people—and makes the bad guys have a total breakdown and come back good.
And who better to be on a psychological hit squad than really messed-up, neurotic people? I love the idea of weaknesses turning into powers, internal darkness being “weaponized.”
So, in Mind Games and Double Cross, the heroine Justine is a hypochondriac who was forced onto the hit squad, called “the disillusionists.” It’s run by Packard, a handsome, tortured mastermind (because I LOVE handsome tortured masterminds) who has special powers of psychological insight. Meanwhile the city is being terrorized by criminals with also have strange powers: telepaths, telekinetics, dream invaders.
The disillusionists start as vigilantes, but in Double Cross, they are part of the system, reforming dangerous paranormal criminals who can’t be held in the jails.
Is disillusionment good or bad?
What’s cool is that when you are an author and you invent a strange new thing like disillusionment, you have to reach down inside yourself and decide what you think of it. And then you have to decide how each of your characters would feel about it, which isn’t always the same thing as how you would feel. And as characters grow and change, their beliefs change. That is really the heart of Double Cross.
The romance journey is twisted together with the moral journey that the characters take in Double Cross.
Justine is forced to choose between two heroes, both hugely flawed, and they’re enemies, too. Mayor Otto Sanchez is the kind of man Justine has always imagined herself with—her fairytale knight, and he has this passion for making things right and he wants to help her change. Mastermind Packard all fiery chemistry, and he embraces and even encourages Justine’s dark side. One of these heroes is on a journey of redemption, and the other is secretly descending into a pit of moral depravity. Their attitudes toward disillusionment are clues to that.
Justine wants so badly to be normal, and to be free of the fear that has ruined her life. This book about her journey to overcome her hypochondriac fear—and an even greater fear: that of accepting her flaws, and revealing her true self to another person.
Okay, it is SO hard not to tell what happens! One of the things I have learned on my own author journey is that I have a very big mouth! And it is something I am trying desperately to overcome. So here is me zipping my lips. LOL. I am so grateful to RT Magazine for having me! I so hope everybody enjoys Double Cross.
- Carolyn Crane
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