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Obsession is the debut novel in my Faces of Evil series. As I developed this series I came to understand that the face of evil is sometimes the most unexpected one. Perhaps you need only to look in the mirror to see what evil looks like.
Any act of evil committed against another is driven by motive. Every motive paints a unique and vivid picture that reveals the dark inner nature beneath the image presented for the world to see. All of us possess a basic goodness, but we each also harbor the potential for evil. The choice not to cross that moral line separates the good from the bad. For those who cross that line life’s journey is forever altered. Where that journey begins and how far one drifts into the depths of depravity is fueled by desire and desperation. Some plummet directly into the deepest, blackest recesses of that hungry abyss. Others linger near that thin line, clinging to a rapidly unraveling thread of goodness while the darkness seduces them closer and closer until the thread snaps and evil is born.
Expert opinions differ on the idea of whether serial killers are born or are made but the one point they all agree on is that neither Charles Manson nor Ed Gein were serial anything until that first act of evil was committed.
Motive, I realized, was indeed the foundation for what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. The difference between the truly heinous villain and the heinous act committed by your average, everyday person fascinated me. That was it! Each new installment in the series would reveal a new, more depraved face of evil.
Fascination aside, a series concept is only as good as the characters bringing it to life. Let’s face it, when we recall a favorite novel or movie, we don’t so much think of the plot elements as we do the characters with whom we fell in love. For my series I began with Former Special Agent Jess Harris in the midst of personal and professional crises. I added Chief of Police Dan Burnett, the got-it-all guy who has never faced true hardship. Then I threw in a tumultuous and sizzling hot history between the two and things got interesting. Of course I needed a compelling ensemble cast. Detectives Chet Harper and Lori Wells showed up on the scene. Both hardworking, dedicated detectives. Each with their own personal and professional baggage and the relentless desire to accomplish their goals and to conquer each other.
Once the identities of these primary characters were established, what about the relationships? Again, I turned to motive and the one thing in life none of us can escape — human nature. Humans make mistakes. They celebrate victories and mourn defeats. They have desires and hopes and needs. All I had to do was ensure my characters were infinitely human and the rest would take care of itself. The journey won’t always be easy, but they have twelve books to get it right!
- Debra Webb
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