Thursday, November 22, 2012


Do all ex-girlfriends have to be nasty? I was wondering about that while writing my latest novel.
I don't think it's necessary. In Tilly's Trials my hero has a new girlfriend. She is, I think, justified in being very wary of Marsh's ex-wife. She isn't popular with his family but that is to do more with them realizing that she isn't right for him. I don't think she is particularly nasty just human,.we have all been there I'm sure!

My next book out has a real humdinger of a love rival. She is a genuine nasty piece of work.I loved thinking up the tricks she got up to. However, was that also her nature? Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca was an unpleasant woman, her malign presence, even though she is dead, haunts this novel, she is kept alive by the equally horrid Mrs Danvers. These women can really take over a novel. Care is needed to sometimes reign them in.

Is my rival for Lander's affections justified in being an arch manipulator? Of course not. Certainly she could be hurt and upset but she takes it much further. She is selfish and unkind and not only to my heroine but to her daughter as well. There is no excuse for her behaviour.

However, it can be tedious if all our love rivals are downright wicked. In Beloved Deceiver the hero's ex-girlfriend has a generous nature.At first I was nervous about how it would work but fortunately the novel was well received and I think everyone liked Fabia. Of course even Fabia hadn't to outshine the heroine, or why else would Mars Collingwood choose Flora?  That was not difficult to do. I won't tell  you how I did it, find out yourself!!

On the whole though my love rivals have not been particularly nice. Sometimes it is not that they are still in love with the hero. Sometimes they just can't help themselves, like Maddy's twin sister Milly, in Eden's Child. Upbringing, lifestyle choice and an inbred instability make it impossible for Milly to be anything other than malign.

Let's face it really bad girls are fun to write about - rather more enjoyable than bad men - but that's only my opinion  What do you think?


Beth Elliott said...

Sometimes there needs to be a character that we love to hate. In that way, we can forgive some imperfections in the two principal characters - because no one's perfect or else they're a bore. Insecurity and maybe a hopeless longing for a love that didn't work out can make an ex girlfriend a more interesting character. ButI wouldn't have much time for someone who is simply spiteful or obsessive in creating problems.

Cara Cooper said...

When we write romance, it's all about the emotions, hate as well as love so I think unlikable or downright evil characters are fascinating and provide a great contrast. How I wish I'd created the character of 'Rebecca' Margaret. A woman portrayed as being perfect who turns out to be anything but. Thank you for getting me thinking! I might just do an evil female myself.

margaret blake said...

I think you are right Beth and Cara. Cara yes, Rebecca is unforgettable, I wish I could have created a character so haunting especially as she is dead. She makes the novel really memorable.
I think there has to be a reason for malevolence, if they are just evil for evil sake then it is pretty boring. Something has to kick start the malevolence. I am sure Sophie works (next novel - I hope so!).

Pauline Holyoak said...

I love reading you posts, Margaret. Always intriguing. Always lots of food-for-thought.Oh, and I love your book covers.Happy writing!