Friday, November 6, 2015

Putting Ordinary Characters into Extraordinary Circumstances

Let’s face it—everyone knows that wizards and superheroes have an advantage when fighting the forces of evil—the advantage of supernatural powers. But what about us mere mortals? What chance do we have? Admittedly, not a very good one. But isn’t that a great way to ramp up a story’s excitement factor?

Take F. Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack series. As a college student, Jack’s mother is murdered by a vandal and Jack commits his first act of vigilantism by giving the vandal his “just desserts.” He begins to do various “fix-its” for people who have problems the police can’t seem to solve. This often leads to confrontations with supernatural creatures which he faces using nothing more than his human wits.

Jonathan Maberry's Joe Ledger series is another great example of a mortal caught up in a bizarre, chaotic world—a world of zombies created through bio-terrorism. As a former police detective and U.S. Army Ranger, Ledger has skills, but no magic bullets or supercharged reflexes. He’s just a dude with human strengths and weaknesses. And that’s what makes it interesting.
There are other examples of the normal vs. the paranormal in shows I grew up with as a kid, The Night Stalker being one—Darren McGavin as Carl Kolchek, a rumpled mess of a news reporter who always seemed to end up fighting supernatural creatures, including vampires and werewolves. Somehow, Carl always came out on top, albeit a little worse for the wear.

As a reader, I have an easier time identifying with characters like that than I do with, say, Thor or Captain America. Nothing against those guys—I’m a huge fan of Marvel—but I love to see normal people kicking paranormal ass. I guess that’s what led me to write a book like THE CAIN PROPHECY (yeah, you saw that coming, didn’t you).

 CIA operative Gabrielle “Gabe” Lincoln and her partner, Gordon Powers, must find and destroy a ruthless, superhuman assassin known only as Cain. Although Gabe is intelligent and lethal, she is no match for Cain, who belongs to a race of beings that populated the earth long before humans came along. Let me just give an example of how brutal Cain is—in one part of the story, he kills a Saudi special ops guy by ripping out his spine. Not someone you want to screw with.

Gabe and Gordon, along with a team of former special ops soldiers, are forced into a showdown with Cain amidst a sea of sand dunes, beneath a blinding sun in the blast furnace known as the United Arab Emirates. Human against superhuman, natural versus supernatural. Even with all their technology, Gabe and Gordon and their team are barely a match for Cain. Who will be the victor? Buy my book and find out! Available Nov. 10 wherever books are sold! (Got another plug in there! Woohoo!)

I’ll probably always use characters like Gabe and Gordon. I like writing stories that show the strength of the human spirit and our ability to persevere against seemingly insurmountable odds. Like a quasar in a black hole, we are at our brightest when the pressure is at its most intense.

For more info on me and my writing, check out my website at or follow me on Facebook and Twitter.  THE CAIN PROPHECY is endorsed by Bestselling Authors Jonathan Maberry, Steve Berry and A.J. Tata. Look for it on Nov. 10!