DON’T FORGET TO ENTER THE DAILY GIVEAWAY AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST!
Welcome to the End of Book Shit Take Three for Meet Me In The Dark. The End of Book Shit is the last chapter in all my books when I talk about where the story came from and any little interesting details about writing it. It’s like an author’s note, but without all the boring shit you normally find in an author’s note. I’m having one of these posts every day this week, so make sure to stop by all of them. You can see yesterday’s post here.
Wow, do I ever have a lot to say about this book, writing antiheroes, and writing villains.
The first thing you need to know about Meet Me In The Dark (MMITD from this point, so I don’t have to write that long-ass title out each time) is that it’s called MMITD for a reason. These two characters, Merc and Sydney, are in one hell of a fucked up place. It’s not a place anyone wants to be, not even these two characters. The second thing you need to know about MMITD is that Merc isn’t a hero and Sydney isn’t a heroine. You have to put the prefix “anti” in front of both of those words to even come close to describing what is going on in this book. And third, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who loved this book. Just thank you. Because this was a stretch for me. Merc’s story is about as far from politically correct as you can get, and I knew it was going to piss off a lot of the “activist-type readers” who like to use book reviews to make social statements.
But Merc’s story is authentic. One hundred percent authentic. If you’ve read the book and read the EOBS at the end, you already know that the research I had to do for the mind-control stuff Merc used just scared the shit out of me. There was like a whole week in the middle of writing this book where I was glued to YouTube videos proclaiming the Illuminati is real, and convinced there’s a real-life Company running this world. Until MMITD came along, The Company was just some shadow government I imagined based off things in the news and the paranoid ramblings of talk radio hosts. But once I actually had to start looking this mind-control shit up, I realized there’s a lot more to it than that. The US government really did run secret mind control experiments using drugs. And things just got more and more weird from that point on.
OK, so that’s what the first EOBS was about. How this book scared the fuck out of me when I wrote it.
This EOBS isn’t about that. It’s not even about being scared. It’s about Merc, who never frightened me one bit. If you’ve read the Rook & Ronin series then you know that Merc was a character who got his origin story from Ford in the novella Slack. And even though Ford was somewhat of an asshole, he wasn’t stupid. Merc wasn’t stupid either. His genius IQ was the very first characteristic I came up with back when I wrote him in that crazy gun-buying scene Ford got roped into. Merc and Ford were buddies, dealt in some illegal shit, and their histories went back to high school when they were both being recruited to MIT.
Ford went to film school, Merc went into the army, and the rest is history.
No, Merc never scared me. Nothing about his character gave me pause. Now, this is the author’s point of view. If I were a reader and not the literal mother of the character, all-knowing, all-seeing, and one hundred percent sure where this story is going… then yeah. Merc would’ve scared me. But since I have the luxury of being the omnipotent author, I wasn’t worried about how he’d find his happily ever after. In fact, he gets an epilogue in Wasted Lust that is pretty much one of my favorite scenes ever. It’s only like 800 words and I could read it over, and over, and over again. It makes my heart so happy.
And because I had this freedom to know Merc better than anyone else, it gave me the freedom to explore his inner psyche without worrying about the physical side of things.
I probably should’ve worried about that physical stuff a little more. 😉
But listen, the reason I wrote it because it’s so horrific. What Merc does to “poor” Sydney in the first half of the book is like, wow. Holy shit. I hate this guy, this guy needs to die, he has no redeemable qualities at all. I mean, he punches her in the face and leaves her behind to save someone other girl, even though her father paid him to save her from the cult-like people who had a hold of her.
Confession time. I put those scenes first to get rid of readers who weren’t into the darkness of this story. I put a warning on this book for a reason, but you know, there’s always a stray reader or two who looks past that warning and goes for it anyway. I figured the face punch would get them if the warning didn’t.
So, yes. This book has a lot of violence. But Merc (mostly) gets violent in response to Sydney. I did this on purpose too. I mean, I did have to make him redeemable in the end. So he couldn’t be sadistic. He is a “don’t-fuck-with-me-or-I’ll-fuck-with-you-back” kind of guy. So whenever Sydney got violent with him, he got violent back. However, Merc was a master at mind games and I think that’s what really made him borderline evil.
And then… we get to the middle of the story. At almost exactly fifty percent Sydney gives readers a holy-what-the-fuck-just-happened moment. And suddenly she’s not “poor” Sydney anymore. She’s fucking crazy.
I love everything that comes after the Sydney-is-crazy moment. Everything. But my favorite scene is at the end when the big twist is revealed and Sydney comes out of her crazy long enough to grasp what just happened.
And she walks up to Merc and punches him in the face.
And Merc just stand there.
This is the only time in the whole book where Sydney gets violent and Merc doesn’t get violent back. And I love this moment so hard because this is Merc’s moment of change. This is the moment when he stops being the crazy mercenary and starts being Merric Case. The real identity he left behind when he decided to become a Company killer. Everything in the story falls apart at that moment. Sydney comes back to life and takes control. Merc, who has been trying to convince himself that choice he made in the first chapter was the right one, realizes he’s been fooling himself. And everything else that unfolds is suddenly real. The technicolor has been washed off, the mind games don’t matter anymore, the revenge is over, and everyone is left empty.
That’s the crisis moment in this book. What happens next is the humanizing of both characters. That punch in the face is payback. But Merc’s turn-the-other-cheek response is an admission of guilt.
In other words, you can’t get back up until you fall down. And that was the falling down moment of everyone in the story.
I don’t write villains. Someone on a popular author’s forum was bitching at me today about my choice of subject matter and my characters. She said, stressing this point, “The difference between my story and yours, is that I write villains.” (I’m paraphrasing.) And any violence she subjects her female characters to is basically not their fault.
Well fuck that. She can write whatever the hell she wants but this is what I write. Everyone has some culpability in what happens to them, even if it’s just a drop in the ocean. I like to write characters who pay the price for their bad choices. I like to write characters who have a hand in their own demise because that means they have to take action, they have to change their world-view in order to set things right.
Yes, Sydney was a victim up to a point. But she also signed on to participate in some things. Maybe it was forced. Maybe not. The point is, there is always a choice. I don’t write villains. There are no “bad guys” in my stories because everyone has a little bad guy in them. And Merc and Sydney are both bad guy enough to cover that particular story element by themselves.
Meet Me In The Dark is a challenging story that isn’t for everyone. But for those of you who enjoy a trip down the rabbit hole and want to find their way back out again, it’s the perfect story for you.
And don’t forget to enter the giveaway. I have a MMITD dark keychain and a signed copy of the book up for grabs.
Tomorrow I’ll have the EOBS Take Three for Wasted Lust. And yeah… Sasha and Nick get the most epic ending ever. Click that little button below to follow this blog and I’ll send it right to your email.
Meet Me In The Dark: (A Dark Suspense)
He’s empty, inhuman, dishonest, and cruel.
She’s never wanted anyone more.
Sydney has lived in fear for eight years after freelance assassin, Merc, failed to rescue her from a cult-like militia group. Left in the hands of a sadistic man, she did whatever it took to survive. But Merc’s last words gave her hope. Hope he’d be back to finish the job.
After Merc is betrayed by her father, Sydney becomes his target. He wields sex, drugs, lies, and love like weapons. Merc knows just what to do with a fearful girl like Sydney. He’s in control. He’s always in control.
But Sydney Channing is not what she appears. And Merc’s only redeeming act—the very one that made Sydney’s life a living hell—might just be his worst mistake yet.
WARNING: Meet Me In The Dark is a STANDALONE non-traditional DARK, CAPTIVE, ROMANTIC SUSPENSE. It is not intended for sensitive readers.