I’ve always been fascinated with psychology and human motivation. Whenever I read a novel or watched a movie or television show, I was drawn to the villain. I wanted to understand what made them act the way they did––delve into what happened in their lives or minds to make them the person they had become.
When there was the odd story from the “villains” point of view, it seemed to characterize them as “misunderstood” and usually spun them into a likeable character who was the hero of that new version of the story. I wanted to write something unique and portray the villain realistically. What would the story look like if they were a true villain? I got the idea for a teenage serial killer who was unapologetic about who she was and what she wanted and thought it was really interesting to explore what her point of view would be if she drove the story and the “villain” was the detective trying to stop her.
I love human psychology and the mysteries of the mind. I’m fascinated that two kids can be raised the exact same way, in the same house by the same parents, yet turn out completely different. What causes this? Is it a case of nature versus nurture? Maybe one had a wonderful school life and the other was bullied? Perhaps the parents had a favorite child and the preferential treatment of their sibling affected them, setting them on a downward spiral. Is a person born evil or good? Could there be something in the brain of some people that make them inherently different from the majority of others?
And what causes a person to become wicked? My research shows that there are three factors that can determine or influence sociopathy or psychopathy in individuals.
- Brain damage
- Mental Illness
However, I wonder if there are more possibilities. Surely there must be other factors since the majority of people who have suffered from these three things never become a dangerous person.
I asked myself if someone could be born evil. In my research I watched many documentaries, often with troubled children as the subject. There were a handful of cases where the children who committed disturbing and horrific acts including murder had no history. There were no obvious predictive traits and no signs to indicate that anything was amiss. Other children and teens showed psychopathic personality traits from as young as three with no risk factors (no abuse, neglect, brain trauma, etc…) and later grew up to be callous criminals and killers.
Pretty Wicked is an exploration into the mind of such a teenager. One who knows right from wrong but doesn’t necessarily care. Some people have suggested that Ryann is not a very likeable character because of this and a few have even asked if I like her.
I actually do. I enjoyed writing her because she is so far removed from who I am. Of course I don’t agree with anything she does at all! In that sense, Ryann is deplorable! But what I like is her humor and wit and the way she owns who she is. She was a fun character to write because she is so different to most characters out there. It’s like when you see a Hollywood actor discuss their favorite roles. Often they say the villain roles were their preferred because it was more fun and exciting to play. There are forbidden elements that make it a bit more exciting than the standard hero. It’s no different for me as the writer. I got the chance to explore what someone like her might be like, both in their mind and how they live their life.
I encourage you to check out Ryann in Pretty Wicked if you haven’t already. You can also read the first 3 chapters on Wattpad if you’re curious. Judge for yourself 😉