A few years ago, I was called to jury duty. I lived a sheltered life growing up, and while I've acquired a lot of world experience during the course of my life, there is still a darker side to humanity that I'm fortunate I don't have to deal with on a regular basis. In the trial I was chosen for, the bad guy stole something out of a vehicle. The owner of the vehicle saw him and chased him down the street, and the thief then slashed the guy with a box cutter. Pretty serious stuff. The thief on trial used the "I found it" defense, and the subsequent slashing as self defense from the guy who was chasing him. Enter my naivete. They'd dressed the defendant up nice for court. I don't have a lot of experience with this level of bad guy. In the jury room, one of my fellow jurors pointed out some key parts of the case which clearly pointed to the defendant's guilt, points I never would have understood unless someone with firsthand knowledge was there to point them out. I like to think the best of people, see the good in everyone, many times to my own detriment. I wanted to believe this guy was innocent. Sometimes you have to take off the Polllyanna glasses. With my fellow juror's knowledge and other folks in the jury room in agreement, I felt compelled to join them in convicting the defendant. When it was over, the judge came into the jury room and told us we'd done the right thing, that the defendant had a long rap sheet and there was little doubt of his guilt.
I've been called for jury duty again this month. It's a very interesting, eye-opening experience, but I'd be lying if I told you I hoped to be selected for a jury again. What I'm hoping is to take along a book to read and be dismissed - unneeded - at the end of the day. (fingers crossed)
Which brings me back to the bad guy in my book. That jury duty experience reminds me that there are bad guys in the world (and yes, some of them live VERY close by), but I don't write urban fiction. Nor do I want to. Still, I have to find a way for my villain to act villainously. That means taking a walk on the dark side.
In a world where I'm not sure we aren't heading toward Armageddon, when the end days feel like they're right around the corner with fires in Australia and locusts in Kenya and other disasters too numerous to dwell on here, Anyone see Noah? Is he building that ark yet?
I REALLY hate stepping into the dark side, but the thing about evil is that good always wins. There's this thing called Karma. By stepping into the dark side, I want to give my readers hope for a brighter tomorrow. No, these books aren’t romances, but I’m going to slip back into #MyLifeIsAMusical, because this song says it all.