Wednesday, January 21, 2015



You have been warned. 

I'm one of those people who rarely watches TV. It became a bit of a choice between having time to write, or watching random shows on the box just for the heck of it, and well, the writing won.

However, I do love buying boxed sets of my favourite shows, and going on a full season binge whenever they release.

I like being able to watch the series all at once (or within a week), because you can really see the characters arc's growing over the span of the show. Also, because when I start, I want to watch MOAR! NOW!

My recent glom was The Originals, which I've been hungrily anticipating ever since I heard it was happening. The ultimate bad-boy Klaus Mikaelson, and his arc of redemption? His noble brother, Elijah, who sometimes does what needs to be done to protect his family, even as it tortures him? Yes, please. I adore anti-heroes and complex relationships between families. I love finding out what makes them tick, and why they do what they do - but only if they're well written. They can do horrible things (some things are on my non-forgivable list), but it fascinates me to see those tender moments, the ones in which you see what they're really hiding underneath their mask. The moment when Klaus holds his baby in his hands, and knows that he cannot raise her, for all of the enemies he has created over the years, brings a lump to my throat. Or when Elijah admits why he cannot turn away from his brother Klaus, no matter what he does.

They make mistakes. I'm not going to lie, sometimes with the Originals, I do think, 'Dude, you've been alive for over a thousand years, and you still haven't learned to think about consequences?' Like when Klaus and Elijah give their dead mother's bones to their mortal enemies, the witches, to be consecrated, so that they can use her immense powers to save someone they care for. Yes, they needed help, but now the witches control their mother - the same mother who tried to kill them.

Like, that wasn't going to backfire in their faces. Somehow it still sucks me in.

Now that I've had my drama quota for the week, I had the pleasure of flicking through my soon-to-be released Of Silk And Steam, on the hunt for quotable quotes. And I began to think that some of the things I like to watch (anti-heroes, complicated family relations) read true in my writing, as well.

My hero, Leo, has made a lot of mistakes. He too, has a family - two half-sisters, and a younger half-brother - whom he has treated poorly in the past. Because of his actions, his younger brother nearly died, and he didn't even realise it, caught as he was between his uncaring father, and the cruel duke who raised him as his own. But as I was flicking through the manuscript, I was thinking that the reason I like him so much is because he knows he made mistakes. He's learned from them. One of my favourite quotes occurs when he tells his heroine, Mina, that:

“It’s a hard thing to look at yourself in the mirror, and not like what you see. Or worse, to see your father looking back at you. Both of them.”

Now he sees his brother, Charlie, making a lot of the same mistakes he did. And when his brother inexplicably pushes matters too far, and his own reckless actions cause tragedy, only Leo can show him the way through it all.

Leo is trying to make amends. He doesn't understand how his sister's can love him, for where he grew up, no such emotions were tolerated. And when the world is pulled out from beneath his feet once again, he can either react the way he did once before, or find a new path, one that is very unfamiliar to him.

I like torturing heroes. But I also like it when they grow, not only to see who they really are, but to make different choices, even if they are difficult ones.

So I guess I'm curious. I know I'm not the only one who likes anti-heroes, but what I want to know is why? What draws you to them? What turns you off them? Got any good recommendations? Because I'm always on the look out for a bad, bad man... with a heart of gold. 

Bec McMaster writes award-winning romance novels featuring red-hot alpha males, kick-ass heroines and edge-of-your-seat adventures. Her London Steampunk series is available from Sourcebooks. Read more about her at or follow her on twitter @BecMcMaster. 


  1. I rarely watch TV either, and I have DVDs of series I want to watch and never watch them! One day... I don't write anti-heroes, but I think what draws me to those I've read is the question of whether they are good or bad. I like wondering until the end.

  2. The draw of anti-heros...Ah the delicious bad boy that draws us in :-). For me when I was drawn to my first bad boy it was a change for redeeming him, showing him that there is another way and no one is past redemption. Then when you see the growth, change and he finds the soft gooey center in his hardened heart it feels wonderful to be part of that either in real life or fantasy through TV or books. It gives us HOPE that we can change the direction of life and motivations and be redeemed and can be forgiven. Thanks for giving us such delicious stories. My husband and I fight over your books when they're released as to who gets to read it first ;-).

  3. Oh I forgot recommendations ~ I just finished Gena Showalter's The Darkest Touch and she's got some bad boys headed for redemption. Each of the Lords houses a demon/bad boy that he masters. Poor Torin has such a bad boy housed within that has to be mastered, Hades has his moments as does Lazarus and William. I'm afraid Lucifer is going to be unredeemable it seems...