In The Vendetta, vengeance intersects the international world of fine art when ski town barista Lisa Schumacher serves up espresso—with a dollop of passion—for Italian businessman Nick Carnavale. Lured to Rome by family ties, Lisa must race to find a mysterious missing painting in time to convince Nick that love, and life, is worth more than his revenge.
So, here’s what I’ve been thinking about today: flaws.
You see, I have this really great brand new carbon fiber racing bike: a swift and light two-wheeled machine I love to pedal with all my might. But last week I zigged when I should of zagged, squeezed the breaks too hard, and flipped over the handlebars. Not to worry, though. I'm ok, folks. Just a gash on my forehead that a nice plastic surgeon stitched up for me in the emergency room. Today I got the sutures out and I am the proud owner of a new scar. A new flaw.
I think that flaws are like chinks in our armor, and in that way, flaws introduce paths through that armor to our soft under-bellies, to our emotions, and especially to our memories. External scars remind us of things. This one on my forehead will forever remind me of my new blue bike, and that I shouldn't hit those brakes too hard. And maybe of my hubris in riding that close to the edge of control. The scar on my left knee reminds me of skiing; the little round one on other knee, a spill in the third grade. I think if we have lived at all in the world, we often end up with scars, ones you can see and ones you can't.
In crafting my stories, I consciously introduce flaws into my characters' personalities. And sometimes onto their bodies too. ;) Flawless characters may save the day with their heroic actions (Superman), but they don't squeeze your heart with their inner conflict (Batman). In my novel, The Vendetta, the hero Nick Carnavale, has flaws, both external and internal, and he has a scar. Here's a little excerpt where his scar reminds him of something important:
Nick rinsed his razor, set it on the sink, and then washed his hands. His fingers automatically ran over the g-shaped scar on his left palm. His reflection in the fogged mirror caught his attention. Gray eyes, so like his Papa’s, peered back. He stared at the unfocused image, clenching his fist, willing away the memories. But the night of Papa’s death crashed into his mind. Blood, so much blood. His father had--
He ruthlessly cut off the line of thought, cursing as his hands shook when he ran a cloth under the hot water and pressed it to his face. To think about the vendetta—sweet revenge for the death of Gianfranco Carnavale—that was one thing. But to remember Papa—no, he could not.
So, for Nick, he looks at the scar on his hand and remembers his father. He also remembers the blood oath of vengeance he swore to his father's memory. Nick's pursuit of his vendetta makes him relentless, single-minded, and to a degree, selfish. But I can also cast these characteristics in a positive light, and the flaw becomes a strength, just as the place where a scar has healed is often stronger than the skin around it. So, for Nick, his experiences have made him successful, independent, and even, compassionate. His flaw, or weakness, is also the source of his passion and intensity.
The heroine, Lisa Schumacher, firmly in possession of her own flaws, meets Nick at a critical moment when she is able to see through his flaw to his emotions. And that quality in Nick draws her in…
What about you? Do you have visible scars that remind you of events in your life? Do your weaknesses (internal or external) also tend to be your strengths?
When author Kecia Adams is not spending ridiculous amounts of time at her computer dreaming up interesting characters and spicy conflicts for her fiction writing, she loves to ride her bike really fast (!) and shop for shoes with her daughters, young heroines in the making. She sometimes tweets at www.twitter.com/KeciaAdams. You can find out more about Kecia and her writing at her website: www.KeciaAdams.com.
Look for her debut contemporary romance, The Vendetta, which will be available 16 September 2011 from Etopia Press (www.etopia-press.net) in every e-format you can think of...or check your favorite e-book outlet (Kindle, Nook, All Romance E-books, etc.)