I don’t do tough guys. Not when it comes to writing leading characters. I tend to write about people who are totally ill equipped to deal with the conflicts in their lives. Usually an unsuspecting person, an average Joe by every definition, is put on the spot. A situation arises that my protagonist can’t walk away. The reason they are there is usually their own fault. Sometimes it falls into the no good deed variety, but usually, the story’s hero has done something to get them ensnared. A tryst. An indiscretion. A little white lie with a black edge. A past mistake. These factors are subject to Newtonian physics. For every action there’s an equal and opposition reaction. It doesn’t matter how minor the mistake my characters have committed, there’s a price to be paid. Essentially these are people out of their depth. It’s something I understand. I have a small talent for disaster.
So when it comes to writing tough guys—the Parkers, Raylan Givenses, James Bonds, Jack Reachers, etc.—I’ve not really ventured down that road, because you write what you know—but I’m not that tough. You can’t be tough when you just scrap by the minimum ride height at Six Flags.
I’ve also tended to stick to ordinary people as heroes because I’ve always thought readers would identify with someone who’s like them. But people also want escapism and the chance to live vicariously through someone who lives the hero life.
So I’ve come to a decision. It’s time I come up with a tough guy and I think I have one. I’m mapping out a series of books featuring an honest to God, tough guy with the added feature that the last page of one book is the first page of the next. It’s a chronicle. That’s the plan anyway.
So finally, I’m here to kick ass and chew gum—and I’m all out of chewing gum. Does anyone have any gum perchance?