July 13, 2011

Guest Post by Teresa Frohock: Wicked Women Rule

As part of Teresa Frohock's blog tour, I welcomed her to stop by and offer up a soapbox from which to proselytize her opinions. Enjoy. And after you've finished reading, she's provided a ton of links for you to find more information on her and her work.

by Teresa Frohock

Chiaroscuro. I love the word. It is the artistic use of light and shade, and is generally used in reference to paintings and photographs, but the word can also be applied to what writers do with their villains. We contrast the wickedness of our antagonists against the good in our heroes.

I didn’t realize it until an interviewer asked me a question about my use of a female villain in Miserere, but there aren’t many real female villains out there. Oh, we used to have bad girls galore: Cleopatra in Freaks; Bette Davis as Jane Hudson in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane; Margaret White in Carrie—hell, just about all the women in Carrie had some kind of hang-up; O-Ren Ishii, but like Rose McGowan’s character Marique in the latest Conan, she doesn’t really count, because both characters were subordinates to the male villians (O-Ren Ishii to Bill and Marique to Khalar Zym).

So why don’t we have more women as villains?

Are we frightened of showing mean women?

Other women aren’t. Gillian Flynn isn’t afraid to strip away the lace and petticoats to show us evil women. She knows what I know (and what a lot of women like to deny) and that is: not all of us are good girls—not many of us are good girls.

And we grow up to be wicked women.

Many years ago, another woman advised me against having a female antagonist. Her reasoning was that men would use a female antagonist as an excuse to heap more abuse on women. I was astounded that she would think men were so stupid. I mean, there is a constant barrage of male antagonists out there, but no one is damning the entire male gender on the basis of Khalar Zym or Anton Chigurh. Most of us are intelligent enough to know the difference between reality and fantasy.

So it never occurred to me to make Catarina anything but female and violent. She uses sex as a weapon; it’s not about satisfaction, it’s about power. She is physically and verbally abusive—in many ways, she exhibits the personality of an addict. I could have made her male and given her all those attributes and no one would have blinked an eye.

Does that mean we expect that kind of behavior from men? Is that why we have no problem with male villains? Guys are born to be power hungry and driven—we expect violence from men?

Women are expected to be loving, maternal, and those expectations can work against a man. Aggression is the antithesis of making love, yet violence is intimate. The abuser knows they have succeeded by watching their victims. Success is evidenced with a wince, the tick of an eye, the twitch of a muscle.

There is no warning. Oftentimes, the victim doesn’t realize violence is coming until after it has happened. And when it comes from a woman, someone who is expected to be tender, loving, then the shock is two-fold.

I wanted to write about a woman outside of cute little Buffys-slaying-vampires, and she had to be an older woman, because evil becomes more poisoned with age. With Catarina, I wanted to move beyond our expectations of women. She never was a good girl and she has no excuse.

Some people are born evil.

Some of those evil people are women.

Wicked women rule.

Miserere: An Autumn Tale (http://www.nightshadebooks.com / July 1, 2011)

Exiled exorcist Lucian Negru deserted his lover in Hell in exchange for saving his sister
Catarina's soul, but Catarina doesn't want salvation. She wants Lucian to help her fulfill her dark covenant with the Fallen Angels by using his power to open the Hell Gates. Catarina intends to lead the Fallen’s hordes out of Hell and into the parallel dimension of Woerld, Heaven’s frontline of defense between Earth and Hell.

When Lucian refuses to help his sister, she imprisons and cripples him, but Lucian learns that Rachael, the lover he betrayed and abandoned in Hell, is dying from a demonic possession. Determined to rescue Rachael from the demon he unleashed on her soul, Lucian flees his sister, but Catarina's wrath isn’t so easy to escape. In the end, she will force him once more to choose between losing Rachael or opening the Hell Gates so the Fallen's hordes may overrun Earth, their last obstacle before reaching Heaven's Gates.

Read the first four chapters of Miserere FREE here http://www.nightshadebooks.com/Downloads/Miserere_%20An%20Autumm%20Tale%20(Sampler)%20-%20Teresa%20Frohock.pdf

Book Trailer Link: http://youtu.be/3MvCHEp0EVA

Raised in a small town, Teresa Frohock learned to escape to other worlds through the fiction collection of her local library. She eventually moved away from Reidsville and lived in Virginia and South Carolina before returning to North Carolina, where she currently resides with her husband and daughter.

Teresa has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying.
Miserere: An Autumn Tale is her debut novel.

Teresa can be found most often at her blog and website http://www.teresafrohock.com.
Every now and then, she heads over to Tumblr and sends out Dark Thoughts http://teresafrohock.tumblr.com, links to movies and reviews that catch her eye. You can also follow Teresa on Twitter http://twitter.com/TeresaFrohock and join her author page on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Teresa-Frohock/134892453223242.

All Things Books: http://speedyreader-allthingsbooks.blogspot.com/2011/05/interview-with-author-teresa-frohock.html

Down at Lucky Town with Alex Bledsoe: http://downinluckytown.blogspot.com/2011/06/interview-with-teresa-frohock-author-of.html

Layers of Thought: http://www.layersofthought.net/2011/06/interview-with-teresa-frohock-debut.html

MuseTracks: http://musetracks.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/its-pitch-day-at-agent-shop-with-weronika-janczuk/
The Written Connection: http://www.uninvoked.com/writingblogs/wordpress/?p=75


  1. Excellent post, Fox! Thanks for highlighting this author's work :-)

    Teresa, I loved this piece--so true about there not being more women villains (done well, and standing apart from the Cruella De Ville/Evil Queen from Snow White motifs), and I heard Gillian Flynn at Stoker Weekend this year; fabulous author, fantastically well-crafted characters. Absolutely true about not all of us being good girls -- I know I'm not! ;-) LOL Your book sounds so interesting from the description! I will most definitely be looking out for a copy! The trailer makes me want it even more! ;-)


  2. Hey, Darkeva! I'm so sorry I missed the HWA weekend (I had wanted to go but had a conflict).

    I love Gillian's work and would have loved to have heard her talk. She must have been awesome.

    It's nice to know there are some other bad girls out there! Nice to "meet" you. ;-)

  3. Well, Catarina certainly sounds like someone I'd be interested in reading! At Stoker Weekend there was a panel about mother figures in Horror. It was really insightful and a great discussion of male vs. female bad guys. I loved reading this post!

  4. Hey, Midnyte!

    I'm sorry I missed that workshop. I've thought about that killing our mothers theme, especially with movies like HANNA.

    I bet it was an awesome discussion!

    Thanks for stopping in and taking a minute to comment!