"Everyone makes a conscious choice" - drummed into me at an early age by my Catholic upbringing. But, does evil truly exist or is it just people and what they do and say? Nowadays, I am more of a spiritual person than religious.
My characters are a mixture of all the good and bad aspects of everyday humanity; no demons or ghosts, just troubled people and yet - is there more at play than that?
We all know people who seem go out of their way to be deliberately obtuse or antagonistic. Some behave appallingly because they crave attention and will either be direct or sly about it; others feel justified when they jump to negative conclusions. What exactly constitutes justification? The villains in stories are often the result of small hearts but large egos. I was told as a child it was because: "it was in their nature" and I struggled with what this meant exactly.
Imagine you could tell the obtuse people in your life exactly what you thought of them without any personal consequence. Then, imagine meeting the people you admire and look up to, the people who are a joy to be with; what would you say? What is it about them that attracts you so much?
Now, turn this on its head - become the person you detest, the one you admire and allow them to interact. By doing this, does your perspective of them alter? There are no end to possibilities when creating characters and stories.
The picture below is an example of how things may not always be what they appear to be. It is one of the stills from my book trailer and I took it with my iPhone one Sunday afternoon. I took an old wooden African mask into a room with red curtains, closed the curtains to shut out the light and then used two small torches behind the curtain so that they glowed through the eyes. Quite effective, don't you think?