This week’s Open Book Blog Hop asks authors to name and describe their favorite antagonist/bad gut/villain. Can I just gush with excitement for a moment.
Thank you. Now! I’m only on my second novel, but hands down, Raad Khouri from Building on Broken Dreams is my
favorite baddest most multilayered antagonist.
Raad is Egyptian-American, Muslim and as fine as they come. He’s deep in the hustle as a record producer and playboy. Yup, Raad likes his women, and he burns through them.
When he meets African American Muslim Maryam Avery, his sexual shenanigans produce grave consequences. He breaks from his usual macking machinations, falls for her and becomes torn between his love, societal expectations and a major challenge for him to give a damn.
I’ve written multiple stories with bad guys, and out of them all, Raad is the one who’s driven me the craziest with his emotional demands. He ends up doing some pretty horrible…stuff as he vacillates between feelings he has no clue how to handle. He’s basically a narcissist who knows how to acquire love but not give it, and he gets mad at the people he loves because of his inability to love them back. It is not that he doesn’t try, he just sucks big time at it.
He is the result of an unchecked toxic masculine culture—externally abusive because of and internally persecuted by it. Because he’s raised in a “boys don’t cry” environment, he makes damn sure the women around him do. The closer a love interest gets to his heart, the deeper the prick to hers by the barbed wire around it. Loving Raad Khouri is not easy and can be downright dangerous for the women he honors with his caustic adoration.
Raad is also the product of the tenacious anti-Blackness permeating American Muslim communities. Along with the chauvinism coursing through his veins is vile, low-key racism his parents injected into him, which vies with his intrinsic attraction to Black women. Yeah, he likes sistahs with melanin, and when he falls in love with one…he becomes an even more corrosive mess.
Because of his emotional ineptness and latent racism, Raad is tortured throughout the novel, which he absolutely deserves but not the people who suffer the ramifications of the helpless little boy inside him who desperately needs to heal—including me.
He woke me some nights begging for humanity and others villainy. He rattled through my mind with his tantrums, commanding me to make sure readers can appreciate that there is good inside of him, it is just wrapped in some dysfunctional bull…things.
Raad is a ball of infuriating contradictions, engendering a paradox in me about him. Normally, I get to sit back and enjoy when an author writes a deliciously-flawed character like him, but having to actually create him was strenuous and invigorating.
Building on Broken Dreams Trailer
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