Character Inspiration: Villains

Cobrador (Salvador Rodriguez)

Cobrador is the only main villain in the book that doesn’t have art because he’s based on a real person. Illustrating what I saw when I wrote Cobrador would end up being a photograph, and I will never reveal the identity of the real Cobrador.

Cobrador himself isn’t the actual person I fought, though. The real person was Salvador (Cobrador’s legal name). All the narcissistic, oppressive qualities of Salvador were taken from my experience with my greatest enemy. I poured all of my pain, trauma, and fear into battling him all over again in this book, and glorifying God in His rescue of my soul from my demon.

Helizar

Artwork by Christos Karapanos. Copyright Danny Raye 2021 © All Rights Reserved.

Helizar is the demon possessing Cobrador. He was inspired by an incident that occurred during one of my panic attacks. I was on the phone with a guy friend when all of a sudden, I couldn’t breathe. My lips felt like they were rolling into my mouth, my hands and knees went numb, I felt dizzy. I knew something was wrong, but had never experienced a panic attack before. So I fell out of bed and tried to crawl for help, but I couldn’t move. I just sat there. And as I was trapped there on my knees, I felt this insurmountable weight drop onto my back. In my mind’s eye, I saw a foot crushing me down, and this black-bodied beast was leaning his elbow on his knee, pushing all his weight into me to keep me pinned. And I had never been so afraid and helpless in my life. It felt like facing Salvador all over again.

I started to pray and the pressure let up. I was free, but I still couldn’t speak. I was finally able to get to my feet, and I realized that it was Satan trying to keep me down when I was at my weakest. For three years after that incident, the Devil would keep attacking me with fear and panic and my past. And that’s where Helizar came from.

In the book, Helizar uses the memory of Salvador to induce terror in Anja knowing that Salvador is her worst enemy, and her biggest source of fear. Just like Satan did with me.

Dominus Mortis

Artwork by Christos Karapanos. Copyright Danny Raye 2021 © All Rights Reserved.

One night, I dreamed that I was in the downstairs bathroom in my house. I was protecting (we’ll call him Salvador) from being possessed by the demon that was beating the door down from the other side. But in the dream, I was merely an observer. That demon was coming for Sal, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Sal was terrified, cowered in the corner between the toilet and bathtub. I was standing on his right, out in the open, watching the door shake on its hinges as Hell roared from the other side. And then the door opened, and this six foot tall, buff, bald demon was hulking on the other side. The weight of his hatred for me felt like lead sinking in me from head to toe. I was paralyzed in terror, staring at this massive meaty body and this malicious, soul-devouring face. Only, Dominus’ body wasn’t red like in my art, it was puss yellow. But yeah, it looked like he was skinned alive. And he had the body of a human, but hands and feet of a demonic beast. And he had no name in the dream. He had just come to collect Sal’s soul.

Sorority Sisters

Artwork by Christos Karapanos. Copyright Danny Raye 2021 © All Rights Reserved.

The Sorority Sisters were inspired by a picture I saw on Pinterest. I unfortunately don’t have the source of where I found the picture, but as soon as I saw it, these ritualistic characters were born instantly. I knew they would all have knives, they’d bleed fire, there would be blood involved. Some sacrificial form of blood. It wasn’t until the artwork phase that the sisters took on individual personalities. In my head before that, they were identified by obvious traits (The Blood Writer, the Busty One, The Runt, etc.). After the art, you can see in their eyes what type of evil they are, and how each of them are a little different.

Eidolon

Artwork by Christos Karapanos. Copyright Danny Raye 2021 © All Rights Reserved.

This character was inspired by the common ghostly form of a phantom sheet landing on an invisible person. I wanted to take that idea and mold it into a battle-worthy villain. Right away, I knew this invisible man would be a two-part villain. The sheet would be a suffocation device, and Eidolon himself would be able to kill opponents twice as fast being invisible.

Originally, his name was just what Anja calls him in his opening chapter: phantom. But the name didn’t suit Eidolon’s power. It didn’t sound cool enough, so I looked up synonyms on Thesaurus. Com and when I heard “eidolon”, I knew it was the identity of the villain I’d imagined.

The Tall Lady

Source Unknown

Another Pinterest-inspired picture. But the story behind the Tall Lady’s crime of brutally killing her own children was inspired by Andrea Yates. Several years ago, I used to watch a show called American Justice. It was a documentary series that covered the entire story from crime to trial in sixty minutes. One unforgettable story was that of Andrea Yates who drowned her five children in the bathtub.

I remember watching that show with my daughter (who was only a baby at the time) playing with toys behind me on the floor, and my young son sitting at the table near me, and all I could do was break down into tears. How? How could a mother do that to her children? That’s a special type of evil, I swear. To lure them into the bathroom one by one, their little eyes gazing up at mommy trusting she’s gonna give them a bath, and then she’s holding them under and they panic and then…they’re just gone.

That tragedy was what inspired my villain the Tall Lady: the ghost of a murderous mother who was tired of the responsibility of being a parent and slit her toddler’s throats with a steak knife.

Which villain are you eager to see Anja and Keitaro face? Which villain would you least want to face if you were the MC of my book?

Thanks for reading!

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