Sorry about the late post. I haven't been well the past two weeks and blogging got pushed to the back burner.
A little bit ago, I virtually sat down and had a chat with fellow Anthology author Lesleigh Nahay about lost heroes and other such topics. Lesleigh's story "Breath Between Seconds" will be published in the Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life Anthology THIS MAY! Lesleigh, welcome and thank you again for spending time with my questions.
Me (J) : Why do you believe the concept of a “hero lost” is relevant to our times? Does the idea of a “fallen hero” appeal to society as a whole in light of the current social climate? If so, why do you think we feel an attraction to fallen heroes, and cheer for their redemption?
Lesleigh : I think because we acknowledge that everyone is flawed, we are drawn to those circumstances where an individual can find redemption. Watching someone else rise above a fall gives us hope that we can as well, however slight or immense our falls may be.
But no, it can't universally apply to society as a whole, ESPECIALLY in light of current social happenings. People make judgments according to the experiences and the values they've been exposed to. If you live within some sort of metaphorical 'box', what one person calls a hero is what another person will call a villain.
(J) : Do you think that perceived heroes (in real life and in fairy tales) should uphold their position as heroes regardless of personal challenge? In other words, if a hero has an important role to play still, not just “I saved this place or that person once upon a time”, do you believe that person is responsible for continuing their heroics or should they be “allowed” by society to fade quietly into the background?
(L) : In a way, I think that negates the truer notion of what a hero is. True heroes don't set out looking for a way to prove themselves. More often than not, they are given the title because of an instinctual response to an unpredicted occurrence. That 'instinctual response' is one in which they instantaneously and without logical thought, put value on something other than themselves, and then reacted without thought to their own welfare or safety. If you read the news about Good Samaritan or 'daily hero' type reports, most of the time, they vanish as soon as their role is done. Most of those articles are on the behest of the person they saved, desperately wanting to know who their heroes are.
To force someone into maintaining that role, I think could conceivably turn into your next question, where resentment can turn to bitterness can turn to retaliation. Also, what right have we to demand that someone else constantly sacrifice themselves for us? At some point, all of us should be someone else's hero. Or at least our own.
Then, of course, there's those who take helping and saving others as their purpose in life: health care, social workers, police and fire fighters, teachers, search and rescue, military. But these aren't roles that are usually forced upon them, and they would call it civil service or their civic duty versus career heroism.
I think a commonality would be: If not me, who else?
That being said, I love the whole concept of SUPERheroes (I'm currently in my Batman shirt, Superman's hanging onto my fan cord above me, Wolverine- the Hugh Jackman one- sits in my front window beside Wonder Woman, and my bookshelf is covered in Funko Pop Mystery Mini figures). And that is a mix of psychological studies that do include Narcissism, unquestioned civic duty, pure good vs flawed good vs bad and evil, and a constant reevaluation of motives.
(J) : Lost heroes could be perceived as anti-heroes or could descent into the realm of villain. Were you tempted to allow your hero to do that? Was there ever a moment when you considered letting your fallen hero fall to the “dark side”?
(L) : No, not in her story-line. But she does question whether her actions are for the good side, or if the other side is truly the better one. And in trying to flesh her story out more in my first edit, I found myself on a tangent that began to play up her opponent. While, if I ever choose to make this into an actual novel, all those possibilities and background unknowns will make for some awesome revelations and twists, they began to outshine her to the point where she was disappearing completely, which lost the irony of her heroism. In a way, it could have turned her into the anti-hero. But it was important that she be the one readers have greater empathy for, so I rewrote it to align back with the original concept.
(J) : I'm a hard and fast believer in the need for villains. Without villains, we are unable to truly understand the dichotomy between “good” and “bad” and the war that has raged in every story since their first telling. How do you feel about the need for darkness in stories to find the light? Are you a fan of fallen heroes who DO become villains? And if your fallen hero was to become a villain, what might that look like?
(L) : I do love stories and film that make you both love and hate the villain, because it forces you to question what is good and what is bad and what is evil. There is no two, there's not even just three classifications. And it's not always so easy to come to a concrete conclusions about other people's motives and underlying force.
If a story is all happiness and light, what do you learn from it? What is the author trying to tell you? How does that help you grow at all? My own stories don't have much of Happily Ever After. As a reader, I want more than just entertainment and a happy bubble outside reality. If you look into the origins of Fairy Tales- and not the Disney-d versions- they weren't meant to entertain or marry off all the teens into fantasy-led loveliness. They were meant as lessons and a way to teach upcoming generations of what to be aware of. The world is not made up of purely good, and those who question the legitimacy of a situation are typically the ones who survive.
Not that my MC is purely good, but I can't think of a way that she could conceivably become a villain in her situation. Even if I made her a traitor or a spy, only a select few would call her villainous.
(J) : Finally, for kicks and giggles: What TV show would your fallen hero binge watch on Netflix?
(L) : Hmm. Falling Skies. I wonder, what would a fantasy world's version of Sci-fi be??
Thank you so much, Lesleigh, for spending some virtual time with us today. I can't wait to read your story! To learn more about Lesleigh, wander on over to her BLOG. To learn more about her upcoming Anthology story, click over to the Lost Hero website! You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram :)