What is Deviance? Guest Blog by Orren Merton
Every story starts from its own unique seed. Sometimes I'll start with a character; other times a situation or plot.
In this case, my novel The Deviant began with a question: what IS deviance?
On the one hand, that's easy to answer: anything that veers off from "societal norms" is considered deviant behavior, usually with sexual overtones. But that's not that simple, when you think about it: what societal norms? Is a rock star musician who goes to church on Sundays and doesn't drink or have tattoos a deviant? Would mainstream society consider a rock star a deviant based on his choice of career? Probably. But as a clean living churchgoer, he's not all that deviant, is he? Not really.
Then again, among the society of rock stars, it is pretty uncommon to live like that...so maybe he does have a deviant personality after all.
From pondering the question (and generally having my head filled with the darker side fantasy), came the idea for character: Heinrich.
As a vampire, his very existence is deviant from the norms of human society; he's an undead monster, right? What if he's a noble person? Is it possible for him to transcend his parasitic nature? Or is being a monster what defines him?
And Heinrich certainly isn't the only instance of deviance in the novel. There are really, really bad people running around. So what does deviance mean, in the context of the entire plot? Is Heinrich truly unforgivable?
Heinrich was a complex but fun character to write, full of humor and hopes, romance and dreams—but also a mean, even cruel side. He's a deviant, without a doubt, and the novel pits his deviance against both the norms of the conservative society in which he finds himself, and the deviance of those around Santo Paulo who have their own secrets to hide. There's no simple answer to the question of what is deviance, but hopefully The Deviant is an enjoyable exploration of the question.
Heinrich Straus, an eight-hundred year old German vampire, is on the run-from his past, from his crimes...from himself. Looking for a place to settle, Santo Paulo, a quiet, central California college town, seems to offer everything he's looking for: peace, quiet, and friendly people. It's not long before he is noticed by one of the local college students, who endeavors to win his heart. Concurrently with his arrival, however, local detectives uncover the serial murders of young women, and fix their sights on Heinrich. Even with a daughter of Santo Paulo as his champion, Heinrich finds that being a vampire makes proving his innocence complicated...
Would you like to win a copy of The Deviant?
Orren has offered to giveaway 1 copy to 1 lucky winner
And the winner gets to choose whether they want an ebook or print copy
Winner TBA Wednesday Feb 16