My story Something Special hits the shelves in a few weeks, figuratively speaking. (It's an ebook). It wraps up The Wild Rose Press series "The Class of '85," which tells how classmates of Summerville High find love and new beginnings 25 years after graduation day.
Throughout the series, the high school bully looms in the background--only now he's got a badge and a drug addiction--Dickhead, a.k.a. Chief of Police Richard Heade.
The chief plays a prominent role in Something Special. My hero, Andrew Morgan, a detective with the Summerville Police, is running a side investigation into his boss's illegal activities. And when Richard learns of it, bullets fly.
But Richard's character arc--from drug-addled bully to potential murderer--happens over the 24-book series, with clues sprinkled in several books.
His first big appearance is in Bonded for Life by Sharon Buchbinder. We see how self-serving and self-centered the police chief is. He makes work miserable for Webster Bond, our hero. Web challenges the sheriff over proper use of SPD employees and realizes the extent of the chief's drug use. When he tries to talk to his wife about it, Richard overhears and assigns Web the "nightshift for life."
A cameo in the next book, Transatlantic Loving by Rachel Brimble, shows us his priorities. When the town's soccer coach, Aaron Taylor, rallies for support at the public beach for a Summerville sports center, Heade tries to stop him. Aaron publicly reveals Heade's lack of belief in the talent of the Summerville kids and his disinterest in providing the town with more jobs.
Richard and his wife, Beth (formerly known as Ready Betty) play bigger roles in An Indecent Proposal also by Buchbinder. In this story, Richard has partnered with a New Jersey mobster to buy the inn and turn it into a casino. The deal is thwarted when the heroine and hero reluctantly band together to purchase the old Summerville Inn. The seriousness of Richard's drug addiction becomes clear, as is his willingness to sidestep the law for his own gain.
We get a peek of Dickhead and his wife, past and present in Embraceable You by Kat Henry Doran, and in The List by Veronica Lynch, Ready Betty rewrites the definition of the word bitch.
Beth is a mess in her own right and definitely deserves her own story arc blog here at Typos, but let's just say she hides her unhappiness behind bad dye jobs, too much plastic surgery and make-up better suited for a "working" girl.
In Mad Dog and the Archangel by Doran, they play a big role in the beginning and briefly at the end, and the chief is pivotal to the plot and character arcs in Something Special. (We also see Web briefly when Andy comes in early and Web is finishing up paperwork from the nightshift.)
Writing the denouement of a character developing over the series was both a challenge and an honor. I had to make Richard's actions realistic in comparison to how others had portrayed him and to find a way to make Andy's investigation very personal.
By the time we reach their final confrontation, both have everything to lose.
Now it's your turn. If you've read the series--or written for it--stop in and share what you liked or disliked about Dickhead, the bully with a badge.