Guest blog by Tricia Skinner, Author of Angel Kin — the Kindle Daily Deal at TODAY for $0.99!

Black Widow. Captain Jack Sparrow. V. Nikita. Sarah Connor. Jericho Barrons in Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series, or Zoe in Firefly. What they all have in common is the “hell yeah” factor that makes heroes and heroines fresh and vibrant in today’s urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels, television shows, and movies.

The draw to characters that will do anything necessary to reach their goals is what makes them so interesting to watch or read. Don’t you sit a little straighter when reading how the hero or heroine plans to get information from a source. They’re not planning to have a nice chat. They plan to break some bones, spill some blood, possibly threaten a few innocent people, all to get what they need.

This type of hero comes in many shades. We pay close attention to their motivations, and we crave tiny morsels of information that provide a clue to their way of thinking. What happened to them to make them so scarred inside? How could a woman be so hardened she doesn’t think twice about spying on people who trust her? What makes a man sacrifice himself if he can only achieve vengeance first?

Often the character has been through unimaginable pain and heartbreak. The affect on a child’s psyche, as with TV’s Dexter Morgan, could turn them into monsters as adults except for an outside influence. In this case, Dexter’s adopted father.

But there are other characters that seem to revel in their chaotic nature. Captain Jack Sparrow couldn’t walk a straight line, whether sober or full of rum. It’s not his nature, and it wouldn’t have made him as endearing to audiences if he was a clean and straight laced as the admiral, by comparison.

In my novel, Angel Kin, hero Cain is a good man, but he’s learned hard lessons since childhood. With his family killed and himself taken to Heaven to train as an assassin, Cain struggles with his choices. He kills, but has good reasons. When his way of life is threatened and the woman he’s falling in love with is in danger, Cain faces both sides of himself, never sure which will win out.

That’s the kind of story that sucks me in as a reader. Never knowing when the hero or heroine will slip into their darker selves to complete a mission makes for great reading or viewing material.