Writing inspiration: Who is Carl Logan?
Figuring out in my muddled mind exactly what inspired the character Carl Logan, the main protagonist of the Enemy series, is quite challenging now. Back when I first started writing, about 6 years ago, I just wanted to prove that I could do it. I’d set myself the challenge of writing a novel. I’d betted my wife I would and I didn’t want to fail. So much has happened over those 6 years that it’s now quite difficult to pinpoint exactly where the plots and the characters all evolved from.
One thing that is clear; I wanted to write a fast-paced, action-based thriller. That’s just who I am. It’s the types of books that I’ve read and loved my whole life and also the type of TV and film that I watch. I’ve often pondered that my chronically short attention-span is one of the reasons I find writing and coming up with plots quite natural, but it’s also the reason I write in the style I do. I like a book that grips me immediately and that sends me on a white knuckle roller coaster ride until it’s over with.
But what about Logan himself?
Well, I’m not an elite black ops agent in real life, so he certainly didn’t come from my own experiences! Like every author, I wanted a protagonist who readers would feel an affinity to, who readers would find exciting and who they’d be compelled to follow from one book to the next. But I wanted Carl Logan to stand out above his peers too.
On one level he certainly fits the mould of a traditional action hero - he’s tough, dogmatic and he has a brutal and ruthless side to him when necessary. With Logan though, I wanted him to be more than that, more than just a one-dimensional and indestructible tough guy. I wanted him to be vulnerable too. Now we’ve all read plenty of stories of the washed up hero or heroin, the alcoholic or the divorcee or the widow. I wanted Logan to be even more extreme than that. I wanted to strip him right down and leave him challenging his very existence.
In the end we see Logan as this highly trained warrior, entirely fearless out in the field, but someone who, following a recent trauma, in many ways has the emotional maturity of a child. And that was really where I got a lot of excitement in writing Logan. That side of him that’s challenging who he is and struggling to come to terms with how it feels to be a normal human being rather than the robotic operative which was all he’d previously known his entire adult life.
And what better way to explore a person like Logan than to put him into situations which maximise and exploit that vulnerability, and open him up to a powerful range of emotions and dilemmas such as love, betrayal and revenge. Those three concepts are, ultimately, what drives each of the books in the series.
Putting aside all of the action and the thrills and twists and turns that fill the books, it’s Logan and what I think is a powerful journey of growth and redemption for him through the series that I really want readers to remember long after they’ve finished reading the stories.