Writing The Well’s End’s Antagonist

As you can see from my review today, I kind of sort of really LOVED The Well’s End by Seth Fishman. I loved it so much that I am beyond THRILLED to have Seth Fishman here today to talk about writing the villain from The Well’s End. Without further ado, I’m turning the blog over to Seth.

The Well's End by Seth Fishman

His name was Caleb first, then Victor – placeholders and almost ridiculous named in the context.  When I found Blake Sutton and fleshed him in, I realized that he was more that a man in a mission. More than a villain out to ransom the world.  In a book of surprises (I think/hope?), it’s hard to fully delve into Sutton, but I wanted to create a character who had all the ‘power’ of wealth, intelligence, and ambition but with just as much hubris and sheer naivety as any real person might have faced with the goals and deranged dreams of his mind.  I find antagonists so perfect so often – ahead of everyone until the very end when oops… What I wanted was a villain who acted as destructively to himself as to the heroes and innocents of our story.  Someone who felt just as dangerous as he felt defeatable.  I don’t mean that to make him sound lame, that’s not the point.  The point is to aim for what might ring true.  And the truer a crazy story is, the scarier, in my mind.

Thanks so much Seth, that was fascinating!

In case you did not read my review yet, here’s what The Well’s End is all about:

Half a world away, the Chinese military has a target list of ten US cities in case of war. Most are obvious (DC, NY, LA) and some a little less so (Atlanta for instance has the CDC) . . . but one is an absolute mystery: Fenton, Colorado. Unfortunately for her, sixteen-year-old Mia Kish is about to find out what makes Fenton so special when emergency sirens start blaring and ritzy Westbrook Academy is put on lockdown. No students in or out until otherwise notified. For the rich boarders whose homes are safely states away, their concerns are missed vacations and trips home, but for the handful of townies, like Mia and her friends Jo and Rob, there’s no escaping the danger.

The situation becomes dire when students and faculty are stricken with a strange illness that ages them years in a matter of hours, the end result death, seemingly from old age. No one knows what to do, but Mia and her friends are not just going to sit there while their parents might be in mortal danger. They escape the school grounds in search of a cure and answers; answers they hope to find in the sealed off mountain bunker where her father supposedly runs Fenton Tech. But along the way, they discover that the military presence is not what it seems, and that the long buried secret of Fenton is a fabled object of myth and legend that may actually exist deep within the earth below.

 About Seth Fishman:

Seth Fishman is best known as a New York literary agent at the Gernert Company whose client roster includes ingenue National Book Award Finalist, Tea Obreht. Seth is also the recipient of an MFA from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. The Well’s End is his first novel.

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. This one is on my to-read list and, after reading your review, it’s pretty high up there. I loved reading how the author fleshed out his villain. Villains need to be more than the mustached bad guy rubbing his hands together over a damsel in distress.
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