My original intention for Bill Hiccock was for him to be a contradiction. I believe that contradiction is a good trait, as it expands the character. Contradictions are usually polar, spanning the gamut between one character trait and another. He’s a science geek to the extreme, yet he was good at football and played regularly in the Bronx. He received a scholarship to Stanford, and ended up getting national attention on the gridiron. When he gets to the point of winning the college championship, and is being questioned about it, he says he’s going to go back to school to study the pendulum. This was based on a Nobel Prize winner who after receiving the award in physics, said he was going to go back to ‘study the pendulum,’ the first thing you study in Physics 101. This seeming contradiction led him to find an entire new world of math. He looked at the same pendulum as millions had before, but decided to dig into the small errors and randomness that had, here-to-fore been relegated as “noise.” In that noise he found! This was a potent character trait, so I made Bill the same way.
In the first book of the Thrillogy, The Eighth Day, during a domestic quarrel, Bill’s ex-wife says, “With your three degrees and working all the time you are not a bachelor of science… you are a HUSBAND of science, and you can’t have two wives, so I am out of here.” In the same book, he talks about a scientist sacrificing their humanity for the sake of humanity. Eventually Bill warms up the human factor, and as he does, starts to win at life as well as against the common enemy. He realizes that life isn’t all about the hard nuts and bolts of science, but also about the human trait. This new paradigm shift allows him to eventually identify a human foible that helps him reveal a plot against the United States, but still maintain the contradiction.
In these little details, Bill’s contradictions help me to develop him as a character. In book two, The Hammer of God, he has more power and control, with now having his own operations group working out of the White House. However, he’s still struggling with the human side of himself. In book three, his personality develops even further, allowing him to help others. This humanistic development arc is superimposed over a cold, emotionless scientific core, to make a character that is not only contradictory, but also one that resonates with the reader.