When I prepare for an acting role I play very much by the Stanislavski rule book. I read through the script and see what the character has to say about themselves, what actions they make and what the other characters have to say about them. I think of my character in terms of what colour or what animal would best describe them, and then I step inside them and I try to figure them out on an emotional level. What has led the character to the place they are now at? Why are they the way they are? How would a typical day run for them? How would they react in a supermarket, on public transport, at a disco?
Some characters have simple motivations and are easy to work out. Others are more complex, but it is important to remember that all of them are performing actions because they are driven by want, desire and need. Characters don't see themselves as good or evil. In their mind, they are the hero. They may do things that are selfish or that hurt other people, but it is because their good intentions went wrong, or they feel threatened or they are seeking revenge for wrongs committed against them or their loved ones.
When you write a book, you have to get under the skin of each of the characters, not just one. I find this particularly interesting when it comes to the villain in Gift. I think I have created a well rounded character in the antagonist, and I hope other people will think so too. In fact, perhaps some people will even root for the 'bad guy'.
Then again, I hope I have managed to portray the complexities in the other characters as well. In many ways the main character is as much the villain as the one I have labeled the antagonist. After all, no one is wholly good or evil, and isn't it much more interesting when characters have flaws as well as strengths?