Title ~ Jackdaw
Author ~ KJ Charles
Publisher ~ Samhain Publishing
Published ~ 17th February 2015
Genre ~ MM Romance, Paranormal, Historical
If you stop running, you fall.
Jonah Pastern is a magician, a liar, a windwalker, a professional thief…and for six months, he was the love of police constable Ben Spenser’s life. Until his betrayal left Ben jailed, ruined, alone, and looking for revenge.
Ben is determined to make Jonah pay. But he can’t seem to forget what they once shared, and Jonah refuses to let him. Soon Ben is entangled in Jonah’s chaotic existence all over again, and they’re running together—from the police, the justiciary, and some dangerous people with a lethal grudge against them.
Threatened on all sides by betrayals, secrets, and the laws of the land, can they find a way to live and love before the past catches up with them?
This story is set in the world of the Charm of Magpies series.
Warning: Contains a policeman who should know better, a thief who may never learn, Victorian morals, heated encounters, and a very annoyed Stephen Day.
Today we’re welcoming KJ Charles back to sinfully to celebrate the upcoming release of Jackdaw, a much anticipated book we know everyone has been waiting for. Only one day to go! Hero or Villain… Exactly which one is Jonah Pastern?…KJ tells us how this charming antagonist actually became the protagonist in his own story.
KJ is also generously gifting an ebook copy of Jackdaw to one lucky reader. just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win.
Villain to Hero: Jackdaw by KJ Charles
You’ll often read the writing tip that ‘nobody is a villain in his own story’, or words to that effect. The author has have to understand what motivates the antagonists, what they’re trying to achieve, why they get in the hero’s way. This is excellent advice. It clarifies plotting and makes stories richer and truer when the villain isn’t a cardboard cut-out.
It also gave me a new book.
In Flight of Magpies, book 3 of my Charm of Magpies trilogy, our heroes Crane and Stephen are up against a criminal gang of four practitioners, led by their old enemy Lady Bruton. Two of them have very specific grudges against our heroes, one is a psychopath, and the last one…well...
“Look at it from my point of view. Ideally, you get me out from under Lady Bruton’s hold. I’m trying to help you do that. But if I help you and she finds out—no. So the next best outcome for me would be that she kills you and your bit of stuff, and is so happy about it that she lets me go.” He gave a flashing smile. “The lot of you can kill each other with my blessing, as long as I get away.”
That’s Jonah Pastern: magician, rogue, thief, and completely uninterested in whether our heroes live or die. Really. Doesn’t. Care. He’s been forced into participation in the plot by Lady Bruton, all he wants is to get out alive, and he’s not concerned how he achieves that.
It’s irrelevant to the plot of the book what hold Lady Bruton has over him. What’s plot-crucial is that it makes him a wild card—neither a committed antagonist nor a likely ally, but a man who will act in his own interests and unpredictably.
So I had to know enough about Jonah to make that plausible. It didn’t have to be much. He’s amoral, he’s reactive rather than a planner—oh, and he can walk on air. Here's what the law enforcers have to say about him:
“Reckless, slippery…rather charming, if you like the type. And rather good, too. It took us months to pin him down, working with the local police force. We finally caught him after he robbed the Tring Museum. I left him, in irons and in a closed carriage with a police constable guarding him, for twenty minutes. My mistake.”
“He killed the officer?” Macready asked.
Miss Nodder gave a crack of laughter. “Ha, no. I suspect the poor fool wishes he had. Pastern—well, to speak frankly, he seduced the man. He picked the constable’s pocket and unlocked the cuffs while the benighted idiot’s attention was, er, elsewhere.” She raised a meaningful brow. “Then he was straight out of the carriage and into the sky, and that was the last we saw of him.”
That’s about all we learn about Jonah in Flight of Magpies—that and, later, the fact that he was trying to protect someone. That was his background motivation, the thing I knew but the reader didn't have to. I didn’t have anything else in mind for the character when I wrote those things. I was too busy writing Stephen and Crane.
But. One of my pre-flight checks on a MS is to look at the antagonists—are they well motivated, in character, doing their own thing for their own reasons rather than as plot functions? And as I read over Jonah, something occurred to me.
The person that Jonah was being blackmailed for, the person he did all this to protect…what if that person was the police constable he left behind?
Boom. I had a new book.
Jackdaw is the story of windwalking thief Jonah Pastern and his unfortunate, abandoned policeman. I hadn’t intended to write a spin-off, but the story was so compelling that I had to drop another project just to get it done. It also gave me the bonus of a different perspective on Crane and Stephen, my trilogy heroes.
Because, after all, Jonah is the villain in their story—it was only fair that they should return the favour in his…
Connect with KJ
KJ writes mostly romance, gay and straight, frequently historical, and usually with some fantasy or horror in there.
KJ is gifting one lucky reader an ebook copy of Jackdaw. Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win.