June 25th, 2013


Guest Blog: DB Jackson returns!

Last year I hosted my friend DB Jackson on his blog tour coinciding with the release of his first Thieftaker Chronicles novel, THIEFTAKER. I’m delighted to interview him again this year as book two, THIEVES’ QUARRY, lines up to hit the shelves.

Mea culpa: this time I haven’t read the book, although I have a copy. But I *do* have a spare copy of THIEFTAKER to give away, so that’s gotta make up for something. I’ll send the book to a random commenter on this post (after verifying said commenter doesn’t already have it :)).

ThievesQuarry_DB_Jackson1. You’re writing urban fantasy with a historical setting and a male lead, neither of which is entirely regarded as the done thing. We talked last year about writing historical UF; this year tell me about writing a male lead in a subgenre that’s often considered a girls’ club.

I want to say that it wasn’t something to which I gave a lot of thought, but that wouldn’t really be true. Beginning with the gender-neutral initials at the start of my new pen name, I have been considering my place in the Urban Fantasy market from the start. It used to be that women in fantasy and SF had to disguise their gender by camouflaging their names as I have. Today, in a welcome turnabout, it’s us guys who have to do that, at least in this subgenre.

But as you say, the bigger leap is having a male protagonist. I believe that in many ways the factors that led me to make my lead character a man are also the factors that make it an easier choice than it might otherwise seem. Ethan is a complex character, and not at all your typical macho hero. He is an older man — as an 18th century man on the verge of turning forty he is approaching middle age. He has been a sailor in the British navy, a ship’s mate on a privateering vessel, a mutineer, a convict, and now a thieftaker. To maintain the historical accuracy of the series, I couldn’t give a woman that sort of resume. It just wouldn’t work. But as I say, these elements of his personal history (and the fact that he’s a conjurer) also make him more interesting than just another guy who can fight and solve crimes. He’s different; he bucks tradition in many ways. He’s definitely not a typical hero, and those idiosyncrasies help to make him someone who will draw the interest of readers.

The other thing I did to make this work was give him a female nemesis. The Thieftaker books do have a kick-ass female character; she just happens to be Ethan’s arch rival in thieftaking, Sephira Pryce (ed: Sephira rocks. I absolutely love her character!). Without Sephira, I think that Ethan would have been a tougher character to sell. But their interaction — their enmity, their repartee, the sexual tension between them — makes him (and her) that much more compelling.

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(x-posted from The Essential Kit)


perpetual moving

We are in a state of perpetual moving. This is not unlike a state of perpetual motion, except it’s also not like it. By last night, we both had a thousand mile stare and were beginning to just shove random shit into boxes. Somehow, despite doing this fifty billion times, there kept being more stuff. The house looked like a pack of 3 year olds had run through strewing junk everywhere. There was little room to manuever around the boxes.

Today, two nice men came and took all the packed stuff away from one house to another. I felt so guilty letting them do all the work that I had to paint the downstairs bathroom. When I was done with that, the new house was strewn with boxes, none of which I could even start to unload, because it is not until tomorrow morning that the other nice men come to put down a new carpet in Young Indiana’s freshly-painted room, nor until tomorrow afternoon thhat still other nice men come to put a shed in the back garden so we can store the owner’s crap that we don’t need and, please be to grod, some of our own crap. That we presumably don’t need, if it’s being stored, but nevermind that.

So I really couldn’t start unpacking because there’s too much stuff in the way or things can’t be put in the right room, making it all an exercise in existential despair. Instead I came home to start cleaning and putting the remaining small stuff into boxes, both of which happened but not to a totally complete and satisfactory degree.

We are entirely wrecked, and tomorrow is really just more moving, cleaning and packing. I have comparatively little confidence that any meaningful unpacking will happen. Gah.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)