Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Guest Blog and Giveaway with Jane Kindred

What is it about a demon protagonist that’s so intriguing?

The first time I remember rooting for the demon was when Cole Turner turned out to be Belthazor on Charmed. I guess the audience knew that from the start, which was an interesting switch that added perfect tension, while Phoebe and the rest of the Halliwell sisters remained in the dark.

At first, I hated Cole, but he began to grow on me. I suspect he might have been growing on the writers, as well, and that turning him into one of the “good guys” for a time wasn’t originally in the plans.

Seeing Phoebe’s love redeem him and give him a chance to be better than he thought he was made for a very sympathetic character, out of someone who could easily have been two-dimensionally evil.

Similarly, I began to fall for Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, even before he developed a more prominent role in the show. As soon as he arrived on the scene, there was something fascinating and sexual about him. Thanks to Joss Whedon’s brilliant writing and James Marsters’ heartfelt portrayal of someone who ought to have been little more than a Big Bad, you could see there was something more to him underneath.

Unlike Angel, he had no soul, yet even as a mere demon, he had a moral compass of sorts, and a deep passion and caring for his partner Drusilla that came out with just a few choice actions and words. He was, in my opinion, a better man than Angel, because even without his soul, he tried to do what he thought was right.

I still use a quote of Spike’s in my personal email signature, from when Buffy’s sister Dawn comes to him, worried that she might be evil: “Well, I’m not good,” he reminders her. “And I’m okay.” Being good is easy. Being bad and making the choice not to act on your innate nature is far more complex, and dare I say, human.

So I guess it was inevitable that I would fall for my own demon character.

I had originally planned for Belphagor (similarity to the name Belthazor unintentional; I actually remembered it as Balthazar until I looked up the spelling while writing this post) to be a sidekick in The Fallen Queen, and a bit of a loser. Oh, he’d redeem himself in the end, but I intended for him be a self-centered screw-up and a conman who cared more about money than people. It was a character named Tracy in an episode of Firefly called “The Messenger”—a man who sold his own body to act as a mule for the transportation of black market organs—who first inspired Belphagor’s creation.

Like Tracy, Belphagor has a “sure” plan to obtain wealth beyond his dreams that will allow him to retire in luxury, but much to my surprise, Belphagor also has a history that changed everything I thought about him. As soon as I started writing a scene in his point of view, I realized there was much more to this character than the devious conman I meant for him to be.

He has a nickname, “The Prince of Tricks,” that even I didn’t know the full meaning of until I began working on a second trilogy in the series. He likes to keep things from me. Yeah, I’m that writer; the one teetering on the brink of sanity, at the mercy of her characters. I really didn’t stand a chance once Belphagor came along. He’s a demon, after all. I knew eventually I’d be doing his bidding.

Is it the bad-boy complex that draws us to demon protagonists? Is it a desire to redeem a damaged character? Or are demons just intrinsically hot?

Blurb for The Fallen Queen:

Heaven can go to hell.

Until her cousin slaughtered the supernal family, Anazakia’s father ruled the Heavens, governing noble Host and Fallen peasants alike. Now Anazakia is the last grand duchess of the House of Arkhangel’sk, and all she wants is to stay alive.

Hunted by Seraph assassins, Anazakia flees Heaven with two Fallen thieves—fire demon Vasily and air demon Belphagor, each with their own nefarious agenda—who hide her in the world of Man. The line between vice and virtue soon blurs, and when Belphagor is imprisoned, the unexpected passion of Vasily warms her through the Russian winter.

Heaven seems a distant dream, but when Anazakia learns the truth behind the celestial coup, she will have to return to fight for the throne—even if it means saving the man who murdered everyone she loved.

Jane Kindred began writing romantic fantasy at the age of 12 in the wayback of a Plymouth Fury—which, as far as she recalls, never killed anyone…who didn’t have it coming. She spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed. Jane is the author of The Devil’s Garden (Carina Press/June 2011) and The Fallen Queen (Entangled Publishing/December 2011), Book One of The House of Arkhangel’sk trilogy.

You can find Jane on Twitter: @JaneKindred
on Facebook:
or on her website:

Jane is giving away winner's choice print or an ecopy to one lucky reader

Just leave a comment with your email

Let us know which you prefer, ebook or print

And one winner will be chosen


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the chance to win. Enjoyed your blog. It gave me some food for thought especially what you said about Cole.

Debby said...

I did enjoy Cole and now I will think of him a bit differently. Thanks for the chance to win
debby236 at gmail dot com

Cherie Reich said...

I was always a Spike fan, too, for those reasons. He was much better than Angel. Your book sounds fascinating, and I like the name Belphagor. :)

cherie.reich (at) gmail (dot) com

Jane said...

Thanks, Cherie. I like his name too. :)

Gia said...

I love that episode of Firefly. ;)

Jane said...

Gia, that episode always makes me blubber. <3 Joss. :)

Jen B. said...

A fellow Spike fan. I love complex characters.

Krystal Larson said...

Thank you for the chance to win-enjoyed the post. edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom

marybelle said...

I would love to read a print copy of THE FALLEN QUEEN thank you.


Tore said...

I would love to read this book. It sounds really good. I would love a print copy. Please enter me in contest.

lindalou said...

I loved Spike & Buffy too... I'd love to win The Fallen Queen! Thanks for the contest!

angie lilly said...

I was a huge Cole and Spike fan and really miss both of those series. This book sounds really good and totally on par with these examples. I would want a print copy! Thanks!!!
14earth at gmail dot com

cait045 said...

I liked how the Buffy/Spike relationship developed even though I did like the Buffy/Angel relationship.

Julie W said...

Thank you SO much for the very nice picture of Spike!! I miss him so much! I really can't wait to read this book because it sounds awesome! Thanks for the giveaway:)
jwitt33 at live dot com

Julie W said...

Woops! I forgot to mention that I would love a print copy:)
jwitt33 at live dot com

Stacey Siferd said...

Sounds like another great read!! Thank you for sharing and thanks you for the giveaway opp. I've been getting alot of ebooks if I win, I think I would prefer can't beat the smell of a real front to back book :0) Thanks again!!

*yadkny* said...

It's definitely the bad-boy complex that draws me to a demon protagonist. I used to think before I actually read a book with demons in it that there was no way one could be considered hot in the sense of me desiring them... boy did I turn out to be wrong and I'm more than OK with that.

*ebook if I win

SparksScribbler said...

I am still a little upset over the fact that Cole didn't get a happy ending. :sigh: I get too invested in fictional characters. It's ridiculous.

I also happen to still love print books more than ebooks, so I'd love one of that if I'm the lucky one. :)

sparkscribbler (at) gmail (dot) com

Margay said...

One of the main reasons I loved Charmed so much was for Cole. He was just a great character.


CYP @ A Bookalicious Story said...

I'd love to read THE FALLEN QUEEN! It sounds awesome! Thanks for the giveaway!

cypsays_hi at hotmail dot com