Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Will Tucker, Extraordinary Villian

Pinkerton Agents, Inventions, and the Charming Villain

Will Tucker is a handsome fellow with enough charm and drop-dead good looks to gain more than one wealthy fiancĂ©. And he does. Not exactly hero material, is he? That’s because Will Tucker, the subject of my new Southern-with-a-dash-of-Steampunk historical series The Secret Lives of Will Tucker is not the hero. He’s the villain.  

Writing a series with a villain at its center is a departure for me. In the past, I have centered stories on a location, such as the fictional city of Latagnier, Louisiana where I set seven tales of Cajun life spanning the late 1800s to the present day beginning with Bayou Beginnings and ending with Building Dreams. Or perhaps the series would follow characters who interacted in all the stories. My Women of the West series, currently an e-book 3-in-1 called Rocky Mountain Heiresses, followed this pattern with the first story, The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper, centering on Eugenia and subsequent novels Anna Finch and the Hired Gun and The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck telling the tales of Eugenia’s friend and stepdaughter.

Thus, taking on the telling of the story of Will Tucker, the charming and smooth-talking chameleon with the dubious intentions was new territory to me. In order to write heroines who would be fooled by this fellow and yet not appear to be less than worthy of their stories, I had to find that combination of good intentions and strong will. In the first story of the series, Flora’s Wish, I created a Natchez belle who sets out on a course that, at first, appears quite self-serving. When her efforts to marry in order to see that her family’s land does not pass to unfavorable hands put her in the cross-hairs of a Pinkerton investigation, she is not deterred. Millie’s Treasure, the second book in the series, pits a bluestocking Memphis socialite whose interest in science and literature has her longing to escape her gilded cage against yet another Pinkerton agent determined to catch Will Tucker and bring him to justice. Finally, in Sadie’s Secrets, a lady Pinkerton adds her investigative efforts to the ongoing case only to find that a certain Brit straight out of Scotland Yard is a dead ringer for the suspect, and he’s looking for Tucker, too. Add to this the fact that the Pinkerton agents are inventors who come up with the most interesting gadgets, including a flying machine, bullets that shoot filament wire allowing a person to scale walls, and, well…I digress.

So what becomes of a villain who is so likeable that women fall for him and men don’t mind calling themselves his friend? As I wrote the tales of Flora and Millie, and even as I began Sadie’s story, I wasn’t sure how I could pull off an ending worthy of such a fellow. In the end, Will himself determined his fate. Without giving anything away, I will say that the villain can sometimes play the hero, too.
About the Book: Sadie's Secret

From bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo comes Sadie’s Secret, the third book in The Secret Lives of Will Tucker series. These historical novels capture the romance of the South mingled with adventure and laced with secret identities and hidden agendas. Louisiana, 1890—Sarah Louise “Sadie” Callum is a master of disguise, mostly due to her training as a Pinkerton agent but also from evading overprotective brothers as she grew up. When she takes on a new assignment with international connections, she has no idea her new cover will lead her on the adventure of a lifetime. Undercover agent William Jefferson Tucker is not looking for marriage—pretend or otherwise—but his past is a secret, his twin brother has stolen his present, and his future is in the hands of the lovely Sadie Callum. Without her connections to the world of upper-crust New Orleans, Jefferson might never find a way to clear his name and solve the art forgery case that has eluded him for years. Only God can help these two secret agents find a way to solve their case and uncover the truth about what is going on in their hearts.

Kathleen is giving a way a copy of this book to some lucky winner. Leave a comment and answer the question to put your name in the drawing. Being a subscriber will give you an extra chance.

What does it take to give a villain any redeeming qualities?

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited by law; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. No purchase is necessary and only one entry per post. Winner will be selected next week-end and posted here on Monday, February 17. You must be 18 or older to enter. Remember to leave your email address for contacting you in case of win.


Unknown said...

Martha, Loved this post.
I think a villain has to have a soft heart under that protective shell he hides behind.
Also the desire to do what is right, Thanks I love Kathleen's books, they are always a blessing to read.
I am a follower of your blog.

karenk said...

I think he has to have a soft side...w/ redeemable qualities.

Thanks for the chance to read this wonderful novel.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Melanie Backus said...

I am definitely a follower. Under that tough exterior a heart of gold has to beat. A giving heart, a loving heart. A heart that in the end, gives over to what is best and what is right.

mauback55 at gmail dot com

Britney Adams said...

I also think that a good heart is one of the most important redeeming qualities of a villian; being willing to sacrifice his feelings for those he cares about the most!

Thank you so much for the opportunity to win a copy of SADIE'S SECRET!

I am a subscriber.
texaggs2000 at gmail dot com