Wednesday, January 07, 2009
An Interview with Jack Dodger by Lorraine Heath!
Terra, thank you so much for inviting me. It’s my pleasure to be here with you and the reviewers. I’ve done a couple of blogs before this one and with a pending deadline, I’m a little blogged out so I thought I would bring Jack Dodger with me and let him entertain you. Jack is the hero in my latest release, Between the Devil and Desire—the second book in the Scoundrels of St. James series. He first appeared in In Bed With the Devil. He grew up on the mean London streets under the tutelage of Feagan, a kidsman who managed a notorious den of child thieves. He’s now the wealthy owner of a gentleman’s club.
LH: Thank you for joining me today, Mr. Dodger.
Jack: Let’s get on with it, shall we? I’ve a business to get back to.
LH: I’ve heard you’re impatient when it comes to anything not involving your business, so let’s begin. A bookseller I know refers to you as a scamp. Do you consider that a fair assessment?
Jack: Absolutely. I’m going to hell anyway, might as well have a bit of fun along the way.
LH: In his will, the Duke of Lovingdon left you all his non-entailed properties. How well did you know him?
Jack: Not well at all. He was one of my patrons. A strange one at that. He never drank, gambled, or bothered with any of my girls. He simply observed. Some people are like that: voyeurs of sin. I never thought anything of it.
LH: So his naming you as a beneficiary in his will came as a surprise?
Jack: Bloody hell, yes. Did you read the blasted will? He put conditions on it. I only get everything if I serve as guardian of his heir. What the devil do I know about what a five-year-old lad might need?
LH: Henry seems like a well-behaved little boy.
Jack: Too well behaved if you ask me. It’s not natural. Something’s wrong there.
LH: It sounds as though you already care about him.
Jack: I care about the coins seeing after him will put in my pockets.
LH: Ah, that’s right. You value coins above all else. I read about your obsession in your journal:
When I was five years old, my mum sold me. I never held it against her; even at such a tender age I understood that hunger and fear could make a person do things he thought he’d never do. Soon after I learned the devil wore gentlemen's clothing, and I ran away, convinced I'd be better off on the streets than in an elegant house where fancy gents pretended respectability.
I was not long on my own when I fell in with a notorious den of child thieves, managed by a crafty old blighter who went by the name of Feagan. Under his tutelage I learned anything could be stolen—given the proper preparation. My own skills, my determination to succeed and thus to survive, were unmatched, and I soon rose in his esteem. He affectionately called me Dodger and by the time I was eight, I found myself spending the better part of my evenings sitting in front of a coal fire with Feagan, smoking my clay pipe, drinking gin, and soaking in the rare bits of wisdom he shared with only a respected few.
But my palm constantly itched to hold more coins.
When I was nineteen, a solicitor informed me that I had an anonymous benefactor who had grand expectations where I was concerned and wished to bestow upon me ten thousand pounds so my future might be assured. I had lived on the streets long enough to know money was to be made investing in vice. I purchased a building and transformed it into an exclusive gentlemen’s club.
And so it was that I became a man of means, far exceeding what I was certain my benefactor had expected of me. But no matter how much money I earned, it was never enough. I was always hungry for the next coin. I would do anything, anything at all, to possess it.
Jack: Devil take you! That was supposed to be private.
LH: Sorry, but it seemed a quick way to introduce you. You had a rough upbringing. It must have hurt when your mother sold you.
Jack merely shrugs.
LH: Is that the reason you won’t turn your back on Henry, because you know what it is to be abandoned?
Jack: Don’t be daft. It’s always all about the money. In the end, that’s all anyone cares about.
LH: You have a rather jaded view of the world.
Jack: A realistic view. Not like the lad’s mother. She thinks I’m the only bad thing in the world. Hasn’t a clue about the dangers her son might be in.
LH: You think Henry is in danger?
Jack: Something is amiss. Why else name a ruthless scoundrel as guardian?
LH: You mentioned Henry’s mother. Olivia wasn’t too pleased about your being named guardian.
Jack chuckling darkly: No, she wasn’t. Her spunk took me by surprise.
LH: You like her.
Jack: There you are, being daft again. She’s too self-righteous. Never thought about doing anything wicked. Where’s the fun in falling for a woman who objects to a bit of sinning?
LH: Maybe you can convince her to give wickedness a try.
Jack giving me a devilish grin: You know what they say. When you’re caught between the devil and desire, the only choice is surrender.
I had more questions for Jack, but he gave me a wink, settled in a chair, and refused to answer any more questions. Maybe he’ll be more obliging for you.
Ask Lorraine or Jack a question and leave your email addy and one lucky winner will receive a copy of Between the Devil & Desire from Lorraine.