Some awesome new books from Deborah Nam-Krane, and a guest post
I love to hate Alex Sheldon from Deborah Nam-Krane's New Pioneers series, and now he's got his own short story AND an explosive storyline in the latest novel!
Ghosts of Alex Sheldon: A New Pioneers Short Story
Get it HERE
Someone tried to take everything away from Alex Sheldon, but they didn't take enough. Someone thought they'd closed all the doors to opportunity, but they didn't see the ones that opened into people's worst impulses. Alex was used to power, and he was done with regret. He opened those doors with his eyes wide open and started to replace what he'd lost. He became the man everyone thought he was capable of being, and he was going to make sure nothing compromised him again.
You can't have a conscience when you casually plan a murder and calculate the profit of another human being's suffering. So why are all of his ghosts visiting him as he makes his way home to put his plan of revenge into motion? Someone might almost say that he's haunted.
Even a man like Alex needs to be wary: sooner or later, we all start to look like the company we keep.
Justice, Mercy and Other Myths
Get it HERE
Only one person was ever able to fight Alex Sheldon head on. Is that the same person who finally stopped him?
A man like Alex always has a long list of enemies: Lucy Bartolome, the wealthy socialite he blackmailed for decades; Michael Abbot, Miranda Harel, and Richard Hendrickson, all of whom lost parents because of him; David Hwang, the squeaky clean politician who found himself caught in a deal with the devil; Hilary Sayles, the inept madame Alex kept under his thumb; and Mariela, the young woman who almost died when she was trapped in his web. Detective Robert Teague knows the players all too well, but his gut is telling him that Hannah Bruges, the young woman who's been taking the law into her own hands for a decade, is keeping him from putting it all together. If only she wasn't the most exciting thing to happen to him in years, he might still be able to solve this thing.
Hannah has a piece of information that's not only going to change the course of the murder investigation, it's also going to make him and everyone else question a case he thought he'd closed years ago, one that almost cost him his job. What Robert really needs to see is how he fits in, because as soon as he does, everything else will fall into place.
Everyone needs to be careful what they wish for, because solving the murder is nothing compared to living with the answer.
Loving/hating Alex Sheldon yet? Here's the author's take on him:
How to write a villain you love to hate
Guest post by Deborah Nam-Krane
Alex Sheldon is the boogey man that haunts my series, The New Pioneers. Before we meet him in The Family You Choose, Emily, the main character of the first book, The Smartest Girl in the Room, has already figured out that his shadow looms large over the lives of her new friends Jessie, Richard, and Miranda. He transforms from a dark (and very inappropriate) love interest to someone who’s unapologetic about using other human beings to fatten his wallet. It’s not until the final book, Justice, Mercy and Other Myths, that we get a full, shocking look at how far he’s willing to go.
And yet people love this guy, and I know why.
Alex has good motivations and bad motivations, just as real people do. As a young man he effectively ruins three lives to secure a life-changing payday, but a decade later he’s willing to raise two orphaned children as penance for his role in their parents’ deaths. The results were disastrous, but his heart really was in the right place. Similarly, although he’s known for being calculating and ruthless, he’s also capable of impetuous decisions, motivated, as they usually are, by passion. He isn’t a mustache twirling villain; he’s a flesh-and-blood character who makes decisions we can understand even if we don’t agree with them.
Alex is also marked by a tragedy that stays with him throughout the series. Many villains have a tragic back story, but you get to see why he’s stung so deeply as he remembers in great detail his doomed love affair with Tatiana Hamilton and the deaths of Tatiana and his best friend, Stephen Abbot. You know all too well his role in both of those episodes, but what makes you forgive him is that you know why he made the decisions he made.
As devious and selfish as he is, Alex isn’t the worst of the worst. He hides the truth about his young wards, Michael and Miranda, but he’s not responsible for the awful secret that binds them in the first place, and he genuinely believed they were better off not knowing. He blackmails Lucy and Joanna for decades, but he does that for someone much more powerful, and that person gets much more out of Alex than the other way around. And while Alex is bent on destruction in the last two books of the series, we become aware that even now he’s serving someone else’s ends. Alex spends the entire series believing he’s one step away from not just the wealth but the respect of the One Percent, but the reader knows that whatever he does, it’s never going to be enough. Our horror at some of his actions is tempered by our pity for him.
On some level, Alex knows this. However, while he’s filled with resentment, he never claims to himself or anyone who confronts him that he’s a victim. On the rare occasions that he’s backed into a corner, he knows he put himself there. He’s the clear-eyed author of his own destruction, and he’s more unflinching with each installment.
A good redemption story is a classic, and I hope I’ve delivered that with the man who’s Alex’s mirror, Detective Robert Teague. But a slow descent into perdition can be just as satisfying, and more so when the man in question is smiling throughout the journey.
Okay, now go get these books! While Alex is my favorite, Robert Teague comes in at a close second, and he's a major player in Justice.
Deborah Nam-Krane was born in New York, raised in Cambridge and educated in Boston. You're forgiven for assuming she's prejudiced toward anything city or urban. She's been writing in one way or another since she was eight years old (and telling stories well before that).
She first met some of the characters in The New Pioneers series when she was thirteen years old, but it took two decades- and a couple of other characters- to get the story just right.
Things you might want to know:
First crush: Peter Pan... until she realized he wasn't real. Then she moved onto Captain Kirk, then Mister Spock (and there she's stayed).
What makes her write: a character that needs to have his or her story told.
How much time does she spend writing: as much as possible! Sometimes one hour a day, sometimes four.
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