Today I'm pleased to welcome author Terry Maggert to the blog to talk a little bit about his new urban fantasy novel, The Forest Bull, as well as an interesting cultural tidbit about life in the South. Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by today Terry!
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Three lovers who stalk and kill the immortals that drift through South Florida (tourists are a moveable feast, after all) are living a simple life of leisure- until one of them is nearly killed by woman who is a new kind of lethal.
When Ring Hardigan isn’t making sandwiches for, and with, his two partners, Waleska and Risa (they’re cool like that), he’s got a busy schedule doing the dirty work of sending immortals to the ever after. Wally and Risa provide linguistics, logistics, and finding the right place for him and his knife- together, they’re a well-oiled machine, and they’ve settled into a rhythm that bodes ill for the Undying. Warlocks, vampires, succubae and the odd ghoul have all fallen to their teamwork. Life is tough, but they soldier on killing the undead, liberating their worldly goods for charity, and generally achieving very little.
Until Ring wakes up after nearly dying at the hands of a woman who may or may not be the daughter of Satan. Ring’s a tough character, for a boat bum (killing immortals sort of rubs off on you that way), but twelve days of comatose healing are enough to bring out the ugly side of his temper. When a letter arrives asking for their help finding a large collection of stolen heirloom jewelry, they form an uneasy friendship with the last Baron of a family hiding in a primal European forest.
Cazimir, the Baron, has two skills: Jeweler and preserver of the last herd of forest bulls. It’s an odd occupation, but then, Ring, Risa and Wally aren’t your everyday career folks, and Cazimir’s lodge might be sitting on something that looks a lot like hell, which, according to a 2400 year old succubus hooker named Delphine, is currently on the market to the strongest immortal. The Baron’s impassioned plea to find the jewelry comes with some conditions- he doesn’t want the collection back as much as he does the thief, Elizabeth, who happens to be his daughter- and the woman who nearly sent Ring to his grave.
In a tapestry of lies, it’s up to Ring, Wally and Risa to find out what is evil, who is human, and exactly who really wants to reign over hell.
That’s the official blurb, but the short version is that three hunters who kill immortals are asked to find stolen jewelry, and the thief might be Satan. What does Satan look like? How do three lovers get along? And what happens when you find out that you might be more than human, and less than immortal?
The theme of my book is simple. Sometimes, evil can be outwardly beautiful, but in truth, some cultures have created a myth that there is an expectation of cruelty from beautiful women. I started to think about how we assume that looks determine the character of a person, but good-looking people may get away with more because of how we’ve been trained as a society. The whole notion that women could be evil, but the head honcho of Hell was a man, seemed curious. Then, I began to write a character that blew up the assumptions about the “devil”, especially given that many people associate Satan with being a male, and apparently, someone who dresses like every day is Halloween.
I began writing about this particular topic because of my status as a transplant to the South when I moved from Florida. I’m not a true Southerner, but I found that I love the culture. I mean, sweet tea? Biscuits? Pinto beans? Please and thank you! There was one thing that was completely new to me – roadside crosses at places where people died in car accidents. I started wondering, “What if someone, or something, used a roadside cross for a very dark reason?” I wrote a story about a ghoul and her human helper, who roam the American Midwest using a roadside cross to lure teenagers to their death. From that, I created characters that would hunt that ghoul, and one year later, here we are!
The series has really taken off, I originally thought one or two books might be the full story, but I just finished the second, and there are at least four more in the works as of today. My character Delphine really took me by surprise. She’s a twenty-four hundred year old hooker who also happens to be a bit of a Southern Belle—and a succubus. I was actually laughing out loud at some of the things she said, so she figures heavily in the second volume in the series. I would have included more Delphine, more of her humor, and perhaps a touch more of her personal history. I reveal all of her past in the second book, simply because she’s taken on a life of her own, and her beginnings are both sad and compelling. Stop by and see her sometime. Delphine’s favorite saying is, “I only kill for the kisses”, and I think she’s worth checking out. Thanks for having me over for a visit, and I hope to see you again when the second book, “Mask of the Swan” hits the shelves in January. Cheers!