I would like to thank SE Jakes for joining me today and talking about her latest release, “Dirty Deeds”, released Jan 13, 2014.
Lirtle Grafton: Hi, S.E, it’s good to see you! How are you? Besides having to deal with the band of misfits in the land of E.E. 😉
S.E. Jakes: I’m doing great, thanks! 2013 was an awesome year for me and 2014’s shaping up to be wonderful as well. Thanks for having me here 🙂
LG: Did anyone tag along with you today? If so, and I may be risking mayhem with this, but please feel free to allow them to help answer any questions, if they feel like it. Something tells me they will do what they want.
SEJ: (whispers) Prophet’s here. I’m trying not to attract his attention…
Prophet: Hey, is this about me?
Me: It’s always about you.
Prophet: Good. (wanders away)
Me: That was easy.
LG: Typical Proph…
Meanwhile, I’m really excited, we’re all excited for the release of “Dirty Deeds” and to finding out what in the world Mal and Cillian have been up to. For anyone new to the Hell or High Water series, and for those of us who simply love to know every detail we can get, tell us a bit about Mal and Cillian, the little we know about them from their brief appearances in “Catch a Ghost” and “Long Time Gone”. Also, any info on their backgrounds you can give us would be great.
SEJ: Okay, so, let me try to do this without spoilers (and because you’ve read Dirty Deeds, you understand how kind of impossible a mission that might be)
LG: This entire book is one giant spoiler, it won’t be easy…
Mal: It was revealed in Long Time Gone that he’s one of Prophet’s SEAL team members and that he was part of that fateful mission where Prophet and John were captured. (Mal was in the car following them) Prophet also calls Mal in for help (medical and otherwise) without Phil’s knowledge.
Cillian: He’s a spook who lives in Prophet’s building. They’ve become friendly. Ish. And then Prophet asked Mal to distract Cillian, and thus, Dirty Deeds was born…
LG: And we’re more than glad for that. 😉
How did the idea come about in regards to pairing Mal and Cillian together for “their story”?
SEJ: Well, I didn’t know Cillian and Mal were going to be together. At all. I was halfway through writing Long Time Gone (this was before Catch A Ghost was released) and I was like, OMG, they’re…going to be together. Out loud. Because my characters don’t tell me things until they feel I need to know. And I can’t even tell you what triggered me knowing that, but I emailed Sarah (Frantz – my Riptide editor) and I told her. And she was like, ohhhhhh.
When I signed the Hell or High Water contract, it was four 4 books and 2 shorts – everything Prophet and Tommy. But she said, “Maybe one of the shorts could be Cillian and Mal?” And you know what – there’s no way I could’ve written what happens in Dirty Deeds at any other point in time. It fits with events that will happen in the upcoming Daylight Again.
LG: I love that this ‘universe’ has expanded and has led to other corners newly discovered. So cool.
Who did the cover artwork for this book? Please give them a shout-out, and anyone else for whom you’d like to do the same. 🙂 It’s a bit different in theme than the covers for CAG and LTG, which were also fab.
SEJ: LC Chase from Riptide did this cover (she’s also responsible for Long Time Gone and she oversaw the production of Catch A Ghost, while Victoria Colatta of VMC Art & Design did the actual art and design for that one)…LC is really awesome. For some of my covers, and interiors, she’s got to hand draw things. And we have to look through pictures of hot guys for inspiration, so she’s a real trooper 😉
Anyway, I showed her my picture of Mal (the one from Tumblr) and it’s all about the eyes with him, that semi-insolent look that says, “I might kill you or I might fuck you.” And she knows I typically don’t like full faces on my covers. She sent through about 5 covers and Sarah and I were like, “that’s it—that’s him. The eyes!!!” And then there was the all-important reaper. So book 2 (Dirty Lies) will feature Cillian on the cover and book 3 (Dirty Love) will have them both.
LG: Oh, so we’ll get to see Cillian, as well, and then the both of them together. Very nice.
How are Mal and Cill handling having their own book about just the two of them?
SEJ: Well, they were both doing quite well, until a certain point…
LG: Yeah, some certain point it is, too. Yowza.
As “Dirty Deeds” opens, how and where do we find both Mal and Cillian? And where are we in the timeline of the events in relation to the first two books?
SEJ: You’re about 4 – 5 months past Long Time Gone and you’re running on (part of) the same timeline as Daylight Again will be. Dirty Deeds 1 takes place over about 4 days. And as it opens, they’re both in Amsterdam—Cillian meeting with his informants and Mal is there…for Cillian.
LG: The last part of your answer says so much about the motivations for both of these guys, at least the ones revealed in this first book of their series.
When these two first meet, is there an instant spark on either of their parts? Or is this something they’ve had to work up towards, their connection, if you can tell us/if they’ll let you tell us. 😉
SEJ: There’s a, um, spark. 😉 And then they end up talking and there’s a pretty fast connection there as well. It’s interesting (well, for me, interesting and frustrating) because everything was layered—Mal is connecting with Cillian, but not as himself. He’s playing a role, and Cillian, as a spook, is always playing a role. So to get down to who they really are and strip away the layers…that was cool to watch.
LG: To say there are layers in this story is the understatement of understatements. There are so many threads making up those layers.
How would Mal describe Cillian, and vice versa?
SEJ: Very differently than you’d expect. And honestly, they each get much closer to the true man behind the mask, so to speak, much more quickly than I’d expected. And that’s as far as I’m going.
LG: Expectations are turned on their collective heads in this story.
What do you think are some of the insecurities either Mal or Cillian may harbor? Whether in relation to work, themselves, their ‘relationship’?
SEJ: I can’t even begin to answer that one…
LG: It feels like we barely scratch the surface in this sense and yet we find out so much at the same time.
I won’t ask you for any spoilers – unless you’re willing! – but are there any surprises where our collective mouths will be hanging open, any appearances by some of the other guys: Prophet, Tom, Phil, Doc, etc.?
SEJ: I do believe this book will have a lot of ‘oh shit’ moments. Which is what makes it so hard to talk about in any kind of detail. You’ll hear from Prophet, Tommy and King though.
LG: *understatement alarm sounds* There it goes again – the ‘oh shit’ moments abound, no doubt.
Can you tell us at least one thing that drives Mal crazy about Cillian, and vice versa?
SEJ: Mal’s a wiseass and tries to take control. Cillian is also all about control. And they drive each other crazy, in ways that are both good and bad.
LG: And now the reverse: something that Mal really likes/appreciates/respects about Cillian and vice versa.
SEJ: I…can’t. But once you read it, you’ll know immediately. It’s what bonds them, I think, even before they talk about it.
LG: It’s pretty intense, that’s for sure.
Sorta kinda off topic: I wonder if Proph has ever shared his experiences with duct tape, thanks to Tommy, with his pal Mal…
SEJ: Huh, what? (taps screen) I think we have a bad connection…
LG: *smiles innocently* What… all I did was ask the question.
If Mal and Cillian were stranded on a deserted island – yes, together (poor island) – what specifically of the following would they want to have? I’d be curious to see if any of their answers would be the same.
Food: Mal – pizza and Cillian – steak.
Book: Mal – Shogun (he and Prophet share that fascination) and Cillian, The Art of War
Toy: yeah, that kind – handcuffs. For both.
Furniture: (You want me to say couch, yes?) Mal says bed. Cillian said bed as long as it’s got a place for restraints. (Hey, you asked!)
LG: Yer dern tootin’, I did!
Drink/Alcohol: Mal: scotch (but he said he’d rather have more food and no drink) and Cillian likes Jack and Coke.
Tools: Mal: Machete-type knife. Cillian is in agreement.
Anything crazy that isn’t listed here: Mal wants C4. And no one is surprised…
LG: I know I’m not…
BTW, we’d make sure they had pen and paper to help with communication. 😉 Oh, I’m sorry, did I say “we”? *evil grin*
SEJ: Ahem. I think they’re doing just fine in the communications department.
LG: Yes… yes they are.
What all is next on the docket for you as far as books coming down the pike? In this series, as well as the Men of Honor books and anything new you are starting.
SEJ: Well, in 2014, you’re getting the last two Hell or High Water books in May and October (and a Proph/Tommy short) first (and Mal and Cillian will be in there) and then Dirty Deeds 2 & 3 start up (2nd is January 2015). So those two (Dirty Lies and Dirty Love) will have a plot that’s separate from what’s happening now.
I’ve also got another Riptide book coming out in June (that hasn’t been announced yet.) And a Men of Honor spin-off in November, called No Boundaries.
And then I’ve got 2 (or 3?) secret projects. 😉
LG: Oh, myyyyy, looks like we’ve got lots to be looking forward to! There you go again with that teasing. 😉
Thank you so much, S.E., for doing this interview with me for us! We all simply can’t wait to find out what Mal and Cillian have in store for us. 😉
SEJ: Thanks for having me!!! This was fun 🙂
If anyone has more questions / comments etc, you can get in touch with me at www.SEJakes.com or grab me on social media in the following ways:
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can post to my Facebook page: Facebook.com/SEJakes (or join my Dirty Deeds group there!)
You can tweet me: Twitter.com/authorsejakes
You can post on my Goodreads Group: Ask SE Jakes
You can follow my Tumblr page: sejakes.tumblr.com
You can purchase Dirty Deeds at Riptide
SE Jakes has kindly offered to give 2 readers their choice of backlist eBook!
Contest ends 21 Jan at 11:59pm. Must by 18 years or older, void where prohibited, etc.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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