Author: Jack L. Pyke
Lisa Arbitrary's 5 Star Review of Backlash here.
Backlash: Behind the Scene Book Tour,
First off – thank you to Attention is Arbitraty for having us today!!!
Today I’m hijacking the lovely Vicki. She’s a part of my consultant team, with a delicious focus on dark content (think Antidote, think Vince, think… I can’t do that, it’ll bloody hurt them, then think – “go there” from Vicki, you have her underpinned!). She also focuses on copy edits.
Although it’s the author’s name on the front cover, there’s so much that goes on behind the scenes, so much input from key players, that it’s great to take a step back, sit down, and turn the spotlight on those who help shape and shift these Don’t… series lads. And on that note….
*Turns the spotlight on Vicki* It’s really great to have you here, Vicki!
Vicki: *Waves at everyone*
Jack L: First, can you tell everyone a little a bit about yourself and your experience in fiction?
Vicki: I went to college (university) for a criminal justice degree. I have 25+ years as a legal assistant. I began reading MM fiction after reading one of Cameron Dane's FMM books. I have a straightforward way of writing reviews, and I review for . I work closely with several authors. That being said, I work and fight with Jack L. Pyke the most. *Laughs*
Jack L: Fight, pfft. It’s… debating, lol. And on that note: How did you become involved in working on the Don’t series?
Vicki: Jack asked me if I would assist and give my opinion on the next book in the series, Antidote. We worked really hard on that and it took a lot out of both of us, but Jack felt the most pain. There was a lot of pushing from my end to get it as serious as possible. Making the readers feel the hurt and vulnerability was not an easy thing for Jack. It made her feel everything that was done to the boys. For an author, that is a scary place to go and I applaud her for a job well done.
Jack L: Antidote was a bad place to be, at times, I have to admit. How do you see your role in the Don’t series overall?
Vicki: I feel that next to Jack, I am the closest to the characters. I can throw a fit if something doesn't feel right for each character. Antidote was the hardest for Jack to get through, but Breakdown was the one that broke me down. (no pun intended)
Jack L: I remember! I use the term ‘consultants’ with people who work for me because they each have core specialist areas they focus upon, and they are chosen specifically because of that primary focus. Yours, in particular, is getting the notes right with portraying dark content. How vital is their role within fiction in general, do you think?
Vicki: I know that authors have beta readers. They do not work this closely to an author. Each author does things differently. A beta reader reads the text and gives their opinion on it. I spend a lot of time arguing and going over scenes with Jack. A consultant muse, maybe? I think I'm vital to Jack because she knows I know her characters and she can bounce ideas off of me, and I'm not going to give her bad advice.
Jack L: If you could pick a character to pull from the Don’t pages, who would it be?
Vicki: It's an even toss-up. Gray. He is the least known character of the three main characters. I believe all of the readers are pulled into the story and love the idea of Gray. I would really enjoy seeing how all of the readers feel about him. It would be very interesting to see if they are all of the same opinion or vastly different.
Martin. The unknown, entity. I wonder if he touches the readers’ hearts or if they hate him. Do readers want to see him go completely away, or do they want to get to know him and allow him to come out to play on occasion?
I'm totally in love with both of those characters. I've always wanted to live in a monogamous ménage relationship, and those two would be my choice.
Jack L: Oh lol, there’d certainly be some dark nights there! If you could pick a character to give the most painful death to, who would it be?
Vicki: Jack Harrison's mother. What an evil witch to do the things she did to her own son.
Jack L: And if you could pick a plot or character from the Don’t series that you’d like to know more about, what/who would it be?
Vicki: Martin. I really want to get my mind wrapped up in him. I always fall for the broken men. They love with great passion, and will turn around and bite you if something doesn't go their way.
Jack L: Okay, about this “arguing…” What’s it like working with me? *Cheeky smile, hands over bribe*
Vicki: Working with you? It depends on the day. We can fight about scenes and what we both think the characters should do or how they should act. I love the back and forth ideas thrown out between us and sometimes the arguments that Jack calls, "discussions." For such a kind soul, Jack can sure put a dirty streak in a book. Her family is my family. So working with Jack is like working with a sister that I dearly trust and love.
Jack L: *Blushes* Which author would you love to work with?
Vicki: Besides Jack? Gosh, that's another toss-up. Varian Krylov. I love her, but she doesn't get too close to people. I wish she would do a series where I could get close to the characters like I do with Jack. I love Joseph Lance Tonlet as well.
So, I guess the answer is I'm happy right where I am at and where I'm appreciated. I want to have a relationship with the author.
Jack L: I think that’s key to good a consultant team: we’re people at the end of the day, with kids, concerns, and the usual stresses. It’s not just about the work; it’s about the people behind it.
On that note: There’s some quite dark topics throughout Don’t, and most times you’ll read the script three or more times. How do you handle each wave? Does it get easier or harder?
Vicki: I think it gets easier. I gave an example to a friend who I'm attempting to push to read Bey Deckard's Better The Devil You Know. I told her that first chapter was hard and then I settled into the book. It didn't get any less gory, but my mind could handle it after a point.
It's the same with Jack's books. I know what's coming and I have to look at it from the readers' perspective and see if they are going to be able to feel what Jack wants them to feel. After all the discussions, I have to put a reader's hat on and double-check that her intentions are felt by the reader.
Jack L: Thank you for stopping by for a chat, Vicki, and I’m going to take the opportunity here to say the hours you’ve put in with me from Antidote onwards has been absolutely phenomenal, and I’ve loved (and still love) all the “discussions” that we have!
Vicki: I wouldn't trade my time spent with you. I love where your mind can go and I love that you take me along with you on those journeys.
Jack L: Thanks also to Lisa again for having us over! Be sure to check the tour out tomorrow for another chance to win a Backlash paperback, where everything comes together over at Diverse Reader and there’s an extract from Backlash! There’s also still chance to enter yesterday’s blog tour post, where I was over at Kimmer’s Erotic Book Banter, where we had a few readers over for coffee with Gray, Jan, and Jack. Thanks again for stopping by today!!
Vicki’s bio: I’m a 50+ year old mother of a gay man, who is the best thing that ever happened in my life. I read a lot of dark content. Then I have to follow with a cotton candy read or two so I don’t slash my wrists. I read over 300 books a year and there is very little, in the way of content, that I won’t read. It doesn’t mean I necessarily like all of it, I just believe that a story is born in an author’s head and regardless of the content, they usually write the story the way those characters dictate the story to them. Also, to me, fiction is fiction. I don’t think everything has to sound totally reasonable, as long as it’s written well and entertains me in one way or another. Most of all, I’m a character-driven reader. If I can’t connect to the characters, chances are I’m not going to like the book. I give honest reviews and try my best not to hurt anyone’s feelings while doing that. I’m not always successful but I sure try.
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