Let’s celebrate the release of “Necropolis” with an Interview that discusses the many revelations in book 4 head on and will answer some of the most burning questions 🙂
It will be full of spoilers about the series up until now and with a few awesome teasers for what is to come, so read on after the SPOILER warning at your own risk. If you haven’t yet read the book, here is the information you need to buy it so you can quickly catch-up 🙂
Previous book: StormhavenIntroverted scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has spent the last few months watching his lover, Griffin Flaherty, come to terms with the rejection of his adoptive family. So when an urgent telegram from Christine summons them to Egypt, Whyborne is reluctant to risk the fragile peace they’ve established. Until, that is, a man who seems as much animal as human tries to murder Whyborne in the museum. Amidst the ancient ruins of the pharaohs, they must join Christine and face betrayal, murder, and a legendary sorceress risen from the dead. In the forge of the desert heat, the trio will either face their fears and stand together—or shatter the bonds between them forever.Novel: 69,863 words.The Whyborne & Griffin series:
Widdershins (Book 1)
Threshold (Book 2)
Stormhaven (Book 3)
Necropolis (Book 4)
Eidolon (A Whyborne & Griffin short story)
Remnant (A Whyborne & Griffin/Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal short story) – written with KJ Charles
His gaze sharpened. “Christine’s in danger.”
“Presumably so.” I stared down at our joined hands. “The thief’s eyes…they reflected the light like an animal’s. And he went on all fours, not like a man crawls, but more like a dog. I don’t think he was entirely human. He ate part of the guard…and you said someone dug up and devoured a corpse, did you not?”
“Yes.” He nodded slowly. “And this Nitocris is associated with jackal-like eaters of the dead. There must be a connection.”
“I have to go to Egypt. Christine needs help—she wouldn’t have sent the telegram otherwise. I just didn’t want to admit it.” I took a deep breath. “I’ll miss you terribly.”
Griffin gave me a puzzled look. “Don’t be absurd. I’m going with you.”
“But your business—what will become of it if you leave Widdershins for several months on end?”
“I doubt the inhabitants of Widdershins will run out of reasons to hire a discreet private detective any time soon,” he said dryly. “It will be here when I return. Did you honestly think I’d let you travel all the way to Egypt, to confront something Christine can’t handle, and not come with you?”
“To be fair, if Christine is having difficulties, it means the problem can’t be simply shot or bludgeoned with a shovel,” I pointed out, but my heart soared at his words.
“No doubt,” he agreed. “But I have a few talents which may come in handy.”
“True.” I didn’t want to argue, but felt I had no choice. “But what if word comes of your brothers while you’re gone?”
“It’s been over twenty-five years since I last saw them.” His smile turned rueful. “A few more months will make no difference. Christine is my friend as well as yours, and I’m not about to abandon her.” Drawing our joined hands up to press a kiss against my knuckles, he added, “Besides, I’ve cast my lot with yours, remember? Where you go, I go.”
My ribs felt too constrictive around my heart. I leaned in and rested my forehead against his. “Thank you. First thing tomorrow, I’ll explain to the director, and you can book our tickets for Egypt.”
Copyright by Jordan L. Hawk
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Did I mention SPOILERS? No? Well…
The following interview will be filled with spoilers, so continue at your own caution!
Jordan L. Hawk, thank you so much for agreeing to this live interview. I have just finished reading “Necropolis” and I have so many questions. I’m sure I’m not alone in that!
Thanks so much for interviewing me, Marc!
My pleasure! So, there is A LOT going on in book 4 of the series. Not easy for me to know where to start. Let’s go to the beginning of the book. Family dinner! Whyborne’s relationship with his father has slowly been changing throughout the series. As he became stronger, standing up to his father and brother – it seems that his father’s view of him has been changing. He seems to have gained some respect for Percival, while losing some for Stanford. Will we see that dynamic continuing to transform?
Definitely! I think at the end of book one, Niles started to realize there was more to his youngest son than he’d given Whyborne credit for. It shook him out of his comfortable image of Whyborne as the effeminate weakling. Now he’s contrasting Whyborne’s continued behavior with Stanford’s slow disintegration and starting to wonder if he bet on the wrong son.
I love this family dynamic. Obviously, Whyborne’s father is not really a good guy. His past behavior is really unexcusable. But I found Griffin’s statement about the dinner invitations very interesting. Niles seems to accept that Griffin is Whyborne’s partner and as such part of the family.
Speaking of family, do you think we will see the dirty past about their family brought back in the present?
I wanted their family dynamic to feel nuanced. It would have been easy to make Niles purely evil, but I wanted to create a more complicated character with him. I’m certain the fact Whyborne is gay came as no great revelation to him; the whole family probably figured that out long ago. It’s just one more way in which Whyborne has proved obstinate and contrary, so far as Niles is concerned. So way back in Threshold, when Niles wants to hire Griffin as a detective, he doesn’t meet him at an office to do business; he invites Griffin to a family dinner. And of course the Christmas from hell. I wanted it to stand as a contrast with Griffin’s adoptive family, who are nice and would never do any of the awful things Niles has done, and yet basically disown him when they find out about his relationship with Whyborne.
As for Whyborne’s family, they will play a huge role in book 5, aptly titled Bloodline.
It does. I found myself comparing them a lot. Griffin is such a great man and it is sad that his parents would abandon him. Three dimensional characters are so much more interesting than those only good or bad. I love that all of your characters have inner struggles and weaknesses they have to overcome. Even Griffin is broken in places and has to overcome his fears.
As for Bloodline; the title gets me very excited as it promises to take the plot in an interesting direction. After Whyborne was possessed by the Dweller, we see that there are either lingering effects or that some of his natural abilities have awoken. While Whyborne quickly dismisses the possibility, the words of Nitocris about him being a hypocrite were very intriguing. Magic, especially the water spell, came very easy to him, he smells of the sea and his father is a very rich and powerful man who had his fingers in the occult. Given that his mother was shown to have some connection to the sea as well and I always wondered why she ever chose a man like him, is there more to their ‘love story’? And will the changes within Whyborne remain in the next book?
I think there was a certain amount of convenience in Heliabel’s marriage to Niles–a young socialite from Boston with a certain amount of wealth to an even richer man. I do believe, at least on Niles’s part, there was a romantic element as well as it being a “good match.” We know the Whyborne lineage were “thieves and whores,” but not much about the Endicotts, except that Heliabel’s father went insane and died. Suffice it to say we will find out more in Bloodline. The changes in Whyborne, regarding his strengthened magical abilities, are permanent.
I can’t wait to find out more Heliabel is very intriguing as well. I often forget that she knows as much as she does about her husband’s deeds, Whyborne’s sexuality and magic. As Whyborne is closed off with many poeple, his open and honest relationship with his sick mother is very refreshing. Can you share with us if there is any particular reason she wants her son to teach her magic or if it’s just scientific curiousity?
I think some of it is curiosity, and some of it comes from spending a good part of her adult life as a shut-in. Other than books and letters, it’s one of the only means she has of expanding her very small world. Additionally, discovering she can do these spells is empowering for her. Between the societal confines she grew up with and her literal confinement as an invalid, she hasn’t had many opportunities in her life to exert any sort of power over her surroundings. Just knowing she can do these things, even if she doesn’t regularly use any spells, makes a difference in how she views herself and her relation to the rest of the world.
Do you think she might have an affinity for water spells as well? 😛
I suspect she might…
Hehe. That makes me happy. Okay, let’s get to Nitocris. Originally, when Whyborn met her on the boat and she had a philosophical conversation with him, I thought it might be a Columbo thing. Her wearing a mourning with the connection to death and interest in ancient things. Her fluent and commanding use of foreign languages. When she was revealed to be Christine’s sister it totally threw me for a loop. I was so sure she was Nitocris, yet I wanted the family reunion so much. When the protection symbol burned her, I thought she might be possessed. When the small wound created a lot of blood, I thought it might have been a sign that she was revived. Then when she talked about her library, I though maybe she was just the person to open up a new, more extensive window into the occult for Percival, while revealing a more vulnerable side of Christine and I was wrong all along. A red herring :P. Was it difficult to keep readers on the edge, unsure of what to believe?
And now that Percival decided to embrace magic, would he have access to the library or wouldn’t Christine be the heir to her sister’s belongings after she and her husband died?
That was the element I found hardest to judge–whether or not it would come as a shock she was Nitocris. Since obviously I knew, and my beta reader knew beforehand as we’d discussed the book, it was hard to know how much uncertainty readers would feel over her identity. Going by early reviews, I think people kept guessing or else were totally surprised by the reveal, which is gratifying.
I suspect the castle will pass to a more distant relation of the graf’s now that his widow is dead, rather than to Christine. But I haven’t put a lot of thought into that aspect yet, so don’t hold me to it!
Well, I guessed early on, but by the point it was revealed I had closed her into my heart and dismissed the notion. Mostly. Though the one thing I couldn’t dismiss was the warning to Christine that was shouted early. I know she was a bit blind to the possibility, but I thought this revelation might force Percival and Griffin into action. But neither of them told Christine, nor did they question Iskander. It made me so pissed at Kander, because I loved how love stricken Christine and he seemed – a completely new side on her – but endangering random lives would have crossed a line. Even if he wanted to protect against Nitocris as I suspected, I couldn’t imagine Christine forgiving that. So why do you think did they not investigate further and why, when they finally had proof and unmasked Iskander (so to speak) did they exile him when they could use any help they could get? Was it just pride or did they really fear they could not trust him even to fight their common enemy? Btw, I loved that he didn’t cut the ropes and put the snake under the cot. There’s an insane chemistry there between him and Christine and I actually thought if there would be a novel between the two of them, I would totally read it, even if it was M/F. Great way to take some of the responsibility off his shoulders so that he is still worthy to be Christine’s love interest.
To be fair to Griffin, he did try to tell Christine early on that he suspected Iskander of being up to no good. She’s used to being a good judge of character, generally speaking, and with her also being emotionally involved she wasn’t going to listen to Griffin. After their argument, I think he didn’t feel they could confront him or convince Christine without very solid evidence, which they didn’t have. After all, Iskander could have just said he saw one of the ropes starting to fray or some such, and it would have all ended up in another row between Christine and Griffin. I think the answer is “both” as to why they exiled Iskander. Wounded pride and wounded feelings on Christine’s part, combined with fear Iskander wouldn’t have their backs. And thank you! With their romance having to be a side-story, it was a bit tricky to relate at times. I’ll add we haven’t seen the last of Iskander, as you may have guessed.
I hoped as much. I was really amazed how many different side stories and dynamics you balanced with this book. It must have been super difficult, but it works so, so well.
So, with Nitocris defeated, will her monsters vanish or will there just be less of them, making it possible for Iskander to perhaps leave with Christine. He did seem to have joined the protectors to get their help and given their limited numbers, I hoped he might still be allowed to leave. Should the monsters vanish, I wonder if Christine might either uncover the many artifacts under the smuggler’s house or the temple they found where the elements crossed to keep her good standing – or will she have to fight to get taken serious again?
Thank you! The ghuls won’t vanish altogether, but there are many less of them now. And I don’t think Iskander really wants to spend the rest of his life as a ghul-fighter, so I imagine he’ll leave soon. Through no fault of her own, Christine will have to struggle to continue in her field. I haven’t entirely decided where she’ll go next, although you know with Christine it will be an adventure. It’s a setback, but not one she’ll let stand in her way for long.
I don’t think anything would hold her back for long.
It drives me mad even reading about the fictional injustice done to her – especially knowing that it wasn’t and isn’t fictional for many women. She found a legendary tomb that most everyone dismissed as a mere myth. Now her colleagues are using her being a woman to take out their fiercest competitor. I loved the respectful way she communicated with the workers and that she gave them a fair compensation. Especially the fact that the graverobbers told her secrets, because they wanted her to find the secret places they knew about, as she rewarded everyone involved fairly and treated the culture and artifacts with respect. This book showed us this aspect more than any of the previous ones in the series as we got to tag along with her. I wonder how much you draw on your own experiences in the field?
Women still face a lot of pushback in the sciences. My husband tells about being an engineering student in 1984 where a male professor told all the female students to leave his class because women had no business being engineers. One can only imagine what it was like for those intrepid early female scientists in 1884! I think it’s unfortunately realistic that Christine’s colleagues would judge her with a harshness greater than they would another man. She wouldn’t have gotten as far as she has without an immense conviction that this is what she wants to do with her life, and that no one will stop her.
The archaeologist Petrie, mentioned in passing in Necropolis, not only revolutionized archaeological techniques but was the first to pay his workers decent wages to keep them from stealing artifacts from him. Christine takes it a step further by acknowledging she really relies on these people and owes them a real debt.
It makes me admire her so much more as a reader than I already did. She accepts Whyborne as he is (and their friendship seems to get even tighter in this book. Loved that she asked him for advice about her sister) and let’s no one deter her from her path. She might have a temper, but I really can’t fault her and I love the respectful and open minded way she has about other people and cultures! Given that Christine got Whyborne to go with her and he admitted that it was worth it several times, might he journey with his best friend again or will he stick to Widdershins from now on?
We’ll be back to Widdershins for Book 5, but I’m sure they will go more places and have more adventures with Christine in exotic locales.
What are some exotic locales you would find interesting and some mythological places you might consider for future stories? Atlantis? El Dorado?
Honestly I’d love to get them to the Arctic. The Yukon gold rush is just ending in 1899 and the North Pole won’t be reached on foot for another decade. Now that would be a great setting! I’m not sure about mythological locations, but I’m not ruling them out either.
Well, you are very good about creating your own mythological sites and the arctic does have a lot of potential. Things are largely unexplored and can be well preserved in ice.
Will Whyborne’s decision to embrace being a sorcerer and equipping himself with as many spells as he can learn drive a wedge between him and Griffin? I somehow can’t imagine that being exactly what Griffin meant 😛 Given how brave Griffin had to be (I’m so proud), I would like for him to have some happiness. Though I kind of understand his fears, seeing what studying these dark books made out of Christine’s sister. Still, given what they keep encountering the spells have been awfully helpful *g*
Griffin certainly didn’t mean it the way Whyborne took it – and Whyborne darn well knows it, which isn’t going to stop him at all, any more than it ever has. Griffin won’t be at all happy when he finds out. As for Griffin’s concerns…hmm, how shall I answer this? Whyborne definitely enjoys the whole spell casting deal. It makes him feel powerful. We’ve seen him tempted to use the spells to lash out before, although the only time he’s ever actually done it was when he heated up the doorknob during his argument with Griffin in Threshold. And of course the spells *have* been very useful, which makes it all seem even more benign to Whyborne. Griffin might be too worried about the magic, but possibly Whyborne isn’t worried enough. We’ll find out in Bloodline.
And this seems like the perfect place to end this interview. I love a good teaser and you have certainly provided a few very good ones Before we go, do you have any idea how many books you plan for this series? It feels like there are a lot of stories that still could be told.
Which other new/upcoming releases and projects do you have planned?
I suspect I’ll have a better answer to the “how many” question once I’m done with the first draft of Bloodline. This book is something of a game changer in some ways, or at least I think it will be. I’m at the outline stage now, though, so everything is subject to change at this point! But there are a lot of stories I’d like to tell following it.
I’ve just sent Summoner of Storms (SPECTR 6) off to my editor for a July release. I’m working on a W&G short story, and I’m just beginning to develop an entirely new series as well. Enough to keep me busy for a while, that’s for certain. Thanks so much for interviewing me–your questions were fabulous!
That sounds exciting! Thanks so much for taking the time to satisfy my curiosity. I can’t wait to share your answers. I’m very psyched right now. Loved your answers and I think it might be time to try out the SPECTR series!
About the Author:
Jordan L. Hawk grew up in the wilds of North Carolina, where her bootlegging granny raised her on stories of haints and mountain magic. She might have followed in the family business, but found herself unable to resist the lure of forbidden knowledge, and became an archaeologist instead. After growing tired of mummy curses and ghastly discoveries, she used a silver knife in the light of a full moon to summon her true love and turned to spinning tales. She weaves together couples who need to fall in love, then throws in some evil sorcerers and undead just to make sure they want it bad enough. In Jordan’s world, love might conquer all, but it just as easily could end up in the grave.
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