Today I am so pleased to welcome Abigail Roux to Joyfully Jay. Abi has come to answer some of my questions about her latest release, Part & Parcel. She has also brought along a fabulous giveaway! Please join me in giving Abi a big welcome!
How have you thread Elias throughout the two series? Could you give us some backstory to catch up readers?
Elias Sanchez was the sixth member of the Marine Force Recon team named Sidewinder, to which Ty, Nick, Kelly, Digger, and Owen all belonged. Eli joined the FBI with Ty after they were discharged from the Marines, and he was the man who knew both Ty and Nick longer than anyone else in the books. Before Cut & Run started, Eli and his FBI partner were both murdered by the Tri-State serial killer, the man Ty and Zane were initially partnered to hunt down in Cut & Run. Despite how important Eli was to the overall arc of the Cut & Run universe, readers never got to meet him in the flesh, so to speak. He never once appeared on paper.
As the two series spread out, though, Eli became more and more real. His presence was a mere shadow over Ty in almost every book, his death was a component of the hard feelings between Ty and Nick, and celebrating his life and his memory was the catalyst for the entire plot of the 7th Cut & Run book, Touch & Geaux, in which he got a few sentences of being alive in flashback scenes. Basically, he was the most active dead dude in the Rouxniverse, except for the Bone Orchard guys, who were actual on-page ghosts.
I’ve offered a few free ficlets over the years, some of which were flashbacks that showed Eli alive. One was even from his POV, and those moments were the only ones where Eli was allowed to speak to the readers. Seeing Eli through the eyes of his brothers-in-arms, though, had a lot of readers (and me) falling in love with him. I’ve said many times in the past few years, my biggest regret is killing Eli instead of merely maiming him. But in Part & Parcel, readers finally get to meet Eli. We get to hear him speak through a series of letters he left behind for his boys, and we’re also witness to several remembered scenes in which Eli is alive and well and laughing.
I hope that readers finally get to meet the Elias Sanchez that the Sidewinder boys knew and loved. I hope they grow to cherish him just like I have as I went through the process of fleshing out the Sidewinder guys, and lastly, I hope the heartache readers feel is real when we watch Sidewinder say goodbye to him. That may sound malicious, but it will mean that I did my job, and that I did Elias Sanchez the justice he wasn’t given in the first book all those years ago.
Where is the series going from here? Will there be more? Will there be stories with other side C&R characters?
There will be more Sidewinder books, and both Owen and Digger will have their moments to shine as the main characters of stories. The next one will be Owen’s book, in fact. It doesn’t have a name yet, I’ve simply been referring to it as ‘the murder book’, which is terribly fun to tell people and then not explain further!
Part & Parcel serves as a sort of bookend to the mini-arc of the beginning of Nick and Kelly’s relationship. From here on out, the series will begin to take on more of a serial format, with each novel able to stand alone (with a few overarching exceptions, of course) as its own little caper. There are so many places these guys can go now. Ty and Zane are working for the CIA. Owen is head of security at a huge defense contractor firm. No one knows what Digger does, but the rumor is that he robs banks. Kelly still has ties to the wilderness rehabilitation camp he worked for in Colorado, and he still takes groups of kids out into the wilderness on adventure treks that have every chance to go wrong. And although Nick is no longer a Detective, he still has ties to that community. Plus, Part & Parcel will reveal a twist of Nick’s fate that offers him plenty of new ways to find disaster. And finally, Nick and Kelly haven’t forgotten Emma Grady’s request that they join her team of cryptozoologists and treasure hunters, once Nick recovers from the injuries he’s battling in Part & Parcel, and when they occasionally drop in on her and help her out, there’s an entire world of things they can get into.
The opportunities for adventure and disaster are endless for these guys.
How have Nick and Kelly changed as characters as you made them the features of their own stories? Was that a hard transition, from side characters to MCs? Especially given that you hadn’t originally seen them together?
Nick and Kelly didn’t do a lot of changing to go from supporting characters to main characters. I had both men pretty clear in my head when I created them, and it was just a case of putting more thought into their backgrounds and making sure they both still worked with that extra information. Nick was originally going to have his own stand-alone happy ending, so he was always in my mind to become a leading man. Of course, I had played with the idea of killing both Kelly and Nick by the end of Crash & Burn. I changed my plan with Nick early on because I just didn’t want him to die. But Kelly was saved by a friend of mine who quit smoking during the months I was writing Touch & Geaux. Our deal was that if she gave in and smoked one time, Kelly died. If she made it to my deadline when I had to turn in the completed manuscript without smoking, Kelly lived! I wrote both scenes, one with him dying, one with him living, and had them waiting in the wings. She made it to my deadline without a cigarette, and Kelly made it out of New Orleans alive. After that book, Nick and Kelly were formed, and the rest just wrote itself. I’m still exploring both characters, still finding out new things about them as I write. But that’s how all of my MC’s work, because I want readers to fall in love with these guys all over again every time they read them.
Nick O’Flaherty and Kelly Abbott had their happy ending in sight when a friend’s call for help almost ended with them losing it to the blade of a knife. Now, in the aftermath of near-disaster, both men are trying to heal and move on.
Moving on together, though, is harder than either of them realized it would be. Kelly struggles with simply being a lover instead of the Doc, while Nick is mired in his recovery. The distance between them inches along in stilted silence.
Desperately seeking solace, Nick finally gathers the courage to sort through the possessions his dear friend and fellow Sidewinder teammate Elias Sanchez left him when he died. Instead of comforting memories, Nick and Kelly find a stack of letters and strict instructions from Eli that prompt them to send out a call for assistance. With Eli’s letters in hand, Sidewinder sets out on one last mission together, seeking peace and absolution from beyond the grave—and from each other.
Abigail Roux was born and raised in North Carolina. A past volleyball star who specializes in sarcasm and painful historical accuracy, she currently spends her time coaching high school volleyball and investigating the mysteries of single motherhood. Any spare time is spent living and dying with every Atlanta Braves and Carolina Panthers game of the year.
Abigail has a daughter, Little Roux, who is the light of her life, a boxer, four rescued cats who play an ongoing live-action variation of Call of Duty throughout the house, a certifiable extended family down the road, and a cast of thousands in her head.
Connect with Abi:
- Website: abigailroux.com
- Twitter: @abigailroux
- Facebook: facebook.com/Abigail-Roux
- Tumblr: abiroux.tumblr.com
To celebrate the release of Part & Parcel, we are selecting TWO giveaway winners! One will receive the last four Cut & Run books in audio, and the other will receive the full Sidewinder series in audio. Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 26, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway, and don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!
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