In what I can assure you is one of the most interactive interviews ever done here at The Novel Approach, I’m happy to bring Bey Deckard to you today. Or, rather, Captain Baltsaros, Tom, and Jon of the pirate ship Baal’s Heart, in anticipation of the April 11, 2015 release of Fated: Blood and Redemption, Book Three of the Baal’s Heart trilogy.
There’s a reason Caged and Sacrificed made my list of Best Reads of 2014, not the least of which is the charm of the three characters who make this series all it is. To know them truly is to love them.
So, without further ado, here they are, the captain, Tom, and Jon.
TNA: Gentlemen, thanks to you for agreeing to answer a few questions for me. I have to confess to feeling a bit intimidated by this interview, so let’s start with an easy question and see where it goes from there.
Will you introduce yourselves (or each other) to the readers who may not know you yet?
B: *laughs* There’s no need to feel intimidated, my dear. I assure you that we’re all on our best behaviour. *leans forward in his chair* Lisa, is it? May I call you Lisa?
TNA: Oh, Captain… you may call me anything you wish, but Lisa will do just fine. *winks*
T: *chuckles but stops at a look from the captain*
B: *inclining his head in a little bow* Lisa, it’s very nice to meet you. I’m Captain Baltsaros, captain of the pirate ship Baal’s Heart. We’re honoured to have been invited to speak with you. *smiles and leans back, hands clasped loosely in his lap* Now… let me introduce you to the two young men I have with me. On my left, trying to affect an air of disinterest, is Jon. More recently, Captain Jon Black.
J: *laughs* Well… Not captain anymore, but thank you for that. Pleased to meet you, Lisa. I’m not acting “disinterested”. I’m just… well, I’m not exactly sure what I’m supposed to be saying.
T: Yer supposed to say yer how-do-ye-do’s, love. Then ye bloody answer all the nice lady’s questions smartly, like a good lad… aye? *shifts in place patting at his trousers looking for something*
J: *rolls eyes* Don’t mind Tom. He’s chafing a little because the captain made him put on a shirt.
B: A little decorum goes a long way, Tom. Lisa, I apologize for my first mate. Though he’s the only one of us with legitimate noble beginnings, he enjoys playing the savage.
T: Thomas Hinchliffe of Averdown the Fourth. *side eyes Baltsaros before looking back at Lisa* Pleased to make yer acquaintance, I’m sure. How’s that for bloody decorum?
J: *choking* What? Where in the hells did that come from?
T: It’s my bloody name, ducky. *finds what he was looking and pulls a match out of his pocket*
J: I’m sorry, but you hate it when your mother calls you anything but Tom. The look you gave her—wait, the fourth? So your dad was… Ohh… is that why you don’t like being called… *trails off at a scowl from Tom*
T: D’ye mind if I smoke here, lovey? *pulls a slim cigar out from behind his ear and holds it up*
TNA: *gapes* Erm… well… *clears throat* Yes, please, be my guest.
Jon, Tom, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance as well. Tom, I had no idea you were a member of the nobility. *desperately shuffles notes* And Jon, he doesn’t like to be called what? You can’t just leave readers hanging like that. I mean, you can, but you won’t… will you?
J: Oh, well he just doesn’t like it when his mother calls him “Thomas”. I figured it’s just because he likes being an ass, but… it’s got to do with your dad, right? *furrows brows as he looks at Tom*
T: Aye, the name don’t sit right with me for a couple’a reasons, love, that bein’ one of them. The gutless bastard that put me in my ma’s belly is Lord Thomas. I’m no coward like he was. Let’s just stick with Tom, aye? *holds the match to the end of his cheroot and puffs it to get it lit, then goes to drop it on the ground but stops at a soft noise from the captain*
Sorry. *balances the charred match on his knee*
B: *shakes his head and hands Tom the cup of water he’d been drinking from to use as an ashtray* We seem to have hijacked your interview, Lisa. Apologies,please… continue.
TNA: How are all three of you doing after your last adventure, especially you, Captain?
B: I’m recovering, thank you. *the words are said politely, but his expression is a little grim, and Tom and he share a look*
J: *staring down at his hands, face pale* Fine.
T: Aye, we’re fine, missy. It ain’t peaches and rainbows, but we’re gettin’ on the way we do.
B: Indeed we are. *the look he gives Jon is both worried and fond, and Jon lifts his head with a wan smile when he notices Baltsaros watching*
TNA: What are some things you know for sure about the three of you that you didn’t know even a few months ago?
J: *brightens* Tom’s name for one…
T: Don’t make me regret I told ye. *the words are a playful growl, and he blows out a plume of smoke*
J: *laughs* Ok… Sorry, Lisa. Let me think… Things we know for sure… Ummm. Do you mean things we learned about ourselves? Or about each other?
TNA: *grins* Please, do you think I ever have this much fun doing interviews? So, how about if we say a little of both? The roles have changed a bit for all three of you, in your relationship as well as on board ship, yeah? Are you all three comfortable with where you are now, especially in, shall we say, private?
J: Oh. *face reddening a little, he scrubs a hand through his curls and glances over at Tom*
T: For lord’s sake, love! It’s not like she’s askin’ to see yer pecker. *laughs*
TNA: Well, a lady would never ask, but a woman… There’s no telling what we’re apt to ask for. *grins*
J: *stares wide-eyed at Lisa for a moment, then his face splits into a self-conscious grin as he looks down at his hands, slowly shredding the hem of his shirt.*
B: *smirks at Jon and then turns to Lisa with a graceful smile* Things have… changed, yes. I think it’s fair to say that the roles we have both in public and private have shifted in just the past year. While Tom remains my first mate, he and I are much closer thanks to Jon. Jon’s role aboard changed following my… ah… mental lapse, and he continues to function as a failsafe for me in his role of quartermaster. *his smile becomes a little self-conscious* I now know for certain that I obviously need to relinquish control more oft—
B: —en. *shakes his head at Tom, but he’s still smiling.*
J: I know that both of you learned basic human concepts like “trust” and “lo—
T: Bloody hells! Why d’ye two have to be so fuckin’ meaningful all the godsdamned time? *laughs and then leans forward in his chair, brow furrowed and blue-green eyes mischievous* Lisa, lovey, what I know for certain now that wasn’t bloody apparent before… is that Jon, feeble li’l fucker that he once was, is a right demon when it comes to givin’ me a deep dickin’—
B: *sits back looking amused*
T: Lemme finish, lad. The lady asked for private, so I’m givin’ her bloody private, savvy? Sorry… where was I? Aye… when Jon’s balls-deep, he can be a real devil, every bit o’ rough that my da is and—*looks over at Baltsaros with a grin*—Da here, can be every bit o’ soft that Jonny-boy can be. It’s a bloody miracle, as far as I’m concerned. If ye ask me, I’m the one who got the best out of this deal. What d’ye think, love? *winks at Lisa*
TNA: Me? *laughs* I think you just changed me from a lady to a woman with one answer, you charming scoundrel. *winks back*
T: *waggles his brows and slouches back in this chair, puffing on the end of his cigar*
B: So, Tom, you’re saying that what you just said isn’t “meaningful”? *chuckles*
T: *shoots a look at Baltsaros, and for a moment the two men just smile at each other*
TNA: *stares* Uh, okay, assuming it can get a little stir crazy spending so much time on board ship, what’s your favorite way to blow off steam?
*All three laugh, and Jon goes an even darker shade of red*
T: C’mon, lad. You tell ‘er, since yer so bloody keen on torturin’ me lately…
J: *looks over at Baltsaros, but when the captain nods in encouragement, it looks like Jon wants to disappear into his chair* Uh… *rubs his face* Ok. Well… the long table in the stateroom got wrecked in the fight against the Reaper—long story *waves it away*… anyway, we had it up on crates at first, but then we found a replacement on our way home, and we had nowhere to put the old one. It just ended up propped against the wall… We were just going to throw it overboard, but one night I was telling Tom about what we called the “begging cross” in the dungeon I used to work in—I was a sort of interrogator in a dungeon in Portsmouth for my—
B: Jon, stay on the subject.
J: *breathes deep with a small nod, one hand picking nervously at the front of his tunic* Tom built a fair replica of a begging cross—it’s really just a big X—with the pieces of the old table and bolted it into the floor of our quarters. *glances over at Tom* And… well… now instead of spending time in the brig like he used to every time he gets into trouble… we tie him to the cross instead so we can take turns… at… *looks at Lisa and falters*
T: *starts to laugh*
J: Hey, you’re the one who’s been doing everything he can to get tied to the fucking thing, why do I have to talk about it?
T: Because ye turn a lovely shade o’ pink, lovey, and it makes my cock hard hearin’ ye speak words that do it to ye.
B: *brow cocked in amusement* Our first mate also took it onto himself to bring some new toys aboard… They’ve proven to be an excellent source of divertissement. Especially coupled with the cross. Tom, do you want me to tell our lovely host exactly what it was that Jon and I were doing that had you begging so charmingly last night?
T: *looking a little abashed, he shakes his head then focuses on Lisa* So what was that next question, lass? Did ye ask it? Can ye ask it?
J: *laughs* turnabout it fair play.
TNA: *fans self – reaches over and pats Tom’s hand* No worries, Tom, I knew that would be a, shall we say, loaded question. I also knew the answer would be a lot of fun. I’ll ask the next question, but pardon me if I seem a bit distracted from here out. My imagination… Oy.
T: *grins crookedly*
TNA: If you were each to write his own memoir, what would the titles of your books be?
B: I think mine would have to have something of madness in it *chuckles* but what about Of Monsters and Maelstroms: The Voyages of Captain Baltsaros?
*Jon and Tom both laugh*
T: Sounds like ye been thinkin’ o’ that for a while, aye? So ye gonna write a bloody memoir?
J: *helpless laughter* Oh gods… emphasis on the bloody…
B: *for a moment something like anger crosses his face, but then he joins in on the laughter*
T: Ok… I think… if I were to put my life to paper… it’d be somethin’ like… uhhh—
J: Fucking and Fighting or Hungover and Horny
T: *grinning wide* D’ye see why I love Jonny-boy here so fuckin’ much? He bloody knows me.
B: What about you, Jon?
J: Me? I have no idea. Why would I want to write about what’s happened to me in my life? *he suddenly looks a little withdrawn*
T: *drops his cigar in the cup of water, gets up from his chair, and puts his arms around Jon’s shoulders to bury his face in the side of Jon’s neck*
J: *eyes closed, he listens to the words rumbled against his skin by the first mate and gives a little nod, his brow smoothing out*
B: *watches the exchange and then turns to Lisa with an apologetic smile* Jon’s memoir would be called something like The Burden of Trust.
J: *lets out a small, bitter-sounding laugh*
T: *instead of returning to his chair, Tom sits cross-legged on the floor in front of Jon’s*
TNA: Oh my… well, on that note, last question, gentlemen – can you give us a wee hint as to what your next journey will be? Just a little tease?
*Jon and the captain share a long look*
B: For now? We are heading to Madierus. I’m afraid it’s not a very interesting answer… but I’ve promised Jon that we won’t budge for a little while. Then, once we’re rested and tired of staying in one place, we’ll see.
T: Aye, we’ll see… see how long it takes for Abetha to drive us all bloody mad. Oh, that’s a thought: we could write a memoir together and call it Three Madmen in a Leaky Tub
B: Baal’s Heart has yet to leak.
T: Aye, but the bloody state of her… unseemly with all them patches.
B: *frowns and nods thoughtfully* We’ll have plenty of time for repairs once we get to Madierus.
TNA: So you’re just going home?
J: *smiles softly, his grey-blue eyes soulful as his fingers stroke the side of Tom’s neck* Nah. Madierus is just… a break. It’ll never be home. Home is the Heart. It’s Baltsaros and Tom and me together. That’s home.
Now, if that’s all the questions… I think it’s actually time to be getting home now. I’m sorry that it got a little serious there. You have to understand that we’ve been through somewhat of an ordeal, and things have been a little rough.
I want to thank you for having us, and I hope you’ll have us again one day.
B: Yes, it was a definitely a pleasure, Lisa. I’ll be sure to send you a letter, should we find ourselves heading for strange waters. *his smile is friendly, and he bobs his head in a quick, charming bow*
T: If ye ever want to come sail with us, I’m sure I could find ye some room, lovey. Just let o’ Tom know. *he winks and quickly pulls Lisa’s knuckles to his mouth for a brief, rough-stubbled peck*
TNA: *gasps* Tom, you are a wicked scoundrel. And I can assure you, gentlemen, the pleasure was entirely mine.
Blurb: With the captain’s mind in shambles, Jon and Tom set out to find the passage home through the black mountain range, hoping to find a cure for Baltsaros’s madness. However, when the men are forced to part ways, darkness takes root in the schism created; fate, lust, and vengeance become obsessions threatening to tear apart the fragile bonds holding the three together.
Following on the heels of Sacrificed, Fated takes the pirates on a quest to find those responsible for the captain’s bloody beginnings. But can they survive what awaits them where past and present meet?