IN VINDICTIVE, I wanted to show that even an intensely unlikable character such as Jules had her reasons for investing so much of herself in acting cruel, vicious, and manipulative towards others, especially those who appear weaker and innocent of transgressions. Jules was not born this way; she is a creation of circumstances outside her control. Jules is intelligent, capable, ambitious, and maybe more than a little self-centred, but she is not inherently cold or mean-spirited. I wanted to show how an act, or acts, of violence against someone with this kind of capability and fortitude, could push them towards a level of vindictiveness that only straight-up revenge could satiate.
Jules’s hidden depths of loyalty, friendship, and love emerge as her secrets begin to be known to others. The reader starts to understand Jules, maybe even empathize with her, and it is at this moment—a moment that will come at different times for different readers—when Jules’s humanity, her heart, will be knowable. I hope that the reader will commence rooting for Jules to succeed in her quest for revenge!
Of course, the theme that I wanted to explore predominantly in Vindictive was revenge. How far is someone willing to go to get it? What lines would they cross? Is it necessary to make someone suffer in the process of getting even, and how severe should their methods be? If innocent people get in the way, should someone alter or reassess their revenge scheme or plow through these obstacles? Is revenge at any cost valid or cruel? Does it depend on the severity of the betrayal–of the crime? Well, as it says in my book, “No form of revenge is petty; all revenge is reasonable,” but I will leave the reader to determine for themselves if it was all worth it.
Another theme that was important for me to explore was forgiveness. Can lesser evils be forgiven? And what does it take to gain access to one’s forgiveness? Are some people exempt from paying a high price for their transgressions due to feelings of love and loyalty, or is it simply a matter of hypocrisy, unfairness or being selectively judgmental? Relationships are complex, and there are never easy answers.
My next novel is tentatively titled Vengeful. It is not a sequel but a companion book to Vindictive. The storylines of both books take place over the same three days, and by the end of Vengeful, the two books will have converged into a cohesive storyline leading into my third, currently untitled novel. Many characters that take centre stage in Vindictive take a back seat in Vengeful, allowing the story to focus significantly more on the Bergé family, Stella Cartell, the mysterious bearded man, and several new and compelling characters. I am excited to include even more LGBTQ representation. I am tentatively looking at a late fall date of release for Vengeful, but nothing is concrete yet.