Happy Halloween, my darling Sorchialites! May your Samhain celebrations be enchanting and may your spells never backfire. (Seriously, let’s be careful out there. Nobody wants a repeat of the embarrassing toad debacle of ’07.)
Since Halloween falls on a Novel Magic Tuesday, we wanted to present something fitting for the season. And what’s better than a little trip through the Gates of Hell.
My guest, Jacqueline Jayne, explains the inspiration for her latest release. I hope you find it spookily intriguing.
Rule Breakers Soul Takers by Jacqueline Jayne.
Thanks so much for having me at Sorchia’s Universe to talk about my new release, RULE BREAKERS SOUL TAKERS, Book One of the Hell Runners Series.
The idea developed when I visited the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia. In the portico, before entering the museum, is the first bronze casting of Rodin’s Gates of Hell. Rodin based the Gates on Dante’s Inferno. The sculpture is huge, covered in suffering figures, writhing in agony. At the top of the sculpture are miniatures of Rodin’s famous Three Shades and The Thinker staring down in judgment.
Dark and detailed, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck while staring at it. Part of me wanted to turn away, but I was too intrigued. Turns out the Gates in Philadelphia are just one set of seven placed all over the world. Heart and brain embraced both the history and the scare factor.
What if Rodin sculpted the Gates as portals into Hell? And what if humans could pass through the bronze structures in Philadelphia and exit in Paris, or Seoul, or Stanford? And what if the humans turned out to be so gifted they could rescue souls from Hell, veritably stealing from Satan? And what if there were hidden doors in Hell that were escape hatches to Heaven?
The story details formulated fast through these questions. So I sat down and composed my own strange fake-history of Rodin, complete with a secret Society gone south and a band of present-day heroes, trying to expose the Society’s corruption while searching for Heaven’s secret doors.
I’d have to say the hardest and scariest part of writing the story was “demon shopping.” I needed a good villain that could withstand at least a three book story arc, so I researched demon legends. In the beginning I couldn’t sleep, dreaming about horned critters from the depths, willing to torture abandoned souls and mortals alike.
But I got over it. The romance between the rough around the edges hero and a smarty-pants heroine wouldn’t work without a lot of edge and a big payoff. I like a little humor, too plus added some life lessons and hot sex.
I hope readers have as much fun on the journey as I did writing it. Did I mention hot sex?
Now that you know the genesis of the book, here’s a little taste.
“We’re leaving the mother’s soul,” Prudence said, with a catch in her voice. “We have no choice.”
“No choice?” The shade’s ghostly eyes sank deep into his head.
“We don’t need you. Not this time.”
“I see.” His voice hissed like a radiator ready to blow, but his face sagged as if he might weep. “You—”
“Follow orders. For the greater good.”
“Greater good?” Niall huffed and stepped back, his clothes dissolving with each step.
Without another word, she walked, death-march slow, up the sidewalk.
Shit. Jesse knew damn well his partner wouldn’t be able to live with her decision. Not to mention his long-standing grudge against Baalberith. He’d pay heavily for disobeying orders. But he’d deal with the consequences later.
If he survived.
Before Niall disappeared, he motioned for the shade to move in close.
“She’s hell bent on following the rules, but I’m not. Get Prudence down the rabbit hole,” he whispered. “No matter what. I’ll take care of the minion.”
“I know. Save your breath. The only way out of Hell tonight is the hard way.”
The shade placed a hand over his heart, sighing through a grin.
“Railing against authority. I’ve so missed that. I’ll stay close at hand. Be aware, my friend, the demon will be upon you as soon as you exit. Confuse him with speed, if you can. You won’t like it, but Prudence runs fastest, it would be best if she took the mother and led the beast away.”
“No.” He shook his head emphatically. “We don’t split up. Ever. Especially not now.”
“Might I remind you, the child is off-limits? He only wants the mother. Though out of sight, Swift and I will be with her. By the time he realizes he’s been chasing the wrong Runner, you’ll be gone. We’ll follow you once the demon is out of sight.”
A rumble, deeper than thunder, filled Jesse’s brain. His head snapped from side to side searching for the source.
Brazenly close, the demon shimmered like a hologram, rapidly changing shapes as if considering his best self for the job. A brutally scarred man morphed into a crimson-skinned demon with elephant tusks and a long tail whipping electric sparks. In a blink, he crouched into a muscular panther, as sleek and shiny as a Maserati with protruding fangs and huge claws curved like Death’s scythe.
More firepower than needed to extract the mother’s soul. A demon so determined wanted extra recognition.
Like the kind earned by delivering a live Hell Runner to his master.
His heart pounded hot fear into his veins, quickening his thought process.
If Prudence couldn’t ditch the beast, she’d have to take to the woods. She’d never outrun it on the straight way home. This time she didn’t have the advantage.
But he did. He could see the beast if it chose invisibility at any point.
Before he could change his mind and leave the mother behind, he stomped up the walk.
Niall’s plan belonged in the shitter. His partner was going into the fissure first, even if he had to toss her in.
With luck, he’d lose the beast in the maze of houses and follow them soon. Without luck, he’d have to stare down Baalberith for the third time in his life.
Third time was so not the charm.
RULE BREAKERS, SOUL TAKERS is published by Hartwood Publishing and is currently available in ebook with the paperback edition out in November.
Get your own copy Here.
Follow Jacqueline at any of these places.
Meet Jacqueline Jayne?
Jacqueline Jayne is a multi-award winning author of paranormal romance who writes what she loves to read—adventure laced with deep insights on the human condition and a hard-won happily-ever-after.
Her Hell Runners Series features fearless heroes and clever heroines determined to overthrow Hell’s demons while navigating the emotional ups and downs of falling in love.
Jacqueline enjoys everything paranormal and sci-fi, especially those Winchester Boys, Jon Snow and all things Star Trek. She loves spending time with her sports-crazy husband (even though she doesn’t get football or the infield fly rule) and their two sweet rescue cats.