Hey there. I’m Jodi Payne – I’m a proud Jersey Girl, I love Broadway musicals, the beach, tequila, and I’m almost always caffeinated like whoa. I’m here today to introduce you to my new mob-themed, romantic suspense novella, Linchpin.
Until I started thinking about writing a romantic suspense, I had never really written “bad guys” before. Typically, in a happy-ever-after romance, even your bad guy has to be at least mostly redeemable and forgivable. There needs to be something about him that a reader can get behind, that will allow them to feel that their happy ending is deserved.
There are a lot of potential incarnations of a man like that I’m sure, but even so, I had always thought that treading that line was too difficult. I hadn’t ever had a protagonist like that speak to me before.
And then along came Randall Quinn.
I asked myself what would happen if a mobster went in to clean up/cover up a crime scene, expecting to find a body to dispose of, but discovered, to his dismay, that the “body” is still breathing. Kind of like that body collector in Monty Python and the Holy Grail who discovers a living man on his cart – only with less mud. I was instantly drawn to the comedy inherent in that scenario.
In most cases, a true mobster – someone in the family, someone close and trusted, someone who’s got a debt to pay, etc., would likely finish the man off without a second thought and get on with the job he’s being paid for. But that guy isn’t a redeemable character.
That’s how Quinn was born. What happens when the mobster doesn’t kill the guy? What happens if he can’t? Or he can, but he won’t?
Unlike Monty Python’s death collector, who is more than happy to finish off the guy on his cart and get on with body collecting, murder is against Quinn’s (still somewhat questionable) moral code.
How can a mobster have a moral code that a reader can accept and a personality they can learn to love (other than being hotter than asphalt in August)? Well, comedy, right? Irony. Flaws. Humanity. Things that make a man a man and not a stereotype.
In Quinn’s case, it begins with a mid-life crisis and the purchase of a flashy new car.
What else, right?
Okay, time for more coffee. Thanks for reading, everyone!
He’s sent in to clean up and is left with one very hot mess.
Randall Quinn has been a cleaner for the mob for over ten years, but a particularly violent scene sets him to drinking alone and contemplating his options. At thirty-nine, it’s possible this is just a mid-life crisis so he tries buying himself a flashy car to satisfy the itch, and agrees to take another job to test his conviction. He’s expecting easy money when he arrives at a seedy motel to clean up after what the Boss told him was supposed to have been a simple execution. But what he discovers in that motel room is anything but simple, and from that moment on, every decision he makes for himself makes his life more and more complicated.
About the Author
Jodi spent many years in the theater in New York and San Francisco presenting classical playwrights like Shakespeare, Chekhov, and Shaw for large audiences, as well as more edgy Fringe work in tiny black-box theaters. From these masters, she learned to appreciate and explore the humanity in her characters. Her men are genuine but flawed, strong-willed but likeable; they are characters you can’t help but fall in love with while they struggle and stumble along the way to happy ever after.
When writing, Jodi is frequently found wearing a scarf and sock monkey fingerless gloves in the winter, and near the sand with a view of the ocean in the summer. When she’s not writing, Jodi mentors LGBTQ youth, enjoys movies, cop-dramas, attending Broadway shows and will drop everything for live music. Jodi lives and writes near New York City with her wife and family, which includes an enormous polydactyl cat.
Email: [email protected]
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