I've been bad about keeping up with Music Mondays over the last few months, though I'm usually listening to something. Today, it's "Alive," and "Shoot It Out" for Tango (the acoustic version of "Shoot It Out" is cool too). So let's talk about him for a minute.
I've had more emails and messages about Tango than about any other character. I've had a blast watching everyone go back and forth about Ian vs. Whitney in the FB group. Tango has always been special to me, and by now it's clear that he's special to readers too. I think it's safe to say that Loverboy is the most-requested book of the series. I'm working on it now, trading off between it and Candy, alternating days. It's unlike any previous project; to sit down and write is to go to an unfamiliar creative headspace, one that is consuming and a little bit depressing. None of the Dartmoor books read like genre fiction, but this one...Tango's story...is even more different and off the grid. And I almost feel like I need to prepare everyone for it.
Several things: for starters, this is a heavy book. When I wrote Angels, I decided that Holly's terrible past had to be just that for readers: terrible. I don't believe in using trauma as a means of generating sympathy, or pushing the plot forward in lieu of slowly-developed chemistry and organic character growth. Having Holly say that she was abused, and leaving it there, would have been the equivalent of her telling the audience, "You should feel sorry for me, and I'm a brave person." That would have been cheap, and I don't do cheap. I like for my work to feel visual and cinematic, and so I thought nothing could convey her strength like simply drawing back the veil of time and showing you the things that happened.
So I always knew that if I wrote Tango's book, we would have to go back and *see* the past. And I also knew that I wanted his story to be interesting, to consist of small scenes tucked into larger scenes, and memories fading in and out of focus. Non-linear, rule book chucked into the trash compactor, big messy issues dropped on the floor and left for the characters, and you, to decipher at will. Brace yourself for flashbacks, angst, and some possibly-disturbing imagery.
This is going to be a multi-POV novel with three central protagonists, and plenty of input from the rest of our expansive cast. It is not going to be a tightly-focused romance novel. For the readers hoping for a book about one couple's romance, I'm sorry to say that this just isn't going to be the book for you. Likewise, this book will not appeal to readers who prefer "alpha" men. Tango is not, nor will he ever be "alpha." He is a very broken boy; this is a book about overcoming the past, accepting your life for what it is, and learning that you have value as a human being.
I want to be very exact with this one; I want it just so. I don't want to do what anyone says I *should* do, just because I'm writing about bikers. This isn't about bikers. This is about Kevin Estes, who is loved by his brothers, and who needs so badly to be loved, even though he thinks he doesn't measure up. This is a character story, a study in dark realities, and I cannot wait to share it with my dear readers. I can't wait for you to watch Kev succeed.
So. Stock up the tissues. I'm shooting for April.