Writing the dedication is one of the most difficult parts of writing a book. The two sentence dedication in “Feast of Mercy” took over a week of tweaking before a friend told me to leave it alone.
“For Tony, who taught me to trust my wings. I miss you.”
My main male character in “Feast of Mercy” is Nick King. We first meet Nick in the first book of the series. He’s human, cocky, and sexy. Gia describes him as, “sex on two legs.” Nick’s the kind of guy we all love to fantasize over. He’s rich, educated, and has a “you-know-I’m-bad-but-you-want-it-anyway grin that is impossible to resist.
Nick’s cocky, laidback, attitude complements and frustrates the women in his life. He has no desire to become immortal, not when immortality means giving up his freedom to become a slave to the rules of the Church. Circumstances change and the choice is no longer his to make.
I created Nick King with the intention to poke a little fun at a dear friend. As the book progressed, I struggled to make Nick his own man. Tony, a real guy, had the same cocky attitude. The youngest in a large Italian family, he was spoiled, rich, and had a gravitational pull that drew people to him.
Like Nick, Tony had his own demons to fight. Only a few knew that he suffered from bi-polar disorder. Rather than allowing the disease to define him, he chose to struggle in private. When his demons threatened to pull him under, he hid himself away under the guise of vacations or trips to visit his family.
Tony’s strong sense of loyalty, stubbornness, and twisted chivalry saved him many times, often at the expense of his self-confidence, though few noticed the subtle changes. He fought so hard, for so long, to protect the people he loved from the truth of his illness, that he lost himself. At his funeral, a blues band played the Beatles song “Blackbird.” I’d like to believe he flew from here and left his pain and torment behind.
I dedicated “Feast of Mercy” to him because he made me laugh, cry, and believe in myself. He stood up for what he believed in, and loved with his entire being. I dedicated the book to him to remind myself that just because someone is smiling, doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering. It’s easy to take people at face value and never look behind the mask to know who they are, what they’re going through, if they’re alone.
“Feast of Mercy” is a story about two people stepping up and doing what they have to do to help the people they love. It isn’t the extraordinary events in the book that make my character heroes. It’s that they aren’t afraid to lend a hand to lift someone up who is struggling, even those who struggle alone.