Welcome to the June 22nd stop on the blog tour for Guns and Smoke by Lauren Sevier and A. Smith with Bewitching Book Tours. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, author guest posts, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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Author Guest Post
Everyone loves to hate the villain! Tell us all about this truly loathed character and the inspiration behind their development.
Sixgun Ellis. Who doesn’t love to hate a gun-toting, sadistic, serial killer outlaw with a chip on his shoulder plotting to destroy our protagonists? No? No one?
Sixgun is a character that scares me, and I write him. When we first meet him, he’s been sent after Bonnie to bring her back to a notorious gang-leader named Jones. Jesse mistakes him as just a bounty-hunter at first, but it soon becomes clear that the vendetta he has against Bonnie is personal and twisted. Sixgun has known Bonnie her entire life, but it isn’t until an event in their past has him carving Jones’s name into her arm that he develops a fascination with her. Every serial killer needs a signature, and Sixgun’s is that he enjoys carving into his victim’s skin.
Before the end of the world nearly two decades ago, we alluded to the fact that he was locked up in an asylum for the criminally insane. I’m sure as a young child he exhibited several markers for what we consider ‘serial killer’ characteristics to be. Cruelty to animals. Antisocial behavior. Arson. Childhood abuse. And a higher than average intelligence.
But things didn’t really start making sense to Sixgun until he went through puberty and realized that he found sexual satisfaction from hurting others, known as ‘sexual sadism’. Meaning he’s impotent unless he’s taking apart and torturing another person. Is all of this explained in the book? Absolutely not. While the themes of Guns & Smoke are dark and gritty at the best of times, it was really important for me to focus on our protagonists stories and not to glorify violence, specifically violence against women.
All of these things contribute to a character that has a one-track mind and, like an addict, craves the next time he can enact his ritualized form of violence against another person. Bonnie is unfortunate enough to have become one of his obsessions and when he’s sent to find her… it gives Sixgun the perfect opportunity to try and finish what he started years before.
I think what makes Sixgun such a terrifying character is not only the fact that his motivations are believable and grounded in reality (I did a ton of research I will never be able to erase from my brain, including character studies). But, also the fact that the nuclear apocalypse and the disintegration of modern society leads the way to a more Darwinistic world. Kill or be killed. Survival of the fittest. Where men with evil intentions have more opportunity to climb into positions of power and leadership.
Guns & Smoke is a Dystopian/Western novel, and Dystopia as a genre I think of as a sort of modern-day satirism. So there are parallels to some of these larger themes we can see reflected in today’s society. That’s the terrifying part. To see how hate and greed can divide people. To see monstrous men, based on real-life people, able to not only survive in a not-so-near future, but to thrive. All I can say is, I’m really glad that Sixgun is not a real person. Nor do I ever hope for him to become one.
About the Book
Guns & Smoke
The Fool’s Adventure Book One
by Lauren Sevier & A. Smith
Publishing 10 July 2021
Cover Artist: Stefanie Saw
Genre: Dystopian/Western Romance
Page Count: 364
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Life should be about more than just surviving.
In a world where safety is a luxury and honor is found only among outlaws, two people attempt to outrun dangers lurking around each corner and the tragedies that define them.
Bonnie is an outlaw on the run. Beautiful but dangerous; her dark past stalks her like the crater beasts that roam the desert. As the notoriously cruel outlaw Jones sends his henchmen to track her down and retrieve the gun she stole from him, Bonnie hopes she can stay one step ahead. Because if he catches her, a fate worse than death awaits.
Jesse always dreamed of leaving the farm to explore the ruins of the big cities he’d heard about his whole life. He just never imagined he’d be forced to flee after strange men burned down his rural mountain town and murdered everyone he loved. Responsible for his kid brother and searching for an uncle he’s never met before, he isn’t sure he can navigate the perils of life among con artists and thieves long enough to find him.
Their two paths collide as they find themselves thrown together on the adventure of a lifetime.
Together, they may just discover that life is about more than just surviving.
One small change in position and now each of my soft curves was pressed intimately against the tall, hard length of his unyielding body. His blue eyes blazed in the dim light of the alley, reading something on my face that urged him on. This was supposed to be my trap.
His hands were buried in my hair now, a thumb tracing over my cheek to land on my bottom lip. I knew what he wanted. Parting my mouth, I wrapped my lips around the pad of his thumb, my tongue flicking against it before sucking softly. A deep thunderous sound rumbled through his chest to shake me down to my bones. His hand in my hair slid to the back of my head, pulling my mouth closer to his. He wanted me to kiss him. He wanted this to be more than a transaction. He wanted me to want him back.
I brushed my nose against his, and he stilled. All other motion and sensation forgotten as his eyes landed on my mouth, inching closer to his. I drank in the taste of his breath, a faint echo of the taste of his lips from before. My head tilted to the side, and he brushed the hair away from my face to see me more clearly as I angled toward him. He swallowed down whatever desperate words were on the tip of his tongue, and I took his chin in my hand, mouths open and millimeters apart.
About the Author
Lauren Sevier and A. Smith are longtime friends and co-authors from southern Louisiana. Guns and Smoke, their first joint publication, began as a “short” story after having too much wine on girl’s night.
Nine years later it is now the first novel in a Dystopian/Western Romance series.
The duo has plans to publish several series together in the future. A. Smith spends her time with her two rescue dogs and rescue cat surrounding herself with books and Labyrinth paraphernalia. Lauren Sevier collects antique tea cups and tries to stay sane, though as the mother of a toddler she fails brilliantly most days. She also has a growing collection of crowns and tiaras and likes to act silly on TikTok. Look for more thrilling novels from The Fools Adventure series in the future!
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