Bad Turn by Zoe Sharp ~ #13 Charlie Fox
Ex-Special Forces trainee turned bodyguard Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox is back in this, her 13th adventure.
One bad turn…deserves another.
Charlie Fox has quit her job in close protection, been turned out of her apartment, and is apparently out of options.
House-sitting in rural New Jersey has to be the pits—TV and TV dinners. A far cry from Iraq… Bulgaria… Afghanistan. Unlucky or not, she happens to be around at the right time to foil a violent kidnap attempt on Helena, wife of billionaire arms dealer, Eric Kincaid.
Kincaid offers her a job looking after Helena. The rumours about Kincaid’s business empire say he’s gone over to the dark side, but Charlie is in no position to be fussy. And protecting people against those who want to do them harm is what she’s good at. But when the threats against the Kincaids escalate, and then follow the couple over to Europe, Charlie’s really going to have to up her game. It’s time to take the fight to the enemy.
Charlie’s at her best putting an end to trouble. Now she must learn to strike first. And hope that the Kincaids don’t discover the secret she’s been keeping from them, right from the start.
Guest Post ~ Real People Into Fictional Characters ~
Real People into Fictional Characters
BAD TURN: Charlie Fox #13
by Zoë Sharp
Inevitably, when you write, you ‘borrow’ characteristics or mannerisms you’ve noted in friends, relations, enemies, or complete strangers. This is one of the reasons writers love to sit somewhere crowded and people-watch like crazy. A twitch, a tic, a nervous gesture, the way some people look down at their shoes and pace very deliberately when they’re taking a phone call. It’s all grist to the writer’s ever-hungry mill.
I freely admit there were aspects of different real people in the early Charlie Fox books, although I refuse to comment on which characteristics those were and what use I made of them! It wasn’t until I did an event at my local library while I was plotting book four in the series that I realised people might actually want to appear in my work.
My local library in Lancaster were hugely supportive of my first steps into the world of being a published author. So, when one of the librarians mentioned that another member of staff, Andrew Till, would really, really like to be a character in a book, how could I refuse?
When FIRST DROP came out, Andrew Till was an FBI Special Agent-in-Charge who plays a vital role in helping Charlie defeat the bad guys—even if he does try to arrest her the first time they meet.
Since then, I’ve used numerous real people as characters in the books. Over the course of the series they’ve taken on the roles of PIs, LAPD detectives and CIA agents, as well as billionaire philanthropists, Charlie’s principal, main suspect, and even the outright bad guy.
I usually try, if someone has made a bid at one of the charity auctions held at events like Bouchercon, to include quirks that the donor would recognise. When I included BG Ritts in FOURTH DAY, for instance, she particularly asked me to do so in such a way that only she would recognise herself! (Well, I like a challenge.)
I’m not sure, though, that I’ve ever included quite as many real people in a single book as I have in the latest Charlie Fox outing, BAD TURN.
I ran a competition among my subscribers for two character slots in the book—one female and one male. The female part was of the woman Charlie is hired to protect. She is the wife of an extremely wealthy international arms dealer living in New Jersey and, by common consent among others in the industry, supposed to be off-limits as far as threats are concerned.
Needless to say, things don’t quite work out that way.
The male part was of a very laid-back bodyguard of the arms dealer himself. I initially made him rather too laid back, and I had to trim back some of his idiosyncrasies after my Advance Reader Team had given the book a trial run.
I made random selections from the entries and in the final book Charlie’s principal became Helena Kincaid (née Hoare). Helena admitted that her last name was not perhaps the easiest one to work with, although she also pointed out that it meant ‘white-haired’ from the same roots as hoar-frost.
The bodyguard became Hermann Schade. Because he is a character whose motivation remains clouded for much of the book, having someone whose last name might conceivably be pronounced “Shade” was perfect. I’m not sure his first name gets mentioned, though. Not in this book, anyway…
The reason Helena has the married name of Kincaid in BAD TURN is because I had already decided that the arms dealer himself was going to be named in honour of Eric Kincaid, who I think of as My Absent Host.
I call him this because on several occasions now when I’ve visited New York, he has generously allowed me to stay in his apartment up in Washington Heights, but we’ve never actually met. Eric was away for an extended period looking after his parents, hence having room to spare. Repaying his hospitality by writing him in to BAD TURN seemed the least I could do to say thank you.
And finally, one of my favourite characters is Kincaid’s Personal Assistant, Mo Heedles, who is as good at treating gunshot wounds in the book as she is at arranging her boss’s schedule. Somehow, though, I always thought of the character as Mrs Heedles. I hope Mo doesn’t mind being referred to so formally!
BAD TURN was published in ebook, mass-market paperback, hardcover and Large Print editions on September 27 2019. For more information visit www.ZoeSharp.com
*Apologies to Zoe & Ayo, for the post being a day late.*