By Jack Brightside (Guest Blogger)
I drew from my own experiences growing up in a small affluent town in southern Connecticut to create the fictional town of “Westland” for The Warlock of Westland. The place I grew up was a weird combination of affluent and rural. There were no businesses, only mansions. I remember my friends and I once looked up the requirements for a place to be considered a “town” and discovered we didn’t meet the criteria and were technically a "village.” All of the people I went to school with were the children of CEOs. It was kind of surreal how wealthy everyone was because no one acknowledged it. Every once and a while something would come up with my friends and I would remember our town wasn’t normal.
For example, when I was sixteen my friends and I all got summer jobs. My friend’s dad gave her his spare BMW to drive to work so she’d be safer on the roads. I was like, “How many BMWs does your dad have?” She explained that he had two: one for everyday use and a nice one for recreation. She got a job that summer job to save up for her own car even though her family already had like, five. She explained that her parents wanted her to experience the responsibility of saving money, like some kind of elaborate role play of how regular people lived. At the end of the summer, her parents were so impressed that they bought her a new car. It was understandably difficult for me to feel any kind of sympathy for this person.
When creating the fictional town of “Westland” it was easy to make fun of the wealthy residents. The book’s main character, Kevin, is an evil warlock who’s also independently wealthy. In addition to evil magic, I gave him all the worst traits of the people I grew up with. I wanted him to be ‘evil’ but also a narcissist. Sure, he does black magic and all that but he also wears his sunglasses inside. I think the fact that Kevin always takes up two parking spots with his car is more evil than any of the spells he uses in the book.
The contrast between Sam and Kevin is most stark in their attitudes about other people. Sam is a good warlock not just because of his magic, but because he cares about the villagers. Kevin’s personal growth comes from him starting to care about some of the other characters, most notably Sam. The process had to be gradual because no reader would believe that Kevin overnight started to care about a guy he used to make fun of. Kevin starts to do nice things for Sam just to prove that he can, and throughout the course of the book becomes a little more vulnerable. I wanted this to be something people could relate to. A lot of us retreated inside during the pandemic and forgot what it was like to care about people. Kevin and Sam’s journey in the book was analogous to coming out of lockdown. There was something cathartic about writing two characters who connect with each other after spending so much time alone.
If nothing else, Kevin’s emotionality is what makes him sympathetic. You can hate him for taking up two parking spaces at the same time you are rooting for him to fall in love.
Sam is an immortal warlock whose life revolves around a failing hardware store in rural Southern Connecticut. His self-imposed isolation is interrupted when the Warlock Council assigns him to help an evil warlock living in his village. The desperate warlock happens to be Sam’s ex-boyfriend from two thousand years ago, Cailte the Cruel.
Cailte hasn’t used that name since the iron age. Now he’s Kevin MacCormack, a recently unemployed stockbroker. Kevin spends his days bewitching the villagers and making potholes for fun. The last thing he needs is a good warlock like Sam cramping his style.
The warlocks must work together to track a dangerous ghost that Kevin accidentally released in Westland. Meanwhile, Sam has fallen in love with Kevin all over again. He’s ready to do anything to make it work, including tolerating Kevin’s self-serving magic. Kevin isn’t as sure that it’s meant to be. Sam’s small-town charm starts to grow on Kevin just as they realize the ghost's devastating power.
This is a HEA, enemies-to-lovers contemporary paranormal small town male/male romance.
This is the first book in the Warlock of Westland Series
The Warlock of Westland 1
The Warlock of Westland 2
The Warlock of Westland 3
“As an evil warlock, I get offended when good warlocks take credit for doing basically nothing,” said Kevin. “Can you name even one thing you’ve done for this village recently?”
“What do you want, a scorecard?” asked Sam. “Good magic is discreet.”
“Discreet!” Kevin crossed his arms. “You don’t do anything!”
“Get out of my hardware store.”
“Alright! I’ll calm down!” said Kevin. “Look, I’ve lost something. I asked the Warlock Council for help and they sent me here.”
“What did you lose?” asked Sam.
“A ghost,” said Kevin.
“You lost a ghost?” asked Sam. “Who gave you a ghost?”
Kevin recited the speech he prepared in his BMW, “I bought one by accident at a charity fundraiser. I was trying to support my community.”
“What community?” asked Sam. “The median income in Westland is $300,000, they don’t need ‘support.’ What are you not telling me, Kevin?”
“It was an auction for the Witch’s Council of New England,” said Kevin. “You could make the argument that money is a better way to support the villagers than ‘discreet magic.’”
“I’ve heard this argument before,” said Sam. “Something about how building yourself a castle will make your village a better place to live. This is great, Kevin. Tell me more.”
“Are you going to make fun of me, or can I finish telling you what happened?”
Sam leaned his arms on the counter, “There’s more? What did you do, Kevin?”
Warlock of Westland 1
Warlock of Westland 2
Warlock of Westland 3
About the Author
Jack Brightside writes male/male romance for people who read too much fanfiction. In a previous life Miss Brightside worked at a textile museum, which shaped her love of period fashion and historical romance. She knows what a coat from the 1830s feels like, and she has restored victorian gowns with human hair. It turns out that everything they teach you in school is wrong, and the 1870s were the sexiest decade in fashion. Miss Brightside is always accepting fashion history hot takes.
Jack Brightside’s writing career started with psychoanalyzing fictional characters on the internet, but now she spends more time writing her own characters. She likes writing millennial character tropes into historical and paranormal settings. Her stories are easy to read, steamy and always have a happy ending. Jack’s other hobbies include World War One reenactment and watercolor painting, but not at the same time.
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