A Bargain of Blood and Gold
Midnight Guardians Book 1
by Kristin Jacques
Genre: Paranormal Romance

A novice hunter with a mission. A five-hundred-year-old vampire with a strong sense of irony. A town plagued by creatures in need of saving.

When Johnathan Newman arrives in Cress Haven, the last thing he expects is for his life to be irrevocably changed. Sent by a clandestine league of vampire hunters to investigate a string of murders, signs point to a vampire lurking amid the townsfolk. Johnathan’s attempt to enlist the locals leads him to an unlikely partnership with Vic, the town's most eligible, enigmatic bachelor.

As the pair work to solve the mystery, Vic’s secrets come back to bite him. Revealed, the vampire fights his attraction to a man trained to destroy him, while Johnathan’s emotions land him in the middle of forbidden desires. Even if Vic isn’t the murderer, how can Johnathan yearn for his natural enemy?

As Vic leads Johnathan into encounters with terrifying beings straight from children’s nightmares, Johnathan learns that not only is the world stranger than he knew, but that those he once trusted have far darker intentions that will place hunter and vampire at the center of a conflict between realms.

Cress Haven holds more sinister secrets than its resident vampire, a secret so great, it could unleash Hell itself.

For fans of Gail Carriger’s Supernatural Society, The Charm of Magpies series by KJ Charles, Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh, and The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee.

**On Sale for only .99 cents June 17th – 30th!!**

Stuff About Me:

Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

Hello, I am Kristin Jacques, a perpetually awkward onion from a small town in New England. It was super woodsy and more Stand By Me than Gilmore Girls, complete with questionable adventures in the wilds. Living in the sticks without much in the way of neighbors meant a lot of time wandering in the ‘back yard’ battling invisible armies in the pine trees, and creating worlds in my head. I’ve had the story telling spark since I was young and that only developed deeper over the years. 

What is something unique/quirky about you?

I very often talk through character scenes out loud. Most of the time, I am conscious enough of how this sounds that I do this home alone, but sometimes I will start talking out load, in the car, in front of the kids. I promise, mommy is just scripting. 

Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!

I don’t know if this qualifies, but I became a surrogate for a stranger through a penny saver ad. My own mother had a great deal of trouble conceiving and it was something I always wanted to do for someone else. It worked out great and, while its an experience I don’t think I could repeat again, I’m glad I did it. 

What are some of your pet peeves?

Purposeful ignorance. We live in an age where information is literally at our fingertips but there are far too many people willing to bury their heads in the sand. Stickers on book covers. The bad reputation of sharks. The part of the egg that doesn’t cook right in sunny side eggs. 

Where were you born/grew up at?

I grew up in the sticks. My driveaway was a half mile dirt strip that was the only connection to the country road, on a spit of land surrounded by swamps, ponds and a wide winding river. It beautiful and lonely and I spent a lot of time in my own head.  

If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?

This one is to answer. I have a deep fear of my own mortality, even though it is something inevitable, that we all experience. I am not quite sure what that knowledge would do to me but I would likely spend the day somewhere in the sun, hugging my kiddos close, soaking up as much time and contact with my loved ones as I could muster.

Who is your hero and why?

My father. My father is someone who has experienced immeasurable loss in his life. He has stumbled but persisted. He was a single parent for several years and sacrificed so much to make sure I would thrive. He supported my dream of being a writer, even with his own misgivings about the stability of an artistic career. He continues to be supportive of my work and accomplishments. 

What kind of world ruler would you be?

I would probably be very terrible at it. I would do much better as an empathetic counterbalance to someone who could make decisions with their head over their heart. If it came to hard decisions to keep systems balance, I’m a hot mess. I think leadership/ world rulers shouldn’t be a single entity because differing perspectives feel more balanced. I think that is why ruling councils hold such an appeal. 

What are you passionate about these days?

My current WIP and refueling my creativity tank. 

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I read quite a bit, books, comics, manga, anything that catches my eye. I also enjoy unwinding with a game, usually something in the RPG realm. I really enjoy relaxing games like Stardew Valley or Cozy Grove and on the opposite end, a good hack n slash like Grim Dawn or Diablo. 

How to find time to write as a parent?

I do a lot of writing while the kids are at school. I do work from home but there is a lot of work, writing, parenting, life balance in play. When they are out of school, it is sneaking it in where I can, which can be a bit creative on a deadline. Usually I sacrifice sleep, either in the morning when they are relatively lethargic and entertain themselves or in the evening when they finally pass out. Both my kiddos are special needs, so I try not to detract too much time from them in general and spend a lot of time making sure they are active and engaged but we make it work.  

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

Anxious. Dreamer. Empathetic. Goofy. Resilient.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I think I really settled into in around high school. I always knew I wanted to do something creative, and I wrote a lot of shorts, attempted art, singing etc but I veered hard into writing being my passion during those formative teen years. 

Do you have a favorite movie?

I don’t have an absolute favorite but I do have a few comfort watches like Willow, Underworld (yes that Underworld) Hudson Hawk, and Dark City. 

Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?

I imagine all my novels as movies. I am a very visual person so when I write a scene I write it with the intention to drop you in it and try to impart what I see in my mind’s eye onto the page. 

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

I guess Bookcon would be considered a literary pilgrimage for me. You are surrounded by a horde of people who love books. There are dozens of panels, with writers you love and discover. The event hall is brimming with booths, tables of arcs, bookish swag, and indie authors eager to meet and talk and share their passion. The event has such a vibe and even though you are exhausted by the end of the weekend, you don’t want it to end. I went to the last Bookcon in 2019 and it was one of the best experiences. I know the event has effectively been shut down permanently, but I hope to see it revive again someday.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

That’s easy.


Stuff about the Book:

What inspired you to write this book?

Something to know about me: I love monster boyfriends. I love monster girlfriends. Most of my books have monsters in one form or another. Vampires were one of my first tortured loves. I’ve always wanted to put my own spin on them, and while I have included vampire characters in some of my stories, I really wanted to run with it, building them into my own mythology. Funny enough, A Bargain of Blood & Gold didn’t start as a romance, but the character chemistry tipped it over into romance territory. I am excited to continue exploring the relationship between the characters in the sequel but the two central characters inspired this story. I knew I wanted to write the dynamic between hunter and vampire, how they connected and came together despite being natural enemies. 

What can we expect from you in the future?

More books in this series for one. I am currently working to finish up book two in the Midnight Guardians series, and then the third book in my YA trilogy before coming back to this series. I also have another series I would like to put out a second book for by the end of the year.

Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?

This is the beginnings of a side story that may swell into a full-blown spin off, but we shall see. (wink wink)

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in A Bargain of Blood & Gold?

There are three central characters in A Bargain of Blood & Gold. First we meet Johnathan, a man of contradictions, a survivor, an innocent, raised in a world of violence and incredibly awkward with people. Johnathan is our resident Hunter, sent to Cress Haven on a mission to find and end the fiend preying supposedly preying on the populace. Supposedly…

We next meet Vic, who is bright and smarmy. An unapologetic flirt, Vic soon tips Johnathan’s world upside down in more ways than one. 

Last there is Alyse, Vic’s closest companion in Cress Haven. Alyse is the daughter of the local pastor, the oldest of six siblings, and absolutely doesn’t fit into the mold made for her. Alyse is fierce and protective, drawn to Vic because he accepts who she is.  

How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?

Enemies to lovers is a favorite trope and I loved exploring that trope through these two characters. Found family is also a trope I use often. I think family can be both blood and who we chose. These three are beings isolated by their upbringing, by their secrets, and their choices, all desperate to connect. I knew I wanted to set this story at the edge of the wilderness, in a time when the world was a little wilder and it was harder to dismiss our fear of the dark. America is such a young country, our history so short in comparison, but it is bloody and full of darkness. It is full of monsters in the guise of men. It is full of blood spilt, of fearing the other, and the right of might. The world of Bargain starts small, but the subsequent books touch on and mirror the growing unrest of the time, the world of the other courting a violent clash between factions.  

Where did you come up with the names in the story?

Virtual dart board. Not even kidding. I had a cluster of potential names that I tossed in a haphazard mess on screen and I closed my eyes to click. Sometimes it’s better for me not to attach too much meaning to a name because it makes the character feel more natural for me. 

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

The banter! I love writing character banter. Writing flirtations can be super tricky but I really enjoy it.

Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?

I think both Johnathan and Vic are driven by a strong sense of duty. Vic has a surprisingly strong moral compass but not a rigid one where Johnathan’s world view, initially, has become so black and white he can’t live with parts of himself. That sense of duty and the desire to protect drive a great deal of their decisions in the story. 

How did you come up with the title of your first novel?

True story, the first title of this book was An Impression of Teeth, kinda tongue in cheek but in seeking a new title, we went through several iterations before we settled on A Bargain of Blood & Gold which I love. We all start somewhere with book titles and sometimes those titles are a little off the mark. An Impression of Teeth might still make its way into the series but not with this book. 

Who designed your book covers?

My publisher City Owl Press made this cover happen! The gold lettering gives me life. 

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

That path is a dangerous one. I poured so much of myself into this book and yes, there are things I might change. There are things I would change in books I published two years ago. But there is a point where we have to let it lie and let it breath. Each book I write, I grow and, I hope, I improve. There’s a little Dory in my head singing ‘Just keep writing!’

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

That I use the word ‘as’ way too many times.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

I am so terrible at these questions! I would rather go with two fresh faces. Or be pleasantly surprised by a casting choice. I bet whoever lands the part would absolutely kill it. Rather, I would love to see this made into a limited series over a film. 

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Here there be monsters.

What is your favorite part of this book and why?

To avoid spoilers, I will call it ‘The Forest Scene’ between Vic & Johnathan, where they learn a great deal about each other. It is just a great moment for these two. If you’ve read it, you know. 

If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Vic and we would prank everyone I know. 

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

Sometimes pieces of real people slip into my characters but for the central trio in this book they came straight out of my head. 

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story? 

My characters hijack the story all the time. I will have a full storyline plotted out and boom, someone gets a whacky idea and suddenly we are off the rails. With most stories, I try to have bare bones plotting, with set points I hope to hit. That way, when my characters slide sideways, there is room for them to breathe and get interesting. 

Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.

This book is for the monster lovers. For those who walk on the dark side but still enjoy a little fluff. This is a gothic bloody meet cute with a slow burn romance set against a murder mystery back drop. We are here to have a grim good time. 

Have you written any other books that are not published?

I have two books I am hoping to query by the end of the year. We shall see where the cards fall!

If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?

Funny story, Johnathan does have a themed candle through An Unexpected Apothecary, but it’s a surprise. 

What did you edit out of this book?

A lady never tells. For real though, this book underwent a lot of transformation to get where it landed. It wasn’t so much about editing out as properly fleshing out what needed to be and making connections work. 

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?

I mean, I would love to pick the brain of any number of my literary heroes. The late great Terry Pratchett for one, he created amazing satire in intricate meaningful stories. I would love to just listen to him talk about his process for hours. Diana Wynne Jones is another. She has a style of story telling I aspire to. I love the way she laces clues and hints through her story lines that all pulls together in the end. I am highly detail oriented when I write so I am very much the sort to drop a seemingly odd little detail that becomes a vital clue for a later reveal. Am I evil enough to include something that doesn’t pay off for several books? Only time will tell, won’t it? 

Mother of two, caffeine addict, sleep deprived book eater.
Kristin Jacques writes primarily speculative fiction, dabbling with dark adventures, monsters, mayhem, and the occasional sarcastic zombie.
When not at her computer spinning tales she is generally herding cats or snuggling with her gremlins.
A Multi Award Winning Author of Fantastical YA & Adult Fiction.

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