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Posted by on Apr 14, 2013 in Thoughts on Writing | 4 comments

J is for Jackson Caldwell

Suit Up! (286/365)If you’ve already read Agents of Deceit, or you’ve heard me talking about it at some point, you know that Jackson Caldwell is the main character. I have to say, he’s been a fun guy to write.

Ooh…how sad would it be if I came on here and told you I hated my main character? That would be a bit awkward.

Anyway. Today, I thought it would be fun to give you a little bit of insight into what makes this character tick and some inside info on what you may be able to expect from him as the series progresses.

Why there’s a series

After I wrote Agents of Deceit, I had every intention of starting a new, unrelated work. I started writing a novel about bank robbery and con artists and revenge. It’s one of those stories where you actually cheer on the criminals. I’m not sure how many scenes I got into the book before I realized I needed to show the forces that would be working against this book’s main character. Maybe five, I guess.

And then Jackson showed up uninvited.

Let’s face it. You can’t really have a book about bank robbery without an FBI agent. And since I already had one, well…yeah. Didn’t matter that this wasn’t supposed to be a series.

Having Jackson as an agent in the story wouldn’t have been a big deal, except he kept on showing up in later scenes. Then he wanted his own subplot. Then he started asking for a definitive resolution to his storyline from the first book.

Totally not going to tell you what happened to him at the end of the first book…

So, basically, I set out to write Skylar Montgomery’s story and Jackson barged in, set up shop and started tying his fate to Skylar’s.

Frustrating…on so many levels.

And he keeps doing it to me. Now, he wants a prequel. We’ll see.

What drives Jackson

His own arrogance?

Seriously, dude is arrogant, but there’s more to him. He has this unwavering sense of right and wrong that he seems to think excuses anything he does. As long as he catches the bad guy, it doesn’t matter to him what tactics he uses. In one book, he might even try beating a confession out of the suspect, but there are extreme extenuating circumstances on that case.

Truthfully, I don’t know how any of the women involved with him throughout the series can stand to be around him for very long when he’s in his hyper-agent mode. I’d probably want to stab him in the face with a pencil for some of the stuff he says and does.

Good thing I’m not a character in the story, I guess. ;)

Speaking of the women in his life, there’s not a lot of discussion of what things were like for him growing up, except that he has two sisters. His younger sister, Peggy, makes appearances starting in the third book and his conversations with her begin to fill in some of the pieces of what he was like prior to the start of the series. His older sister is pretty much a plot device throughout the series because we don’t see her. She doesn’t call or answer calls. There’s a reason why, but I’ll never tell…I mean, until I actually  go into it in the books, that is.

And then there’s the failed marriage on his romantic resume. The way he lost his wife to his former best friend and partner at the Bureau is like the gift of dysfunction that keeps on giving. The memory of that betrayal tends to seep into every relationship he has, making it difficult for him to trust anyone new.

A warning about Jackson

I don’t want to give the impression that Jackson is an unreliable narrator because he’s not. When you’re reading from his point of view you’re getting the benefit of what he thinks, what he knows and how he feels. Just maybe take everything with a grain of salt. While he may not be dishonest in his narration throughout the books, things are colored by his own perspective. There could be things he doesn’t know about.

Or remember.

And now for the blanket warning I feel necessary to provide for any book or series I write. Don’t get too comfortable. Anyone can die at any time. For any reason.

Including Jackson.

Yes, I love my main character, but he has a dangerous job. It would be a mistake to assume that he’ll magically escape from any dangerous situation he’s in. He can be shot or stabbed. He can drown. He can be poisoned.

While Jackson Caldwell is the undeniable heart and soul of the Undercover Series, there comes a point where he’s introduced us to enough characters and set enough things in motion that the series has more than enough to continue without him. Will he make it to the final page of the final book in the series? *shrugs*

I already know, but you’ll have to wait and see.

Next up: K is for Kismet

*The picture isn’t necessarily the way I picture Jackson, or describe him, but it was shockingly difficult to find decent pictures on Photo Dropper for some reason. Also, the only pictures I could find on there of Matt Bomer (who I DO picture as Jackson), featured him wearing a goofy hat that was VERY un-Jackson like.

© 2013 – 2015, Sydney Katt. All rights reserved.

photo by: andrewrennie
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  1. I am so glad that I discovered your site from the A to Z blogging challenge. I haven’t read Agents of Deceit, but I certainly will now. I enjoyed learning about how you developed the character of Jackson Caldwell. I absolutely love mysteries/suspense, thrillers and other crime fiction where the author manages to have me rooting for the criminals.

    • It’s not until The Shattered Alliance that the bad guys are the good guys, but the first book is a good introduction to Jackson.

  2. Hello, Sydney! I love it when characters and scenes pop up unexpectedly when you thought you’d be working on something else. Have fun and good luck with Jackson!

    Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

    • Thanks. If he has his way, he’ll be popping up in unrelated stories from now until the end of time.

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