Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of Bodacious Creed and the San Francisco Syndicate! As this will be the final chapter in the Bodacious Creed series, does it find the series’ characters where we last left them?
Jonathan Fesmire: Thank you so much! I put a lot of work into this book, all compressed into a year. In fact, I started the first draft on November 1, 2021, for NaNoWriMo. And, this year, I’m using NaNoWriMo to write my next novel, days after I put Bodacious Creed and the San Francisco Syndicate up for pre-order. A year almost to the day.
The new book catches up with the characters six months after Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake, on Christmas evening, 1876. Creed and his found family, the Brotherhood of the Golden Cog, go to the San Francisco Presidio to watch a fireworks show over the northern part of the bay when Creed finds something, and someone, surprising. The discovery gives him his first lead against his nemesis, the crime boss Maxwell Gregg, that he’s had in months, giving him a new direction in his hunt for the outlaw.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in bringing the characters to life?
JF: Well, most of the characters in Bodacious Creed and the San Francisco Syndicate were introduced in the first two books, Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western, and Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake. So, I’ve written them before and have a strong sense of who they are.
If I have any “secret,” it’s keeping a series bible. For that, I use World Anvil, a fantastic site for writers and game masters that provides a robust set of tools for creating fictional worlds. In the entries for my main and supporting characters, I include their backstories, key personality traits, motivations, and more. If I’m unsure how a character might act, I can always refer to the series bible.
BD: Likewise, as this is the last chapter, did you find any difficulty in “letting go” of these characters, or do you have plans to bring them together again for another adventure in other books or mediums?
JF: This is the final chapter in the first Bodacious Creed trilogy, but not the final Creedverse novel. This month, I’m starting a spin-off trilogy, The Anna Lynn Chronicles. This series will be about James “Bodacious” Creed’s daughter, a young brothel madam and secret inventor, and her struggles as a woman living on the edge of the American west. Anna strives to help others, especially the women working in her brothel, but additional trouble is about to find her.
I’m not nearly ready to say goodbye to these characters, so it’s a good thing I have several related trilogies planned. I also think that as I write this Anna trilogy, new ideas will come to me.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Creed’s ongoing story will connect with and impact readers?
JF: James “Bodacious” Creed is all about justice with compassion. He strives to help the less fortunate and downtrodden. I’ve heard that people who read fiction have more empathy because they get to experience other points of view. I hope that these stories contribute to that.
Now, I don’t want these stories to be white savior tales, even though Creed is a white man. That’s why, while he is the protagonist and does much of the heavy lifting, his friends and found family play important roles, too, and often he couldn’t succeed without them. In that sense, the books are also about making connections and inspiring loyalty by doing what’s right.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
JF: Right now, just the new Anna novel. The first one is tentatively titled Anna, Daughter of Creed. I don’t actually think that will change, but we’ll see. I’ve been complimented in how realistically I write women. George R.R. Martin, who has often been given the same kudos, has said that it’s all about writing women as people, because that’s what they are. Individuals. That’s what I do. I’ve always had positive relationships with women in my life, so maybe I just channel my understanding about them from thousands of conversations.
I plan to call the new trilogy The Anna Lynn Chronicles. Many of the things happening in Anna’s life will appear as newspaper articles, so Chronicles feels right.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Bodacious Creed and the San Francisco Syndicate?
JF: There are so many ways! The book comes out on December 6, 2022, but readers can pre-order various digital editions from different distributors, and either the paperback or hardcover from Barnes & Noble, via my Story Origin link.
My personal website has those links, too.
Readers can learn a little more about the world from the selection of public articles on my Creedverse series bible on World Anvil. Oh yes, and also via my website, they can sign up for my newsletter. I send out one email a week on Tuesday mornings.