[Jack] looked upward to see the man who had ordered…them on deck. There was authority and a savage handsomeness to him. His narrow hazel stare pierced [Jack], pressed him back tighter against his mother, stole his breath. The man’s dark blond hair hung thin and loose to his broad shoulders, wisps of it falling from beneath his hat and across his eyes. Haunted, restless eyes. He wiped a spatter of blood from his hawkish nose with what looked to be the remnants of a shirt held in his hand, his long thin lips set in a line of annoyance among the tawny bristles of his goatee. His clothes, though worn, showed a certain care compared to the haphazardness of his men, as if he had brushed the royal blue justaucorps before coming aboard and had made an effort to don new stockings. Silk; stolen undoubtedly. He held a cutlass in his right hand; in his left was the ragged shirt. In a smooth, almost savoring way he drew the blade through the rag to wipe away the shine of fresh blood, then he tossed the cloth at John’s feet and sheathed his weapon with a sibilant hiss.
And thus you are introduced to James Logan at the beginning of The Prodigal. Jack Mallory sees him as a murdering thief but the reader learns things about the real James Logan of which Jack is ignorant. The reader becomes aware of Logan’s double life and of his deep, possessive love of a woman, a love that drives many of his decisions and motivations.
James Logan was a fun character to write. He started out as a rather straightforward antagonist but grew into something much more layered. Though he does not get his own point of view in The Prodigal, hopefully I have written him so that–seen through the eyes of other characters–he is understood, if not warmly embraced by the reader. Sometimes I don’t even think of him as an antagonist.
If the reader looks deep enough, he will realize as he progresses through the story that Jack Mallory and James Logan are not as different as the two men believe themselves to be. Both have suffered great loss and hold a bitterness against the world for it. The mix of differences and similarities between the two made their relationship always a refreshing journey for me. Hopefully my readers will enjoy it just as much as I.