Friday, June 22, 2012

Virtual Book Tour - Guest Post: "Black Wings" by Kathleen Toomey Jabs

Price: $19.95 paperback, $9.99 ebook
ISBN: 9780984141272
Pages: 314
Release: December 2011
Book's blog tour site:

Kathleen~~ Welcome to Sapphyria's Book Reviews!  Please talk to us about how you keep your characters motivated.

How to keep your character motivated.

When Navy Lieutenant Bridget Donovan learns that her former Naval Academy roommate, Audrey Richards, has died in a plane crash, Bridget doesn’t believe the official story. She’s motivated to discover what really happened: could Audrey have committed suicide or is murder a possibility? Bridget’s motivation comes from a sense of longing, a shared history, as well as a desire for justice.

Audrey was one of the Navy’s first female combat aviators. Fiery, impetuous, and fearless, she was a known risk-taker and a challenging friend. Bridget and Audrey had a falling out prior to the crash and had been out of touch. When Bridget learns Audrey is dead, she is unprepared for the depth of her grief. Sadness tinged with remorse gradually transforms to anger and a desire for truth about Audrey’s last days. To uncover what has happened, Bridget must face the ghosts of her and Audrey’s Naval Academy time and own up to her share in their final fight.

In Black Wings, my first mystery novel, Bridget’s motivation drives the story. She has a lot at stake. She’s personally connected to the dead woman with a complicated legacy between and behind them. I structured the novel so that the interplay between the past (Bridget and Audrey’s time at the Naval Academy) and the present (Bridget’s investigation into Audrey’s death) would intersect and (hopefully) highlight Bridget’s reasons for pursuing the investigation with such passion.

From the very first sentences of the Navy emergency report, Bridget is suspicious of Audrey’s death. Her misgivings grow when a reporter calls and starts asking about black wings and harassment of pilots. Bridget’s natural curiosity and desire for justice are compounded when she learns that someone was trying to drive Audrey out of aviation.

Bridget cares about Audrey because they were friends, roommates, and rivals. They had a complicated and intertwined history, but they had forged strong bonds through shared adversity during a critical time in their lives. The binds of the past inspire Bridget. She’s motivated by love, loss, and nostalgia for their youth and innocence. All compelling reasons for her to want to know what happened to Audrey. The sheer number of touch points between Bridget and Audrey ensure that Bridget stays motivated to solve the investigation. Ultimately, she stays motivated because she has a good reason: her friend is dead and she wants to know what happened.

When it comes down to it, motivation is character. Each novel has a conflict and how the characters perceive, react and adapt to that tension is what drives the story. Why are the characters are involved? What do they care about? What questions do they ask? What do they want and why do they want it?

Answering all these questions can be hard work, but the reward it worth it. Ultimately, by deeply understanding what drives a character, you come to understand what motivates them. Once you know that, you don’t have to keep them motivated as much as you have to keep up with their motivations!

Black Wings Summary

LT Bridget Donovan suspects the worst when her former Naval Academy roommate, Audrey Richards, perishes in a botched take-off from an aircraft carrier. The Navy says it's an accident, but facts don't add up. Could it be suicide, or murder? Donovan's unofficial investigation into what really happened, both during their past Academy days and in Richards' final hours, forces her to examine the concepts of honor, justice and the role of loyalty in pursuit of those ideals.

Kathleen Toomey Jabs' Bio:

Kathleen Toomey Jabs is a 1988 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. She served on active duty for six years and is currently a Captain in the Navy Reserve. She holds an MA from the University of New Hampshire and an MFA in Creative Writing from George Mason University. Her stories have been published in a number of literary journals and received several prizes, including selection in the National Public Radio Selected Shorts program. She lives with her husband and two children in Virginia.

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Tribute Books said...

Amber, thanks for featuring Kathleen today!

Kathleen Jabs said...

Amber, I want to second Nicole. Thanks so much for hosting me and featuring Black Wings yesterday. Cheers, Kathleen