Guest Blog & Giveaway: Suzanne Johnson on Jean Lafitte: Hero and Villain in a Sexy Package & win ELYSIAN FIELDS

August 19, 2013 Giveaways, Guests 42

A big welcome to Suzanne Johnson who is here to telling us about Jean Lafitte: Hero and Villain in a Sexy Package and celebrating the release of ELYSIAN FIELDS , Sentinels of New Orleans, #3 (published on August 13, 2013 by Tor Books). Want to win a copy? Enter via the widget below.

Team Jean Lafitte

Jean Lafitte: Hero and Villain in a Sexy Package


Suzanne Johnson

I never intended for the undead Jean Lafitte—an immortal version of the early 19th-century pirate kept alive by the magic of human memory—to be a major, ongoing character in my Sentinels of New Orleans series. After all, in the opening scene of the first book, my heroine tricks him and sends him back into the otherworld known as the Beyond. A few scenes later, he attacks her quite viciously, seeking revenge. Originally, that was to be his only appearance in the series. Then he returned for another scene, and another, and slowly transformed from sexy and dangerous to sexy and dangerous—and someone extremely interesting to write and read about.

Now, as we reach book three in the series, Elysian Fields, Jean Lafitte is firmly entrenched as a major character who practically steals every scene in which he appears and who makes the full circle from villain to hero. Much like the real Lafitte, my fictional version is mercurial and unpredictable. Sure, he’s devious—but he’s also practical and has his own moral code. It might or might not jibe with ours, but he’s consistent.

Le Capitaine, as his legion of a thousand pirates in early 1800s Louisiana called him, was in real life a morally ambiguous kind of guy—and it has been fun to write him that way and stick as close to the real Lafitte as possible, both in terms of looks and behavior.

My version of Jean Lafitte is funny and holds little regard for the officious preternatural politicians, unless he can benefit from working with them. The real Lafitte once laughingly responded to the Louisiana governor’s offer of a reward for his capture and arrest by posting a much larger reward for anyone who would capture the governor and bring him to the Lafitte compound south of New Orleans.

Yet at Jean’s direction, his brothers and followers joined forces with that same governor to assist Andrew Jackson in successfully fending off the British in the 1815 Battle of New Orleans, despite an attractive offer from the British. Even when the Lafittes were double-crossed and the Americans came to seize his holdings, Jean maintained strict orders for his men to never fire on American ships or officers.

The privateer Lafitte was a fierce believer in the U.S. Constitution and yet wouldn’t hesitate to hang one of his men who challenged his authority. He was capable of great violence, and also of great generosity. He worked in harsh conditions on an almost-uninhabitable coastline filled with snakes and alligators and disease-carrying mosquitoes, yet he was called the “gentleman pirate” because of his fluency in multiple languages and the polished manners and way of dress that allowed him to mingle in New Orleans’ social circles.
I think morally ambiguous characters like Jean Lafitte appeal to us as readers because they tend to be unapologetic heroes and villains inhabiting the same body. They don’t think like the rest of us, and that makes them fascinating and unpredictable—and fun.

And if my fictional Lafitte behaves in a consistent manner with his thirty-year-old human, circa 1810 self, how does he stack up physically? Because in the Sentinels series, our favorite pirate is a flirtatious, sexy beast of a guy who doesn’t look anything like Yul Brenner, the actor who portrayed him in the 1958 movie “The Buccaneer,” or like the bandanna-headed, earringed, rotten-toothed pirates we know from cartoons and old films.

There are no surviving images of Lafitte drawn during his lifetime, although there are many imagined depictions in art throughout the years since he disappeared when in his early forties. But written descriptions of him are quite consistent: he was about six-foot-two, at a time when the average man was five-seven, with dark hair. He was “well-formed,” which I choose to interpret as “hot.” He was fair of complexion, and clean-shaven—no twirling handlebar mustache! He was intense, serious, and did not care for large social gatherings—but when he attended them, he was described as charming and gentlemanly. He enjoyed gambling, had a taste for brandy, and was a stickler for bookkeeping and paying his men their full due.

I think my Jean is much more playful than his human counterpart, although since he’s immortal and no longer has to worry about being hanged, I figure he can relax a little. He’s a shameless flirt. In fact, he’s shameless, period. And that’s why we love him. There’s something appealing about a man who accepts himself for what he is and makes no apologies for it.

Especially when he’s a bit of a sexy beast with a French accent, oui?

Suzanne Johnson is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series from Tor Books. Royal Street, book one, came out in April 2012; River Road in November 2012. Book three, Elysian Fields, will be released on August 13, 2013.

A longtime New Orleans resident, Suzanne is a veteran journalist with more than fifty national awards in writing and editing nonfiction for higher education, including the Robert S. Sibley Award for the best university magazine in the U.S. and Canada, for the Rice University Sallyport.

Suzanne is an active member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and is a member of the Georgia, Southern Magic, and Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapters of RWA.

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 Elysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson


Available on August 13, 2013 by Tor Books


An undead serial killer comes for DJ in this thrilling third installment of Suzanne Johnson’s Sentinels of New Orleans series.

The mer feud has been settled, but life in South Louisiana still has more twists and turns than the muddy Mississippi.

New Orleanians are under attack from a copycat killer mimicking the crimes of a 1918 serial murderer known as the Axeman of New Orleans. Thanks to a tip from the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, DJ Jaco knows the attacks aren’t random—an unknown necromancer has resurrected the original Axeman of New Orleans, and his ultimate target is a certain blonde wizard. Namely, DJ.

Combatting an undead serial killer as troubles pile up around her isn’t easy. Jake Warin’s loup-garou nature is spiraling downward, enigmatic neighbor Quince Randolph is acting weirder than ever, the Elders are insisting on lessons in elven magic from the world’s most annoying wizard, and former partner Alex Warin just turned up on DJ’s to-do list. Not to mention big maneuvers are afoot in the halls of preternatural power.

Suddenly, moving to the Beyond as Jean Lafitte’s pirate wench could be DJ’s best option.

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42 Responses to “Guest Blog & Giveaway: Suzanne Johnson on Jean Lafitte: Hero and Villain in a Sexy Package & win ELYSIAN FIELDS”

  1. miki

    I loved him since book 1 and i never have enough of him. So glad he got his own novella ( free for this month on the author official website) Jackson Square

    this series is imply wonderful!!

  2. Roger Simmons

    The secondary characters are very important to stories. Jean Lafitte is a very good example of that in the Sentinels series. Many times I had to just had to laugh out loud at his antics. He has a more serious role in helping D.J. in Elysian Fields. Get the book guys, you will enjoy it.

  3. Ezinwanyi

    I’m currently reading Royal street because I loved the Pentoville vamps.

  4. johnnie-marie howard

    I ‘d have to say Hermione Granger, I haven’t read to many books about witches and wizards I’m looking forward to starting that journey of books:)

  5. Dalene K Rodman

    Lately I don’t think I have read any books with wizards in them little lone female wizards, but I need to rectify that. This series sounds really good. Thank you for the quest post Suzanne, I found it informative and made me want to work on getting these books to see what I have been missing out one.

  6. Rebe

    Definitely Hermione Granger! Other than DJ she’s the only female wizard I can think of.

  7. Carl

    The person who immediately comes to mind is Hermione Granger. There must be many others but it’s just so easy to be a fan of Hermione’s, who could resist.

  8. Suzanne Johnson

    Thanks for the comments, everyone! I love Hermione as well, although in the Potter Universe, women are always witches and men are wizards. I always hated that, but Hermione certainly holds her own!

  9. Krysten M

    Hmm.. I seriously can’t think of any others besides characters from Harry Potter. But if we’re going HP, I’d have to say Luna Lovegood, she’s just so funny 🙂

  10. Kirsten L

    I have loved this series since I stumble across it a few months ago. It’s fresh and refreshing the was that Suzanne writes. My favorite female wizard would have to be D.J.; or it’s a tie from three characters from Harry Potter Wizarding World – Molly Weasly, Hermoine Granger and Bellatrix Lestrange for completely different reasons.

  11. HollyB

    My favorite female wizard would TOTALLY be DJ!!! She is simply amazing and I want to be her!! This series is phenomenal and I love all of the characters. But DJ is just awesome. She totally kicks a$$ but at the same time she’s NOT some “perfect” female wizard character out of some man’s daydream! Seriously, she has flaws like any other woman, but she is so strong and capable and I just adore her 🙂 Not to mention I think Suzanne is the shizz and I’m just overall SO GLAD I started on this series! If anyone reading this hasn’t checked them out — go! No more waiting! Thanks for the guest post and giveaway!

  12. Eva Millien

    DJ of course, she’s an awesome wizard. Thanks for sharing Jean Lafitte with us. I like him also. evamillien at gmail dot com

  13. Kimberly Mayberry

    Well, I don’t know many since I just started reading this genre, but I guess it would be Bellatrix Lestrange. Yes, she is evil. lol I sort of look like her. lol

  14. Angela Fitzgerald

    I haven’t read any of her books but I will check them out now. I love finding new authors and books. This series sounds wonderful, I can’t wait to start reading this series.

  15. Angela Fitzgerald

    I’m sorry to say but I don’t think I know any female wizards, witch’s yes. I’m sure I will be able to read a book one day that will have a female wizard or several female wizards in a story.

  16. BookLady

    My favorite female wizard is Hermione Granger. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  17. Linda Townsend

    Hermione! But… DJ is gaining fast!
    I just finished River Road… I LOVE this series!

  18. Stephanie F.

    DJ is my favorite wizard I’ve read recently. I love her spunk and attitude. Morgan le Fay would be another. She’s somewhat considered a wizard I think lol.
    Love the series. The mix of real facts and your fantasy twits. Jean is one of my favorite all time characters. He is a series amongst himself.

  19. Denise Z

    I cannot wait to read this series. I think it grabbed me from the time I first saw the beautiful cover art on Royal Street and it just continues 🙂 My favorite witch/wizard to date is Rachel Morgan, she is just awesome. Thank you for sharing with us, I am certainly looking forward to meeting the undead version of Jean Lafitte.

  20. Kai W.

    My favorite is Polgara from the Belgariad series. No wizards, sorcerers, or gods want to cross her and certainly not even her father.

  21. Suzanne Johnson

    Thanks again for the comments! There are female wizards in the Dresden series–in fact, his boss on the White Council for a while is a woman (talk about complicated relationships!). Thanks for the DJ love!

  22. Carolyn Valdez

    The only ones I know would be Hermione Granger and Samantha Stevens, but I don’t think they were wizards, I think they were witches.

  23. Rain Maiden

    I don’t read a lot of books with wizards and witches. I look forward to starting this series.

  24. Damaris

    I don’t have one, but would love to! This one looks like a good possibility. I just got the first book of your series. dsr002(at)gmail(dot)com

  25. Renee

    Hey, it has to be Hermione Granger. But I know there must be others.

  26. Amber

    Hm.. Im not really sure. I love Rachel Morgan from Kim Harrisons Hollows series but shes a “Witch”.

  27. Barb P

    I would most definitely would have to say DJ! Of course I am a big fan of Suzanne’s and of the series! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!!!

  28. Michele A

    Bonnie from Vampire Diaries is my favorite.

    Thanks for the give away

  29. Regan

    Hmmm…I currently do not have a favorite female wizard! I need to venture into more series that feature them 🙂