Maggie Blackbird

Romancing Canada's Indigenous People

The month of January is all about character interviews.  Today, I’m firing questions at a mystery character from A.L. Means’ latest release A Passion Worth Pursuing, an adult romance.


1. First off, tell us who you are (age, where you grew up, where you live now, etc.) and what role you play in the novel.

Character:  Thank you for asking. As the narrator of this account, I have purposely kept as close to anonymity as I can. Why? Because I like the idea of being a bit of a mystery, who shares in the experience and has opinions about the other seven main people involved but otherwise remains an unknown. In our distant youth, we all hung out together as friends in the vicinity of London UK, and then drifted apart. By the time circumstances brought us back together, as I’ve related, we’re mid-thirtyish.

2. Share with us your hobbies and interests, and why you enjoy them.

Character:  Travel, would you believe. It just so happens this little adventure took us to the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. I couldn’t have been happier about that. Ancient civilizations are so fascinating, don’t you think? All those statues and derelict temples…

3. Tell us how you feel about being in a novel, and if you are happy with how your author presented you to readers.

Character:  To tell you the truth, I’m relieved my role was as observer – and of course, in order to observe, I did have to participate to an extent. But from the start, I felt the spotlight should be on my friends. They are such an enterprising bunch.

4. If your author was to create another novel with you in mind, give us a quick blurb of what it would be about.  And be sure to give the title.

Character:  A follow up would be an interesting proposition. There were some unresolved aspects to the way things turned out in this account, and I for one would not take too much persuasion to return to the scene of the crime, as it were. As I see it, it would involve another rescue operation, with the same bunch of friends and sensual encounters in forbidding structures from the past. A title? I’m thinking of something referencing the previous title and yet suggesting future adventures. How about Passion’s Siren Call?

5. Which character in the novel do you like the most, and why?

Character:  That’s a no brainer for me. Klara. Her combination of self-confidence and distinctive beauty is irresistible to me. I’d go island hopping to find her in a heartbeat.

6. Which character in the novel do you dislike the most, and why?

Character:  No classic villain emerges in these encounters. I would say it’s more about personalities under pressure. Having said that, Roderick’s smug observations become a little irritating at times, and of course Reynard’s unflinching manipulation of others is a bit much. But, in my experience, that’s the way life is. Some people are charismatic and get away with conduct that most of us wouldn’t even attempt.

7. Tell us why we should read the featured novel and what we will find most intriguing about you.

Character:  Hopefully, people will find it to be an entertaining read, a little edgy in places but with a wry humor – for which I modestly credit myself. Intriguing about me? I’d be crestfallen if readers didn’t wonder a bit about who I am. They learn about my viewpoint. As for appearance and biographical info, I reveal little or nothing. I could be right next to you as you read, and you’d never know who I was.


Title: A Passion Worth Pursuing
Series: N/A
Genre: Adult Romance
Author: A.L. Means
Heat Rating: 4 Flames (open door sex, explicit language used)
Length: 45,654 words/150 pages
Release Date: January 15, 2021
Publisher: eXtasy Books

An erotic travelogue

Blurb:  When two vacationers are reported missing in a sailing accident at a Mediterranean island, their four friends back in London decide to investigate. Questions begin with the fact that there were originally three vacationers—Reynard, Klara and Anton. So which two are missing? Was it a tragic drowning or something sinister?

As told by the unnamed fourth member of the expedition, this is a light-hearted and amorous odyssey featuring friends Roderick, Greta, and Diane as they go in search of answers.

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The first we heard about it was through a news agency. A reporter phoned to check details. Names, ages, addresses, that sort of thing.

Those of us who considered ourselves their friends were stunned. We were still getting over the reports of their being missing, and now this.

“Can it be true?” Greta was on the phone almost as soon as I’d finished talking to the reporter. It was good to hear her voice again, even in these circumstances. Since she’d moved back home to Denmark, I’d hankered at times for the calmness she seemed to bring to life and, let’s face it, those riveting sapphire eyes.

“It’s all vague,” I told her. “They still haven’t identified bodies. I’m not yet convinced they’ve found them. “

“But just two,” she said with rare agitation. “And which two? You think they’ll find the other one?”

“Sooner or later, I expect. I mean, bodies, supposing they’ve found any, can’t have been far away from the boat, and that part of the Mediterranean is pretty well traveled, I think.”

It was still early in the morning by my standards. I made myself the usual breakfast—cereal, toast, coffee—and reflected on the excitement we’d all felt at this very table when they announced their plans.

Reynard had put his arms around the other two, Klara and Anton—I remember that—and of course, typically enough, we grouped around in a half circle in anticipation of what he might say. He had that effect. He was the pivot of our social circle, no doubt about it.

What the others expected I can’t say. Perhaps it was going to be one of his ideas about living arrangements. That was my first thought. Reynard was very persuasive. People agreed to do things for him, with him, that in all probability would be rejected with scorn coming from someone else.

He was a bit of a user in that way. Do the deed and then move on was his unspoken dictum. But those who…what can I say…acceded to his wishes didn’t seem to hold a grudge for long. Perhaps they—we—were convinced by the way he talked about “life experiences.” They were a sort of hobby of his. It was as if they were collectibles, and the point of living was to assemble a set of them.

The three of them had been sharing a flat in London for several months at the time of Reynard’s announcement. The precise nature of their relationship was never stated. Not that anyone considered it a taboo arrangement. It was more that Reynard took pleasure in letting us guess the details, and of course that made it the subject of endless speculation. Nonjudgmental, of course.

Besides, I think we all agreed our lives would be duller without the guesswork. Reynard’s trysts had been going on, and off and on again, for years.

For that matter, Reynard’s relationships, in one version, had once included Greta, and in her case, it had been considerably more than friendship. When I first met her, she was an au pair, minding the children in a house overlooking the Thames in an opulent suburb. Quite how she encountered Reynard I can’t say, but he glommed onto that sleek figure and those onion-skin blonde tresses with all the predatory zeal for which he was known.

Now that I think about it, I recall one of their first dates. As already indicated, he was never one to disguise his intentions when it came to intimacy, which made his successes all the more impressive. Several of us had gone to a production of Hamlet at a then-fashionable theatre in the round, and Reynard—under the spell of an intriguingly X-rated portrayal of Ophelia by a pop star of the era—persuaded Greta to drink too much afterward.

Back at my place—on that very same sofa I still have, over there by the fake fireplace—she nestled into his lap in that matter-of-fact way she had and they began to kiss and fondle each other with a passion to put even Ophelia to shame.

With a mixture of envy and lust we watched them blossom into nakedness, and his groans and her whinnies were almost enough to prompt us into physical activities of our own. Instead we just gloated, anticipating that this was act one, scene one and that someday soon all of us would have at least walk-on parts.

No surprise then when Reynard proclaimed several days later that they were engaged. And hardly more surprise when he followed up with an addendum a couple of months later to the effect that they no longer were.

There was a fatalism in his romantic affairs that one couldn’t help suspecting was partly a matter of convenience. He made his conquests with the most earnest exaltations, but the bloom on the rose, once picked, usually soon faded.

It was part of his bewildering charm that mostly he was able to get away with it. Greta, as placid and absorbent as an alpine lake, downgraded from fiancée to friend with nary a complaint—that I ever heard, anyway.

So, given the twists in our friends’ history, I needed time to evaluate the reporter’s tale of mystery on the high seas. Was this just one more drama that would turn out to be a false alarm? Reynard alone had the wits of a cornered cat, and Klara’s confidence was usually enough to see her past any threat. As for Anton, he was a retiring soul, but not an incapable one. The idea that two of them, or perhaps all three, had died in some marine disaster was hard to accept. So I was inclined to believe there was more to the circumstances than we knew. But how to find out more, that was the question.


A.L.Means grew up in Britain and has lived in the Phoenix area for a long time. He has authored fiction and nonfiction in various genres, using different pen names, ranging from fables about talking animals to memoir. As a journalist for most of his working life, Means has concentrated on prose, mostly fiction in more recent years. However, sometimes a Muse whispers verses in his ear, usually reflecting personal experience and observation.

His most recent novel, a light-hearted erotic travelogue entitled A Passion Worth Pursuing, contains a collage of real-life characters and locations reassembled and mutated beyond easy recognition.

Follow A.L.:  Linktree

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