Soldiers of the Sun is technically the third in the series but it’s a stand alone and the first full-length story.
The original inspiration for the whole Soldiers of the Sun series was Dreamspinner’s Necking anthology, looking for polyamorous relationships. Simple enough, so very open ended. I have a thing for groups of warriors fighting the supernatural so making the trio demon hunters was a natural for me.
As to why I set it in the 1930s, I have a lot of theories. The leading one is my brain hates me. It’s a time period in which I had done no research. I suspect it went a little like this: Hey you like research. It’s only a short story. You can do enough research to handle that without much pain.
The research ballooned to a lot of work but I do like research. That really is half the fun. I set the stories in the Pittsburgh area because I grew up there and why not learn about the history of my own stomping grounds? Of course it’s still tricky to write historicals because it’s so easy to get accidental anachronisms in there. I’m very glad for eagle-eyed editors.
I tried to research the lingo and lucked into a website that documented where they culled the slang from, movie-wise. That was helpful. I also ended up watching some movies from the time period, even though that’s not my thing other than the horror flicks. Still, it’s a good view into the lingo and the clothing styles, or at least the styles of the wealthy, which I just happen to have in this story.
Caleb, Temple and Agni live in a world of repression and depression. They are lucky the Soldiers of the Sun is a fairly inclusive organization, religious- and gender-wise. They have male and female teams and represent a wide range of beliefs. This has not, however, left them untouched by the Great Depression. Even their headquarters is showing signs of not having enough money for upkeep. Temple especially is infuriated by Prohibition. At least the Soldiers are savvy enough to have relaxation times for them, including Temple’s favorite: dancing. However, the biggest piece of luck they have is the generals are content to look the other way when it comes to their homosexual soldiers and tries to keep them together in teams. That said, they certainly are not living openly but what happens behind closed doors is ignored by the organization.
The Depression plays a large role in the story. Without giving away too much, it is the impetus of why the villain of the piece has been summoned from Hell. This Devil is known for granted wishes and money and keeping your fortune is something he can help you with. You can see the appeal. Caleb, Temple and Agni have their work cut out for them.
Here’s where they patrol nightly.
The end result of all the inspiration was a team of demon hunters in the 1930s, keeping the city safe at a time when my grandmother was young. In fact, she and her friends make a cameo appearance in the Phipps Conservancy – a place you should check out if you’re ever in Pittsburgh. She was thrilled I put her in the story but sadly Grandma passed before this came out (August is her birth month) missing it by just a few months. She was would have been 100 and the novel is dedicated to her.
What draws you to historical fiction? Curious minds want to know.
Excerpt – “That was not how the New Year should be welcomed.” Temple sighed, undoing his bow tie. He and his partners shuffled through the quiet corridors of one of the male wings of the Soldiers of the Sun’s home base.
“I definitely had other ideas myself,” Agni said, and Temple looked back over his shoulder at him.
“Oh, really? And here I thought you were the staid, boring type who probably turned in at nine.”
Caleb suppressed a grin. That baiting sounded much more like the Temple he knew so well.
Agni huffed. “I suppose that means you don’t want to see what I would have done. My blood’s up a little too much to go right to sleep.”
Temple’s green eyes lit up. “I didn’t say that.”
“So I’m not getting sleep anytime soon?” Caleb eyed his partner as he unlocked the door to his apartment. Sometimes Agni surprised him. Caleb thought Agni only entered into this three-way partnership because Caleb asked, but he was beginning to think Agni truly enjoyed having sex with Temple too.
Temple stuffed his tie into his pocket. “You can sleep on the couch, I suppose.”
“As noisy as you are, if I chose that option, do you really think I’d get a moment’s rest?” Caleb slipped out of his overcoat and dress jacket, putting both on the coat rack by his door.
“Then you’ll have to join us.” Temple ran his hand across Caleb’s shoulders.
“Naturally.” Caleb turned and studied Temple’s face. “Are you okay?”
Temple shrugged. “I’m not perfect, but I will be eventually. Don’t want to talk about it now.” He fisted his fingers in Caleb’s starched shirt, pulling him forward into a kiss. “And I get the middle tonight since I earned it. All you did in the fight was stand there looking pretty.”
“And how was I to know which way the demons would run?” Caleb protested, breaking free. He caught Agni’s hand, tugging him toward his bedroom.
Temple followed behind them. “You’re smart. It sounds planned to me.”
“Keep talking, Temple, and your boyfriend for tonight will be found at the end of your wrist,” Caleb volleyed back.
Temple pouted, but he didn’t look particularly sad. “Ouch, you can be so mean.”
Caleb couldn’t hide his grin. If baiting Temple made him less morose, Caleb was happy to do it. It was so very easy to get his goat, anyhow. “You love it when I am.”
“Do not.” Temple’s sulk deepened.
“I have to side with Caleb. You thrive on us being hard on you.” Agni reached back to swat Temple’s arm.
Temple narrowed his green eyes. “I’m beginning to think my hand is the better choice.”
“At least your hand wouldn’t be mean to you,” Caleb agreed.
“And it would do exactly what you want.” Agni grinned.
“You two are just lucky I like you,” Temple huffed. “And I know you’re both damaged, and this is the only way you can show affection.”
Agni wiggled free of Caleb’s grasp, heading for the nightstand. He got out the jar of lubricant and put it in Temple’s hand. “Have fun.”
“And I’m not damaged. I barely remember being at the not-so-nice orphanage,” Caleb said.
“I was thinking more that someone at the orphanage dropped you on your head as a baby,” Temple said, taking off his ichor-splattered dress shirt, dropping it to the floor. His nipples stood up in the chill of the room. He went over and played with the heater controls.
“Go enjoy that jar.” Caleb shoved him.
Temple tossed the jar onto the bed, then tackled Caleb back onto the mattress.
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Author Bio- Jana is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her.
Where to find me:
Website : (coming soon) http://www.janadenardo.com/