Today on the blog we have a special guest here to talk about one of her characters from her new book, No Rest for the Wicked. Welcome Phoebe Darqueling and Bonnie Murphy!
It’s tempting to think of Bonnie Murphy as a “sidekick” to the relapsed grifter and medium, Viola Thorne, but that doesn’t really paint the right picture. Bonnie’s eagerness to trust, propensity for spine-crushing hugs, and inherent curiosity make her Vi’s opposite (though they do both have a stubborn streak a mile long). Both women see something admirable in the other and inspire one another to stretch themselves – though Vi sometimes worries about the direction she’s inspiring her 19-year-old protege into stretching….
What Bonnie lacks in stature, she makes up for in warmth and charm. The pair became friends under less than ideal circumstances. On a romantic whim, Bonnie’s husband, Tobias, uprooted the newly wedded couple from their home in Boston and moved them out to Sacramento, CA. The hapless Tobias was a much better accountant than he was either a traveler or a prospector, and they ended up indebted to a shady “businessman.” Tobias loses his life in pursuit of the needed gold, but gets a tip from another ghost to seek out Vi because of her special abilities.
After quite a lot of prodding and a promise to split the spoils, Vi eventually agrees to return the missing gold to Bonnie to settle her debt. They pull a little con together to keep the businessman from claiming a single nugget of the gold, but Vi still has to be the bearer of the sad news of Tobias’s death….
From No Rest for the Wicked
“Forgive my saying.” Vi wriggled her way out of the hug but let Bonnie keep hold of her hands. “But it seems to me that in this day and age, the only purpose of a man is to die and leave behind the woman who loved him.”
“Hey,” Tobias objected from his place by the window. “It was an accident.”
Bonnie looked over her shoulder to follow the sound and nearly burrowed through Vi to get away from the specter she could now see. She bolted away from the window, her face ashen and knees weak. “What was—what did I—where’d it go?”
Vi cursed her own stupidity; she never should have let herself be held.
“She heard me?” Tobias brightened and rushed to his wife’s side. “Honey?
Honey? I’m here, honey!”
Bonnie’s lip quivered as her eyes darted all around the room in fear, but
with the contact broken, the ghost was rendered invisible again. “Did you see
“Yes,” Vi replied apologetically. “I saw it.”
“I’m not crazy?”
“Sorry,” she sighed in frustration. “I’d planned to ease you into this.”
Tobias peered intently into Bonnie’s face, bursting with delight. “And she saw me, too. How is that possible?”
“What was that thing?” his wife’s voice dripped with fear and disgust. “Is it dangerous?”
“No.” Vi said firmly, then made an attempt to gentle her tone. “In fact, I know he would never hurt you.”
“It’s me, Bonnie!” Tobias cried. “It’s your sugar dumpling!”
“There’s someone here who’d like to talk to you.” Vi stepped over to where the other woman cowered and reached for her.
Bonnie gawked at her outstretched fingers and around the empty room before whimpering. “So, you’re crazy, then?”
“She’s not crazy, honey!” her husband shouted as if she were deaf or foreign rather than simply alive. “She’s a clear-voy-ant.”
Vi gritted her teeth and pressed on. “I promise you, Bonnie, this is really happening. And I’m here to help you.”
“That’s right!” Tobias called, just inches from Vi’s head. Next, he added emphatic gesturing to the loud and elongated syllables. “Sheee iiiiz heeeeere tooooo helllllp yooooooo!”
Vi could no longer contain her irritation and rounded on the ghost. “Could you shut your mouth for one goddamn minute, Tobias?”
“But I,” he stammered and his whole body seemed to deflate. “I wanted to help.”
“I’m trying to handle this, but I can’t do it with you yammering.”
“Sorry,” he mumbled.
“Tobias?” a voice squeaked from the corner. Rage wash over Bonnie’s face as she struggled to her feet. “What do you mean ‘Tobias?’ Is this some kind of sick joke?”
Vi wheeled back to face her. “I can explain—”
“What is wrong with you? This is cruel!”
She made a desperate grab for Bonnie’s hand, but the other woman snatched it away before they could make the crucial contact. “Please, Tobias is—”
“Don’t you dare say his name. Get away from me!”
“Bonnie, really! Tobias is—”
Vi’s plea was cut off by a ringing slap across her face. The widow let out a peep of surprise as they touched and she saw the form of her husband appear and disappear again.
Bonnie had her hands clamped over her mouth, her eyes wide with shock.
She took a few stuttering breaths through her fingers and managed to
murmur, “Was that truly him?”
“As I was saying…” Vi stretched her jaw and touched the warmth gathering on her cheek. Apparently, some of her skills had gotten rusty after all. “Your husband is dead, and he’d like to say goodbye before he goes. But you need to touch me to do it.”
One of Bonnie’s shaking hands peeled away from her face. She reached out tentatively, whispering, “I’m sorry I slapped you.”
“You can make it up to me later,” Vi chuckled. “Right now, I need you to take my hand. I don’t know how much time we’ve got.”
You can also check out more spotlights with excerpts, reviews, and more during the No Rest for the Wicked blog tour happening now. Visit the tour page for more posts.
Plus, do you like free books? You can get a digital copy of Phoebe Darqueling The Steampunk Handbook when you sign up for her e-newsletter. You can also follow Phoebe on Twitter and hang out with her in her fan group and United we Steampunk, Divided we Fall group on Facebook.
Phoebe Darqueling is the pen name of a globe trotting vagabond who currently hangs her hat in Freiburg, Germany. In her “real life” she writes curriculum for a creativity competition for kids and edits academic papers by non-native English speakers. She loves all things Steampunk and writes about her obsession on SteampunkJournal.org. She’s been part of several Collaborative Writing Challenge releases, including the collaborative novel she coordinated called Army of Brass. Her short stories can be found in Queen of Clocks and Other Steampunk Tales, Chasing Magic, and a new collection called Cogs, Crowns, and Carriages in November. Her solo novels, Riftmaker and No Rest for the Wicked, hit shelves Spring 2019.
Thanks for joining today and happy reading!