Emma's Con is the fourth book in THE HIDDEN, a historical fantasy novella series. I started writing THE HIDDEN because I wanted to explore a world where witches lived among us. No Middle Earth, no wizarding world with a Ministry of Magic; just our everyday world. And I wanted to explore this concept throughout history. What would it have been like to be a witch in the 1600s? 1700s? 1980s even?
Emma's Con takes place in the 1930s in Northern California (the Sierra Nevada to be more specific) during the Great Depression. Her father is a witch too (and a con artist). He hates non-magical people, and even though he doesn't need the money, takes great pleasure in conning the poor out of all they have. Emma's sense of morality is finally developing (she's 15), and when something terrible happens to a man named Walter, Emma decides she has to stop her father...with a con of her own.
So, you ready to meet the characters?
Emma Jackson // Role: Protagonist
Emma is 15 (almost 16) years old. She's been stuck in the same place since she was six. While she tries pushing boundaries by wearing short skirts and day dreaming of chopping her head off, she still follows along with her father and his cons.
When we meet Emma, she's starting to notice that her father's cons bother her. Even though she can't put her finger on it in the beginning, something doesn't feel "right" about tricking people. When trauma strikes Feathersprings, she realizes she has to stop her father from hurting anyone else in town, and she does this by pulling off her first con.
I wanted Emma to run her own con because she's transitioning from child to adult. It's time for her to take action--make a choice and live with the consequences. By the end of the story, Emma doesn't necessarily end up where she thought she'd be, but her rebellious streak is strong; she's going to be just fine.
Arthur Jackson // Role: Antagonist
Arthur is Emma's father. He's a witch (as was his late wife, Emma's mother). When he was a child, a non-magical man came into his parents house and shot him and post his parents. Arthur was the lone survivor. After losing his wife, he throws himself into conning non-magical people out of their money.
I chose a photo of Simon Baker because his cockiness in The Mentalist reminds me of Arthur. Arthur is an absolute pain the ass and I would love nothing more than the punch the smirk off his face. I think he may have really loved his wife, but losing her broke him. He doesn't care about Emma. He only wants to hurt the non-magical population.
Mr. Martin // Role: Villain
Even though Arthur is an obvious "bad guy" in this story, I needed someone who fit the villain role better. Mr. Martin is acting-mayor of Feathersprings (after killing the previous mayor) and owns most of the town. It's his ruthlessness and greed along with the depression that has made people desperate enough to buy Arthur's con and give him everything they've got. Anything for a chance to get out from underneath Martin's thumb. Mr. Martin also plays a big role in Emma's con and she not only beats her dad, she beats Martin too. Yes!
Lily // Role: The Friend
Even though the book never explicitly states this, I like to think that it is Emma's friendship with Lily that helps push her towards wanting to be a better person. Lily is a 14 year old Native American girl, and while she and Emma never speak to one another (Lily doesn't know English and Emma can't speak Lily's language), Lily is as close a friend as Emma has ever had. And like a true friend, Lily doesn't ditch Emma when she learns the truth about her part in her father's schemes.
And the Maidu (Native American) tribe end up helping Emma con her father and Martin. They get the peace they're looking for while Emma gets the freedom she's always wanted. And the people of Feathersprings get something too...but you'll have to read the ending to find out ;)