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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Delmari

IN CHARACTER: Jagger Hollis, The Double Club

My sweet Jagger.

Where should I begin with this one? Gay fiction was new to me when I first started writing The Double Club. I freely admit that, despite being a gay man myself. I never read any gay fiction. Ever. I was always a fan of mainstream science fiction and fantasy. Dragonlance novels, Conan the Barbarian short stories, Agatha Christie mysteries, the Dune series … It was only when Kevin came into my life and moved his stuff in that I began to see gay fiction was a thing. He had many different kinds of gay fiction books. He had short stories, art books, poems and the like. I never really looked at it all because he was not a fan of gay fiction, even though he read it. He was always disappointed in the stories and felt that gay characters needed so much more. What's more, it was only after I saw 2018's "Call Me By Your Name," the movie with Timothée Chalamet, that I really began to notice gay fiction was really a thing.

And, Jagger Hollis? Where did he come from? Well, a movie character inspired him for me. It was a very profound impression when I saw him … the actor I mean. Honestly, at this moment, I can’t even remember the actor’s name or the name of the movie, but that’s all right. I’ll just savor the mystery and carry on with this post because this is about Jagger anyway, no one else. Not even the first gay character I actually created for a book idea. (More on that character in another upcoming post) I had a named picked out for a character, but then Jagger formed in my mind and that was it. I know the first book of the Double Club series is kinda sad where Jagger’s growing up story is concerned and the books ends on a fairly subdued note, but let’s not forget, it’s a series. That’s how I wrote it. At the end of each book, the continuing story leads into the next one. Jagger’s preparations for a new life await him at the end of the first book and that sets the stage for the rest of the series.

I had never written a character like Jagger before. I know there are probably lots of gay characters like him, but this was new for me. His struggles were new, his life, his upbringing. I know he has it hard, but there is plenty of light at the end of the tunnel for him and that’s what I intended. I was totally in uncharted territory with this guy and I loved it. I had never gotten so deep into the psyche of such an unhappy, beautiful guy with a tremendously good heart and an inner strength that can move mountains.

Jagger is beautiful, inside and out. His wretched, awful father couldn’t destroy the positive things that Jenna, Jagger’s mother, and dear Mrs. Hobson, the next-door neighbor, instilled in him. Those two women were the guiding force for the good foundation in his life and their influence maintains him throughout the series.

Jagger is The Double Club’s heart. He is the main character, yes. There are a lot of characters in The Double Club, but Jagger is the main one. He’s the one that it became all about because he is the one who moves between the two worlds of the fabulously wealthy characters of New York City and the regular, hard-working characters of beautiful Sarasota. He can go to New York as easily as he can return home to Sarasota and he never really changes because of it. Well, he does grow and definitely develops over time, as do all characters in a series like this, but Jagger is special because he remains true to his core values. I love all my characters, and Jagger allowed me to experience writing for someone that I had never written before. I love him for that and I put him through the fire just to see how he would come out the other side.

He can hold his own with anyone he deals with, which is another reason I love him. He may be quiet, sullen, and often withdrawn, but he is a fighter. He is strong, intelligent, and very brave. He loves his friends and he doesn’t back down from a fight. He knows how to love and he knows his weaknesses. He is everything that a hero should be and it’s always a pleasure writing for him because it’s never easy for Jagger, even when the situation calls for it. He will find some way to get through it, but over the course of the Double Club series, Jagger really struggles. He does. He has to. As a “soap opera hero,” he has to grow. He also has to learn what a beautiful guy he really is and he needs to understand why so many people love him for who he is, when all he feels is self-doubt and confusion because he doesn’t understand what he’s going through.

In this world and in this life, a genuinely honest and decent person is both beloved and despised by all sorts of people. Positive people love a hero and the villains of the world hate the heroes for their own reasons. It is just the same in the Double Club series, yet Jagger finds love and respect from many different characters simply because of who he is, which truly makes him a central part of everything and the story is better off for it.


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