Of Characters and Things: Miki St. John… also, open to Q&A!

Of Characters and Things: Miki St. John
Miki St. John actually came into existence on the front stoop of an imaginary Victorian house in San Francisco. I had a love interest in mind for him, a maybe-detective or maybe-professor named Quinn Morgan and Miki had suffered a great tragedy with the loss of his bandmates. He also had an alley cat.
If you’ve read the books, the only thing that stayed the same was his name and the bandmates and well, the ending of Sinners’ Gin put that all to a lie.
So… Miki.
Miki is built off of a lot of my life experiences as well as my stint as a counselor for a juvie hall / halfway house for teens. I’m not going to say the world is a shitty place because honestly, it isn’t. There are people out there who love their kids and try to do their best by them. And there also is a large percentage of people who view their children as disposable meat, something to be used both sexually and sadistically in order to satisfy some craven itch they have. Their own kids. Other peoples’ kids. It doesn’t matter to those people. But they are there.
I didn’t want to focus on … the horrors of being caught in that nightmare but rather someone who survived it but was broken around the edges. Because no matter how much therapy one gets, they’re never going to achieve that baseline solid foundation someone gets when raised by someone who loves them.
Trust me on that.
Once that slab of faith is broken, it’s constantly in a state of crumble and there’s a lot of internal energy spent on trying to keep everything from falling apart.
Enter Miki St. John, abandoned in a city park then torn from the future he’d worked hard to achieve following the deaths of three young men he called brothers. His family. His foundation.
Of course losing Damien really dominated his loss. He’d found an anchor and a purpose but now, there was nothing there. Just pain and words and music he couldn’t stop from pouring out of him. There was no escaping who he’d become, who he’d grown into but there was no joy in it. Not wallowing per se but more of… it hurt to take his next breath and Miki seriously contemplated if that next breath was really worth it.
That’s where I started. A fractured, too-pretty young man who’d spent nearly all of his childhood as a victim of a horrific situation and then worked thru the struggles of becoming a damned good musician only for that to be lost. But he needed an anchor, not a person because that’s what the book would be about and he would have to go thru the trusting stages again but certainly an anchor that was as independent as he was.
Enter Dude.
The dog that Miki does NOT own. He just moved in and lives there now. Dude eventually became a friend but for Miki, the dog simply decided to be there. And in true Miki fashion, he accepted that and well, figured he might as well make sure the intruder got fed… and then possibly bathed once in a while. But it did take time for him to accept Dude as being a part of his life and a friend because… Mike has learned that once you love something, it will be taken from you and destroyed in front of your eyes. His heart couldn’t take much more of that. So Dude was an… eventual companion.
Dude felt otherwise. He spotted this broken human and said, Welp, that’s why I exist. And eventually slept next to Miki in bed, followed him on his rambles and more importantly, figured out the large, muscular Irish man who seemed to like playing with REALLY LARGE sticks, could fit into the emptiness Miki carried around with him.
But who is Miki as a person?
His behavior is shaped by circumstance and the gritty environment he was raised in but beneath the rough and snarling badger lies someone a bit different. Miki’s curious. About everything. In a lot of ways, he’s wary to show interest in something because that usually led to it being weaponized and used against him but now out in the world and essentially being free to do as he pleases, he can sink himself into his thirst for knowledge.
And music. Because honestly, Miki is pretty much drenched in a love for music. It takes him places. And he can take others with him by creating his own. Music is like an endless set of wings he can craft out of emotion and desire, allowing him to soar and weave through his emotions. The ultimate freedom no one can actually touch or steal from him.
He’s very protective of his inner self. To the point of being abrasive if someone gets too close. And of course Kane fully intended to get close. Miki fascinated him. A bit of a street rat with a heartbreakingly gorgeous face and sharp teeth / words skilled at keeping people at bay.
And there’s nothing Kane Morgan loves more than a challenge. He’s kind of like Brigid that way. He pursued Miki’s secretive tenderness. Opened Miki up to trusting him and then stroked at the raw, bleeding edges of Miki’s soul until Miki relaxed against him and learned it was okay too be held. That it was okay to be loved.
Especially since Kane proved he wasn’t going to go anywhere. Abandoning Miki never crossed Kane’s mind. Miki was a piece of his own soul, a tether to a glorious love he knew lurked beneath Miki’s diamond hard surface because once Miki loved someone, he loved fully.
And Kane wanted that love. Wanted to give back that love.
He also really loves the tender, gentle Miki he can unwrap out of the hard, foul-mouthed rock star the world saw.
Now without going too deeply into Miki’s soul, I wanted to create a very what you see is what you get kind of character. Yes, he has hidden depths but everything that he is or how he thinks actually is right on the surface. Miki’s a very much… Got a problem so finding the easiest, on-hand solution. Hungry? Uncooked ramen noodles chased with a can of root beer solves that problem so he can go back to gaming or writing music. He loves food. Loves eating different things but he’s not overly bothered to make sure he gets a meat and two veg on a plate.
Food focus is actually something imperative to Miki’s development because he was always food insecure. Meals were spotty while he was growing up and really the band couldn’t afford more than what was pretty much a college kid’s diet. He hoards things like ramen and other pantry items because it gives him security.
Just like buying a HUGE bag of dog food for Dude means he can provide for his furry best friend. Miki doesn’t trust that he has money and he acts accordingly. He’s not a big spender and will make do with what he’s got.
Then of course, he’s got a lot now… including, Kane, Damien, and of course, Dude….
And I’m going to actually do something different for this Of Characters and Things….

If you have a question about Miki, please leave it in the comments and I will try to answer them. It’s hard to write kind of blindly about Sinjun because well, it’s like describing a piece of your brain. 😃 But if there’s something specific you were wondering about, drop it in the comments so I can take a stab at it. 😃

14 thoughts on “Of Characters and Things: Miki St. John… also, open to Q&A!


    I can’t believe Sinner’s Gin was 10 years ago. This is the book that made me a lifelong fan and reader. I love that your books include characters of Asian heritage and lots of Asian food references.
    I have always felt that we don’t address child abuse or any abuse as well as we should. People always say children are resilient. To which I reply, if they were really resilient we wouldn’t have so many messed up adults. As you commented, you can get therapy but you will never be the same as a child who was raised with love. The last 20-30 years we have watched whole generations being brought up by parents who couldn’t care enough and were too focused on themselves. Now we have the Entitlement Generation who thinks they are owed everything. The damaged ones get lost in the cracks of society. We need more Morgans.
    That being said, I love that your books show that in the end Love heals.

    1. I do believe a lot of people struggle and some still are. The current generation also is burdened by this but we don’t hear about it enough. Unless you go looking. Or something happens that tips things over to the horrific side. I do always want to show that love DOES make a difference and sometimes it’s hard to accept. But… keep pushing forward and things get better. 😀 *hugs*

  2. Francie Miller

    I have read and listened to the whole series many times! Thank you for your wonderful stories!

  3. Petra Rajgelj

    No question. I just wanted to let you know, that this letter is better than most books I’ve read lately. Miki and Kane (and Dude of course) are among my favourite characters of all times.

  4. Cindy

    You are the best at making food part of the relational exchange between idea the characters. In fact. it’s so natural that you can forget they are talking about food because it’s such a seamless part of their interaction. I really love the early scene with Kane and Miki where Miki eats something too spicy for him, and Kane helps him with it, It illustrates Miki’s curiosity and vulnerability and Kane’s protective and nurturing nature, all with the food. How do you approach the choreography of food as part of character development? It’s impressive and so natural.

    1. I do work things in to show character development. Like Cole is leery of trying new things but he takes a step toward trusting Jae. Miki opening himself up to Kane and a challenging situation is also key, especially in that situation. But sometimes, it’s just food. 😀

      1. Cindy

        Cole, Jae, and the bitter melon–YES! Thanks for your reply. I’ve always wanted to ask you about this.

  5. Staphysagria

    thanks so much for reviving my memories of this phantastic series. While reading, all those images popped up in my brain again…sigh…I love those books.. I have this acoustic image of Miki’s voice being in the tenor range but also a bit scratchy, a bit like the Cure, or… do you have somebody in mind when you hear him sing in your head? Sinner’s Gin’music must sound like a bluesy-rock type thing but not Southern States like, I haven’t found a band that fits their sound, at least the way I imagine them. Do you?

    1. Ah, that is always the one question I don’t answer because for me, it should be the reader’s imagination and musical take on how they sound. And everyone finds something different. and that’s the great part about it… to have that musical thrum of a band that you would love to listen to and rock out with, no matter how they rock 😀 Heh And yes, I do have an idea on how they sound to me but… that’s a whole different kettle of fish 😀

  6. Michael simone

    It’s so wonderful to hear more about the main character of my favorite book series by my favorite author.

    OMG… Bound – Chinatown Demons was just published in paperback!!! I’ve been waiting almost 2 years for that!! I just bought it and can’t wait to read it… I CAN’T Wait!

    1. I was going to share that! And yep, it is out in paperback! I’m hoping to get more stuff out this year… depending on how / when they carve me up more. 😀

  7. Renee

    Love this series so much, it will always be one of my favorites. I have the kindle versions and the audible also. I think Tristan James does a marvelous job on the various accents.

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