In celebration of the release of the last of The Ivankov Brotherhood series, Bratva Jewel, we’re absolutely thrilled to get a chance to ask the scribe herself a few questions. So, please welcome Sabine Barclay to the blog once more.
Sabine, this has been a wild ride. This time last year, we still had quite a few months to go before Bratva Darling, the first in the series, would come out. And now, all six of them are out in the world. How does that feel?
Like a complete whirlwind. This time last year, I was just deciding that I wanted to branch into contemporary and write Mafia. I hadn’t picked a pen name (I write Historical Romance as Celeste Barclay), and I hadn’t started the first book. Now, a year later, the 6th book is here.
So, this series might be done, but you’re just getting started in the whole Dark Mafia scheme of things, right? What about these characters fans have grown to love? Will they be along for the ride at all?
The Ivankov Brotherhood is one of four series that creates the interconnected The Syndicate Wars. You’ll revisit these guys, but you’ll see them through a different lens. Are they really the good guys you’ve come to love? The Italian Cosa Nostra, Colombian Cartel, and Irish Mob don’t think so. Are the members of the other syndicates as bad as the bratva claim? We shall see.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves a little bit. Tell us about Bratva Jewel. Without giving away anything, give us all a little teaser for what lies waiting for us within the pages.
Misha Andreyev is the youngest of the eight guys—4 brothers and their two sets of 2 cousins—the baby of the family until Maks and Laura, and Bogdan and Tina had kids. He’s the last bachelor standing. He’s watched all of the others pair off, and he’s not certain he’ll get his turn. The last place he thinks he’ll find his soulmate is back in Moscow. There for a funeral and to tie up some loose ends from the nastiness that went down with Anastasia and Niko, Misha doesn’t plan to meet the daughter of a rival bratva member. Nor does he expect to help this woman, Katerina, find her abducted sister. The search takes them from Moscow to New York to Boston and back to New York. Characters from the other syndicates appear in roles you’d never guess. By the end, can you guess who the first hero in the next series will be?
What was the most exciting thing for you as an author about finally getting to give Misha his own book? He’s been a part of the series up until now, so was he already fully formed in your mind, or did you have to do some digging to figure out some things about his character? And is it ever a challenge to try to surprise readers who feel like they already know an established character already?
None of my heroes or heroines are fully developed until I start writing them. In this series, I purposely made the heroes have overlapping characteristics because they’re the product of their upbringing and life in the bratva. It’s their survival that bonded them beyond just blood. So some things I know about the characters because it’s what drives the series. But I got to know Misha better as the story progressed. I loved the banter I got to write, especially a little at Misha’s expense as the baby of the family.
And what about his girl? What makes her the perfect fit for him? And does he know it right away?
Katerina Vasilieva now lives in New York and is a school nurse in the Bronx. But she grew up in Moscow, the daughter of a bratva member. The very bratva the Kutsenkos and their relatives fled. The very bratva that attacked Anastasia and Niko in Bratva Treasure. She’s back in Moscow searching for her younger sister who vanished a few days after a date that went very wrong. Katerina—Kitty—and Misha are perfect together because they come from the same world. Kitty already understands the life she’ll share with Misha. She tried to escape it by moving to the Bronx and staying away from the Ivankov bratva once she was in America. But she’s glad she meets Misha as she searches for her sister.
Misha appreciates meeting a woman who is fiercely independent, and he appreciates the trust she puts in him to help her search and during their intimate moments together. They quickly discover they’re compatible in and out of bed, both enjoying the dynamics they’ve craved but never found with anyone else. Just like the other men in his family, Misha’s intuition is honed to keep him alive. It also means that he knows nearly immediately that he’s met his soulmate.
Lastly, now that Bratva Jewel is out, is there something you’re going to do to treat yourself a little bit? (We certainly hope so. You deserve it.) Do you ever get yourself little thematic gifts or anything for your books?
I’m the worst about this! I don’t give myself treats or gifts. I don’t really celebrate either. There’s always the next story percolating in my mind, so it’s on to the next adventure. Though, I am looking forward to bingeing All Creatures Great and Small, and Miss Scarlet and the Duke on PBS Prime in a few weeks when I can watch all the episodes at once.
Well, we’re not gonna lie. That sounds like a great way to relax and recuperate between books. So, we’re gonna leave you to it! Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to answer a few questions for us, and we hope that everyone on the blog today checks out Bratva Jewel!
And speaking of you readers, what are y’all looking forward to the most about Misha’s story? Or what about the future of the series? We’d love to hear from you down in the comments!
Sabine Barclay, a nom de plume also writing Historical Romance as Celeste Barclay, lives near the Southern California coast with her husband and sons. Growing up in the Midwest, Sabine enjoyed spending as much time in and on the water as she could. Now she lives near the beach. She’s an avid swimmer, a hopeful future surfer, and a former rower. Before becoming a full-time author, Sabine was a Social Studies and English teacher. She holds degrees in International Affairs (BA), Secondary Social Science (MAT), and Political Management (MPS). She channels that knowledge into creating engrossing contemporary romances that will make your toes curl and your granny blush.