Monday, October 6, 2008

Stephen V. Masse and A Jolly Good Fellow

Our guest blogger today is Stephen V. Masse, author of A Jolly Good Fellow. he's going to tell you all about the main character from this holiday tale.

Who is Duncan Wagner? And why is he in that Santa Claus suit?

Meet Duncan Wagner, unwittingly the most improper Bostonian of the day -- on top of being a kidnapper, he makes his money by posing as a charity Santa Claus and keeping the donations.

In my book, A Jolly Good Fellow, Wagner narrates his reasons for the Santa Claus gig:
It’s a pretty good cash thing, this is my third year doing it. I have a real fancy Santa Claus outfit, the kind with a wig that covers your whole head, none of that cheapie Santa stuff that shows all your whiskers and hair through it. With that outfit and a beggar pot on the street and ringing my bell, not even a world-class detective would know the difference between me and the real Santa Claus. I never once got asked to show my I. D. card, which I have a fake one of anyhow. Out on the street is a good way to get that old Christmas feeling. “Money for the needy,” I says, ring the bell like crazy, make eighty or a hundred bucks a day. And I’m the needy, I get the money.

Probably the most important reason for Wagner to be in the Santa suit has to do with the historical background of Santa Claus. Instantly recognizable as kind, avuncular and generous, Santa Claus would appear to be a sharp contrast to the self-pitying and revenge-seeking Duncan Wagner. But in A Jolly Good Fellow, all is not as it seems. Of all the ways to make money, Wagner settles on the charity Santa Claus because deep inside, he wishes he could be so easily loved, so popular, so kind, so avuncular and so generous. And yet page after page, he seems to show all those qualities whether he’s in or out of the Santa suit.

The first draft of A Jolly Good Fellow was written in December of 1976, and the story evolved over three decades as Boston and the world changed radically. But one thing that never changes is Santa, the earthly representation of Saint Nicholas. Duncan Wagner prays and has a statue of Saint Joseph on his kitchen counter -- thus dressing as Santa Claus wouldn’t be as frivolous or mercenary as it may seem at first glance. Wagner wants to be the good guy.

Stephen V. Masse September, 2008

A JOLLY GOOD FELLOW VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR '08 will officially begin on October 1 and end on October 30. You can visit Stephen's blog stops at in October to find out more about his new publishing house!

As a special promotion, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. The winner will be announced on our main blog at on October 30!


Tracee said...

Really sheds some light on the characters of the book!

Cheryl said...

Perfect example of a not so nice character who is made sympathetic by his need to be loved.

Nicely done! Sounds like a great book.