I had the most awesome conversation with this participant after notifying him about the win. He chose to be included in the book simply as Malthus, Bosco's best friend. His story is very interesting, and it has a lot to do with situations happening in our world today, even if Clockwork Vendetta happens in an alternative universe.
So far, you know the story of our three heroes revolves around mob families keeping peace through marriage contracts, and homosexuality is not an issue (because the morals of their universe are not based on religion but on Humanism). But this Mafia surged because its members are more than humans; they are lion shifters, divided into three prides. Bosco, Heer, and Duncan are the heir apparent of each pride.
Still, it’s in our nature to fear what is different, and, often times, we destroy what we don’t comprehend. Here’s where Malthus’s character comes to challenge the status quo. He’s the first male shifter in a hundred years to change into a lioness.
This duality of genders is what makes Malthus a complicated subject for many members of Bosco’s pride. Nevertheless, his friendship with the heir apparent of the pride gives him a de facto protection that by the end of the book will become well-earned respect in all three prides.
There’s such beauty in the simplicity of Malthus’s words to Bosco: something familiar and welcoming can become destructive when damaged. His words send chills down my spine the first time I read them because I understood their power and how current they are. And I have the perfect setting to use them within the book already.