I watch as Shad, Leith, Renna, and Brandi file back into the room and take their seats. Leith still has a wary look on his face. Shad glances between him and me, as if trying to figure out what questions I might have asked to set Leith on edge. I do my best not to wince. The questions I had for Leith today weren’t much better.
I sit taller in the chair, but I still can’t rest my elbows on Lord Alistair’s desk. I sit on my foot to boost myself up a few more inches. There. Much better. Or, at least, until my foot falls asleep.
I smile at my assembled characters. “All right, guys. Thanks for coming back. Let’s start with an easy one. I have a question for all of you: what is your favorite food?”
Brandi grins. “Aunt Mara’s maple sugar cookies.”
“Probably the same.” Renna shrugs.
“Venison steak slow roasted over a campfire.” Shad closes his eyes as if he can taste the steak that way.
Everyone glances towards Leith. He shrugs. “Any food that isn’t moldy or stale, I guess. Food is food.”
Brandi snorts. “You haven’t had Aunt Mara’s maple sugar cookies yet.”
“Anyway.” That was supposed to be an easy question. “Renna, if you could learn one form of self-defense, what would it be?”
“Self-defense? Like sword-fighting?” She wrinkles her nose. “I’m a healer. I don’t go around hurting people.”
“Not even to defend yourself?”
“I mean, I guess, to defend Brandi, I might try something, but I don’t think I’d be very good at it.” Renna’s frown deepens. “I don’t know what it would be.”
I nod and turn to Brandi. “Brandi, is there a situation that you never want to find yourself in?”
“Separated from Renna.” She crosses her arms and glares at me. “That would be horrible.”
“Yes, that would be.” I keep a straight face. “Shad, what is your fondest memory?”
A slow grin spreads across his face. “The day we were visiting Sierra, and I asked Jolene to go on a walk with me. She said yes.”
“I can see how that would be a very fond memory.” I take a deep breath. Now for the worst question of the morning. “Leith, if you could erase one memory, what would it be?”
Leith stiffens and sucks in a breath like I’d just stabbed him. “Why couldn’t I be asked about my fondest memory?”
“Go ahead and answer that one too if you wish.”
“Brandi naming Blizzard.” Leith grips the hilt of one of his knives. “I still have to answer the other question, don’t I?”
“Yes, I’m sorry. I’m sure Hope would be more than happy to give you a hug to apologize for asking the question. Actually, I think the whole Goodreads fangirls group would be more than happy to give you a hug.”
Leith hangs his head, his fingers flexing. When he draws in a deep breath, his shoulders give a tiny shake. “The first time my father hit me. That’s the memory I’d erase. It was the moment I realized my father hated me. I was six.”
Brandi jumps to her feet and gives Leith a hug. Renna stares at him, a soft look in her eyes that told me she would comfort Leith too if there wasn’t anyone else in the room.
I clear my throat. Best to move on past this quickly. “Shad, how would you describe your friendship with Leith? Did you ever expect to become friends with an assassin?”
“No, I can honestly say, I never expected to be friends with an assassin.” Shad’s mouth quirks a little at the corner. “But now, he’s pretty much like my brother.”
Leith’s head jerks up. “A brother?”
“Yes, a little brother who’s always getting into scrapes that I have to rescue him from.” Shad’s grin appears for a moment before he’s serious again. “My brother Jeremiah is nearly ten years younger than me, and we don’t exactly share similar interests. Maybe when he’s older we’ll be closer, but right now…” Shad shrugs.
Both he and Leith were starting to get I’m-a-guy-and-this-is-way-too-much-sharing looks on their faces. “Renna, what do you like to read?”
“Old legends, mostly. Stuff about the early kings of Acktar and all that. I don’t get to read all that often, and Stetterly doesn’t have the collection of books the way Walden does.”
“Speaking of legends and stories, I have a question for both Leith and Renna. If you found a genie in a bottle and were granted three wishes, what would you ask for?”
Both Leith and Renna blink at me with blank expressions. Finally, Leith raises an eyebrow. “Genie? Wishes? What’s that?”
“In my world, we have legends about these creatures who live in bottles who can grant wishes. They aren’t real.”
“Then why are you asking about them?”
“It’s a hypothetical question.” I sigh. “Skip the genie part. If you could have three wishes, what would they be?”
Leith shrugs. “I guess, I could wish for a lot of things, but isn’t that kind of what prayer is for? Putting your desires into God’s hands and trusting that His decisions on what to grant you are better than yours?”
“A very wise way to go about not answering that question. And Renna?”
“What Leith said.”
“It’s a good thing I’m running out of questions, because you guys are getting better at not answering them.” I flip to my last couple of notecards. “Leith, if you could wear any color besides black, what would it be?”
“Green, maybe. Tan. Something that would blend into the prairie.” Leith glances down at this black clothes. “Anything but black.”
“Anything?” Brandi cocks her head and smirks.
“Maybe not anything.” Leith eyes her.
I flip to my second to last notecard. “What was it like growing up with Vane, Leith?”
He grimaces. “Not pleasant. He enjoyed controlling the rest of us, and if we didn’t join him in bullying the others, then he made life especially difficult.”
I can tell he wasn’t going to say any more than that. I pull out the last notecard. “The last question is for Martyn, but it would cause a whole manor-full of problems if I brought him in here, and he can’t answer it anyway without giving away spoilers. So, I guess that’s it then. You all are free to go.”
Leith bolts for the door as if he’s worried I’ll change my mind. Renna tiptoes after him with her I’m-invisible-you-can’t-see-me hunched shoulders.
As she stands, Brandi raises her eyebrows at me. “You’re going to do this again for book 3, aren’t you?”
I shrug. “Probably. The fangirls really like it.”
“I’m glad. They come up with some interesting questions. Maybe next time, I’ll have to come up with a few questions of my own.” Brandi smirks and waltzes from the room.
Well, that’s all for the character interviews! Hope everyone enjoyed them!
Deny is officially out into the world! It’s available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle.
I’m still working on getting a Paypal buy button on my website for signed paperbacks and getting it uploaded as paperback to other online retailers.
There’s still a few more stops along the blog tour the rest of the week, and this Friday is the Facebook party. You won’t want to miss out on the fun!