Character Interviews #3

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!



Character Interviews #2

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After Leith, Renna, and Brandi file into Lord Alistair’s study, I stroll over to the window, bolt it shut, and jam a bobby pin into the lock. Crossing the room, I turn the key in the door’s lock and drop the key into my pocket.

When I turn, Leith is staring at me, a hand on the hilt of one of his knives. He had reason to worry. I’d locked the door and window to keep him from bolting once I started asking this next round of questions.

I settle into the huge leather chair behind the desk. My feet dangle several inches above the ground. Seriously, if I’m going to keep doing these character interviews, I was going to have to write a footstool into the room.

“All right, you three. This round of questions is to satisfy the curiosity of the Goodreads fangirls.”

“Fangirls?” Brandi’s forehead scrunches. “What are fangirls?”

“A fan girl is a girl who obsesses over something or, more often, someone with a whole lot of overexcited squealing. They sound a lot like Brandi would if she were given a whole stable of horses for her very own.”

Leith’s knees bounce like he is debating jumping from his chair and making a run for it. Renna scoots down lower as if to make herself invisible.

Brandi cocks her head. “They sound like girls I’d like to meet. Whose fangirls are they?”

“Leith’s, mostly.”

Leith’s grip tightens on his knife. “I’m not going to like these questions, am I?”

“Nope. Sorry, that’s the price you pay for having fangirls, especially ones who are excessively shipping you and Renna.”

“Shipping?” Leith’s forehead wrinkles.

“Believe me, you don’t want to know.” I pick up the first notecard. Considering the line of questioning on these, he’d figure out soon enough. “Just a reminder, you all have to be completely honest. Don’t worry, you’ll forget this conversation as soon as the story launches.”

By this point, Renna’s face has taken on a decidedly green color while Leith keeps glancing at the door. Brandi still bounces in her seat.

“Let’s start with an easy one. Leith, when you’re free, what will be the first thing you’ll want to do?”

“When? Don’t you mean if?” Leith shakes his head. “It’s highly unlikely I’ll ever be free.”

“We were over this last time. Assuming you don’t die and don’t stay bound to Respen forever, what would you want to do?” I grit my teeth. If he was stalling already, then the rest of the questions were going to be like pulling teeth. With a monkey wrench. In the mountains with no painkiller.

“I’m not sure.” He meets my gaze. “Honest. I’ve been a Blade for half my life. I don’t really know a whole lot about being someone else.”

“Okay, that is a valid answer, I guess. Though, I doubt your fangirls are going to like how vague it is.” I let a little bit of my grin to show on my face. “Leith, when you’re free, do you intend to marry?”

“What?” He shoots to his feet, the tips of his ears going red. His eyes flick towards Renna before going back to me.

Renna squeaks and slides lower in her chair. Brandi presses her hand over her mouth, but even that does nothing to hide her grin and giggles.

“Like I said, you have fangirls.” I point my stack of notecards at him. “Now answer the question.”

“I don’t know? Maybe. No. I don’t think so. I mean, I’m a Blade. Who’d want to marry me?” His shoulders sag. “I watched my father destroy my mother’s heart bit by bit. I don’t want to do that to anyone.”

“You’re not your father.” I heave a sigh. It always comes back to that with him. “But let’s assume you did decide to marry. If you did have a wedding, who would be your best man?”

Leith looks relieved that I’d asked him that question instead of who he would marry if he could. Then he frowns. “Shad, I guess. I’d ask Martyn to stand with me too, but if I were free, then Martyn…”

“Martyn might not be your friend anymore.” I finish for him. “Wish I could tell you what happens with that, but that’d be a spoiler. Last question before we move on to the others: have you had a crush on any girl besides Renna?”

His ears go red again, but he answers quickly. “No.”

“All right. Renna.” When I turn to her, she hunches her shoulders as if to make herself smaller. “Your turn for questions. What’s your opinion of Leith?”

She swallows, glances at Leith, then stares down at her lap. “I don’t know. He’s safe, I guess.”

I decide it isn’t worth it to push her farther on that subject. Getting information from her is worse than from Leith, and that is saying something. “If you were to have a wedding, who would be your maid of honor?”

“Brandi.” She glances at her sister and smiles.

Brandi grins back.

“Okay, now for the most important, burning fangirl question of them all.” I pause, and both Leith and Renna tense. Brandi leans forward. My grin widens. “Brandi, would you like to see Leith and Renna get together as a couple?”

Renna makes a choking sound in the back of her throat and stares at Brandi. Leith crosses his arms, but his foot makes scuffing motions against the rug.

Brandi grins and rolls her eyes. “Duh. Of course. Leith is already like my brother, but it’d be nice if it were official.”

Leith and Renna gape at her. It is probably a good thing they are all going to forget this conversation otherwise Brandi might be in for a stern talking to from Renna.



Character Interviews #1

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I settle into the large, leather chair behind Lord Alistair’s desk in Walden Manor. I tap my pile of questions into a neat stack. On the other side of the desk, Renna, Brandi, Uncle Abel and Aunt Mara sit in the chairs Lord Alistair helpfully provided for this interview. Shad leans against the book cases to my right while Leith paces behind the chairs.

“All right, everyone. Let’s get this interview started. I know a few of you want to get it over with.” I hold up my stack of notecards. “We’re going to do this in several sessions over the next little bit. I have a lot of questions from some of the people who’ve read your story so far. You have to answer honestly, but without spoilers. We’re going to start with questions that relate to the first part of your story, called Dare.” I make a note to warn everyone who would read this interview that the below questions and answers might contain a few spoilers for Dare.

Renna laces her fingers together. Brandi bounces on her seat. Leith shoots a worried glance in my direction. Then again, he has good reason to be worried.

“Brandi, let’s start with you.” I pick up my first notecard. “Hannah wants to know what made you choose the story of Daniel to tell to Leith?”

She cocks her head. “I guess I’ve always loved those stories. They all have happy endings. It’s why it’s my favorite book in the Bible, well up until the confusing prophecy stuff at the end.”

“Renna, what’s your favorite book of the Bible?”

Renna doesn’t even raise her head. “Psalms.”

“I’ve got a question for Shad this time.” I meet his gaze. He raises his eyebrows at me. “What was your first thought when you caught Leith reading the Bible the first time?”

Leith’s head jerks up and he glances between me and Shad. The corners of Shad’s mouth quirk like he is trying to hide a grin. “I didn’t see what he was reading at first, so my first thought was that I had an opportunity to sneak up on him. Probably not the wisest thing to do with a Blade, but I wanted to see how he’d react. When I saw what he was reading, I wasn’t too surprised. He’d gone to all the trouble to steal the Bible, and Father had let him borrow it. It wasn’t until later than I realized he was reading for more reasons than just curiosity.”

“While we’re on the topic of how you and Leith became friends, I’ve got a question for Leith from Claire.” I suppress a grin of my own as his eyes widen. “When did you decide you could trust Shad?”

Leith rests a hand on one of the knives strapped across his chest. “I guess I knew I could trust him when he let me keep my weapons. If he trusted me that much, then surely I could trust him too. Turned out to be a wise choice.”

“Yes. The two of you make a great team.” I shuffle the notecards to the next question. “While we’re on the topic of trust, Abel and Mara Lachlan, how did you know you could trust Leith? How did you feel about Leith recovering at Stetterly Manor?”

Abel and Mara share a look before Abel turns to me. “We didn’t. Not entirely. But his general politeness helped ease some of our fears. And there’s a certain…history that also swayed our opinion.”

Renna, Brandi, and Leith all stare at the Lachlans.

Mara pats Abel’s arm. “I’m afraid we can’t say any more than that without spoilers.”

“Nope, you can’t. You’ll all figure out why in Deny.” I tap the notecards on the desk to claim everyone’s attention again. “Brandi, the last three questions are for you. How were you so optimistic about having a Blade recovering at Stetterly? Everyone else was worried.”

Brandi shrugs. “I don’t know. His horse was nice, so I guess I figured he had to be nice too.”

“What’s your favorite thing about Walden Manor?”

Brandi rolls her eyes. “The stables, duh. At Stetterly, we only had Stubborn, our mule. Walden has a whole stable full of horses.”

That’s your typical, horse-crazy thirteen-year old girl. I grin. “Final question: when is your birthday, Brandi?”

“That’s kind of a spoiler, isn’t it?” Brandi wrinkles her nose. “So I guess everyone will just have to read the story and find out, won’t they?”

“Yep.” I make a note on the next notecard. “That’s all for today. Thanks to everyone for coming.”