My characters have minds of their own–and they love to speak them. Read on to discover what they have to say. (Note: these interviews were first done for my newsletter. If you’d like to read them first, be sure to sign up on the Home page).
Protecting the Dead Characters
Interview with the Hounds (Hugh and Lon)
KG: Alright, everyone, meet Hugh Baskerville and Laurence (or Lon) Cheney! They help the newly-turned werewolves at the Roanoke Apartments get accustomed to their situation.
Hugh: Hello, Gentle Readers.
Lon: Howdy. It’s nice to be able to share some of the ridiculous things which happen around here.
Hugh: So true, my dear. So true.
KG: First, I wanted to ask about your names. I know new turns have to give up all vestiges of their old lives, but how on earth did you two end up named that way?
Lon: The Alphas do the naming. We had different ones. Hugh’s was a classic literature fiend. Mine had a horror movie bent. Things happened.
Hugh: Very succinctly put.
KG: How about the newer turns at the Roanoke–who came up with names like Butch Barker and Lacy T. Roat?
Lon: Hugh’s the local Alpha, so that’s all his doing.
KG: Um, you are? Did I ever mention that?
Lon: Nope. But, in your defense, we never mentioned it to Lydia during her first few eventful days here, so there’s no reason you would. She had a lot else on her mind, what with her worldview crashing down around her ankles, having a demon after her, and her confusing new relationship with Geoffrey. Explaining local hound politics seemed like a bit much on top of it.
KG: Well, uh, thank you for that defense. I think. Next question: Hugh, do you ever leave the apartments? Lon here has a job, but . . .
Lon (points to Hugh): Hel-lo! Alpha!
Hugh (chuckling): The new turns need me around. If I leave, they start to go a little off the rails–and noooooobody wants to see that in a werewolf.
KG: So, how did you become Alpha?
Hugh: A rather epic game of Twister. (He winks.) I’m very flexible.
KG: Really, Twister? That seems a little . . . unlupine.
Lon: Oh dear. The “grr, grr, bite, bite” stereotype. Very old fashioned.
Hugh: People forget that we’re human, too. The wolf has its day, but, at some point, actual planning is required for the job. If the Alpha is just about pushing his weight around, you have abuse, not a pack.
KG: That does make sense. So, can your pack challenge you?
Hugh: The Alpha always gets to choose the method of challenge. My pack can try, if they’re very good at chess. (He gives a wolflike grin.) I never lose.
KG: Well, um, good? I suppose you do take good care of your people.
Lon (staring at him adoringly): He’s the best.
Hugh: Later, dear, later.
KG: So, do you have any messages for the readers?
Lon: Yes. Remember to always tip your author.
KG: No! Really, that’s not necessary–or right!
Lon: Well, they could at least leave a review.
KG: Um, okay. I guess that would be nice, but . . .
Hugh: Remember, dear girl, you’re going to be wanting to find a group of advance readers for your next novel soon. They’ll get the book for free. Finding readers who liked our quirky little adventures enough to leave a review is crucial.
KG: Yes, um, I guess that’s . . .
Lon: Besides, what better way is there to give your author a virtual hug than with a nice review?
KG: Uh, I really didn’t start this interview to beg for . . .
Lon: Nonsense. Beg, beg. We’re hounds. (He winks.) We’re good at begging.
KG: Okay, I’m going away, before you two embarrass me any more. Hugh and Lon, everyone! And now I’m going to go hide over there . . .
Interview with Alvin the Imp
I’ve decided to try to interview that very stealthy creature, the imp. If you’ve read Protecting the Dead, you know that there’s a six-inch-tall, blue-furred resident in Lydia’s closet. He’s got a bit of an attitude and is very hard to drag away from his industrious attempt to build a six-foot-tall recreation of Mad King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein castle there, but we’ll see if we can get his attention.
Author: Alvin, can we have a moment?
Alvin (looking up around a small turret he’s adjusting): Oh. It’s you again. Whaddya want this time?
Author: Just want to let my newsletter readers in on a bit more of what’s going on at the Roanoke Apartments. Can’t you give us a few minutes?
Alvin (making rude noise, going back to his creation): I don’t know. The last time you were here you saddled me with that weird, clueless dame to look after.
Author: Yes, I know it took Lydia a while to adjust, but she can’t be using too much of your time now. Isn’t she spending a lot of it with Geoffrey?
Alvin: Yup. They’re noisy, too. (He finally looks up, rather suspiciously.) You don’t have some other denial case you want me to break in, do you?
Author: No, no, I promise. Besides, I thought you’d come to like Lydia.
(Alvin blushes purple and moves further into closet behind some turrets.)
Author (changing subject): This model you’re working on is lovely. How do you manage to reach the higher parts?
Alvin (looking shocked): Now, you want in on imp secrets? Geez, woman! How many kinds of nuisance are you?
(The Author has been asked this many times, so decides not to answer.)
Author (changing subjects again): Um, the model kind of looks finished. Are you planning on doing anything else?
Alvin (eyeing underneath Lydia’s bed speculatively): I have been thinking of starting a scale-model of New York City . . .
Author: Mightn’t that get in the way a little bit?
Alvin (raising an eyebrow): With those two? Lady, they ain’t even gonna notice.
(There’s a sound of a door opening and closing in the other room. Alvin sighs.)
Alvin: Well, the happy couple’s back. I’m sure you’ve enjoyed talkin’ to me, Honey, but if you don’t want to become an erotica author, it’s time for you to go.
I decided to cut my losses then.
Interview with Two Talking Cats (previously published on Whiskersreads.com):
Interviewer: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Eveningstar: I am an unearthly beautiful black Persian cat with glowing yellow eyes. If you’re very good, I may allow you to worship me.
Tiger: I’m a tortoiseshell cat who used to live with Glory but enjoys helping out Lydia, the human I’m currently with. She’s a little lost and could use some good advice.
Interviewer: What is your favorite toy?
Eveningstar: I refuse this silly “toy” thing you speak of. I’m not a kitten. I enjoy lying around watching and waiting to be adored.
Tiger: I’m usually too busy to play, but it’s interesting to see what the imp in the closet is getting up to!
Interviewer: What is your favorite food?
Eveningstar: (head perks up) Donuts? Did you say you have donuts? (Drooling, stalking) It would be better to give them to me now. I will not give you a second warning.
Interviewer: Who is your author?
Eveningstar: (blinks) You mean that strange woman who documents our lives? She does not do my fabulousness justice. Also, she says embarrassing things about my love of donuts.
Tiger: Katherine Gilbert. She’s nice enough, but she doesn’t live with any cats currently, so she’s sadly incomplete.
Interviewer: What does your author write?
Eveningstar: Me. She has documented me in her new novel, Protecting the Dead. Sadly, I’m not in her other novels. For that, I weep for the humanity that is being denied me. Truly, I weep.
Tiger: Actually, her novel documents both of us and the humans, angels, werewolves, cat people, and others at the Roanoke Apartments–even the vampires. I hate vampire scent.
Interviewer: Where does your author write their stories?
Eveningstar: I won’t dignify that with an answer, as you’re no longer talking about me.
Tiger: Sadly, in another reality far away from the Roanoke. It’s too bad. She may be human, but she’s still odd enough to fit in.
Interviewer: What is the best thing about being documented in a novel?
Eveningstar: More humans can know and worship me.
Tiger: All the hard work of Lydia, Geoffrey and the others to keep us safe is finally revealed to the world.
Interviewer: What is the hardest thing about being documented in a novel?
Eveningstar: This Gilbert person seems to believe that Lydia is the main character. I have no notion how she could have gotten that idea. Clearly, it is me.
Tiger: It does give away some of our secrets . . .
Interviewer: Where should readers go to read your author’s work?
Eveningstar: Read, don’t read, it is of little importance to me. If you do read, it should only be to find out more about my loveliness.
Interviewer: What does a typical day in your life at the Roanoke look like?
Eveningstar: Worship and donuts. That is the true secret to life.
Tiger: Mostly, it’s spent watching out for Lydia and Geoffrey. There’s this one vampire who keeps coming by to bother Lydia. She tolerates him, but I don’t like him. Of course, there’s also the threat of the demon returning . . .
Interviewer: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Eveningstar: Send donuts to me at the Roanoke. If you hand-feed them to me, I may allow you to stay and adore me.
Tiger: (sigh) Come visit with the person who documented us. She has no cats, so she can use all the friends she can get.
Interview with The Lady:
As anyone who’s read Protecting the Dead knows, The Lady keeps a close eye on everyone, but she’s a little spicy. She’s rather hard to contact, too, so, like Lydia, I had to do so through a dream. The interview ended up a bit trippy, then. Sorry about that.
KG: Thank you for agreeing to talk with me. I know you’re busy.
TL: Meh–busy! Everyone’s always busy, busy, busy. And I always talk to everyone. But do they listen? Feh!
KG: Um, yes. Sorry about that.
TL: Like that time you were almost 30, and I was trying to tell you not to cut your hair. Twenty different women I had to send you, before you got it. Twenty! How many times can random strangers come out of nowhere to give you a message before you listen? Or how about when I wanted you to start writing? How many dreams did I have to send you, before you finally sat down at a computer? (Folding arms.) People never take advice.
KG: Um, yes, thank you.
KG: But back to the novel. Are you happy that Lydia and Geoffrey found each other again?
TL: Oy, those two! Demons, werewolves, vampires, I had to send. Let me tell you, little author, when you have to be sent demons to get a point, you are not listening at all.
KG: Well, they seem happy now, anyway.
TL: Of course they’re happy! I made them that way. (She blinks, staring past my face.) Is that a rhinoceros in a tutu doing a can-can into a haunted house? (She refocuses on me, glaring.) What kind of crazy dream are you having here, anyway?
KG: Uh, sorry. You’re a little hard to talk to, outside of here.
TL: You talk, I hear. You just don’t listen to what I’m saying in response. Only angels hear that. You should have more angels in your novels.
KG: Well, yes, but those aren’t the stories you’ve sent me.
KG: I’d like to write more about Geoffrey and Lydia in the future, though.
TL (pointing): You should. There’s much more to that story. You left it off halfway. (Her eyes narrow.) Now Frankenstein’s creature is doing the lambada? What’s with this bizarre dance fixation? (She covers her eyes.) I made you too weird.
KG: Yes, ma’am. So I’ve been told. Now, do you have anything to say to the nice readers out there?
TL: Be good to yourselves and each other! Be kind! Be nice! Why is that so hard to understand?
KG: I don’t know, ma’am, but thank you for agreeing to talk to us.
TL (rising, patting me on cheek): Yes, yes. Now, wake up, dear, do. There’s a conga line coming with all those weird creatures in your head, and if you join it, you’ll never get around to writing.
I took her advice. Some of those werewolves can get a little handsy.
Interviews with Unearthly Remains Characters
Interview with the Vampire, Julius Beer:
KG: Hello, Everyone! My guest today is Mr. Julius Beer, 19th-century newspaper magnate and elegant vampire. I’m here in his home in the lower levels of his wonderful mausoleum in Highgate Cemetery in London, as he’s agreed to have a little chat with me. Thank you for being with us today, Julius.
Julius: Delighted, my dear, delighted.
KG: This sitting room is surprisingly modern. I see you’ve even got a flat-screen TV.
Julius: Yes, some goblin friends helped me set it up. When you spend half your life in a tomb, you need some entertainment.
KG: I’ve always had a fondness for Highgate. It’s a truly lovely graveyard with some amazing stonework, and it doesn’t hurt its gothicness that half of it is nearly overgrown. I had the great good fortune to tour it once, decades ago.
Julius: Yes, I remember your scent, my dear. Very sweet. (He smiles.)
KG: Um, thank you. I was just one tourist in a crowd, though.
Julius: No, no, my dear. Your scent is lovely. It lingers.
KG: (Blushing.) Uh, okay. I appreciate that.
(Julius smiles, showing his fangs, but in a way which seems meant to be inviting.)
KG: You weren’t this flirtatious with Marilyn.
Julius: (waving this hand) Oh, my dear. Marilyn is Marilyn. She’s very serious, and she finds being flirted with rather irritating. You, on the other hand, seem far less likely to stab me to death with a high heel if I smile at you.
KG: Ummmm . . . That may partly be because I never wear them.
Julius: There’s something to be said for a woman in sensible shoes. Besides, I used to own a newspaper, and I appreciate being noticed. (He shows his fangs again.) I like good press.
KG: Well, um, good? So you like the way you’ve been portrayed in Unearthly Remains?
Julius: You did a very good job capturing all of us. There was a lot going on during The Unpleasantness. You did everyone justice, good and bad.
KG: I’m pleased you think so. Did you get more residents again, after all the problems?
Julius: I’ve got quite a few, yes. Lady Stephanie returned two days after the whole ordeal was over, and several others who needed looking after asked to follow her. She throws a very entertaining party. I think she’s even trying to return to her old drag bar less often. She’s finally making friends. Even Ben and Stacey have been coming out of their crypt more to take part.
KG: A rave scene in the graveyard–that must make for an odd crowd.
Julius (smiling expressively): It does indeed. Would you like to come see?
I decided to make my exit about then. I’m a bit too timid to party with the vampires.
Interview with William Blake:
KG: I’m here today with the eternal spirit of the English Romantic poet, William Blake, who now works for Supernatural Oversight (you can see my novel, Unearthly Remains, for more details). Thank you for being with us today.
KG: So, how did you come to be part of the S.O.?
WB: It happens differently with each spirit. For me, it was Tabor who found me in the afterlife. While I enjoyed it there, he made it clear just how many new things I could see and do with Oversight, all while allowing me time to write, study, or work on my woodcuts and prints as much as I please. He gave me the opportunity to acquaint myself further with many types of life I knew something about while I was alive but not as much as I would have liked.
KG: That brings up a couple of questions. First, you knew about werewolves and vampires and the other extranormals when you were alive in the 18th century?
KG: That must have been very difficult knowledge to possess then–or today, for that matter.
WB: (sighs) They called me a mystic. That’s often a term used to mean, “We think he’s certifiably insane, but he’s not upsetting anything important enough to actually commit him.”
KG: Yes, I suppose that’s true. Okay, second question: if Tabor was the one who found you and brought you into the S.O., does that mean he’s been around since the 18th century? I thought witches and sorcerers only lived about two hundred years.
WB: (smiling) I would never give away my friends’ secrets.
KG: O-kay. How about the other people in the S.O.? Do you have any favorites?
WB: All of them are my favorites but in different ways. I love that Tabor brought me into this world where I can study and learn and be around all types of life. I love working and being around Marilyn, who is what the Japanese would call “tsundere.” She’s wonderfully crusty and difficult on the outside and thoroughly soft inwardly. She just needs the right people around her to bring that side out. I enjoy watching the growth of Erick, as he discovers ever more about both the normal and the extranormal world. I enjoy tacitly encouraging my cat, Titania’s, love affair with the imp, Charlie. I also have several informants in the sirens’ pool, who tell me anything I miss, and I cherish a good chat with them. And I adore watching Henry’s return to being a strong, confident man. I met him as a child, and I always knew he could be something special.
KG: Are there many other eternal spirits in the S.O.–and are you friendly with any of them?
WB: There are definitely quite a few of us, more than I have time to tell you about here. Antoni Gaudi and I share the same quarters and are very close. He too sees the world entirely through his own perspective, untainted by anyone’s opinions, although that really applies to most of the spirits. He works with the Linear Observation Unit, who keep an eye on any unusual changes or incursions between realities. Salvador Dali works with the elfin crime finders’ division. He makes connections absolutely no one else could about what is and isn’t a crime and which ones interconnect–and he’s always completely correct. Shirley Jackson is a true favorite of mine, although she’s seen some very dark things. She oversees the zombies in Special Investigations, our serial killer unit, and she’s probably the only one who could do it justice. Gustav Dore just came in recently, as well. I’m not too certain exactly what he’ll be up to.
KG: So are all the eternal spirits artists?
WB: The vast majority of us, yes. The creative mind–especially those of us with rather stranger creative minds–understands the hidden links others would never jump to.
KG: Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers today?
WB: Thank you for wanting to see the odder side of the world. There are too few of us who do.
Interview with a Sorcerer
KG: Our guest today is the head of Marilyn’s Supernatural Oversight unit in Unearthly Remains, Lt. Tabor Okunde. Thank you for joining us, Lieutenant.
Tabor: My pleasure. I always enjoy reaching out to other realities.
KG: First, I want to ask about your name. Where does it come from?
Tabor: Well, my mother was a Czech sorceress and my father a Nigerian member of the Magical Council. She came to their attention when she created a type of transformation magic no one had seen before. I suspect many of them were a bit nervous about her, but my father was intrigued. He did his best to make certain that she quickly returned the favor.
KG: There really is magic all over the world, isn’t there?
Tabor: More than anyone in your reality can easily imagine, yes.
KG: Is it true your own wife is a nixie–and can you explain that for my readers?
Tabor: A nixie is one of many different species of water creatures, a little like a siren, but they don’t have the mermaid tails. They’re often seen as being rather mischievous. I met Delilah when her pond was in danger of being poisoned by a rather unscrupulous company. I asked her to live with me two days later and created a private reality to accommodate her and our family.
Tabor: When you’ve found your match, you don’t fool around.
KG: I guess that’s why you weren’t very surprised by Marilyn being so quickly drawn to Henry.
Tabor: Anyone who was paying attention knew that would happen to her sooner or later. The biggest cynics are always the ones who fall the hardest. Besides, the vampires and werewolves are right when they talk about knowing who people are meant for by their scents. Some things are just predestined.
KG: Very true. So, did Erick ever get back in your good books? He didn’t exactly cover himself in glory in this case.
Tabor: He’s accepted the way things are, and he’s good at his job. I think he’s turning out quite well.
KG: Is your new recruit working out?
Tabor: (grins) Except for a rather disturbing tendency to get naked and furry. It makes him a very popular attraction among many of his coworkers, though.
KG: Does Marilyn mind?
Tabor: I think she’s torn between smug pride and just enjoying the view.
KG: So is there anything else you want to improve in Supernatural Oversight in the days to come?
Tabor: Well, Special Investigations is always a bit of a problem, although I think now that we’ve recruited Shirley Jackson as an eternal spirit to look after them, they’re going to get better. One thing we definitely need to improve is our research department, but we’ll see what happens with it in the future.
KG: Do you have anything else to add for my readers?
Tabor: Yes. Be kind to the extranormal, especially the new ones. Those who are different often have a hard time.
KG: All too true. Thank you for being with us.
Interviews with Cursed in White Characters
Interview with a Witch’s Familiar
I’m here today with Pyewacket, the adolescent black cat who’s a familiar to his witch, Evan. If you’ve read Cursed in White, you’ve met him, and you also know he doesn’t actually talk, even if he definitely makes his feelings known. I’ve enlisted Evan and Carrie, then, to translate for him.
Katherine Gilbert: First, Evan, you don’t have a telepathic link with Pyewacket’s thoughts, right?
Evan (looks uncertain, puts his hair behind his ear): No, I don’t. It’s not so much that as that I . . . (He pauses for a moment, then looks at Carrie pleadingly.)
Carrie: Share a sort of sympathetic bond?
Evan (smiling at her): That’s probably the best way to put it, yes. (Rolls his eyes.) It’s really hard to explain to anyone who doesn’t have a familiar.
KG: I suppose it would be. Anyway (looking to the cat, who’s sitting up, watching me), Pyewacket, would you like to get started?
(Pyewacket flicks his tail once and blinks.)
Evan (translating): “You’re here. You might as well.” (Looking back to me.) Sorry. He’s a cat. He doesn’t do polite.
KG: That’s one of their many charms. (Addressing the cat again.) How do you like living with Evan and Carrie?
(Pyewacket stretches out toward Carrie and away from Evan and does a side roll, batting at Carrie’s hair, which is down and long enough to hang to the floor she’s sitting on.)
Evan: “Carrie I like. Evan I tolerate because he feeds me.”
(I sort of doubt that’s the whole story, somehow, but there’s no use arguing with a cat.)
KG: What did you think of your recent adventures?
(Pyewacket looks up at me, revealing his fangs but not really making an audible hiss, then goes back to batting at Carrie’s hair.)
Carrie (translating): “Too many vampires for my taste.” (Looking up at me.) I think he kind of likes Tatiana, though.
(KG wonders what’s not to like about a vampiric ex-gymnast who’s into parkour and pirate cosplayers but doesn’t get a chance to say anything.)
(Pyewacket looks partway up at Carrie then rolls away.)
Evan: “My likes and dislikes are none of your business, human.”
(Pyewacket turns back, looking up sharply at Evan.)
Evan: “Except for my food. That, you’d better get right.”
KG (deciding it’s probably better to change the subject): Those who’ve read Cursed in White know how much you like to climb your witch. How long have you been using Evan as a place to perch?
(Pyewacket stares at me, still on his side.)
Carrie: “All humans exist to carry around their feline masters. What kind of life have you lived that you don’t know this?”
Carrie: “Evan has the sense to understand.”
Evan (looking at me): I think the real answer is: for as long as he could walk. (He smiles.) But I don’t really mind.
(Pyewacket gives him a hard, cattish stare.)
Carrie: “You shouldn’t, you weird witch.”
KG: How do you like being featured in a book, Pyewacket?
(Pyewacket does a few rolls, then puts his paw over his eye and stares at me around it.)
Carrie: “You have utterly failed to capture my true cuteness, you strange mortal.” (She looks up at me, shrugging.) Sorry. Cats. Evan and I are grateful you told the world our story. (She reaches out and takes Evan’s hand, as they smile at each other.)
(Pyewacket looks at them both, then puts both paws over his eyes to stare at me around them.)
KG: Now I suspect you’re just being purposely cute.
(He glances at me over both paws.)
(Pyewacket lies back, and I somehow suspect he’s given up on speaking to me.)
KG: Well, that was probably the least informative interview I’ve ever done.
(Pyewacket sits up and stares at me, his head on one side.)
Carrie: “Why, thank you.”
(His head goes further over to the side.)
Evan: “And why didn’t you bring me any kitty nibbles as tribute? I hear Eveningstar in Protecting the Dead gets donuts.”
I decided that was about my cue to depart. If you start apologizing to a cat, there’s no end to it.
Interview with a Vampire Ex-Girlfriend
WARNING! Does contain a few small spoilers. If you don’t want to find out too much, go read Cursed in White first, then come back to this.
For those of you who’ve read Cursed in White, you’ll remember Susannah, the half-succubus/half-angel/all-vampire ex-girlfriend of Evan, who’s been kind enough to invite me into her family for a short interview.
Katherine Gilbert: Thank you for letting me in. This looks like such an abandoned warehouse from the outside, but you really do have a lot going on in here. (Looking around at the many vampires climbing up walls or working out on gymnastics equipment.) Your family really is an active bunch, aren’t they?
Susannah: Eh, when you can turn into a mist and float away, there’s a lot to be said for getting to work out your muscles a little.
KG (looking over all the parts of the warehouse which are covered by Persian rugs): And the decorating scheme?
Susannah: It started as the leftovers when a store went out of business suddenly. But we quickly realized that, when you’ve got 18 vampires quite literally climbing the walls, it’s always good to have a safe place to land.
KG: But you can’t really be harmed, can you?
Susannah: Trust me, you fall from 20 feet up, it’s gonna hurt. We may recover much quicker, but, if you don’t have to recover at all, you don’t have to be in pain. That’s a definite plus.
KG: Makes sense. Still, there are vampires in some of my other novels. They don’t seem to be quite as into exercise as you.
Susannah (shrugging): When we’ve been around for 400 years, we may not be, either. But we’re kind of an odd group, since none of us have been undead for more than about 20 years or so–and most of us for a lot less than that. There’s not even a single one of us reaching 100 soon, so we’re kind of the overactive kids of the vampire community, as some of them enjoy reminding us.
KG: I suppose that does explain a lot.
Susannah: Besides, Savannah, Georgia prides itself on its uniqueness. Living in cemeteries in underwire nightdresses is just too traditional, and you’re asking for an Extermination Board hearing if you start bathing in virgins’ blood.
KG: By Savannah standards, you are pretty normal.
Susannah (laughing): Yeah, the River Street group’s definitely got us beat. Still, down there, pirate-cosplaying vampires kind of fit right in. Besides, being immortal means not giving in to whatever nonsense society’s currently preaching. Why not just be yourself as much as you want to be?
KG: Probably a good lesson for all of us. So, what was it like being reunited with Evan?
Susannah: Frustrating. There is SO much that boy hadn’t figured out yet. (Grins.) Still, Carrie’s been good for helping him face reality.
KG: So, you don’t mind seeing them together?
Susannah: There’s not half enough affection in this world, and the heart goes where it wants. Besides, anyone with a knowledge of scents knows those two are meant to be. You just have to knock their heads together a bit to get them to acknowledge it.
KG: Speaking of being together, did you enjoy Tatiana’s wedding? My readers got that as an extra if they followed a link in the back of the novel.
Susannah (laughing): It was everything that girl dreamed of, which is to say, surreal. (Grinning fangs.) I loved every minute of it.
As telling you any more about that would be a sad spoiler, that seemed like as good a place to end as any. There’s also something slightly nerve-wracking about being in a building where an overactive vampire might fall on your head at any minute.
Interview with a Gryphon
Those of you who’ve read Cursed in White have met Patrick, a gryphon who lives with Evan and Carrie. (Before you ask, being a gryphon means that he’s the size of a lion with his back half being a lion and his front half an eagle.) He tends to be a little cagey, but we’ll see what he’ll tell us.
Katherine Gilbert: Thank you for meeting with us, Patrick. I know you’re busy.
KG: So, how did you get the name Patrick? In Cursed in White, you tell your real name to Carrie, but she can only hear it as an eagle screech. Also, can you explain a bit about how you do communicate with humans?
Patrick: Thought transference magic is fairly simple for your average gryphon. It makes life much easier when in this reality. As to the name, Evan gave it to me when we first met.
KG: Um, why? There must be a translation of your own name he could work with.
Patrick: I didn’t give it to him.
KG: O-kay. Why “Patrick,” though?
Patrick: St. Patrick rid Ireland of snakes, or so the legends say. When Evan was leading me back to the portal to his reality, a snake blocked our path. When I stomped my front claw at it, it went away. Evan made the connection.
KG: Well, I suppose his mother did live in Ireland.
Patrick: I don’t think he spent any time there, just in England with his father, but yes. Indeed.
KG: Where did you and Evan meet?
Patrick: Evan had been familiarizing himself with Jekyll Island, where his portal let out, and came across me. I was sitting on the front lawn of one of the old vacation homes, but I was starting to attract attention.
KG: You mean the homes of the 19th-century millionaires from the Jekyll Island Club?
KG: You probably would become a bit of a tourist attraction that way.
Patrick: So it seems.
(I would have asked Patrick why he came here, but I suspected he wouldn’t answer. There are a few hints of that at the end of Cursed in White, anyway.)
KG: How did you like living with Carrie, Evan, Pyewacket, and Marco?
(Marco is a revenant who serves as a cook and butler for Evan’s household, if you haven’t read the book.)
Patrick: Marco is a good friend of mine, although he doesn’t say much to most of the living. Pyewacket will have nothing to do with me, which has much to do with not wanting to tangle with a cat which is around 20 times his own small size. Evan has been long misled but is trying to change. Carrie has lived a very hard life for one so young, but she has the strength and insight of a gryphon. Give her a chance, and she would protect the entire universe. She is also what Evan needs, and he is wise enough to give her absolute love, respect, and comfort in return.
KG: Speaking of Evan and Carrie, Evan was chasing you when he first met her. Was there some sort of plan involved in bringing them together?
Patrick: (With a rippling of feathers that Carrie always thought of as his “bird shrug.”) Some people need to be brought together. Anyone who can do so should.
(Okay, this was a bit of a non-answer, but I’ve learned not to press gryphons, since they’ll only tell you what they want, anyway.)
KG: Do you have anything else to tell my readers today?
Patrick: Yes. The world is a more fragile place than they can imagine. They should all do what they can to help others and the planet, while also tending to themselves.
(Granted, that was a more universal statement than I was looking for, but I suppose I should expect that from a gryphon. From what I’ve seen, they tend to be fairly cosmic.)
Interview about the Magical World of A Wild Conversion
Interview with a Sorcerer
To get everyone ready for A Wild Conversion, I wanted to set you up to learn a bit more about the magic within this universe. To do so, I’ve decided to bring back someone you’ll remember if you’ve read Moonlight, Magnolias, and Magic (although, beware, if you haven’t read that novel yet, this will contain some spoilers for it, so feel free to go give it a try and then return to this later).
Welcome back Mahima Tejasvini Patel, otherwise known as (the fabulous) Tillie!
Katherine Gilbert: Thank you for being here, Patel Distaff. I feel honored to have you with us.
Tillie (waving a hand): I’m happy to be here, but just call me Tillie. Distaff and Spear are the correct ways to refer to the magical head of a household, but it’s a bit old-fashioned nowadays, and I prefer the magic which can be found in choosing my own name.
KG: Thank you, Tillie. Can you explain for my readers what you mean by a magical head of household?
Tillie: The head of the family in the witching world is pretty much always the one who has the most advanced magic, male or female. Of course, depending on the person, this can be either good or bad.
KG: Do most of these families live in the mundane world, or are there a lot of magic-only cities?
Tillie: Well, like anywhere, there aren’t just families but single people, too. But there are quite a few magical cities, usually hidden behind a barrier from the mundane world within a larger, non-magical location. Some witches live there, others in the mundane world. It varies.
KG: Can you explain the difference between witches and mundanes and witches and sorcerers?
Tillie: Well, witches are human but human with a particular quirk of genetics which makes them capable of magic, although, like all abilities, their skill sets and levels can vary widely. Other than the magic, the main difference between a witch and a mundane is that a witch’s lifespan is generally closer to about 200 years, and our pregnancies are also correspondingly much longer. This means that we tend to regard 50 as a basic ready-to-head-out-into-the-world age, like mundanes would think of 20 or so.
A witch, too, is anyone of homo magicus, male or female, from someone who’s nearly a null to a fully-capable magic user. A sorcerer will have much more advanced magical powers. Everyone magical begins as a witch, although sorcerers will later convert into their full power.
KG: So, does that happen once they’re fully trained?
Tillie: It can happen anytime, for a number of reasons. There’s a lot of training which the magical world certainly tries to do with any Maitre–which is a budding sorcerer–just to make them ready. Wild conversions–those who are entirely untrained converting–can sometimes go pretty badly.
As to the reason why, converting is kind of like hitting puberty. If all those changes happened and no one had even told you they were possible, it would be serious freak-out time. Now imagine that with someone who has some serious magical mojo going, and you’ll see how bad that could be.
KG: Yikes. Definitely. I understand you’re now working with the Magical Council. Can you tell us what that is?
Tillie: We’re a governing body, basically, so we have a lot of different functions. We’re a worldwide organization, but there are smaller branches in different places, as well.
One function is that we try to keep a watch out and police for uses of magic which are dangerous or harmful. Unfortunately, some witches get tempted into making deals with demons, so we have a whole branch devoted to training akuma karyuudo, or akukars, to work as demon hunters.
We also try to make certain that no one from the mundane world learns more than they can handle, although we don’t interfere with the ones who can handle it.
Our magic tends to work better, as well, when there’s more general good or love around, so we have some witches who work as sort of love connectors, getting together the people who should be.
(She shakes her head.) That’s really only a start, but I don’t think your readers want the entire directory here.
KG: Are there ever any magical towns which go bad?
Tillie (smiling knowingly): Oh, yes. And I have a feeling they’ll learn a lot more about that in A Wild Conversion.
KG: So is there any message you’d like my readers to take with them?
Tillie (pauses for a moment): As unpopular as it is, probably the main message would be to remember how important love is. Not just romantic love and not possessiveness and greed masquerading as love, but a real love and empathy for yourself and others. Ugliness and evil spread, and once they’re started, they can be difficult to root out, so remember that you matter, and so does everyone else, and do what you can to see to everyone’s happiness.
KG: Probably good advice, as I’m not certain it’s possible for Tillie to be wrong.
Interviews with Children of the Gods Characters
Interview with a Formidable Finnish Goddess
I’ve got a treat for us this time. Loviatar has agreed to speak with us.
If you’ve read Children of the Gods (or know Finnish mythology), you’ll know that Loviatar is not to be messed around with (according to the myths, she’s the one who unleashed upon us every disease in the world). Even in my novel, she’s more into bladed weapons than love potions, so I’m going to try to stay on her good side.
Katherine Gilbert: Thank you for being with us, Loviatar. We’re honored to have you here.
Loviatar (lying back on a fainting couch with a two-headed axe nearby): Good. What would you know of me?
KG: Um, I see you’re still fond of the same outfit you were before.
Loviatar (shrugging laconically): Bootie shorts keep me cool. Also, if a man is looking down to admire them, I can more easily chop off his head.
KG: That’s very, uh, strategic of you.
Loviatar: Strategy is life, child. You peace and love types forget that at your peril.
KG: Thank you for the wisdom.
(Loviatar waves a hand dimly.)
KG: Your hair, though, never seems to stay the same.
Loviatar: I’m a goddess, and I’m immortal. I cannot fathom why those such as Isis keep the same hair color and style at all times. Variety is everything.
KG (quickly changing the subject, as she’s had the same, Cousin Itt-length, straight, brown hair for at least the last three decades): So, what did you think of your time with the other gods and angels?
Loviatar (sighing mournfully): I wish I could have disemboweled Ares. Just once. (She stares off dreamily.)
KG: Um, okay, that’s understandable. (I decide not to mention the whole “he kidnapped you” thing, as I don’t want to lose my head.) What about Michael, Gabriela, and the others?
Loviatar: Gabriela has won my approval, despite her shameful disinterest in bladed weapons. She has hidden depths. I enjoyed Thorschild and Cain, as well, although they’re rather sickeningly sweet together. Michael is far too angelic for my tastes, but I tolerate him, nonetheless. At least most of them understand that cheesesteaks are the true food of the gods.
KG (who had to call up a friend to go get cheesesteaks after writing that scene but still isn’t quite certain about this pronouncement): How are the stone lions you, um, liberated from the British Museum doing?
Loviatar: They roam the grounds of my castle and enjoy their freedom. Also, they stomp interlopers in a thoroughly satisfying way.
KG (who doesn’t want to get disemboweled for taking up too much of the goddess’s time): Do you have any parting words for my readers?
Loviatar (shrugging again): Enjoy your time on earth. Some of your fellow humans are not entirely fools.
As I figured that was about as sickly sweet as Loviatar was going to get, I decided to end things there. If you’d like to read more about the adventures of the gods, goddesses, and angels (plus mummies, vampires, Cerberus, and an occasional sentient marble statue), you can find them in the quirkily-humorous, romantic urban fantasy, Children of the Gods.
Interview with an Opinionated Black Cat
I’ve got a treat for you this time, another interview with Pyewacket, through his translators, Evan and Carrie, this time about Children of the Gods!
As you know if you’ve read either this novel or these characters’ first appearance in Cursed in White, Pyewacket is the familiar to Evan, and he often makes it clear who wears the fur and who should hurry up with that food bowl. Let’s see what he has to, um, say?
Katherine Gilbert: Thank you for being with us, Pye. We’re honored by your presence.
(Pyewacket sits up, giving me a hard, cattish stare.)
Carrie: “You should be, human. You don’t have enough cats in your books.” (Turns to me.) Sorry, Pye is Pye. We’re happy to be here.
KG (addressing Pye): But all of my books except one have cats in them! Some of them even talk!
(Pye stares at me, then flops down and rolls away.)
Evan: “I rest my case.” (To me.) Sorry, he’s peeved about the lack of cats in Moonlight, Magnolias and Magic.
KG (remembering that there’s only a brief mention of a cat there, although, admittedly, Beatrix would have done something awful to any cat that came near her): Oops, sorry.
(Pye still faces in the other direction.)
KG: Um, how did you like going undercover this time, Pye?
(Pye covers his eyes.)
Evan: “They renamed me Tweetie-pie! The mortification!” (Evan gives me a look before pleading with him.) C’mon, Pye. I had to take the name of the first Biblical murderer, and Carrie only went by “Thorschild,” and you know she hates her father.
Carrie: Too right.
(Pye now covers his eyes with both paws.)
Carrie: “But ‘Tweetie-Pie’! That’s a terrible name for a cat!”
KG (deciding to move this on): Did you at least enjoy being around Gabriela and Michael?
(Pye puts down his paws and looks over his shoulder at me.)
Evan: “Michael is dull. He rarely pets me, and he’s unworthy of my lovely Gabriela.”
(Pye stretches out completely on his side.)
Carrie: “Oh, my beautiful Gabriela. If only you didn’t bring fish I can’t eat to the island.”
Evan: Uh, yeah, Pye and Gabriela’s dolphins don’t really get along. They say things he suspects are about him, and they’re too big for him to eat.
(Pye half-sits up and glares at him.)
Evan (rolling his eyes, as though he’s heard this one before): “You are telling my secrets, you confounded witch.”
As this seems to be getting a bit out of hand, I decide to press on.
KG: Do you have anything else you want to tell my readers, Pye?
(Pye half-rolls back to stare at me.)
Evan (rolling his eyes): “Worship me, small humans. Worship me.” (Putting his face in his hand.) Unh, Pye, really . . .
And with that, I decided to wrap things up.
Interviews with Sorcerers, Spirits, and Ships Characters
A Thoroughly Uninformative Interview with an Ex-Cat
Hi, everyone. I’ve got a special treat for us this time–an interview with Kitty!
If you’ve read Sorcerers, Spirits, and Ships, you’ll definitely remember Armand’s ex-feline companion who was still adjusting to life among the two-legged. Let’s see what she has to tell us.
Katherine Gilbert: Hi, Kitty. Thank you for being with us.
Kitty (staring fixedly at a wall for no reason I can discern): Didn’t have anywhere else I needed to be.
KG (leaving this alone, as it’s probably not good cat manners to admit to wanting to be anywhere): How did you like your trip to the Queen Mary with Armand and Annabella?
Kitty: Too many not-there people. And a lot of them were mean.
KG (figuring that’s one way to put run-ins with murderous ghosts): Did you meet anyone you did like?
Kitty (after tilting her head to the side and being quiet for a minute or so): Miss Janeway.
KG (suddenly deciding that interviewing an ex-cat is going to be somewhat akin to interviewing a three-year-old with attitude): What did you like about her?
Kitty: She gave me cream. (Another pause, as she adjusts where she’s randomly staring.) And she doesn’t let anything scare me.
KG (figuring this is again the best she’s going to get on that score): What about Annabella?
Kitty (refocusing on me suddenly): Annabella is mine.
KG (soothingly): I know that, dear. Armand is, too.
Kitty (still staring): Yes.
KG (picking up on rumors about the ex-cat and her ex-dog partner): What about Brutus?
Kitty (looking away again): Brutus is . . . (she trails off, blinking and turning her head.)
(Just when I’m about to give up in despair, Annabella sticks her head in the room.)
Annabella: Kitty, are you being good?
Kitty (looking innocent): Yeeees.
(Annabella smiles at me and comes in, apparently picking up the truth.)
Annabella: Sorry. Kitty’s been nervous about meeting you. She said she could handle goddesses but not creators.
(Annabella is stroking over Kitty’s hair, as Kitty stares back at her, clearly torn between annoyance over the revelation of her secrets and not wanting Annabella to stop petting her.)
KG: Um, well, that’s flattering. Thank you, Kitty.
Kitty (looks at me for a second then stares off in a corner again): ‘welcome.
(As I doubt Kitty is suddenly going to get over her reluctance, I decide to ask just one more question.)
KG: Is there anything you’d like to tell my audience, Kitty?
Kitty (looking at me for a second): Everyone should be nice to their cats.
Since it seemed unlikely I was going to get anything more, I left it there.
Interview with a Mysterious Older Lady
Hi, everyone. I’ve got a treat for you this time–an interview with Miss Janeway!
If you’ve read Sorcerers, Spirits, and Ships, you know that Miss Janeway was sent to help out Armand and Annabella, once they discovered that the ghosts on the Queen Mary had been killing people. Of course, if you’ve read the novel, you also know she has a few secrets up her sleeves, so don’t be surprised if there are a few spoilers for who she really is in this interview.
Katherine Gilbert: Hi, Miss Janeway. Thank you so much for coming to visit with us.
Miss Janeway (wrapped in her usual fluffy shawl with lambies all over it): Don’t mention it, dear. I’m always happy to be of service.
KG: Did you find your visit to the Queen Mary to be challenging?
Miss Janeway: No, not challenging. Interesting, though. It’s always amusing to see a new Duke of Winchester adjusting to the job. They all grump so at the beginning.
KG: So, Armand isn’t the first to object to being a “love connector,” as the Duke before him called it?
Miss Janeway: Not at all. The men who are chosen are always those who’ve worked for the Magical Council for sometime, usually in very active and dangerous jobs. Readjusting to–what appears to them to be–just a round of tea parties and soirees can be a bit damaging to their egos.
KG: I suppose so. You’ve worked with the Council for a while, then?
Miss Janeway (smiling kindly): For about fifty years or so, yes. I was a bit of a freelancer before that.
KG: If you don’t mind me asking, how did you go from . . . well . . .
Miss Janeway: Being the Greek goddess of justice to just a little old lady quietly solving murders? Well, carrying around a whip gets a lady odd looks. And a chariot drawn by gryphons is all very scenic, but the gryphons tend to object. Besides, you’d be amazed what people will say to or in front of a little old lady, completely unaware that she may be putting together exactly who’s at fault and how.
KG: So, can’t you just see that in people without having to gather clues?
Miss Janeway: It’s easier in my full goddess form, but, again, the wings tend to draw odd stares.
KG: You do seem to have made some new friends on this assignment, at least.
Miss Janeway (smiling): Well, it was fun getting to know Ivan. I enjoy having an imp around. They’re so helpful. And young couples in love are rather sweet.
KG (hoping she won’t upset Miss Janeway and feel her whip): Um, you seem to have rediscovered an old admirer yourself.
Miss Janeway (her smile deepening): Well, I’ve known Christopher over several of his lifetimes now. In the past, though, a younger, vital man with a little maidenly aunt type would have been a laughable idea. Even now, it’s more acceptable if the older woman is doing everything in her power not to actually appear old.
KG: I am glad you’ve found each other. I’ve never been a fan of keeping well-matched souls apart simply because someone objects to the way they look together.
Miss Janeway: Yes, I know that, dear. Let’s hope more people come to agree with you.
KG (deciding this is getting a bit deep): Do you have anything to add for my audience?
Miss Janeway: Be good to each other and yourselves. And never allow anger to fester. Too often, that’s what I’m called in to clean up.
On this slightly chilling note, I decided to stop.