Greetings, everyone. Today is another interview with the main characters of DECEIVED. There are extra snickerdoodle cookies on the log table over there, as well as some hot chocolate since springtime has not yet truly arrived in this area.
The setup is similar to the last interview’s. Holder, Therese, Ivelle, and Rogan, in that order, join me around the campfire. All wear degrees of wariness, and Rogan looks like he’s going to ignore my rules, again, and bolt. In addition to the campfire, blankets are provided to stave off the day’s chill.
I adjust my notes and greet them. Only Holder and Ivelle offer a verbal reply. Therese nods. And Mr. Grumpus selects to ignore me.
A dangerous move considering I’m in the process of writing BETRAYED.
“This is from Olivia G. Holder, she would to hear some stories from when you and Rogan were growing up. Preferably funny.”
Holder’s shoulders lose a tad of their tension. He’s not as wane and worn as he was last time, and his eyes aren’t as tired. “There aren’t really that many. The first one coming to mind was when we were crossing a stream and Rogan face-planted in the bank. He refused to wash off because he dislikes wearing wet clothing. By the time we returned to the castle, the mud was so dried on him no one recognized him and he could barely speak and move.”
Rogan crosses his arms. “You had it worse when you snuck into the kitchen. The cook was so mad to find you filching those cookies he threw raw eggs and flour at you. You looked like a ghost.”
“Juan told me they were for the taking. How was I to know they were for some celebration?” A smile hinting at Holder’s hidden orneriness crossed his face. “What about that time you fell in the manure pile?”
“I refuse to talk about that.”
Ivelle leaned forward. “I want to hear this.”
“An older soldier told us there was a chest of weapons in the stable’s loft. Rogan ignored my warnings and climbed up there to see what he could find. A pigeon scared him so badly he screamed like a scared toddler and toppled over the loft’s edge. Right into the manure pile.”
Rogan arches a brow, pointedly ignoring Ivelle’s laughter. “You’re the one who screamed when you saw a rabbit.”
“I thought it was a snake.”
“I told you it was a rabbit.”
“You also told me a squirrel would eat my fingers if I tried feeding it some bread. There’s a reason I didn’t believe you.”
I clear my throat as the debate escalates. “You were rather bratty, Rogan. Not as bad as Ivelle, but still a brat.” Paying no heed to his indignant glare, I locate the next question. “The remaining questions are from Brooklyn O’Brennen and K.R. Mattson. Brooklyn wants to know, ‘At what point of the book did you laugh so hard at anything (could be a mistake or just a funny look) that you could have snorted milk through your nose?’ I believe the answer to that is when I was writing Rogan’s interactions with Redwing.”
Rogan scowls. “Those weren’t funny.”
“They were to me, and that’s all that matters. Brooklyn next wants to know if any scenes made me cry. The answer to that is no. I came close a few times, but rarely do I cry while writing.”
Rogan, who apparently does wish for me to make things worse on him in BETRAYED, mutters, “That doesn’t surprise me.”
“Brooklyn also wishes to know which scene was the hardest to write.” I cough as all four glare at me. “I plead the fifth on that. Next question. She wishes to know which scene was easiest. That would be the final chapter.”
If looks could kill, I’d be buried in the Mariana Trench. Holder and Rogan are not pleased. Probably for good reason.
“K.R. wants to know if I regret writing any scenes. That would depend on your definition of regret, I suppose. Do I regret any scenes that are in there? No. Do I regret writing about what’s happened to you four? Yes, if regret means being the unfortunate soul who’s had to jot down your painful pasts.”
“No one forced you.”
One of these days, Rogan’s lip was going to land him in some hot water. “To the contrary, Rogan Cetrin. You four forced me. You especially.”
His brows lower. “Why? Do you really think I’d want”–he gestures to himself–“anything about me written down?”
There is a brewing storm in his eyes, but behind that is undimmed pain. One of these days, he’ll realize he’s far more than the unwanted pestilence his father has treated him as.
I flip to the next questions. Rogan’s grumpiness is more than a personality defect. It’s a means of protection. Now isn’t the time to tear those walls down. ‘These are still from Brookly. “Which character was the hardest to write? Which character required the most research’?.
“The answers would be Rogan and probably Therese.” I don’t elaborate aloud on my answers. Rogan because, well, it’s not easy to research emotional trauma and how an adult who grew up emotionally abused and neglected behaves. Therese because I had to dig in and find poisons and killing methods.
I turn to the next set. “Brooklyn would like to know if any of you ever tried eating dirt. Holder, we’ll begin with you.”
He shrugs. “Rogan and I wrestled when we were little. There was probably more dirt in us than on the forest floor. And, before they replaced the training grounds’ floors with sand, there was packed dirt. Pretty sure I consume a lot from there too.”
“And you, Therese?”
She shifts, though her expression is not so wary. “I’m sure I did when I was a toddler. I don’t remember doing so, though.”
Ivelle grins before her humor fizzles out, like a sudden stain demolished a good memory. “I know I ate dirt. One time my brother and his friends had a contest to see who could eat the most soil. They said I was too little to join. I beat them all.”
I can only imagine how many worms and grubs she consumed in the process. “That’s disgusting.”
“It was nasty. But the point is I won.”
Can’t argue there. I shake my head and turn to Rogan. “And you?”
His mulish demeanor hasn’t lessened one iota. “What Holder said.”
“Any other occurrences?”
Holder pipes up. “I think he ate some when Redwing threw him. It was in mud form, but that’s still dirt. Just…wet dirt.”
Rogan opens his mouth, likely to protest. I interrupt. “Again from Brooklyn. ‘When was a time in your childhood you felt super important’? Rogan, you go first.”
“Because I’m the author and I said so, that’s why.”
He huffs but complies. “When Captain Geros congratulated me during training. It happened once and I don’t remember for what, but I do remember it happening.”
A soft smile crosses her face. “When Ma let me bake biscuits on my own for the first time. She told me she trusted me enough to let me loose in the kitchen.”
Therese almost balks when I indicate it is her turn. But, like Ivelle, a smile softens her countenance after a moment. “My name was the first word Nora said.”
“And you, Holder?”
“When Father let me ride by myself. Looking back, I realize we were in a sturdy corral and I was on the oldest horse in all of Orm, but I felt like an accomplished rider the first few minutes into the ride.”
“Next question. She would like to know if any of you know what a paper plane is.”
Blank expressions provide an answer.
I find the next page. The wind is picking up, creating disorder despite the numerous paperclips and staples. “K.R. would like to know what weapon you would pick if you could pick any weapon in the world.”
Ivelle’s smirk puts me on edge. Last time she said she wouldn’t kill anyone unless they harmed Claudine or Emmy, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t opposed to introducing noggins with blunt objects.
Holder answers before Ivelle can. “The sword is fine. A knife is the best though. I can throw one with more accuracy than I can a sword.”
I turn to Therese. “And you?”
She shifts, eyes on her hands, which are clasped and resting in her lap. “A knife, I suppose.”
Rogan eyes her like she’ll pull said weapon and begin threatening Holder with it.
Ivelle rubs her hand, expression gleeful. “Cayenne pepper.”
Something tells me she’s used this as a weapon before. “Pardon?”
“Cayenne pepper. It’s hot, spicy, and when you put an overabundance in someone’s food, unbearable. It feels like it’s searing your esophagus and burning through your tongue.”
I stare at her. She smiles, not bothering to pretend innocence.
Characters. Give them a page and they’ll take a book. I never authorized her to be this crazy.
“Alright, then. We’ll know not to eat your cooking. Rogan, what about you?”
“A sword.” He crosses his arms and stares at the fire, refusing to speak one more word.
“You sure it’s not the bow and arrow?”
Well. At least Holder is laughing at my joke.
Unfortunately for Sir Grumps-A-Lot, he won’t be able to stew in his cantankerousness for long.
I snap the papers and clear my throat. “What is your favorite color? Rogan, go first.”
Ivelle answers green, Therese, pale pink, and Holder agrees with Ivelle.
Raindrops have dirtied my glasses, and I take them off to clean the lenses, sparing a scowl for the gray clouds. “This next question is for me, courtesy of K.R.. ‘Why did you pick the season that you did for the book? Did you want them all to freeze to death in the second one’?”
“I chose late winter/early spring mostly because I needed BETRAYED to begin with snow. Do I want them to freeze to death? No. Will that happen? I hope not.”
Four horrified expressions are aimed my way.
“K.R. also asks, on a scale of one to ten, where does DECEIVED fall regarding being hardest or easiest to write? DECEIVED has been the easiest book to write, rough draft-wise, thus far. Reworking the issues with it places it on a six out of ten for difficulties, but it’s by far not the hardest book I’ve ever written.
“The final question is from Brooklyn. First, she’d like to know which ice cream flavor you like best.”
The four had been presented sample-sizes of a variety of flavors. Some were automatically spit in the trash. Others were embraced.
Chocolate marshmallow, coffee, rocky road, and butter pecan were automatic absolutely nots. I knew my characters had good taste.
Holder likes chocolate, Therese prefers mint chocolate chip, Ivelle could probably eat an entire tub of cookies ‘n cream (like yours truly), and Rogan favors vanilla. I knew he was my favorite for a reason.
“We’re done with these, interrogations, right?” Rogan twirls a knife as he stares at me.
“Interrogation, thank you very much. And you’re done for now until Book Two releases.”
“Assuming we’re all alive,” he snarks.
“Yes, assuming you all are still breathing an in decent enough condition to hold an intelligent conversation.”
Ivelle inspects her nails, not-so-surreptitiously smirking at Rogan. “I know of someone who’s already disqualified. His mind is never in decent enough condition to converse with a rock, let alone be in an interview.”
I pass out the packets of cookies and cups of hot chocolate before ushering these minions of mayhem from the scene. “I’ve an outline to firm up, evil to scheme, and a book to write. Off with you.”
They leave with minimal encouragement, like they’re afraid I’ll nail them with more questions should they linger.
I clean up before gazing at the mountains. Snow still decorates their jagged peaks. They’re not the High Mountains, not as sharp and steep, but they’re my mountains. Hopefully, after Book Two ends, the four will feel some love for their mountains. Mountain truly are the best geological formation, and a wonder of God’s handiwork.
Silencing my musings, I grab my bag and leave. BETRAYED won’t write itself.
Thank you for joining me for the final group interview! Which type of ice cream is your favorite? If you could choose any weapon to be your favorite, which would it be?
Be sure to enter the giveaway, and there’s still time to sign up for the preorder goodies.
If you have preordered DECEIVED or order it during the duration of this blog tour (April 25 – May 7), and want some swag (character card and autographed bookplate), go here.
Want a chance to win an autographed copy of DECEIVED and a character card? Be sure to go here. Or, if you don’t have social media, leave a comment at every blog post to be entered. Giveaway ends May 10th. (PDF will be sent to international entrants).
DECEIVED BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:
Monday, April 25
Madisyn Carlin | Intro + Book Spotlight
Joy Woodbury | Book Review
Tuesday, April 26
Madisyn Carlin | Release Day! + Fun Facts
Vanessa Hall | Author Interview
Autumn | Book Spotlight
Wednesday, April 27
Esther | Book Review
Saraina | Character Interview: Therese
Joy Woodbury | Guest Post
Thursday, April 28
Madisyn Carlin | Group Interview
Kristina Hall | Book Review
Friday, April 29
Vanessa Hall | Book Spotlight
Olivia | Book Review
Saturday, April 30
Madisyn Carlin | Character Spotlight: Holder
Olive Creed | Book Spotlight
Monday, May 2
Vanessa Hall | Book Review
Grace Johnson | Guest Post + Book Spotlight
Tuesday, May 3
Madisyn Carlin | Meet the Characters
Stephanie | Book Review
Wednesday, May 4
Grace Johnson | Author Interview
Saraina | Character Interview: Rogan
Thursday, May 5
Madisyn Carlin | Character Q+A
Issabelle Perry | Character Spotlight: Therese
Friday, May 6
Grace Johnson | Book Review
Autumn – Author Interview
Jenavieve Rose | Book Review
Saturday, May 7
Madisyn Carlin | Blog Tour Wrap-Up
Olive Creed | Author Interview
Katja Labonte | Book Review
Saraina | Author Interview