Interview With Scout

The fearless adventurer bat Scout Pipistrellus of The Brumal Star paid me a visit and granted me a interview.


Scout: (flies in through window and hangs upside down on the vertical blinds. There’s something poking out of his mouth, which turns out to be a large moth.)

T.Q.: Welcome, Scout!

Scout: THMMKKSSSHHHFFFFF…(swallows the rest of the moth) Thanks for having me. And for hosting me at night instead of during the day.

T.Q.: No problem. I know nighttime is when all the tasty bugs come out.

Scout: Yeah! You’ve got a feast flying around out there. Maybe I’ll stick around awhile.

T.Q.: That would be great, we have a lot of nasty mosquitoes.

Scout: Nasty? What are you talking about? Mosquitoes are delicious!

T.Q.: Then they’re all yours! Tell us what you’ve been up to lately.

Scout: Well you know, the usual: saving the world from insect overpopulation, meeting new friends, visiting new places.

T.Q.: Tell us about where you grew up.

Scout: I was raised in the province of Cailreth underneath a stone bridge. Can you imagine what it was like growing up in a giant colony of bats?  Hundreds of us all crammed in under there, squeaking and screeching. Hardly any privacy, I tell you!

T.Q.: Sounds like it gets loud.

Scout: Oh, it was chaos, but a good chaos. I’m a family bat, after all. Blood is thicker than mosquito swarms.

T.Q.: Do you still live there?

Scout: I’ve always been an independent sort of bat, until I met Skyler. And of course I lived with Lorica for a little while, after one of her brothers pegged me with a rock and broke my wing. But every once in a while I go see Mom and Pops and all seventy-nine of my brothers and sisters.

T.Q.: Seventy-nine?!

Scout: Yup. And some of their kids have kids and some of their kids have kids!

T.Q.: Holy smokes.

Scout: Holidays get very crowded. Everyone is calling each other by the wrong name all the time. When I was a youngster, there were times when my mother would be yelling for me but she’d call me by all my brothers’ and sisters’ names before she got to “Scout”.

T.Q.: I can imagine. Speaking of kids, how are thing going with your lady-love? Any bat-pups in your future?

Scout: (crossing wings) Hmph. I knew that’s where this was leading. Seems everyone loves a bit of gossip.

T.Q.: Nope, just curious! Anyways, I thought bats loved gossip.

Scout: You’re right, bats love to chatter. Well if you must know, Skyler is doing fine and there are babies on the horizon.

T.Q.: How exciting!

Scout: If we’re lucky, it’ll be twins. Usually bats only have one pup at a time but sometimes we have twins.

T.Q.: You’ll have your hands full, I’m sure.

Scout: You mean wings.

T.Q.: Wings, of course. But with all the other bats in the colony, how do you know which pups are yours?

Scout: We can tell by smell and by their voices.

T.Q.: That’s pretty remarkable.

Scout: It is, if I do say so myself. (Stomach growls loudly) Oh my! Got to go, more bugs to catch! (flies out window).

The Brumal Star is available in the Kindle store on Amazon.


Interview with Lorica Warde

In this post, I interview Lorica Warde, the bat-whispering, fiery-redheaded,  cave-explorer extraordinaire from The Brumal Star.

Lorica: Fiery, huh?

T.Q.: That’s you alright.

Lorica: I figured you’d be the one to pounce on that. I thought you hated cliches?

T.Q.: Well, if the shoe fits…

Lorica: groans

T.Q.: Sorry, couldn’t resist. Anyway, thanks for joining me.

Lorica: Thanks for having me. I needed a break from my healer training. Elira is killing me.

T.Q.: I heard she’s a tough cookie.

Lorica: Yeah, but so am I.

T.Q.: No doubt! Tell me how the training is going. What’s a typical day like for you?

Lorica: Elira has me get up with the birds, literally. One of the first things I do after I wake up is feed her zoo– the chickens, the cows, the goats, the ponies. By the way, did you know she has beehives?

T.Q.: I did not! Are you in charge of those too?

Lorica: No, Elira takes care of the bees, gathering the honey and beeswax.

T.Q.: You must be glad about that, especially after your run-in with the sloe wasps*.

Lorica: (shudders) Thanks for that, by the way.

T.Q.: Just doing my part to add a bit of danger and excitement to your journey!

Lorica: I’m done with stinging insects forever.

T.Q.: I don’t blame you. What do you do after you feed the animals?

Lorica: We eat breakfast and then I have to do five-hundred hours of exercises. That takes up part of the morning.

T.Q.: Five-hundred? That seems a bit excessive. What kind of exercises?

Lorica: It feels like that much. It started off with jumping jacks, squats, sit-ups, and push-ups.

T.Q.: Those sound exhausting.

Lorica: You don’t know the half of it. Jamison had to open his fat mouth and tell Elira all about the different military exercises he had to do when he was in Cailreth Army, so she decided to include those too. Now she has me doing these things called burpees.

T.Q.: Oh, I know burpees. Painful! What else?

Lorica: Then there are these things called planks which build up your core. They’re like a push-up but you stay up without lowering yourself to the ground. Elira makes me stay in that position for as long as I can. I think she “forgets” she’s timing me sometimes.

T.Q.: I wouldn’t put it past her.

Lorica: And then they though it’d be a good idea to start making me jog! So now I have to do ten laps around the farm after I do all the other exercises.

T.Q.: At least you’re in great shape. Tell us about some other aspects of your training.

Lorica: After the exercise hell, I have to meditate. Elira said I needed to learn to quiet my mind.

T.Q.: I could use some lessons. I bet it’s nice getting to relax after all that physical conditioning.

Lorica: It was hard in the beginning but it’s gotten easier. I had to learn how to do deep breathing, because Elira says it’s supposed to “center yourself”. If I don’t do things the right way, I get thrown off balance and have bad reactions. I had to become mentally stronger as well as physically.

T.Q.: Describe what healer practice is like.

Lorica: That part of training is what we usually do after meditation. I started small, like on cuts and bruises, things like that. Then I worked my way up from there onto more serious things.

T.Q.: You started off pretty big.

Lorica: I had no choice, as you recall!

T.Q.: I apologize. It was all in the name of suspense and adventure!

Lorica: And I got really sick. All that exertion was what made me pass out and cause all that pain. I was untrained and couldn’t control my new ability.

T.Q.: You’ve come a long way since then, though. Can you explain in a little more detail how becoming centered helps you to be a stronger healer?

Lorica: Well, it has to do with the Soeruecen.

T.Q.: Can you explain what the Soeruecen is?

Lorica: It’s an energy pool that leads to other realms of existence. It powers some of the magic on Ransara**. But when it gets inside of you and you aren’t ready, or you’re weak or vulnerable in some way, or you’ve never done magic before, then it can cause a lot of problems.

T.Q.: Like what?

Lorica: Well, Elira gave me a book that explained it like this: it can reveal darkness in a person. It can bring out their demons. It can change your personality. Or it can make you act bizarrely. It can make you do or say things that are out of character.  And for some people, it just drains them of their energy and leaves them open to all kinds of illness. That’s what was happening to me.

T.Q.: That sounds rough.

Lorica: That’s not even the worst of it. That’s just for people who survive an encounter with Soeruecen energy. I just happened to be very lucky.

T.Q.: What’s the worst case scenario?

Lorica: You die. Jamison told me you can be burnt to a crisp. Completely incinerated, just like that (snaps).

T.Q.: At least you’d be saved the trouble of being cremated.

Lorica: (rolls her eyes) Nice joke. I think you’ve been spending too much time with Jamison.

T.Q.: Well, he was just here.

Lorica: That figures. What did he talk about?

T.Q.You can read it here if you’re that curious. Anyways, this is your interview, not his.

Lorica: Fine. I just wanted to make sure he didn’t try to tell any embarrassing stories about me.

T.Q.: For what it’s worth, he didn’t. But since you’re here, what is your most embarrassing moment?

Lorica: Hmm. I think it had to be when some people at school dared me to climb into a dormitory laundry chute and I got stuck partway.

T.Q.: Oh, no!

Lorica: I was wedged in there folded almost in half. It wouldn’t have been as bad if they hadn’t all laughed and thrown a bunch of dirty clothes down after me.

T.Q.: How did you get out?

Lorica: They threw down a huge rope with a giant knot tied on the bottom and pulled me out.

T.Q.: Did you get in trouble?

Lorica: Of course! What else did you think would happen?

T.Q.: I don’t think the students at Reathe Upper Academy would have expected any less from you.

Lorica: At least I made a name for myself there.

*sloe wasps are tiny black stinging insects

**Ransara is the world The Brumal Star is set in.

Interview with Jamison Undrand

The following is a transcript of  an interview I conducted with Jamison Undrand, one of the protagonists in The Brumal Star.

T.Q.: Thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to join me today.

Jamison: No problem, glad to do it.

T.Q.: Make yourself comfortable. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jamison: (putting his feet up on my coffee table because GG Wondermutt is laying in front of the couch.)  This OK? Your dog is taking up half the floor.

T.Q.: Not at all. He thinks he owns the place.

Jamison: (Takes a sprig of murrgam* out of his jacket pocket) Do you mind?

T.Q.: Sure, hold on a sec. (Goes to get an empty seltzer can out of the recycling bin for him to spit into.)

Jamison: Thanks. What do you want to know? You’re the one who created me.

T.Q.: It’s not for me, it’s for the readers, so they can get to know you better. Why don’t you start with your childhood.

Jamison: I see. Well, as a child I lived in the province of Caunlie until I went to the Araskolsa in Reathe.

T.Q.: Okay.

Jamison: …

T.Q.: Anything else?

Jamison: Oh, you want more details? (spits into can)

T.Q.: Sure, unless you don’t feel comfortable sharing. I know you had a difficult beginning.

Jamison: Not as difficult as when you killed me in the first draft of the book.

T.Q.: Oh, come off it! I’ve apologized for that. Can we keep doing the interview, please?

Jamison: I know, I’m just giving you crap. How about this? My parents were so afraid of me that they locked me in the basement. I was six.

T.Q.: That’s terrible. You were doing some pretty dangerous magic though, right?

Jamison: (shrugs) There’s magic that’s plenty more dangerous than a fire spell. Anyways,  that was the day my mentor, Jarin Crewe, came to get me. He brought me to the mage school and that’s where I studied until I was eighteen.

T.Q.: What can you tell us about the mage school?

Jamison: Magic users call them Araskolsas. Lawyers have to go to school, doctors have to go to school, and so do people born with magic. Otherwise, there’d be untrained people walking around not being able to control it. What a mess that would be.

T.Q.: What kind of magic did you study?

Jamison: All kinds. Combat, energy manipulation, healing, detection, summoning, banishment, mental. You could do different concentrations depending on where your talents were.

T.Q.: What were your talents?

Jamison: My specialties were transmutation and communicating with nature.

T.Q.: Can you explain what transmutation is?

Jamison: It’s the power to alter people, beings, or objects, to morph or transfigure them into something else, and make them stay that way, rather than keeping it temporary, depending…(trails off and spits into can.)

T.Q.: Depending on what?

Jamison: Depending on how vindictive I was feeling.

T.Q.: Can you give us a example?

Jamison: There was this bail jumper. He was so slippery, he’d managed to get away from two other bounty hunters. They hired me and I fixed the problem by turning him into a fish and sticking him inside a jar.

T.Q.: A jar?!

Jamison: Oh, I filled it with water first. But he never jumped bail again.

T.Q.: (At this point, my cat Rory waddles by. She’s a bit on the “hefty” side.)

Jamison: Good gods, that cat is gigantic! What are you feeding her?

T.Q.: Jamison, you’ll hurt her feelings!

Jamison: Cats don’t have feelings. If she gets any bigger, she won’t be able to fit through the pet door.

T.Q.: If it makes you feel better, we cut way down on giving her treats. Let’s get back on track. Tell us about your crossbow.

Jamison: Isn’t she a beauty? See all these symbols and designs on it? They’re to ensure that this gorgeous piece of weaponry never fails. She’s been solid so far.

T.Q.: Where’d it come from?

Jamison: She. I have a weapons guy. A dealer. This is custom-made.

T.Q.: She’s very nice.

Jamison: Helped me catch a rogue werewolf. You know, you should tell that story. Give it away as a free eBook or something.

T.Q.: Hmm, maybe I will. Let’s talk a little bit more about your adventuring. What was the most difficult job you’ve ever been on?

Jamison: You mean besides having to guide our friend Lorica to the Cave of Wrykirk? Let’s see…there was another magic user who was involved in human trafficking.

T.Q.: Wow!

Jamison: Yeah, it was brutal. The magic user was a real piece of work, as you can imagine. Gave me this for my trouble (moves shirt to reveal three inch scar on his shoulder).

T.Q.: Whoa. What’s the story with the scar?

Jamison: He pulled a knife on me. Seems to happen to me fairly often.

T.Q.: Did everything work out in the end?

Jamison: Yeah, the ring was busted and we arrested the magic user and his gang of degenerate slavers. Freed the girls. They were young– twelve, thirteen years old, most of them. Sickening, what those bastards had planned for them.

T.Q.: Yeah.

Jamison: See, I’ve done some good in the world, contrary to what my ex-father-in-law thinks. (spits into the can)

T.Q.: No argument here. What’s your proudest achievement?

Jamison: Besides bringing criminals to justice and joining Reathe Guard, I married Taryn, the love of my life.

T.Q.: You’re a hopeless romantic at heart.

Jamison: I know, I’m going to ruin my reputation.


* a spicy root that people chew