I did something fun this summer — I did a character interview with another author.
Faith Hunter writes the Jane Yellowrock urban fantasy series (along with the Soulwood series). Many folks who read Faith’s books also read my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series, starring Gin Blanco, my assassin heroine. So we thought it would be fun to put together an interview with our two leading ladies, Jane and Gin. And thanks to Mud at Let’s Talk! Promotions for agreeing to “host” the interview. Here’s the complete interview:
Mud: (Huge Ditsy Talk Show Host Smile) Thank you everyone for coming tonight. I want you to give it up for my special guests, professional killers, Jane Yellowrock and Gin Blanco. (Loud applause, slowly dying into rapt silence.)
Mud: Good evening ladies, and thank you for coming today. So, I understand you both come from Asheville, Ashland, um, someplace like that, right?
Jane: (Places cell phone on the table. Looks longingly at the door. Calculates how long it would take her to leap across the table and get away and if Gin—whoever she is—would shoot her in the back for deserting her.)
I’m from Ashland, a Southern city that’s full of giants, dwarves, vampires, and elementals—Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone. It’s quite lovely … except for all the crime, corruption, and conspiracies. But it’s home, and it always will be.
And yes, “Ash” names seem to be very popular. Maybe because so many things get reduced to ash, rubble, ruin, and the like when we’re around?
Jane: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Used to live in Asheville, North Carolina. Sleepy little city. Lotta snow skiing in winter, lotta water sports on the rivers. Rock climbing. Hiking. People disappearing from time to time. Vampires are pretty civilized. As much as blood-sucking fangheads can be. I’m in New Orleans now. (Thinks.) It’s hot there.
Mud: Are your names real? I mean, honestly, Jane and Gin?
Jane: (Points to her own chest.) Orphan. Found in the mountains, wandering around. Total amnesia. No family came to claim me. Raised in a children’s home. Yada-yada, sad story, yada-yada.
(Looks at Gin, who is frowning. Jane sighs.) Fine. Originally Jane Doe. Now, legally, Jane Doe Yellowrock. That’s what it says on my legal papers. Gin: Well, technically, my real name is Genevieve, but I like Gin better. It’s short and to the point, like one of my silverstone knives. And it’s a lot easier to type too.
Jane: (Perks up.) Silverstone? Seriously. Can I see? Holy crap. Cool blade. So what? It asks for blood in return for touching it?
Gin: (Gives Jane a look.) Um, no. It doesn’t ask for blood. It doesn’t have to. Believe me, this knife and all my others gets good and bloody on a regular basis. Some low-level underworld criminal is always trying to kill me. Idiots. You’d think that they would know by now not to mess with the Spider, but they just never learn until it’s too late—for them. (Shrugs.)
Jane: (Sits back in her chair.) Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Mud: All right, everybody put away the toys. Let’s get to the questions everyone here wants to know. How does it feel to be killers? (Both guests stare at her. Squirms in chair. Pulls her collar out. Guests continue to hold her with their eyes. Sweat pops out on her forehead.) What? That’s the reason everyone is here, right?
Jane: (Growls.) I kill things that kill humans. I get paid to kill things that kill humans. I don’t kill humans. Well, not for money. And unless they’re trying to kill me. Or someone I love. Then they get what they deserve.
Gin: Wait, what? I thought that I was here to cater some barbecue from my Pork Pit restaurant. Not answer questions about things that might get me into trouble. Well, more trouble than I’m usually in. Don’t tell me that I cooked all this food for nothing.
Jane: You got pork? Cool! You make your own sauce? I’m starving.
Gin: Help yourself. And of course I make my own barbecue sauce. It’s a secret recipe passed down by my mentor. (Grins.) I could tell you what’s in it … but then I’d have to kill you.
(Both killers laugh.)
Jane: Holy Crap on Crackers. This is almost as good as raw … Never mind. (Eats. A lot.)
Mud: Now that that’s over, let’s go over the rest of the questions.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever killed anybody with?
Gin: What haven’t I killed someone with would be the better question. Magic, knives, utensils, cast-iron skillets … I tend to use whatever’s handy, especially when I get attacked in or around my barbecue restaurant. Which happens far more often than you might think.
Jane: (With a handful of pork on a bun. Talking while chewing.) Teeth?
Gin: (Looks at Jane with an odd expression.) You kill people with your teeth?
Jane: Kinda hard to kill with someone else’s teeth.
Gin: Good point. I prefer my knives, though. Using your own teeth can be a bit … messy.
Jane: Yeah. I buy a lot of bleach.
Mud: Is there a union?
Gin: No union. More like a professional admiration society. Right, Jane?
Jane: I’ll admire you all day long if you’ll share your silverstone supplier. (Places two, 14-inch, silver-plated vamp-killers on table.) These babies are well matched, well-balanced, and easy to use. They do the job but silverstone looks like it’s a lot lighter.
Gin: (Lets out an approving whistle.) Nice arsenal. You’re a woman after my own heart.
(Both women start admiring all the sharp, pointed weapons on the table.)
Mud: What is one thing that you’re just dying to let everyone know about yourselves? Get it? Dying?
Gin: You’re a funny one, aren’t you? Well, here’s something that everyone might not know about me. I love to cook, but dessert is my favorite thing to make, especially if it involves chocolate.
Jane: (Frowns at them both. Thinking.) I got nothing. My life is an open book. What? It is! Oh, Wait. No. I wasn’t being funny. Open book. Crap. I’m so stupid.
Mud: What kind of yoga or whatever do you do to keep in shape for killing, um, er, people?
Gin: Oh, there is lots of yoga, running around, fisticuffs, saving people, unraveling elaborate bad-guy plots and decades-old conspiracies. You know, all the usual hijinks.
Jane: I sleep in a lot. Eat a lot of steak. Lift a few weights with my business partners. Spar all the time. Shift into my Beast when I need healing.
Gin: Shift into what?
Gin: Well, that’s one way to keep the wrinkles at bay. And I thought that Air elemental facials worked wonders for the skin.
Jane: I know, right? Easiest beauty regime in the world. Not that it doesn’t have its downsides. Every time I shift I have to re-shave my legs.
Gin: (Sighs.) Why does there always have to be a downside?
Jane: Tell me about it.
Mud: (Trying to get a word in edgewise) What’s your favorite mixed drink?
Gin: Why, a gin and tonic, of course. My name is Gin like the liquor for a reason.
Jane: Alcohol has no effect on me.
Gin: Really? Sucks to be you, sweetheart.
Jane: (Glumly) I know. I like the taste of Stout. But for effect, caffeine’s my liquid of choice. So my comfort food is a good, China black tea, mixed with Cool Whip.
Gin: Black tea and Cool Whip? (Shakes her head in sadness.) Oh, sweetheart. I think you need a new definition of comfort food. Come by my restaurant sometime, and I’ll make you some real comfort food—fried chicken, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and all the other fixings. And we’ll have a proper dessert, like a triple chocolate milkshake.
Jane: Invitation accepted.
Mud: If I wanted to become a professional killer, how would I begin?
Gin: Probably by having a tragic backstory like mine. Murdered family, being forced to live on the streets, only surviving because of my burning desire for revenge. I’ve got all the usual motivations.
Jane: (Face scrunched up. Thinking.) Not sure if I should say this. It’s what you call a SPOILER! Be born into the Cherokee Panther Clan, which is a sub-clan of the Blue Holly Clan. Grandmother was a War Woman. She taught me to kill a man at age five.
Or the more socially appropriate answer—Decide that protecting other people in the children’s home is more important than good grades.
Mud: Are those real knives? May I touch?
Gin: Sure, you can touch my knives … Just let me know which hand you would like pinned to the table.
(Laughs.) Just kidding.
(Leans forward and whispers.) Not kidding.
Jane: (Hands over the vamp-killers.) Mine are just tools. But you bleed it’s your problem. I don’t kiss boo-boos or give out bandages.
Mud: (Sweating and fanning self. No longer making eye contact with either guest.) Whenever I reach a goal, I like to treat myself. Do either of you have a post-slaying ritual?
Gin: Absolutely. I usually cook a big meal for all my friends and family. Being an assassin is hard work. Makes a girl hungry for a good, hearty Southern meal.
Jane: I get paid and take a nap.
Mud: Jane, do you order your stakes online? Gin? Your knives?
Jane: I’m currently living in New Orleans and have the steaks delivered. Unless I’m in Beast form and then I take down whatever prey is nearby. (To Gin:) My Sig-O gave me this really cool antique blade from the Moghul empire. It’s amazing. (Pulls out cell phone and thumbs pics.) Look.
Gin: (Nods in approval.) Very cool.
Mud: ls it hit-person?
Gin: Hitperson is fine with me. Or just assassin.
Jane: Vamp Killer. Have Stakes Will Travel.
Mud: What is the next song on your person-killing playlist?
Gin: Two of my favorite songs are “Human” by The Pretenders and “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers.
Jane: (Gets a dreamy look on her face.) Bruiser—that Sig O?—was playing this number by Roddy Rockwell called Blindsided by Love. Trips my trigger.
Mud: You aren’t going to kill me now, are you?
Gin: That depends on you. Don’t make any sudden moves, sugar.
Jane: Not for free. The cleanup is too much trouble for a freebie. Gin? (Wipes BBQ sauce off fingers with handy napkin.) Where’s this Gin-joint you own? I’m still hungry.
Gin: Follow me. We’ll go to the Pork Pit, have a nice long lunch, and swap stories over barbecue. What could be better than that? 🙂
MORE ABOUT FAITH
Faith Hunter, fantasy writer, was born in Louisiana and raised all over the south. She writes three Urban Fantasy series: the Skinwalker series, featuring Jane Yellowrock, a Cherokee skinwalker who hunts rogue vampires. The Soulwood series, featuring earth magic user Nell Ingram. And the Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban, post-apocalyptic, fantasy series featuring Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage. The role playing game based on the series, is ROGUE MAGE, RPG.
AND THAT’S A WRAP
As you can see, Jane and Gin had a lot of fun hanging out together. 🙂
What about you guys? Do you like reading character interviews? Which fictional characters would you want to hang out with?