Calling All Romance Lovers…
♥Happy Valentines Day!♥
Doctor Raimond Banitierre, thank you for joining us today. Might you tell us a little bit about your story?
Bonjour Holly, it’s a pleasure to meet you…and please, just call me Raimond.
Not Commander Banitierre?
I see you’ve done some impressive research! Yes, I held that title once…in a different lifetime. But, it’s much too formal for today.
Is there anything you would want changed if your Author asked you?
I wish Anne Marie wouldn’t tell people about all my slip-ups. I admit, I ripped people’s heads off and put them back on the wrong bodies…one time, in a moment of regrettable revenge. I may have been born in the 1700’s, but even I’ve heard of accident forgiveness.
How would you describe Anne Marie?
Private, quietly emotional and passionate about the dignity of elderly people and their treasure trove of memories. We have that in common.
Do you feel like she portrayed you correctly?
Most vampires don’t aspire to be doctors…there are much easier choices of profession. Anne Marie gives me credit for that sacrifice every chance she gets, though calling me a saint in spite of all my missteps may be…more than I deserve.
How about others in the story. Do you feel she did well with them?
Anne Marie portrayed my heiress Julia, and my children Lily and Steven perfectly…especially Steven. He’s like the son I never had, with talents far beyond what outsiders see.
If we’re being totally honest though, she needs to reveal my friend Prince Draven Norman as a more compassionate man, vampire…whatever. He may act like an arrogant and flawed jerk…often…but underneath all of that is an incredible soul.
Oh, and one more person—Ivori Journé has taken her knack for blending into the background and elevated it to an art form. The truth is, she’s a New Orleans voodoo starlet and powerhouse in the making. Never underestimate her. Never
You might be wondering why I’m wearing this scarf so tight. It’s not that I don’t trust you…
No worries, I’m on my best gentleman’s behavior today.
Okay, I feel better now. So, in the saga of Monsters & Angels, who created you?
The villain Faison, as a slave to bring him victims.
Are you still connected?
I killed him. So, hell no.
Was there a reason for your creation?
It was a trick and power grab. Faison wanted to rule Paris. It backfired on him, badly.
Where are you from initially?
I was born in the French Alps. I’ve since discovered that I’m descended from one of the few gladiators to earn Roman citizenship.
Were you happy or angry about the transition from human to bloodsuc—I mean vampire?
I was furious for decades. Finally, I fought back and won independence for myself and my family. But freedom is rarely free. It was a bitter lesson in reality.
I like to think I’ve made the most of my second chance at…existence.
Favorite blood type?
AB-negative, but when I’m hungry, I’m not picky.
Favorite place to dine? Just in case some of us might want to avoid any late-night forays there in the future.
In New Orleans, the Rex Room at Antoine’s Restaurant. But please, don’t skip Antoine’s on my account…it’s a New Orleans must-visit. Especially if you enjoy Oysters Rockefeller.
Have you seen any more stories in the recesses of Anne Marie’s mind?
That girl has way too many stories in her head. A murder mystery at the Jersey Shore, a tale set in a mysterious Rhode Island mansion and a few more books in the Monsters & Angels Series.
Do you get to play a part in any of them?
I’ve never been to New Jersey…not yet anyway. But in Monsters & Angels, of course. I’m as much a part of New Orleans as the city is a part of me.
You’re no stranger to darkness, but what’s Anne Marie’s darkest secret?
She shows a very tough exterior, downright icy and intimidating at times…that is, until you get to know her. Don’t get me wrong, Anne Marie is no wimp, but she’s much more sensitive that she reveals.
If she makes you mad, you could just bite her when she’s sleeping, you know.
What makes you think I haven’t? Besides, she may be a bit annoyed with me for spilling that particular secret. I’d better text her before this goes to print.
I’ve heard that you go all-out celebrating the holidays.
Christmas is my favorite season, but tonight’s festival is incredibly special too—the longest night of the year. You’re welcome to join our celebration of night’s glory. I’m sure Anne Marie would love to meet you. Who knows, you could be the inspiration for her next main character.
Thank you so much for your time, Doctor Raimond, and I think I’ll take you up on that offer!
Bienvenue, Mademoiselle Holly.
Read the original interview at JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder! A special thank you to JB’s for inspiring these questions/answers and for participating in Raimond’s blog tour!
Without a word we followed Eugene down into the darkness as the cellar doors closed behind us. We were forced to creep in the silent oppression, listening only to the sounds of our racing hearts and ragged breaths while smelling what surely was the awful, unmistakable scent of death. Along the way, I had begun to beat myself up for not having the foresight to put a stop to this charade earlier. We should never have followed him down to this pit. I’d had a bad feeling from the beginning, and now, we were underground in the middle of nowhere, walking into what I imagined would be a horrific death. I opened my mouth to shut this mission down. For the first time ever, I did not care what waited in the unknown. I did not even care if my suspicions were unfounded. “It’s time we…”
“We’re here.” Eugene’s excitement filled the cold space. “This isn’t the way I’d hope you’d discover my treasure trove, but, Ally, I’m so glad it is you. I’d always hoped your parents could come here. But alas, they were the ones who got away. Not you, Ally. I knew I could depend on you.”
Darkness thickened around us, and I fought an urge to tell my crew that I was sorry, though I didn’t know for what, when Eugene struck a match and lit a couple of old oil lanterns, casting an eerie, dull light around a large chamber illuminating an unimaginable sight…
If you liked Excavation Murder, you’ll love Victoria’s Clapton’s work!
What is the draw of magic in stories? Why does it attract us? What does it say about the human condition that no matter who or where we are in this world, we so love a story with magicians and witches, elves, dwarves, and various monsters causing mayhem?
Magic is the potential of dreams and desires. We wish for our heart’s desire as we blow out candles and after a successful hunt for a four-leaf clover. No matter how much or how little we have, we wish for more. More of whatever we feel a lack of in our lives. Prettier looks, money, success, and, of course, love. We wish pain would go away and that our enemies will suffer. Because we wish, our minds are open to stories of magic. We are well-prepared to suspend disbelief and enter worlds where wizards walk and witches sing and dance around cauldrons. A good many of us desire interaction with fantasy worlds so much we dress up, plaster our surroundings with symbols, and memorize words of power.
From our birth, when wishes and prayers for a long and healthy life rain over us, to the first time we are instructed to make a wish, the longing for magical or divine intervention is ingrained into our psyche. It is no surprise then that as we grow we are often transfixed by stories where people are helped by magic-bearers and secret wishes are granted by faeries. Our life, physically and emotionally soars and dips. Having magical stories to escape to helps us cope with change and tension – even if only to distract us and give our minds a rest.
The magic used in Keeper of the Way is from a time when magic was everyday, concocted over the kitchen hearth, and used for the well-being of all. Rosalie Ponsonby and her friends use beans on their runners, honey fresh from a hive, bread baked with fine-ground flour, and specially prepared herbal teas. This is hidden magic – where the ordinary can be used to create something extraordinary. Black salt (salt mixed with ash) and lavender is used as protections from evil. Lemons are cut and left by doorways and windows. We may think of these as “old wives tales” today, but this is merely another way of hiding magic.
Sigil-craft is also used – the manipulation of written words to request a blessing or boon from the Spirits. The women start with Chaos-magic – simplified spells using the quickest means and easiest tools (pencil and paper) and will work their way toward intricate designs with ink and air and mist as their ability grows. Their tools also become more assertive; from pencils to craft basic sigils and a wooden spoon to stir their cauldrons to swords, daggers, and wands.
But we also require balance and we can’t have good without some bad. We wish and wish, and are told to be careful what we wish for – we must think about the things we are asking for or the wish outcomes may not be as we expect. Faeries are ever ready to play tricks on us. Magicians, wizards, and witches may not be as they seem, and monsters lurk in every dark crevice of the mind.
The antagonists in Keeper of the Way, Algernon and Clement Benedict use blood sacrifice and dark rites to align themselves with malignant spirits. They misuse tools of power to infect malicious energy into the home and sanctuary of Rosalie and her family, and are prepared to commit murder to further their own needs. They have stolen relics guarded by the MacKinnon Clan for millennia and corrupted their purpose, deliberately opposing the morality of the Ponsonby family, their friends, and their ancestral spirits.
Fairytales of our youth drip with warnings, symbols, and moral lessons. Often these lessons have helped shape our moral compass without us realising. In Keeper of the Way and throughout the Crossing the Line series, we will see how easily this compass can be disrupted as the Benedict men continue to act in opposition to the beliefs they profess to.
If you’ve grown up on a steady diet of speculative fiction, everything from fables and fairytales to Lord of the Rings-style high fantasy, and Harry Potter-esque teenage adventures then you’ll be ready to believe in magic everywhere you see or hear of something otherwise unexplainable. Even in the kitchen pantry.
Keeper of the Way is published by Odyssey Books.
Patricia Leslie is an Australian author with a passion for combining history, fantasy, and action into stories that nudge at the boundaries of reality.
If Dr Seuss is right, and he usually is, then I am in very good company. I, along with nineteen other writers, have taken new horror anthology The Box Under The Bed to number one in the Amazon new releases chart, which was a nice thing to discover on a Monday morning. This is […]