Below is the transcript of an interview from Witch Central, the online radio talk show where Evan Trueblood, Molly Everhart Trueblood’s husband, is a part-time talk show host. Witch Central features everything witchy all the time, the talk show dedicated to witches, vamps, weres and other creatures of the night, both in and out of the closet, and only supernats willing to register with the show’s producer are permitted to sign on and listen.
The interview is totally fictional, as actually giving it would thrust Jane from the skinwalker-closet, and she isn’t ready for that. Not at all. But if she was, well, this is how it might go.
We break into the middle of the show, just back from a commercial break.
Evan: Welcome back listeners. As you all know, after reading the first three books in the Skinwalker series, SKINWALKER, BLOOD CROSS, and MERCY BLADE, I have problems with Jane Yellowrock. She is on my personal BLEEPlist. That said, I’m known for being willing to reconsider my stance on every kind of supernat, so with fairness in mind, tonight we welcome my wife, Molly Everhart Trueblood, our interviewer—and an earth witch—and Jane Yellowrock—skinwalker and all around dangerous woman. Jane Yellowrock is the Cherokee shape-shifter / skinwalker who hunts rogue-vampires for a living, and who recently was offered a retainer contract with the New Orleans Vamp Council to provide security and vamp hunting services, for when their own blood-suckers go rogue. She is in the closet, so we ask discretion of our listening audience.
(Dual mumbled responses.)
Take it away Molly.
Molly: Thanks for being here. Jane, you’ve been asked this before, but not everyone here knows what a skinwalker—also known as a shape-changer or shape-shifter—is. Most of us think about werewolves when we think about human to animal shifting. And the myths that surround skinwalkers are violent and gruesome. Can you enlighten us?
Jane: I’m a Cherokee skinwalker. I haven’t done a lot of study about the western AmIn shape-changer mythos, like the Hopi tales, but what I’ve learned about the Eastern Cherokee skinwalker can be pretty awful, with age-related changes in dietary habits that can be horrific, tending toward … um … the consumption of human meat.
Molly: (gasps in horror) So, you’re going to get old and start eating people?
Jane: I hope not. The tales are pretty nasty. But according to the oldest traditions of many tribes, skinwalkers were originally the tribal protectors and warriors. It was only after the white man came that our numbers began to decrease and we started acting nutso, which makes me think that my subspecies may have been decimated by illness brought by Europeans. Or even killed off by European vampires who wanted their blood.
Evan: (interjecting, sounding stern) Our apologies to the mental healthcare professionals and those suffering from any form of mental or emotional anguish.
Jane: Yeah, yeah, sorry. I guess there might be a more medically and socially acceptable diagnosis than nutso, but to get one, a shrink would have to spend time with an old, insane skinwalker—someone who wanted to eat him—and in a lot less entertaining way than some Hollywood-created Hannibal Lector.
(a chair creaks in the background as Jane leans in, intent.) Skinwalkers are a magical subspecies of human, Evan, Molly. Very different from the were-creature mythos, who can adopt only one animal shape. Skinwalkers can adopt the shape of many different animals if certain conditions are met. For me to shift, I have to have some genetic material of the chosen animal, bones with some marrow is best, but teeth with some root tissue works. And it’s easier if the genetic guidelines for size and mass are equal to the human making the change. Meaning that if the shifter weighs 125 pounds in human form, then it’s easier to shift into a wolf or big-cat or other animal that weighed 125 pounds in real life. And before you ask, it is possible to take mass from, or leave mass with, anything that contains no genetic material, like stone, but it’s dangerous. I don’t like to do it.
Molly: So let’s turn to romance.
Jane: (Jane groans in the background. It sounds worried and a little grim. She clearly did not expect this line of questioning.) Okay. (Now she sounds like her arm was twisted for this interview. Which it was. Molly is pretty determined when she gets an idea she thinks is good for the supernat community.)
Molly: You’ve only met one other of your kind, and he’s dead. Yet, I have to assume you aren’t a hermit, which means that you have to date out of your species, much like witches do, because our males don’t often live to adulthood. I happen to know you’re straight, and like guys, so that means witches are off your personal “hunt-for-lovin’ ” list. Do you like blood-servants, humans or vamps best? I’ll narrow it down. Do you like Bruiser, Rick, or Leo best?
Jane: Ah crap, Molly, I’ve only met one male witch, and he’s in the closet. (She sounds rueful and wry. Molly laughs, because the only male witch Jane knows is Molly’s own hubby, Evan—still in the witch closet.) That leaves vamps, blood servants, and humans. Most of the vamps I’ve known, I killed long before we could talk about a first date. (They both chuckle.) And all of them were crazy as bedbugs. Yeah-yeah, (she says fast) apologies to the PCers, and all that cra—uh, I guess I shouldn’t say that—stuff. Up until I met the vamps of the New Orleans vamp council, I never met a sane bloodsucker, so it’s hard for me, even now, to think of them as date material. Even Leo. Or maybe especially Leo.
Molly: For our listeners, Leo is Leo Pellissier, the Master of the City of New Orleans. He’s a black-haired, dark-eyed, centuries-old, drop-dead gorgeous French vampire. (Her voices is teasing.) He’s powerful and sexy. And he likes the way Jane smells.
Jane: Drop-dead. You got that right. (laughing) As in bloodsucking coffin-bait. But yeah, Leo is pretty. And he’s sexy in his way. But vamps have lots of mental and emotional problems, most derived from their long lives, the method of their creation from human to supernatural beings, and from their diet. They don’t deal with the stresses life and death at all well. They seem to be lacking something that they need to maintain emotional stability.
Molly: Will we learn what that something is in MERCY BLADE?
Jane: Yes, actually you will. And we’ll see the beginning of Leo’s returning mental stability as he comes out of devoveo and dolore. I guess he’s not all bad.
Molly: Not all bad!? There was this scene in Skinwalker. Let me read a passage where Leo Pellissier heals you of a dreadful wound. “The vampire blinked and broke the gaze, and I wondered for an instant if he had seen the dancing images. He placed his face along my arm and breathed slowly in, his head tilting on his neck, tendons standing out. He had tied his lovely mane back, a black satin ribbon curling over his shoulder with a tendril of hair. I wanted to touch it and to keep from reaching out, I curled the fingers of my good hand under until the nails pressed painfully into my palm. I tucked the hand beneath me, between my side and the couch cushion.
“Tell me about yourself,” he murmured, tone steely. The breath of his command touched my open wound. It was a balm on the awful pain. The thrumming subsided slightly, a piquant numbness in its place. “Tell me.” And the bad thing was that I wanted to. I really wanted to. This guy was good.
To keep from spilling all my secrets, I murmured, “A Christian.” I felt the shock strike through him, loosening the bonds he was trying to lace into me. I laughed, a bit of Beast in the tone. “I’ll tell you what I am if you tell me how the vamps came to be.”
“Impertinent,” he murmured. “Brazen.” There was a warmth in his gaze that hadn’t been there a moment past. “Cheeky, even.” A secretive smile touched his lips, a smile that was almost, but not quite, human. His head followed the length of my arm up to the elbow as he breathed in my scent. And higher, close to my neck. So close.
His breath exhaled against my face, smelling peppery and slightly of almonds, an odd combination that should have been unpleasant or jarring, but wasn’t. Heat pooled in my belly, conflicting with the pain. “Bold,” he said, his voice dropping low, “rude.” I laughed, the sound more Beast than me. His pupils widened a fraction more. “But you smell so good,” he finished.
He turned his head, his chiseled nose sharp as a stone axe in the lamplight behind him. He bit his lip; a drop of blood eased out, sliding down his chin. He placed his bloody mouth on my arm. The pain receded like a wave drawn back from shore. I gasped, breath hissing in through my lips as if he kissed me. He met my eyes and smiled, his mouth curling against my flesh. He sucked gently on my arm, lapped at torn flesh, his tongue laving, our blood mingling in my wounds. The pain vanished fully and I shivered hard at the loss, my muscles easing.” So, I repeat. Not all bad?!?
Jane: (you can almost feel her blush over the airwaves) You just had to read that one. I’m gonna havta to live with that scene forever, aren’t I?
Molly: And the dance sequence. Oh. My. Gosh.
Jane: Okay. Stop! I was there! Vamps date and seduce so they can get a free meal. We’re dinner on the hoof for them; cattle and a sex partner. (Molly splutters a laugh.) Come on, Mol. A dinner date with one of them takes on new, less-than-subtle shades of meaning. Leo’s sexy. Leo’s gorgeous. He’s powerful and charismatic and … Leo is all the things women love about bad boys rolled into one. Yeah. I’m attracted. But not enough.
Molly: Not yet, you mean. Okay. Let’s chat about Bruiser, Leo’s prime blood servant. Taller than Jane—and at her six feet tall, not many men are—good looking, English, with a very nice derrière and he’s got class out the wazzoo.
Jane: (There is an odd silence, and when Jane speaks, there is hesitation and uncertainty in her voice.) I like Bruiser. A lot. But he belongs to Leo, body and soul. How much is left for anyone else? Dating Bruiser would be like dating a married man. All I’d get is leftovers. I’ll stick with Rick.
Molly: Rick does have those mountain lion and bobcat tattoos. When will we learn how he got them? I mean the tats make it seem like karma, fate, that the two of you will be together, seeing as how your most common beast is a mountain lion.
Jane: I reeeeally like Rick, (she says softly). Faith Hunter has put a freebie up on her website, a short story about how Rick got his tats. Cat Tats is free to fans, on her website and I can’t wait to read it, myself! That’s all I’ll say for now.
Molly: Thank you, Jane Yellowrock, for being here with us today on Witch Central. Back to you Evan.
Evan: Thank you Jane Yellowrock and Molly Everhart Trueblood. And now let’s hear from our sponsor this hour, the purveyor of all things witchy, Witches-R-Us….
Hope you enjoyed a glimpse into the world of Faith Hunter, author of the Jane Yellowrock series.
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