Hello dear friends! Stephanie over at Moonrise Book Review was incredibly generous and invited me to write this character interview for her collection! The interview has gone live as of tonight (here), and I’d love to share it with you (below)!!
In a few seconds, you’ll be meeting several characters. Do not be deceived. While this might seem like an interview about Eiry Callas (our tragic Hero), it’s not. This is a character interview of Gavin and Galen Callas (The Twins). Who are they? They are post-modern Greek deities, underworld twin-gods who’ve seamlessly incorporated themselves into the human world. What motivates them? Chaos. While they could sit down and answer all your questions patiently, they’d rather not. You can discover so much more about a person in an hour of play than you can in a year of conversation… or so some guy named Plato once said.
My approach to these interviews is to always let the characters speak for themselves, so you’ll be reading an interview scene that exists somewhere outside the timeline of the novel. The scene takes place in Eira, the royal city of Tartarus, inside Eiry’s apartments.
An Evening With The Twins:
The knock at the door came just as Elena was sitting down to a hot cup of tea in her favorite reading chair. It was half past ten and she was alone in Eiry’s apartments. It was the first quiet moment she’d enjoyed all day, and had just pulled the throw over her legs when the sound broke the silence.
Elena held her breath and stayed absolutely still. From the corner of her eye, she watched the door and waited. Hopefully, she’d imagined it. There was a reason she preferred Eiry’s study to the front room with its open archways and antique cases full of artifacts and old manuscripts—the study was small and private.
“We know you’re in there,” came a familiar velvety voice from behind the door, dashing Elena’s hopes of staying under the radar.
Of all the possibilities, the twins knocking at her door meant there was no chance of escape.
Elena was considering her options—and the rare fact that they hadn’t just barged in uninvited—when the doorknob rattled violently. It was followed by the sound of a scuffle behind the door, then a flurry of cursing and fervent whispers. Elena would have laughed, if she didn’t know better. Galen had obviously lost his temper and Gavin had put him in check.
“Galen’s sorry. Will you let us in?”
Elena jumped in her seat, startled by Gavin’s voice. It hadn’t come from behind the door, but from next to her on the chair. “Jesus, Gavin, you scared the daylights out of me!” Elena turned and glared at him, swatting at his arm. “You already let yourself in, so what’s the point of asking now?”
“You told me to ask, so I did.” Gavin smiled triumphantly, leaning over the chair’s armrest to place a kiss on Elena’s cheek. He was so pleased with himself, he was bouncing where he stood and humming cheerfully to himself. His chin-length curls bounced along with him and his golden-green eyes glowed softly in the darkness, creating an illusion of innocence that was very far from the truth. “So, you forgive him, right? We need your help and we’re on a super tight schedule.”
Several weeks ago, Elena had a ‘talk’ with the twins about boundaries and the need for knocking. She should have known then that half of it would be lost in translation. “Knock, wait, then walk in after the okay. The order is important, Gav.” Elena shook her head, half amused. He offered his cheek and she returned his kiss, before sitting back in the chair and taking a sip of her tea. “And I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to help you. I had a really long day today and have an early morning tomorrow. Plus, Eiry won’t be happy if he comes home to find y’all here—you know he doesn’t like you guys coming in and out of his rooms whenever you like.”
“An unhappy Snowflake. How very tragic.” Galen hissed the words into Elena’s ear from behind the chair, his velvet tone sheared at the edges. Elena started, surprised, and he clamped his hand over her mouth before she could yell. When she tried to fight him off, he caught her arm with his other hand and forced her still. “Now now, no need to get all feisty. Eiry’s running errands for our mother, so you and I both know he won’t be home for a while. What’s the harm?”
Elena took a deep breath and tried to stay calm. Being grabbed was bringing back unpleasant memories of the attack in Persephone’s courtyard and she was about to lose it with Galen, which was never a good thing. If she had been sensitive about her personal space before, the ordeal months earlier made her even more sensitive now. She had to remind herself that these were the twins, and she’d come to trust their brand of crazy.
“You should probably let go of her face now,” Gavin whispered to Galen, his eyes intent on Elena’s. She was as stiff as a board and kept looking down at the cup of tea in her hands like she was considering her options. “She looks like she might hit you with that cup. Plus, you’re going to leave marks on her face, and then Snowflake is seriously going to be pissed.”
“Does it look like I care about Eiry’s feelings?” Galen smiled a devilish smile at his brother and then leaned forward, his long black hair spilling over Elena’s shoulder as he ran the tip of his nose along the shell of her ear and up to her temple. He took a deep, shuddering breath and then slowly stepped away, releasing his hold.
The moment he let go, Elena turned in her chair and smacked Galen across the chest, forgetting all about her resolve to stay calm. The tea went flying, and so did Elena’s cursing. “How many times do I have to tell you to stop sniffing me! And stop being so handsy! You and the rest of your family—”
“Me and the rest of my family, what exactly?” Galen put his hands up and stepped back, a savage smile spreading across his face. It reached his eyes, making them a sharper blue than usual.
“You’re impossible, the lot of you!” Like a world-class idiot, Elena had played right into their hands. It was always like this with the twins—not a moment of peace. “You owe me a hot cup of tea, Galen, and then the two of you can go back the way you came.” Elena grabbed her now empty cup of tea and stood up from her chair. She shook off the throw, set her cup down on the coffee table and then sat back down, trying her best to resume a calm demeanor. “Like I said, I have an early day tomorrow.”
“You have an early day every day, and you have another thing coming if you think I’m making you tea.” Galen stared at Elena, defiant as he took a seat in the empty reading chair beside hers. He crossed his right knee over his left, careful not to wrinkle his designer suit, and began to braid his hair.
“What he means is,” Gavin quickly interjected, dropping to the floor in front of his brother without a care in the world, “we need your help to answer a few questions.”
“Questions? About what?” Elena focused on Gavin and tried to ignore Galen’s blatant staring.
Gavin’s voice was sweet as honey, and his golden gaze pleading. Red flags immediately went up in Elena’s mind. “Seriously you two, I love you and you know I would do almost anything for you, but no. You can ask Eiry himself.”
“I told you, Gav. We should have just tied her up and forced her to talk,” Galen said matter-of-fact, as he tied off the end of his braid. “We would have been done and out by now.”
“We don’t need to use Plan A when we have Plan B,” Gavin reminded him, all business. “Bribes always work.”
“You two realize violence should be Plan B, right, not A.” Elena knew they weren’t listening, but someone had to be the voice of conscience in this group—reason was completely out of the question. “Not that I’m saying violence should ever be part of the plan. And I promise you, I’m above bribes.”
“No one’s above bribes,” the two assured Elena simultaneously, their gazes rising to meet hers at exactly the same time.
Elena hated when they did that. It reminded her of the Siamese cats in Lady and the Tramp.
“Ele, please,” Gavin cut in before she had a chance to say no again. “The interview is due tomorrow. This is our last chance. We’ve tried to persuade Eiry to do the interview all week but he refuses, so we’ve decided to do it for him. We’re just lost on a few of the questions. We’re prepared to give you something of great value. Plus, Eva won’t mind.”
“Eva? What does Eva have to do with anything? I already did an interview of Eiry for Eva.”
“She wanted another one,” Galen answered with a shrug.
“Something of great value,” added Gavin, doing his best to dangle his carrot.
“Since when do you two do what Eva asks?”
“Since she made us an offer we can’t refuse.” Gavin grinned, bouncing in his seat. “Something of greeeeat value.”
“Yes, yes. We’re all being offered things of great value. Go ahead and say it, Gavin. Say what you’re offering for my cooperation, because you won’t stop unless I ask, right?”
Gavin stared up at her with a wounded expression, his bottom lip jutting out as if he was about to cry, but he couldn’t keep it for long. He tried his best to hide a grin, as he reached into the back pocket of his jeans and took out what looked like some kind of card or paper. “Voila! A thing of great value.”
“A piece of paper…” Elena remarked, unimpressed.
“Everyone has a price, Elena, even good little girls like you.” Galen flipped over the card in his brother’s hand and smiled. “A baby picture of Eiry. Trust me when I tell you that it is authentic, and only one exists in the world. It just so happens that the one time he fell in battle, cameras had already been invented.”
Elena was speechless. Two seconds ago, she would have bet her life that she couldn’t be bought. Now, she couldn’t imagine a scenario where she turned down that picture. What were a few questions weighed against that? Plus, she’d really be helping Eiry. If she let the twins do this alone, gods only knew what they would say. “You willing to swear by the Styx that the picture is authentic?”
“Cross my heart and hope to die.” Galen grinned, then leaned forward and offered her his hand. “But don’t take my word for it. You’re the best lie detector out there. See for yourself.”
Elena watched him, wary. He’d caught her off guard with his gesture. He’d sworn by the Styx, which was not taken lightly in his family, and also offered his hand, which no one was really chancing these days. “I’ll accept the picture and help you answer the questions. Verification will not be necessary.”
There was a quiet exchange of furtive glances between the twins, before Gavin handed Elena her picture and produced his list of questions.
“Okay, question number one.”
Gavin cleared his throat, his gaze darting back and forth across the page in his hand. It was obviously an email from Eva. Elena couldn’t begin to imagine what the woman had to offer the twins to ensure their cooperation.
“What is your most notable characteristic? Eiry’s, I mean…” Gavin looked up at Elena with a beaming smile. “I say his skills with his scythe.”
“I’m better with a blade than he is, so the scythe is out,” Galen scoffed. “I say all that pallor and stoicism. It’s smexy.”
Elena shook her head, wondering if this was precisely what Eva had in mind when she asked the twins for help. “His perseverance.” The answer was simple for Elena. Eiry had persevered against all odds, even in the face of so much loss. “Next question, Gavin.”
Gavin blinked, confused. Perseverance did not compute. In the end, he shrugged, wrote it down and then continued down his list. “Question number two. What personal achievement is Eiry most proud of? Normally I would go with something battle related, but I really think he’d say his chess skills. The man can beat the two of us at chess even though we’re unstoppable at fidchell. It defies all logic.”
Elena nodded, pretty sure that wasn’t the right answer, and turned to Galen. “What say you?”
“Probably when he won the gold metal in solo synchronized swimming at the last Games. I didn’t think he had any real talent until then.”
Elena stared at Galen, stupefied. “We’re going to go with saving me when I was a baby. Next question.” Photo or no photo, Eiry should thank his lucky little stars that she was helping.
“You’ll like this one, Ele.” Gavin’s index finger stopped halfway down the paper. “What is Eiry’s most meaningful possession?” He let the question linger and then looked up from his paper to stare at her, pointedly.
“Ummm, No.” Elena shook her head and turned to Galen with a sigh. “Spit it out.”
“A stuffed elephant Lucian gave him, after he fell in battle.”
Galen’s response was deadpan, leaving Elena to wonder—but she knew that way lay madness. Even if such an elephant existed, which it most certainly did not, Elena doubted Eiry would want the whole world to know about it. That meant that Elena needed to come up with a better answer than Gavin’s. She tried to think back on the past few months, but no one possession stood out. In the front room there were piles of artifacts and curios Eiry loved, but Elena couldn’t say any of them were his most meaningful possession.
The twins were staring at her impatiently and she was about to give up, when it hit her. “The coins,” Elena whispered, more to herself than the twins. “The ones he chooses for an heir when they die.”
The moment Elena said it, there was a heavy silence. When she looked over at the twins, neither one of them would look at her. Galen was playing with his braid again and Gavin was preoccupying himself with his piece of paper.
Elena cleared her throat and pressed on. “Next question, boys.”
Gavin reacted slower than usual. He seemed to read the question to himself several times, before finally looking up to meet Elena’s eyes. “What brings Eiry the greatest joy in life?“
“Elena,” Galen answered with unusual haste, turning to face her in his chair. He watched her quietly, then smiled—a smug, arrogant smile. “He’s a miserable shit, but even I can see you make him happy.”
Elena quickly looked away, then down at her hands on her lap. She could feel the heat rise to her cheeks and hated how embarrassed she felt. Galen’s sudden candor, self-serving as it was, certainly didn’t help. “That one’s not going in there. Keep that one out of the interview. Okay, Gavin?”
Gavin nodded quietly and then continued with his next question, neither agreeing or disagreeing with Galen’s statement. “What is Eiry’s greatest fear?“
Elena spoke up before any of them could answer. “Failing to protect the Heir. Next question.”
“What is Eiry’s biggest regret?“
“Gavin, are you serious? Is this really what Eva sent?” Elena was suddenly furious.
Gavin nodded and pressed his lips into a thin line. He looked uncomfortable, something Elena had never seen.
“I’m not making these up,” Gavin replied, proffering the page in his hand. “You can see for yourself.”
Elena shook her head and gently waved away Gavin’s hand. She was frustrated by the question and had taken it out on Gavin, when he was obviously just the messenger. “I’m sorry, Gav. I didn’t mean to get upset with you. It’s a touchy subject and Eva knows that. Anyone who’s read the book knows Eiry’s biggest regret—not being able to save 38 heirs. That number includes me. Make sure she prints that. Next question.”
“How would Eiry define a perfect love?” Gavin asked, his voice high-pitched by the time he got to the last word.
Galen snorted out loud and barely tried to hide it.
“We’re done,” Elena snapped. “You can tell Eva that she can work with the answers she has. She’s an author. I’m sure she can be creative and make do.”
Gavin pushed himself up on his knees and crawled toward Elena. Once he was kneeling in front of her, he pressed his palms together as if he were praying. “Just one more, Ele. I’ll skip that last one, okay? I promise. We just have to get six answers or we won’t meet our end of the bargain.”
“You shouldn’t beg, Gavin. It’s unseemly,” Galen chided his brother.
“You always make me beg. What’s the difference?” Gavin glared at Galen, made a vulgar gesture with his hand, and then turned to face Elena with a smile. “Tell us a secret about Eiry that no one else knows.“
“He watches Project Runway when he thinks no one’s looking.”