Hi there. I’m Ann Gimpel, author of Dancing in the Flame, a post-apocalyptic paranormal romance novella. With me today are Keira and Barrett. I’ll be asking them a few questions so they can tell you a little bit about themselves.
For Keira: What was it like to live in a Were bordello?
Hideous. I can’t even begin to describe it. It was like being a permanent second class citizen. Before I turned 18, the Weres had me working in the kitchens and waiting on them. They didn’t pay me anything then, beyond keeping a roof over my head and feeding me. Once I was old enough to turn tricks, I did get to keep some of the money I earned, but they charged me for my food, so it was impossible to earn enough to buy my indenture bond. I figured I’d be stuck hooking for them forever. See, they had this bracelet around my upper arm. It was a magical bracelet and I couldn’t get it off. They used it to track me and control me. I was depressed a lot of the time. In fact, the only bright spots in my life were when I visited Barrett’s magician supply shop. (Keira reaches out a hand. Barrett takes it.)
For Barrett: What did you feel when you first saw Keira in your magician supply shop?
(Drapes an arm around Keira and pulls her against him.) I was curious about her. Something about her didn’t ring true when I used my magic to try to figure out just what she was. I didn’t realize it at first, but that damned Were bracelet muted her power. Beyond that, she was such a lovely creature, I really wanted to get to know her better. I felt incredibly drawn to her. When she scooted out of my shop as if all the dogs of hell were nipping at her heels, I just had to follow her. We’d finally had a conversation and I wanted to talk with her some more.
For Keira: If you’d have been free, what would you have done with your life?
That’s a really, really difficult question. If I’d known who I truly was, and been free, I would have spent my early years preparing to lead my people. If I’d simply been free, but still had no idea about my Sidhe birthright, I probably would have scrabbled for existence like nearly everyone else. There wasn’t much left after ten years of war. I suppose I might have lived with the fairies and my friend, Renn.
For Barrett: What you felt when Caelin, the Daoine Sidhe leader asked you to rescue Keira? And you’d really have renounced if you’d have known that Caelin attempted to buy her from the were bordello?
(Barrett’s jaw sets into a hard line. His eyes flash annoyance.) Keep in mind I’ve known Caelin for a very long time, hundreds of years. That man has always played his cards close to his chest. I knew there were things he wasn’t telling me, but I was willing to play along and do my part to get Keira away from her captors. I hate the Weres. They’re animalistic bastards. If I could, I’d like to free all their indentured servants. Weres are the only magic wielders who do that sort of thing. Plus, I’ll admit I was looking forward to getting closer to Keira.
The other point you brought up, about Caelin not bothering to tell me he’d offered to buy her bond, would have been a deal-breaker. As it was, I walked into a dangerous situation. Caelin’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering made it all the more precarious. He knew I wouldn’t go if he told me everything, so he kept his mouth shut.
For Keira: How is like to think all your life that you don’t have magic just to discover that you probably are one of the most powerful woman in the world?
To be honest with you, I’m still coming to terms with that. It’s only been a very short time since Barrett rescued me from the Weres and Caelin removed the bracelet. Most days, I don’t feel fit to rule anyone, but then I remind myself if I learn my people’s history and work on my magic, maybe the day will come when I can call myself a queen, and wear the title proudly. (Keira cocks her head to one side and smiles.) Right now, I feel sort of like a fake, but everyone has been so nice, it warms my heart.
For Barrett: What made you fall in love with Keira?
The easy answer is her incredible beauty, but I’ve had stunning women walk into my life before and have left them be. No, the reason I fell in love with Keira is she has a beautiful soul. There’s something naïve and untouched about her that makes me want to take care of her and protect her from all the evils in the world. When I found out who she really was, I experienced immense conflict. On the one hand, I was happy for our people. On the other, I was devastated because I was certain I could never share her life.
(Taps breastbone.) Her spirit resonates right here. She fits with me, like the life’s partner I’ve hunted for, but never found.
Keira: “Aw, thanks, love. I feel the same way about you.” She turns her face up for a kiss.
Ann: Thanks, guys, that was very sweet. You know, I often get asked two questions about this book. One revolves around what happened to the humans after the atomic blasts. The other is who actually killed Queen Ivanne. Let me address them and then we’ll be done here.
One of the problems with novella length fiction is there are always a few unanswered questions. I suppose there should have been piles of human bodies scattered about, in varying stages of decomposition, after they died from radiation poisoning. An earlier version of DITF had something like that, but my publisher vetoed it as not appropriate in a romance story. We settled for heaps of trash.
Right along with Caelin and Barrett, I believe the Weres poisoned Ivanne. But they haven’t fessed up, so that’s something we’ll probably never know. The important thing is the Sidhe have a queen again. Once the babies start coming, hopefully the royal line won’t be in danger of dying out.
Thanks so much, Keira and Barrett, for coming along today for this interview.
In unison: Our pleasure!
Dancing in the Flame
By Ann Gimpel
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Release Date: 4/22/13
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Life in a Were bordello is all Keira has ever known. Because of her mixed blood, none of the magicians’ guilds wanted her, or protested when the Weres bound her as an indentured hooker. Mired in the hopelessness of her dreams, she longs for more.
Barrett, one of the Daoine Sidhe, runs a magician supply shop in what’s left of Seattle. No one is more surprised than he when the Sidhe leader commands him to extricate Keira from the Weres.
Magic and intrigue throw Keira and Barrett into one another’s arms. Convinced they have a job to do, they struggle against the heat of the passion between them. Until it gets way too hot to handle.