Interviewing Michael Parker isn’t the easiest thing in the world. To call him paranoid is to damn with faint praise. Per his request, we’re in his office, which is an immense room filled with computers, operational panels, armed guards, and Michael, who is sitting on his desk, one leg up and the other swinging lazily. As I take the chair nearest to him, he towers over me. Seven solid feet of male. Military short brown hair perfectly compliments his golden-brown eyes. After some chitchat to get comfortable, I start in with the hard questions.
It’s said that you have a thoroughly disreputable reputation that is utterly deserved.
Is there a question here?
Why do you have such a terrible reputation?
You don’t build a massive empire without stepping on a lot of toes.
Could you expand on that?
I’d rather not.
(I ask a few more questions a long this line but I can tell he’s getting annoyed.) Okay. Why do you always wear black leather pants and a red silk shirt?
It’s not just any leather, it’s Byzantine leather, and the silk is from Dardanis. I like the way the fabrics feel against my body. Here, feel.
(Tentatively I reach out and stroke the shirt. It’s softer than silk and so slick my hand slides easily along his muscular arm.)
Now the leather.
(Michael takes my hand and places it high on his upper thigh. Below my palm the leather is as soft and smooth as butter. When I look up, Michel is watching me intently. His lips are lifted in a quirky half grin. I pull my hand away.) Yes, nice, I can see why you wear them. (I have done a lot of interviews and never fondled my subject. The only way to describe Michael is to call him aggressively sexy.) How do you feel about your family?
My family consists of the people here on Windmere and I would do anything to keep them safe.
I understand that when families here have hard times, you have programs in place to help them.
I do. I take their welfare seriously. These people risked their lives to build this world. They wanted freedom and peaceful place to live. Working together we’ve been able to achieve that. Everyone on this planet is willing to die to defend it.
They have that kind of loyalty to you?
It isn’t loyalty to me, it’s loyalty to Windmere.
It’s said you originally named your planet Prime Bastard. Can you explain why?
Ah, well, generally within five minutes of meeting me most people call me a bastard--ruthless bastard, royal bastard, heartless bastard--you get the point. Since it was such a common refrain I decided to name my planet Prime Bastard.
But now it’s named Windmere. What does that name mean?
I don’t know. (Michael looks annoyed and frustrated.) You’ll have to ask Duster.
Duster is your second in command? (Michael nods.) Just how close are you and Duster?
Close enough. (Michael crosses his arms and all the playful flirting has vanished.)
That’s all you’re going to say?
About my relationship with Duster? Yes.
(Sensing another touchy area with Duster, I move on.) What’s your favorite hobby?
Origami. I also like sex and karate, especially if they’re combined. (His playful, sexy grin is back now.)
Sex karate? Sounds dangerous.
Depends on how you do it. (The wink he flashes at me makes me long to try out this sport.)
Why is your hair so short?
Strategic. In hand to hand combat an opponent can’t grab onto my hair for advantage.
What are your favorite kinds of books?
I like mysteries, thrillers, and cookbooks.
Believe it or not I’m actually a fairly good chef.
A man of many talents. (I try to stop staring at the bulge in his pants but I can’t seem to help myself.) Do you like to wear boxers or briefs?
(After laughing, Michael stands.) Here, let me show you.
NO! (As much as I want to see I know this can only end badly.)
What’s up with all the dresses in the closet of the guest room?
(As Michael settles himself back to the desk, he flashes me a predatory smile.) Would you like to add yours to my collection?
I’m supposed to be asking the questions here.
Indeed. However, I prefer to show and not tell.
Let’s move on. What’s in the basement of your house?
(Behind Michael there is a flurry of activity and the interview is over.)
If you’d like to ask Michael a question, post it here in the comments and I’ll do my best to get him to answer. Also, all comments on this blog post will enter you to win an advanced copy of Dark Empress!