Welcome to Characterfest
Characterfest is a month long event where you’ll find a different character interviews written by the author each day. Each interview has a giveaway(s) make sure the giveaway is open to you and if so add a comment or question along with your email. I will close all giveaways at the end of the week and add the winners to the winners post on that Tuesday. Odds are if you won you’ll be hearing from me.
One thing I will ask is if you could please twitter or hit the facebook likes button on the post so that others can see the interview. I want to get these authors out to as much as I can and you’re my go between in this event.
I hope you enjoy each interview and please try to make it here each day to find out whom or what’s next. If this goes as planned I will be hosting this next year.
Karina Cooper Interview with character Jessie Leigh
Let me start with a standard disclaimer: it took everything I had to convince Jessica Leigh to sit down for this interview. She’s a witch—really, a witch; magic, charms, hoodoo, whatever. She’s sketchy by nature, and I don’t mean to be rude when I say this.
As if that wasn’t obstacle enough, she’s got six feet and four inches of solid, muscled mayhem between her and all comers. Getting Silas Smith to let her sit down with me was a tapdance all by itself, and we had to compromise with a comm interview. I don’t get to actually meet her, and I’m pretty sure the hulking protector of hers was on the line the whole time, but it’s a start.
Nevertheless, I’m nothing if not persistent. And as further fun with Q&A, I’m going to give away two of these books I picked up… Blood of the Wicked and Lure of the Wicked… To one lucky commenter! So, without further ado, here is the interview.
Q: Thanks, Jessica, for taking the time to chat with me.
J: Call me Jessie. It’s nice to meet you. I don’t often get a chance to tell my side of things.
Q: Your “side of things?” What do you mean?
J: I mean, I’ve spent most of my life hiding everything about my abilities. It’s really weird to think I’ll be talking to someone about it. Er, not that you aren’t nice—I’m sure you are. Just weird, you know?
Q: Fair enough. Let’s start easy, then. What can you tell me about your abilities?
J: I’m a present witch. Not, like, gifts or anything, but present like the present and the future. I can see things as they’re happening, anywhere I choose to look. It’s kind of like watching the world through a movie screen.
Q: Like remote viewing, then. Is it always on?
J: No, not always. I have to make the effort. Or, I did… Lately, it seems like the magic’s getting stronger. Or, I’m not sure, more unstable. My brother gets visions of the future, really strange riddles and things, and his hit him like a two-by-four. He’s out for the duration, babbling like a madman; I’ve forever been glad mine aren’t like that. Only I guess they might be, if they keep sidelining me like they’ve been. The migraines suck.
Q: Do you ever see something embarrassing?
J: Uh… Well. Not on purpose? I don’t want to spill any names—ahemNaomiahem—but every time a certain someone meets up with a certain other someone, my vision flickers. Maybe it’s the emotion between them, or it’s some kind of… epic event that my sight thinks is important enough to override my brain. It’s like… I get this overlay, like I’m watching two screens at the same time. And boy, can I tell you, that man has the finest—
Q: Whoa! I don’t know about you, but I’d like to keep Ms. West from murdering me in my sleep. So let’s get back on track. Do you find that your emotions influence your abilities?
J: Ha! Absolutely. Generally, you have to be pretty calm to practice any sort of charm—your emotional state can add an underlying motive to the magic that you don’t necessarily mean. In my case, my gifts function like a window, not a viewing screen. I can see through it, but I can also act through it. Once, I was watching Silas while he was dealing with that son of a bitch Curio, and I got so bent out of shape that my… er… aura snapped right into Silas’s. That was a rude awakening for us both. If I don’t keep calm, things go awry.
Q: I’ll just bet. Okay, let’s take it back some: How did being a witch influence your growing up? Did you have to pretend you were normal?
J: Imagine an entire population of people that want to spit you on a stake and set you on fire. Yeah, I had to pretend to be normal. For a while, it was just me and my mom. I was too young to really get it when she had Caleb, but as far as I knew, Caleb was as normal as they came. My mom and I both had the gift—she could see the future, and I saw the present. She taught me everything I needed to know to keep my head down, and when she… when she died, and her magic shunted into Caleb, I taught him.
Q: I’m sorry about your mother. It was murder, wasn’t it?
J:It’s over and done with. The small commune where we were living wasn’t safe, obviously, so we fled. I managed to get us into New Seattle. He doesn’t remember her very well. Too many years running and hiding and lying will mess with your head.
Q: Speaking of Caleb, I understand you found him a year ago. Where is he now?
J: I’ll give you a million dollars if you tell me. Caleb was kind of a grim kid. I think it had to do with his upbringing—which, yes, I know was my fault. About three years ago, he pulled a disappearing act on me and made sure he had the charms to keep himself hidden. We ran into him last year when all the crap with Curio and the Coven of the Unbinding went down. Just about everyone thinks he died in that explosion.
Q: Did he?
J: …Of course he did. Us Leigh witches are a pretty killable lot, or didn’t you notice?
Q: Touchy subject. Sorry, Jessie. It sounds like you’ve had a lot of tragedy in your life.
J: Sure, but who hasn’t? Look, New Seattle may be big and ugly and dark and crowded, but it’s a good city. It has good people in it. There are things I’d want to change, who doesn’t want to change something? But just ‘cause I’m a witch doesn’t make my life somehow more tragic or worthy of sympathy than, say, that kid down the street who lost his parents to a robbery. Or the squatter who’s living hand to mouth because the factories shifted up a few levels and they didn’t take the non-essential employees with them. Yeah, being a witch is tough. You have to be fast and you have to be clever. You can’t let people know what you are because there’s still a lot of fear among the masses. It’s not their fault—they’ve been pushed and bent and beaten down and told what to think for so long.
But my life has good in it, too. Caleb, for all he’s a moron, is a good man. Naomi’s a bitch, but she’s on my side, and even if I spend a lot of time arguing with her, she’s got a solid gold heart under all that spiky attitude. Seeing how much she loves Phin, and how much that takes her down a few notches, makes me realize even the tough ones need a little help now and again. Silas used to be a witch-hunter, and sure, his hands are pretty much drenched in blood—sorry, but it’s true. But he’s got a good soul, and he’s been fighting the Church’s indoctrination for a long time. He still has to think before he shoots from the hip on the subject of witches, but he’s learning. I respect him… And yes, I love him, but you can love a man and still see his flaws.
Q: Quite a mouthful. You really believe in happily ever after?
J: I don’t know. It’s too soon to say. I love Silas with all my heart, and I always will, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to beat him over the head with a rock on occasion. Naomi’s… well, she’s complicated. I don’t want to suggest that she’s going to do something stupid, but… She and Silas are cut from the same cloth, and she will do something stupid. But that’s life, right? Even as witches, we have a pretty normal understanding of relationships. In a word, broken.
Caleb is out there, I’m pretty sure. And I’ll stay sure until I see a body. If he ever shows his face again, I’ll kick him in the teeth for scaring me, but he’s my baby brother. I don’t think he’s capable of having a happily ever after, but I don’t know. He’s done some pretty shitty things—oops, can I say that? Anyway, he’s done really horrific things, and you know what they say about the road to hell and good intentions, but he’s still my brother. You stand by family.
Q: That’s fair enough. All right, then, while we’re on the subject. Do you agree with your brother’s membership in the Coven of the Unbinding?
J: That’s a dumb question. What do you want me to say? “Oh, sure, I think it was the best career move a budding young witch like Caleb could make!” Don’t be stupid.
Q: You have bite, don’t you? Why do you think Caleb joined the Coven?
J: Caleb’s sort of a… knight in really tarnished armor. I didn’t get a whole lot of time to chat with him, but like I said, he’s always been a grim kid. He tends to feel responsible for his visions—and let me tell you, he gets some really nasty images. So, if he thought the best way to stop his visions from coming true was to join up with the Coven, that’s what he did. I don’t agree with his methods, and I wish he’d confided in me more, but that’s what we have.
Q: Rumor has it that he was all ready to sacrifice you for his cause.
J: Rumor has it witches know six different curses to make a pushy reporter’s hair fall out.
Q: Duly noted. All right, then, let’s wrap this up. If you could choose to be a witch or not, what would be your choice?
J: Well, of course I’d… Wait. Well? I guess I—Huh. Well, shit. On the one hand, I feel like I should be true to myself and say that I am a witch, so what’s the use of worrying about if or if not? I am what God made me. But on the other hand… It’d be nice to live a normal life, wouldn’t it?
…Nah. Like I said earlier, even the normal non-witches end up suffering somehow. If it’s not hunters kicking down your door, it’s poverty and hunger. Or thieves. It’s all equal opportunity down here in the city dregs. I think I’d choose to stay a witch. It’s not, you know, perfect, but without this little DNA glitch in my make-up, I’d have never met Silas.
Q: So, he’s worth everything?
J: Yeah. He really is. Flaws and all.
Q: You’ve been talking a lot about your brother. Do you think you’ll see Caleb again?
J: Count on it. If there’s one thing I know about our abilities, different as they are, it’s that they don’t stay quiet for long. If he’s out there—I mean, of course he’s out there—then it’s only a matter of time before a vision stabs him in the brain and his protective streak blows like a fuse. He can’t help himself. He’ll show again. He’d have to be dead not to, and I’d know if he was. I’m sure I would.
Q: I’m sure you’re right. Thanks so much for answering my questions. Do you mind checking back now and again to answer any questions our viewers might have?
J: Sure. If they want to ask me anything, I’ll swing back and answer. Anything goes, too! I mean, try not to piss Naomi off, but beyond that, we’re good. Take care, everyone.
All Things Wicked, a Dark Mission novel
The Coven of the Unbinding never forgets what's theirs.
Juliet Carpenter thought of the coven as family, but when she falls for a man who betrays them all, she's left alone and desperately searching for a reason why. Caleb Leigh has spent the past year in hiding, unable to escape his demons. When Juliet finds him again, her need for vengeance clashes with the hunger still burning between them.
It's a fight born from the embers of a half-forgotten attraction and the wounds of a past too raw to ignore. With enemies circling and secrets threatening to consume them all, Caleb has no choice but to fulfill a promise made long ago--protect her, save her. Even if it costs him his blood, his body... and what's left of his mind.
All Things Wicked (out January 31st, 2011)
About the Author
Karina Cooper broke into the scene with her Dark Mission series, a gritty post-apocalyptic romance set in Seattle. One part glamour, one part complete dork, she’s the author of dark and sexy paranormal romance and historical urban fantasy. When she isn’t writing, Karina is an airship captain’s wife and Steampunk fashionista. She lives in Washington with a husband, four cats, one rabbit, the fantasy of a dog and a passel of adopted gamer geeks.