What’s It to You What I Read?

I have a confession to make: I’ve never read Jane Eyre. I don’t get Mr. Darcy comments. It’s not just the old British stuff, either. Atlas Shrugged, The Road, or The Catcher in the Rye are a few I haven’t read nor ever will. I sound like a terrible English major. But you know what? I’m tired of feeling ashamed of reading what I like to read.

If you love those types of books, that’s awesome. You get 1300 reader points from me, because I know lots of people who love the “classics” and/or literary fiction and that’s totally fine. But they’re not for me. I read lots of other classics through English classes in high school and college and only a handful really stuck with me (I’m sure the frat parties didn’t help). The rest I avoided in favor of Sweet Valley University or Harry Potter.

Even during my college courses, my favorite class was Kiddie Lit (Children’s Literature), where I read tons of YA books–that’s where I felt most at home. I adored the syllabus, ate up every YA book, went to town on end-of-semester papers and what I considered for themes. British Literature, however, bored me to tears. I adored my American Lit professors (the toughest one pushed me harder than ever and I still respect him so much for it), but admit that after I read those books, they got stashed in a closet or sold at the end of school year for booze money…er, I mean…no. We all know I meant booze. I loved some of the books I read for American Lit (The Sun Also Rises, Slaughterhouse 5, Tender is the Night), but there’s a slim-to-none chance they get read again. Instead, they’ll sit proudly on my shelf as war heroes from the college years (because let’s face it, after 5-10 years of wear, tear, dust, and moving, they deserve a medal of appearance).

That’s why I don’t hate so hard on Twilight. I’ve read the books and while I could rant about them all day long, that’s just MY opinion (and boy, do I have ’em about that saga, but I digress). There are plenty of other readers who love them and I can’t argue that those books helped grab more readers for the rest of us. I would never get into a verbal brawl with a reader about them, because that’s simply what they enjoy. Harry Potter and Twilight helped put reading back on the map for a lot of people and I can’t fault that one bit. I LOVE people who love to read, who are passionate about a story, and want to encourage others to pick up a great book.

I certainly appreciate the hard work that goes into literary fiction, to the incredibly written pieces of work, but it’s not for me. I like my mystery thrillers, fantasy, paranormal YA, occasional chick lit, and humor books. I’ll even throw Fox Trot comics on top of that pile (I very seriously own every anthology). Maybe that makes me a shallow person, but I simply know what I like to read. Nonfiction can be occasionally interesting, but I’m super picky.

All the same, and I say this as a reader, not a writer, I think that everyone should simply read what they enjoy. Don’t force yourself to read something you feel is a waste of time. (Okay, obviously, this is for the non-school crowd. You guys know what I mean. I’m not encouraging homework mutiny. Write your papers and do your work, then you can read whatever you want.) But why read something you don’t really want to read?

And the complete opposite can be true for others: if you don’t like the fluff, don’t worry about it. Read the classics and heavily discuss them with other book lovers. There’s a niche for everyone and there’s no shame in what anyone reads. Sometimes I still turn red when I get odd looks in the YA section of stores (and high school girls still intimidate the hell outta me, so I don’t go near the section when they’re all standing there looking like queen bees. Yeah, it’s a weird thing), so at least now we have Kindles/Nooks when we’re feeling a little shy.

(Of course, if that’s the case, then I suppose I’m begrudgingly accepting others read stuff like 50 Shades, in which case have fun with that, but don’t come discussing it with me unless you want a rant with a bunch of frustrated noises and unladylike cursing. To each his own, but I’m gonna do my best to ignore erotica and/or crappy writing. In 50 Shades’ case, that’d be both. I’d say sorry, but I’m not.)

I know Gifted is for specific readers; if you don’t like fantasy, you’re probably not gonna have a great time at my circus. It’s not serious literature. It’s a fun, light read about a murder mystery at a supernatural circus. I know it’s not for everyone. AND THAT’S OKAY! You can put it down. Go ahead. I won’t take offense. (And to be honest, and I promise I’m not trying to show how ‘cool’ I am, but with all the drama in the book blogging world, I wish more authors would be laidback like I am about it.) I wouldn’t want to grumble my way through a book and wind up resenting the story or author. As many book bloggers have said, life is too short to read bad books. Read what you want. Have no shame–love what you read and share it with others like you!

Writing Characters: Layer ‘Em Like an Onion

When it comes to writing my characters, I’m all about layers. Occasionally, I’ll dive in and start writing scenes, especially ones I’ve been excited to write, but I like knowing my characters and how they’d react in their situation. One of the main reasons Lucy of Gifted is 21 years old is because I knew I couldn’t make her under 21–specifically because Lucy would never have the balls to sneak into a bar and drink underage. Lucy is brave, but not reckless (not usually, anyway) and is all about abiding rules and laws. It’s how she and her family stayed safe as gifted out in the human world for all those years.

https://i0.wp.com/www.digitalmediafx.com/Shrek/Images/Shrek10big.jpg

Shrek, the original onion layer, agrees that layers make a character.

For whatever reason, Gifted sort of simply came together for me. I mean, I worked hard on it and edited thousands of times to tie up all my loose ends, but sometimes it simply wrote itself through my fingers, my subconscious secretly piecing things together without my even realizing it. More importantly, the characters were almost a no-brainer. I knew almost immediately who they were, their roles in the story, what they looked like, and how their relationships with Lucy would evolve. I knew exactly how each person would react in any given situation. They were already old friends of mine and they nearly jumped off the page for me. I only had one major change with the characters–Renata, the Earthshaker we see a handful of times throughout, was actually a main player. I decided there were already lots of characters, so I scooted her to the background (though I kept in her big moment during a fight scene). After a while (like after the 2nd draft), I finally wrote everything down about the characters–their families, tics and habits, all of it. I made sure I knew those guys inside and out. And it took several layers that even led me to their secrets I might not have found otherwise had I not dug a little deeper.

When I say layer a character, I mean that’s my method of writing. I’d been having some difficulties with the WIP lately. When working on SuperNova, I couldn’t figure out why I was having such a blasted hard time with the characters. I could picture them in my mind, but I didn’t know them yet. Every scene I wrote sounded flat because despite my physical movements and settings, the voices were simply neutral. I could’ve traded them in for anyone. The last thing I want is Nova getting confused for Lucy. So last week, I took a step back and realized I’d skipped a step that I didn’t really have to do for my Gifted characters right away. I’d been so worried about getting the story out on paper that I didn’t take a good look at my characters, didn’t interview them or consider their thoughts and feelings.

Once I sit down to write characters, I spend pages and pages with them. Unless I’m acknowledging a relationship with another character in the book (brother/sister, love interest of, etc), the sole focus is that one person. I don’t just write about their appearance or how they react to things; I write about their fears, their insecurities, what makes them happy, their hopes and dreams, the tiny scar they have on their knee from 5th grade baseball, and so much more. I round out possible scenarios that I’ve outlined for the story and as I ask questions, I answer them along the way, cleaning up the loose ends that might be somewhere in the manuscript. For example, when writing about a new character, Penelope:

“Penelope Warner [age, physical description, role in story]…She’s younger, so more prone to jealousy and childishness…she’s bored and wants to stir up action…if [situation] occurred, she would [action]. When she first meets Nova, she thinks [thought]. How does she see her brother? When they are together [she acts this way], but if [character/situation] were to happen, maybe she’s [action].”

Sorry, I know that’s like the world’s worst Mad Lib, but you probably get the general idea (plus I know all the answers to those questions and I refuse to give spoilers before the first draft is even done!) 🙂 Once I’m done with the first layer, realizing who they are, I can move on to the next: placing them in scenes. Because I’ve already set up everything, I add in specifics, such as their facial expressions (reactions), tics (like Lucy’s finger tapping), or emotional reactions (Delia’s cookie problem). I also get little ideas within those scenes on how to move forward. Sometimes I get thrown for a loop, but often it leads to a helpful dose of detail later on in the book.

I have no doubt that layering sounds a little strange to some, just as other techniques might baffle me. However, it’s working for me in this strange little system. It’s like I’ve put all the ingredients together and now it’s time to bake the cake (I’ve got dessert on the brain). The point is, no matter how a writer composes their story, it’s important for us to know our characters inside and out. When they talk to you, write everything down! It doesn’t matter if family history or a random event in their life doesn’t make the cut–it makes the characters who they are. Those ideas shape them just as any of our pasts shape us. Brainstorming is fun and you’ll put all the pieces together eventually. Even if the details don’t make it into the story, it helps us to create our world and its people.

Dante’s Girl by Courtney Cole

Today I wanted to share amazing news about my friend Courtney Cole!! Her new title, Dante’s Girl, is officially ready for your reading pleasure! Without further ado, I present to you the first chapter of Dante’s Girl, below the cover and blurb (sorry for any wonky formatting, but I promise it doesn’t take away from the terrific writing!) I can’t WAIT to read this!! Congratulations Courtney!!

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Back Cover Blurb:

I have spent every summer since I was ten years old with my father in London. Every summer, since I was ten years old, has been uneventful and boring.

Until this year.

And this year, after a freak volcanic eruption strands me far from home, I have learned these things:

1. I can make do with one outfit for three days before I buy new clothes.
2. If I hear the phrase, “You’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto,” even one more time, I might become a homicidal maniac.
3. I am horribly and embarrassingly allergic to jellyfish.
4. I am in love with Dante Giliberti, who just happens to be the beautiful, sophisticated son of the Prime Minister of a Mediterranean paradise.
5. See number four above. Because it brings with it a whole slew of problems and I’ve learned something from every one of them.

Let’s start with the fact that Dante’s world is five light-years away from mine. He goes to black-tie functions and knows the Prime Minister of England on a first name basis. I was born and raised on a farm in Kansas and wear cut-off jeans paired with cowboy boots. See the difference?

But hearts don’t care about differences. Hearts want what they want. And mine just wants to be Dante’s girl.

My heart just might be crazy.

And here’s Chapter 1!! (Squee!!)

It is impossible to look hot in the dingy fluorescent light of an airport bathroom. Or as my best friend Becca would say, hawt. At this particular moment, I’m not hot or hawt. I make this revelation as I vigorously scrub at my arms and face and then use a wet paper towel under my pits. And what is it about peeing in an airport toilet ten times in a day that makes you feel so completely scummy? I glance around at the crumpled tissues strewn about on the scuffed floor and the dirty toilets peeking from behind half-closed doors and cringe. That answer is clearly ‘because of the germs’. Ack.

Trying not to think about it, I clean up the best I can. After running a brush through my hair, I stick a piece of gum in my mouth, apply a thin layer of lip gloss and call it good. I glance into the mirror and cringe. It isn’t good enough, but it will have to do. Very soon, I’ll put this dreadful four hour layover in Amsterdam behind me and before I even know it, I’ll be in London.

With my father.

For the summer.

It would be torture.

Just shoot me now.

And it’s not because I don’t love him, because I do. My reluctance doesn’t stem from lack of love. It comes from the deep-seeded fact that Alexander Ellis doesn’t understand me. He never has and he never will. It’s something that I’ve made my peace with and I’m not angry about it. I’m his only child and he works his life away as some top-secret agent for the NSA. His job is so secret that I don’t even know what he does. In my head, I imagine him jumping from helicopters and saving starving children in war torn areas. But in reality, I know he probably sits behind a desk and analyzes information from a satellite stream or a taped telephone conversation. I’m pretty sure that’s what the NSA does,
anyway. They aren’t the cool kind of spies.

Also, he isn’t exactly sure what to do with a daughter. I was supposed to have been a boy. Seventeen years ago,   sonograms apparently weren’t as absolute as they are today, because the technician told my parents that she was 99.9% sure that I was a boy. They painted my nursery blue and picked out my name and everything. I can only imagine the shocked horror on my father’s face when I was born with lady parts. Regardless, I know he loves me. Even though he had willingly given my mother full custody when they divorced years ago, I know he only did it because he works overseas so much and he isn’t exactly sure how to raise a girl. He does okay. But then again, I do have some reason to believe that he still pretends that I’m a boy, just to make it easier on himself. It’s fairly easy to do since I still have the boy name that they originally picked out.

With my head down, I trudge back out into the congested halls of Schiphol airport. Weary travelers bustle around me and I shift my bags so that I can pull the stubborn strap of my tank top back over my shoulder where it belongs. As I do, I crash into someone with enough force that my bags go flying out of my hands and scatter onto the ground under people’s feet.

“Son of a –“ I blurt before I even think.

“Buck?” a male voice offers helpfully.

Looking up, I stare into the most unique and beautiful shade of blue that a pair of eyes has ever possessed. Of that I am certain. Blue just shouldn’t be that multi-faceted and twinkling. There should be a law or something. Or at least a warning label: Caution, these eyes may cause female knees to tremble.

Before I can help it, I scan the rest of him. Sweet Mary. This guy had lucked out in the gene department. Tall, slender, beautiful. Honey colored hair that had natural highlights that could even catch the crappy airport light, broad shoulders, slim hips, long legs. He is tan and golden with a bright, white smile. I am surely staring at Apollo, the god of the sun. Probably with my mouth hanging open, which makes me realize that I must look like an idiot- the personification
of what foreigners think Americans to be. I snap my mouth closed.

“I’m sorry,” I say quickly, trying to still my racing heart. “Did I run into you?”

“Only a bit,” Apollo says gentlemanly, with a shrug of his strong shoulders. I can tell he is strong even through his shirt sleeves, which are snug across his toned biceps.

Sweet baby monkeys.

“How can someone run into someone else only by a bit?” I ask with a nervous smile as I kneel to retrieve my stuff. Please don’t let him smell me right now, I silently pray to any god who cares to listen. I am sure that at this point in my travels, I probably smell like soiled hamster bedding.

He bends next to me and picks up the contents of my spilled purse. He smells like sunshine. And rain. And everything beautiful that I can think of. I try not to cringe as his fingers grasp a tampon and slide it back inside my bag. He doesn’t even flinch, he just casually continues to pick up my things like he’s used to handling feminine hygiene products.

“Oh, it’s fairly easy, really,” he answers. He has an exotic sounding accent that I can’t place. “At least, when you’re not looking where you’re going.” My head snaps up and he laughs.

“I’m kidding,” he assures me as he extends an arm to me. Even his hand is graceful. I gulp as his fingers curl around mine. “You can bump into me any time you’d like.”

“Thanks,” I mumble. “I think.”

“I’m Dante,” he tells me, his impossibly blue eyes still twinkling.

“I’m Reece,” I answer with a sigh, already anticipating his reaction. “Yes, I know it’s a boy’s name.”

“You’re not a boy,” Dante observes. “Most definitely not a boy.”

Is that a note of appreciation in his voice? Surely not. I look like a bedraggled Shih Tzu.

“No, I’m not,” I agree. “I just don’t know that my dad ever got that memo.”

I look past Dante and find that he is alone. He seems to be about my age so that’s a little unusual in these circumstances. My parents had flown me as an ‘unaccompanied minor’ across the ocean for years, but other people’s parents are usually a little squeamish about that.

“I’m sure that fact hasn’t escaped him,” Dante tells me in amusement.

Why do his eyes have to sparkle so much? I usually go for brown-eyed guys. But this boy is most certainly making me re-think that stance.

“That’s debatable,” I sigh. Realizing that we are impeding the busy pedestrian traffic like a dam in a rushing river, I smile.

“Thank you very much for helping me pick up my things. Safe travels!”

I turn on my heel and pivot, walking quickly and what I hope is confidently in the other direction. Hitching my heavy purse up on my shoulder, I fight the urge to turn and look at him. Something about him is practically mesmerizing. But I don’t look. I keep walking, one foot in front of the other. When I reach the moving walkway, I hop on and focus ahead of me, eyes straight forward.

Don’t look back.

Don’t look back.

Don’t look back.

Regardless of my silent chanting, when I step from the walkway I discreetly check behind me. Apollo is nowhere to be seen. With a sigh, I continue on to the British Airways terminal. Only three short hours left until take-off. Plugging my earbuds into my ears, I settle into a seat and close my eyes.

***

“Excuse me, Reece?”

Before I even open my eyes, I know the sexy accent is coming from Apollo. I can feel his epic hotness emanating through my eyelids. I only hope that I haven’t been drooling in my sleep.

“Yes?” I ask as nonchalantly as I can while my eyes pop open. I try to discreetly smooth my hair down. In my head, I envision myself as Chewbacca from Star Wars and wince.

Dante hands me my phone, which must’ve fallen from my lap as I napped. “Are you on the flight to London?” he grins. “They’re boarding priority travelers now. I just thought you should know.”

Yikes. I had slept for three hours? In a noisy airport? I must have been super tired.

“Thank you,” I reply quickly, gathering my things in a rush. “I didn’t mean to fall asleep. I’m not a priority traveler, but I probably would have slept through general boarding. Thank you for waking me.”

I glance at him as I stand up and can’t help but do a double take. It isn’t easy to get used to his particular brand of sexy. He is laid-back, handsome and casual, which is a formula for utter female devastation. The impossible thing is that he doesn’t seem to realize it. He’s effortlessly sophisticated and chic.

“Well, you’re awake now and that’s the important thing. Have a nice trip, Reece,” Dante grins once more before he joins a group of men who are apparently waiting for him. I was wrong, I guess. He isn’t alone after all. The men close around him in a tight circle and they board the plane with the other passengers with first class tickets. He’s on my flight.

I gulp and find a place in line with the other travelers flying coach. As the richer, better-dressed passengers file past us, I feel a little like a bumpkin in rumpled clothing. Even though I travel to London every summer to visit my dad, I live in rural America the rest of the year. And all of a sudden, I feel like I am wearing a blinking neon sign proclaiming that very fact. The clothing that had seemed sophisticated to travel in this morning now seems like it was hand-made in someone’s
backwoods shed.

And it so makes sense that Apollo is in first class. He smells like a beautiful sunrise in a wooded meadow. Oh, my gosh. What is wrong with me? Where did that come from? I am totally being as corny as an erectile dysfunction commercial.

I roll my eyes at my own absurdity and hand my ticket to the heavily made-up flight attendant who is waiting to take it. She glances at it and then at me before she stamps my passport and hands it back.
“Have a nice flight, Miss Ellis,” she tells me before turning her attention to the passenger behind me.
Yeah, right.

I like flying almost as much as I like having dental work. Or having my fingernails pulled out one by one. Or having paper cuts sliced onto my legs and then lemon juice poured onto them. Just about that much. Filing down the narrow aisle through first class, I can’t help but search out Apollo.

It doesn’t take long to find him. He is situated by the window in a wide, leather first- class seat. He’s already covered in a warm blanket and looks like he is settling in for the hour long flight. As I move closer to him, his eyes pop open and meet mine, the electric blue of his almost causing me to gasp aloud. He smiles slightly as I pass and his gaze doesn’t waver from mine.

I find myself wishing that I could sit next to him. Not only because of the lavish first class seats, although those would be nice too. But rather, there is something in the air between Dante and me. I can feel it, an instant connection. I can practically reach out and touch it. I’ve never experienced chemistry like this in my life. It’s the kind that seems corny when you read about it in books, but in real life, it is anything but. It is simply electrifying. Ripping my eyes from his, I continue down the aisle and find my seat.

Taking a deep breath, I stash my carry-on in the overhead bin and slump into the window seat, trying not to hyperventilate as my fear of flying suddenly overwhelms me while the cramped airplane closes in around me.

Deep breath in.

Deep breath out.

Repeat.

I watch the flight crew below me loading the bags into the belly of the plane. What if they dislodge the landing gear while they are messing around down there? What if they don’t check the systems well enough and we die in a fiery crash? What if the metal holding the plane together rips off in the air and peels away like tissue paper?

Deep breath in.

Deep breath out.

Repeat.

I might die.

Seriously.

I listen impatiently as the flight attendants give their safety spiel and motion toward the exits like they are NFL referees with dumb tiny scarves around their necks. I just need for them to get on with it. Just let us taxi out and take-off and then I will be perfectly fine once we are in the air. My hands get clammy and my ears start to roar.

Why am I such a freak?

Deep breath in.

Deep breath out.

Repeat.

You freaking flight attendants.

Hurry.

Up.

I’m just getting ready to shove my earbuds back in to distract myself when Dante appears next to me like a savior or an angel or something of equal beauty and importance.

“Is this seat taken?” he smiles and I notice a dimple in his right cheek that I hadn’t noticed before. How had I missed a dimple?

“Um, not that I know of,” I answer weakly, trying not to die from heart palpations. “But the seat belt sign is on. You’re not supposed to be out of your seat.”

Fabulous. Now I sound like a hall monitor with a heart problem.

Dante shrugs without seeming worried.

“I think it will be okay,” he answers. “We’re not even on the runway yet.”

“Good point.”

“Can I sit here? I’m bored up front.”

I nod, my palms instantly clammier. “I hope you brought your blanket. You won’t get much back here except for a bag of peanuts.”

And now I sound like a cheap hall monitor with a heart problem. I’m presenting myself better and better by the moment.

Dante smiles yet again and sits next to me. He brings his charming accent with him and the scent of his amazing cologne. I take a deep breath. He smells far better than the stale airplane air. Far better. I fight the urge to jump into his lap and inhale his neck, a maneuver that just might make me appear slightly insane.

“You look pretty pale,” he observes as he buckles up. “Are you afraid to fly?”

“Is it that obvious?” I ask quietly. “As much as I’ve flown in my lifetime, I should be used to it. But I’m afraid that’s never going to happen. Once I’m in the air for awhile, I’ll be fine, but until then… well, I’m terrified. I admit it.”

“Don’t worry,” Dante tells me quietly, his voice calm and reassuring. “There’s nothing to be afraid of. You’re more likely to get into a–”

“Car crash rather than die in a plane crash,” I interrupt. “Yes, I know. I’ve heard. Where are you from?” I ask curiously, half out of genuine curiosity and half out of the need to distract myself. “You have the most interesting accent.”

He smiles, his teeth brilliantly white. I decide on the spot that I could watch him smile all day long.
“Caberra,” he answers, reminding me that I had asked a question. “It’s an island near Greece. And you?”

“Like you don’t know that I’m American,” I chuckle. “I know it’s written all over me. I’m sure you’re a fan, right?”

“Of Americans?” he raises a golden eyebrow. “Of course. I love them. I have no reason not to. They bring a lot of tourist dollars to Caberra.”

“Well, we are a land of excess,” I admit. “But that’s usually what foreigners seem to hate about us.”

Dante stares at me for a moment and then smiles. “Well, I can’t speak for all foreigners, but I don’t hate Americans. And you’re not in America right now, are you?”

I shake my head. “No, I am most certainly not.”

“Well, then. You’re the foreigner now.” He grins and I can’t help but smile back. He has a point.

The pilot gets on the intercom and his nasally voice drones on and on, but I am able to tune it out as I engage in conversation with a boy who is surely a direct descendent of the gods. There is no other plausible explanation for his good looks or charm. I barely even hear the words that come out of Dante’s mouth, because I am so mesmerized by the shape of his lips as he moves them. Pathetic, I know, but true. One thing about me: I don’t lie to myself. I might stretch the truth for my parents from time to time when necessary, but never to myself. And I’m pathetically fascinated by this boy.

Finally, the aircraft shudders a bit and noses forward and I startle, gripping the arms of my seat. My fingers turn white and I am certain that I am leaving permanent indentions in the cracked vinyl arm-rests.

“Don’t worry,” Dante says quietly, unpeeling one of my hands and grasping it within his own. “It will be fine.”

The feel of his hand distracts me. Strong and warm, it cups my own carefully, like he is holding something very fragile. I close my eyes and enjoy the feeling. I only have a couple of minutes to soak it in, however. As the plane moves down the runway in preparation for take-off, something happens. Something isn’t right. Our plane rocks a little, then quivers, like it is being moved by a strong gust of wind. I feel it a brief moment before Dante tightens his grip on my hand, a split second
before light explodes from outside of my eyelids. I open them to discover fire tearing down the runway past my window. Before I can react or even scream, all hell breaks loose.

Character Interview: Gabriel Knight

Today, we’ve got another character interview, this time with Donovan Circus member Gabriel Knight. Sarcastic, apathetic, and oh-so-hot, he does a terrific job of driving Lucy arms-on-fire crazy. I’ll admit sometimes Gabriel is an enigma even to me, but his wit, charm, personality, and good looks make him a great character to write. (Okay, maybe not his good looks. It’s just fun to imagine how pretty he is.)

For those of you who haven’t read Gifted yet, avert thy eyes if you plan to avoid ALL spoilers. Gabriel’s gift is a bit of a mystery for the first few chapters of the book, so if you don’t wanna know, just a warning. Though his gift is a surprise, it in no way gives away major plot details or spoilers.

Character: Gabriel Knight, main character
Role: Anti-hero, eventual love interest for Lucy
Age: 26
Gift: Empath

Q. Tell us about your Gift and your role around the circus grounds.
A. Jesus Christ, do I really have to do this? *looks around with a mixture of boredom and irritation*

Q. Would you rather Lucy give the interview?
A. *Grimaces, sighs and lights a cigarette* Oh, all right. I help around the grounds–usually working on machinery or moving animal cages. I’m an Empath, but I don’t really use it to its full advantage.

Q. What’s that mean exactly?
A. I’ve had some control issues in the past. Depending on strength and skill, Empaths can feel, control, and warp others’ emotions, as well as take them completely for their own, leaving the person more like a shell than a vibrant, emotional being. I do my best not to screw with people anymore.

Q. Gah, okay. How about some happier questions….What’s your favorite act in the show?
A. Hmmm…*grins* Lucy’s.

Q. She doesn’t have an act…
A. …Yet! She will in another few months and I promise she’ll astound. Even if she doesn’t believe it.

Q. Tell us one of the hardest things about being in a traveling circus.
A. I’m not exactly what one would call a team player and I’m a pretty private person, so the fact that there are always tons of people around drives me nuts. Plus, people gossip way too much.

Q. Anything about you we’d be surprised to know?
A. I’m great in bed. No, wait, you said something you’d be surprised to know. *grins* Actually, I’m a huge Kurt Vonnegut fan. “So it goes,” am I right?

Q. What do you do when you’re not preparing for a show?
A. More than likely trying to escape Lucy’s incessant questions and arguments. That girl could argue with a rock and probably win. She just kinda wears you down until you give in.

Q. And finally, who would play you in a movie?
A. That’s easy–that Alexander guy, he’s Swedish, right? I’m from the South but  he plays Eric on that True Blood show. We’re both blond, muscular, and very fun in the shower. Minus the fangs (because no one wants to be a vampire except vampires), of course, but he’s almost as good-looking as me.

Well…I may need to go fan myself off. Arrogant, rudely blunt, yet charming enough to practically “undo a chick’s bra with a wink” as Lucy says, Gabriel is a character I expect to stick around for a while. Happy Thursday friends!