Welcome to the first part of the character Q&A celebrating the release of Daican's Heir! It's been a LONG time coming. Enjoy! And don't forget to stop by Instagram or Facebook to enter the Daican's Heir giveaway bundle!
I slide off my blue and black dragon and untie the basket secured behind the saddle. Of course, I can’t show up to one of these sessions empty-handed. My characters surely expect yummy treats by now as consolation for making them answer questions. I then crunch through the icy snow toward Jace and Kyrin’s cabin. At least Landale didn’t get as much snow this year as the previous year.
At the door, I knock, and Kyrin opens it a moment later with a smile. “Welcome. Come in.”
I thank her and step into the cozy cabin. Jace smiles and nods at me from where he is stoking the fire across the room. After over ten years of this writing adventure, I think my characters have finally excepted that I knew what I was doing despite all the hardship I put them through. We’ll see if the others are as happy to see me as Kyrin and Jace are.
I hold up the basket. “Kyrin, I know you said you would make shortbread cookies, but I did bring a couple of extra things I’m sure Kaden will enjoy.”
She takes the basket so I can slip off my coat. “I’m sure he will. It was the one thing he said he was looking forward to about another one of these sessions.”
“Well, you guys did get a nice, long break from having to answer questions. I have a feeling, now that the series is over and everyone is more or less settled, most of you won’t mind the questions so much.”
“You’re probably right. Even Jace isn’t as nervous.” Kyrin sets the basket on the table and smiles at him.
He shrugs. “Can’t be worse than what we’ve already been through.”
I half laugh, half snort. “That’s for sure. Especially after this last book.”
Before either of them can comment on that, the door opens behind me. I turn as Kaden, Talas, Marcus, Liam, Holden, Rayad, Timothy, and Leetra file in. I shiver at the chill air that comes in with them. I really don’t like the cold.
They greet me with far more cheer than in previous encounters. I was right in my prediction that they would feel more relaxed now that they don’t have to wonder what I’m going to do to them next. As far as they know, anyway… Little stories could pop up, though they would probably just be fun stories. Nothing too crazy or awful.
It takes a bit of shuffling for everyone to find seats around or near the table. Kaden reaches for the basket Kyrin set there and peeks inside.
“What did you bring us this time?”
“I brought one of my favorites—no-bake cookies.”
Kaden raises a brow. “How can cookies not be baked?”
I reach into the basket and pull out the full container. “Because they are basically chocolate and peanut butter fudge with oatmeal, not actual cookies.”
He looks more than willing to try it out as he takes one from the container. After a bite, he lifts both brows. “Okay, these are good.”
I take a seat in the middle of everyone as Kyrin finishes serving coffee or tea to the group and reach into my pocket for the stack of question cards. “Shall we begin?”
Kyrin takes her seat next to Jace. “Might as well.”
I start to flip through the cards, but my eye catches on Talas, who is lounging next to Kaden. “Hold up a minute. Talas, what are you doing here? I told you I didn’t have any questions for you this time.”
“What, you think I’d miss sitting in and listening to everyone have to answer invasive questions? This is awesome. I just get to sit back and relax and laugh.”
He grins, and I shake my head. Just because I don’t have any reader questions doesn’t mean I can’t think of a few they would like answered. I’m about to go on but pause again, this time on Holden.
“Wait, you don’t have any questions either.”
He shrugs. “Moral support.”
“Fair enough. Okay, first question…” I stop at one of the cards. “Since we were just talking about food, here is a question for Kyrin from Tito. Do you think you and your mother are starving Kaden?”
Kaden’s head falls back with a dramatic sigh, and Kyrin laughs.
“Are you kidding me? No, we definitely do not starve him. If he’s that hungry, he’s more than capable of making his own food.”
Kaden rolls his eyes. “After almost ten years of this, people are still stuck on the fact that I like food, huh?”
I shrug. “You’ve got to love a good running joke.”
“They do realize I was a teenager for most of this story, right? Teenage guys like to eat.”
“Of course, but it’s still fun to tease you about it. It just means we love you.”
“All right, whatever.”
But I can tell he’s not actually bothered by it.
“Let’s go with another easy question. Karen wants to know how old everyone is. So, as far as everyone here currently, Jace is twenty-three, Kyrin and Kaden are twenty, and Marcus and Talas are twenty-six. Actually, Daniel is twenty-six too. Leetra is twenty, Timothy is twenty-two, and Liam is twenty-three.” I pause to look over at Rayad. “You just turned sixty, right?”
Then I turn to Holden. “You know, I never did find out your age. Would you mind sharing with everyone?”
“Oh, my age. Cool! At least now I don’t feel quite so old around all these young people. It’s crazy. When I first started this series, I was just a couple of years older than Jace was at the time. Now I’m only a few years younger than his mom.”
Kaden makes a face. “That’s just…weird.”
“I know, isn’t it? But it’s been over ten years for me and only three for you all. I’ve been on this adventure with you guys for a long time.” I flip to another card. “Since we’re sharing such information, Rebecca wants to know how tall you guys are. She knows Jace is six three and Kyrin is five seven”. And if nobody caught on, Kaden and Jace are the same height. But what about the rest of you?”
Marcus glances around and answers first. “I’m right at about six foot. I definitely didn’t get the Veshiron genes when it came to height.”
He looks over at Liam, who shrugs. “I’m a little over six three.”
I shake my head. “You all make my five foot five feel tiny.”
Talas grins. “Not all of us.”
“Well, yeah, technically, most of you are average height or under, but I still feel tiny.” I tip my head. “Since you went and spoke up, how tall are you?”
He sits up straighter. “Five eight, which is actually on the taller side for a crete.”
I shift my attention to Kyrin. “How tall is Ronny now?”
“Well, I think he’s pretty much as tall as me now, so about five seven”, but I have a feeling he’s going to surpass that very quickly now. Soon I’ll be the shortest one in the family besides my mother.”
“Yeah, I went through the same thing with my brothers.” I look around the table. “As far as the rest of you go, the only ones not an average height are Timothy and Leetra. Timothy, you’re about the same height as Kyrin, and Leetra, you’re right at five foot, right?”
She nods, but I know full well she has enough fierceness to fully make up for any lack of height.
“And just for the record, in case anyone is wondering,” I say as I look for another question, “The General is six foot five, so he’s pretty much taller than anyone save for Sam, Tane, and the giants.”
“There’s a good reason he’s so intimidating,” Kyrin adds.
“All right, we should probably delve into some real questions.” I focus on her. “How about we start with you this time?”
She takes a deep breath. “What do you have for me?”
“This one isn’t too deeply personal yet. Rebecca wants to know, if Aric marries your mother, will Rayad still be the main father figure to you? And how do you feel about the possibility?”
“Well, Rayad and Aric both mean a lot to me. They’ve both been instrumental in my life. I do think Rayad will probably be in my life more than Aric will, so I suppose Rayad will continue to fill that role as a primary father figure.” She and Rayad trade a smile. “As for how I feel about my mother and Aric, I’m very happy for them. I want someone at her side who will love her and care for her. Ronny is growing up so fast. It won’t be long before he’s doing his own thing, and then she won’t have anyone she is actively taking care of. I think that would be very difficult for her if she was alone.” Her expression sobers. “Especially now that Michael is gone too.”
Sadness fills the room, and I squirm guiltily. I clear my throat. “I guess since we’re on the topic, now would be a good time to ask one of Karen’s questions. How is your family coping with what happened?”
Kyrin sighs. The tears in her eyes make me feel even worse, but I did have a reason for what happened to Michael. Both William and Michael’s deaths opened eyes and triggered positive changes in others. Not that it will make her feel much better at the moment.
“We’re coping about as well as can be expected. It’s hard, but we have to keep living and fighting for our futures.”
Jace puts his hand on her shoulder, and she smiles tearfully at him. “It helps to have loved ones close.”
I glance around at the others, who are all nodding quietly. “I have one more question for you and your brothers pertaining to Michael. Rebecca would like to know what your favorite memory is with him?”
“It’s hard to pick just one.” Kyrin smiles wistfully. “One thing I’ll always cherish was the way he, Ronny, and Kaden interacted once we were reunited. Kaden and I didn’t have much of a childhood, so seeing Kaden recapture a little of that with Michael and Ronny was really special.”
Kaden nods, his eyes a little watery. “Yeah, those were good times.”
Marcus clears his throat, but his voice is a bit thick. “I’ll never forget the way it was whenever Liam and I would come home after a while spent at the fort. Michael would be glued to us the entire time, asking all kinds of questions. He really wanted to be a soldier.”
Now I clear my throat, feeling a little choked up as well, and look for a question to help ease the sadness. “How about a question for me. E. Dison thinks you all are amazing and wants to know how I came up with all the different characters in the story. I guess there’s no short answer to that. All of you have come from so many different bits of inspiration and situations. The idea for Jace was initially inspired by Bardon in DragonQuest by Donita K. Paul, and that’s what set off the whole series. Trask and Anne were inspired by Robin Hood and Marian, which is kind of obvious. Most characters developed through a variety of ways. I never quite know when or how inspiration for a character will strike. Take Davira, for instance. She didn’t exist when I first started writing Resistance. I was a few chapters in when I came across a photo I had saved on my computer, and my brain just instantly went, ‘That’s Daican’s daughter.’ That one photo then impacted the entire series. I don’t even remember what was supposed to happen in the end before that. So yeah, characters can be inspired by other fictional characters in books, movies, TV, or come from something as simple as a single photo.”
I notice Kaden giving me a look. “What?”
“You’re saying we had to deal with Davira nearly destroying our lives because of a photo?”