Dear readers, tonight with me is a gifted martial artist, a non-human, shape-shifting Kin who fights the supernatural elements in our world.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
Well, not to be evasive, but a lady should never discuss her age. And while I’m really no lady, I’ve been around for more than a few normal human lifespans, me not being human and all. Well, not all human, anyway. So where I grew up is hard to describe. It was rural in a way nowhere really is any more, on the west coast of Scotland. My childhood was one of pastoral bliss, really, with my mother. I never knew my father, but if I ever find him, I plan to kill him. My early years were spent crofting, living with the land, and I had no idea of the greater world out there. I heard talk of the English and how they weren’t our friends, but I was too young to really understand. Too young to care, I suppose. It wasn’t until I hit puberty that what I am became apparent and then my mother sought help. We ended up in London and that’s when Joseph found us, and explained what the Kin are. What I was. In truth, that’s the point at which I really grew up.
Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
I never had much as a child, we were dirt poor. But I did have a carved wooden cat and I think that maybe I was so drawn to that toy because of my inner nature. I didn’t know it yet. But every Kin has a preferred shape. Mine turned out to be feline, a kind of panther is the best way to describe what I shift into, and I think somewhere deep inside I knew that. I’ve always had an affinity for cats. There was an old tabby at the croft and when I was only about 5 or 6 years old she had a litter right under the hay in one corner of a small barn. I didn’t tell anyone, just protected her, and watched those kittens grow. So very long ago, but I still miss that cranky old tabby like a lost limb. Not counting my mother, she was the first thing I ever loved. When Albert, a crofter across the valley, heard about my love of cats, he carved me that wooden one and I treasured it, made it smooth and shiny with handling.
Do you still have it?
I do, but I’ll never tell another soul where it is. Actually, that’s not true. Alex knows where it is, because he saw it when I moved down to the south coast with him. He asked about it and I told him what I’ve just told you, then I put it safely away. It’s the only thing from my pre-Kin life and it’s special.
What do you do now?
Well, since we signed up with Armour, every day is a new adventure! That’s not entirely true, of course. I mean, I know you’re really interested to hear about the great Alex Caine, right? He’s all stubborn and not especially talkative, which is why you’re talking to me. But I’m afraid that whether it’s about me or Alex, I can’t tell you much. I shouldn’t even admit that we work for Armour, but you already knew so it seems pointless to deny it. But let’s just say the threats that occasionally rise up, the weird and supernatural stuff that regular police and governments can’t handle, are infrequent but all too real. Alex and I are among many who deal with them, as best we can.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
Well, I guess I can tell you something about the last couple of years seeing as you already know some. It started when Alex was cursed by Uthentia’s grimoire. That ancient chaotic entity attached itself to him and tried to use Alex’s latent magical power to destroy the world. Just your usual Tuesday, you know? The trouble was, Alex also found the Darak stone, which made him even more powerful and that spelled potential disaster for the world. With my help, and the help of many others, we managed to get on top of that situation. Mostly.
What did you first think when you met Alex?
I thought he was a poor doomed bastard, which was a shame because he was super cute. But it turned out he was stronger than any of us gave him credit for.
Wasn’t a lot of that strength down to you?
Well, that’s kind of you to say. I mean sure, I guided him where I could, but the strength was all his really. At least, once he stopped moping and complaining and decided to fight, anyway. After all, Alex Caine is one of the best fighters in the world. He was already one of the best martial artists in the mortal realm before he discovered… everything else.
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
Holy crap, dude, take your pick. Elder gods, evil Fey queens, lunatic humans with more money than sense, the list goes on and on. We’re finding new things to be scared of every week, it seems.
What is the worst thing about working for Armour?
I guess it’s the loss of freedom. I never used to care about anyone except myself, and maybe Joseph. He took me into his Den all those years ago, after all, and has been a father to me. But now we have an organisation to answer to. On the one hand, the sense of purpose is good. But I do miss not giving a shit about anything!
What is the best thing about it?
Making a difference, I guess? And the pay is good. Like, really good! We don’t have to worry about that any more, so my catwoman crime sprees to keep money in my pocket are less essential. I still keep my paw in though, just in case…
Tell us a little about your friends.
Man, we’ve lost a lot of friends recently. In truth, Alex and I were both loners before all this. We found each other and I wouldn’t change that for anything, but it works best when it’s just him and me. We’re a good team. We have buddies – inside Armour and out – but it’s probably better if I don’t tell you who they are.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
Apart from the Fey? Those evil fuckers are an eternal enemy, but I think we’ve struck some decent blows lately. And that rich asshole, Hood. If I reserved hate for anyone not Fey, it would be him. The worst of humanity in a single package.
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
I’m a single malt scotch gal, it’s the Scottish heritage, I suppose. I like nothing better than a quiet remote cottage, a roaring fire, a bottle of good single malt, and no one around me for miles.
What does the future hold for you?
Well, Alex has this pretty kick-ass sword that almost certainly has a history worth learning. I think maybe we’re going to look into that. Should be interesting!
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
There’s someone I want Alex to meet. It might be bad for both of us, but something tells me it could be worth it. Some things are born from pain, you know? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Alan Baxter is a British-Australian multi-award-winning author of horror, supernatural thrillers, and dark fantasy. He’s also a martial arts expert, a whisky-soaked swear monkey, and dog lover. He creates dark, weird stories among dairy paddocks on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia, where he lives with his wife, son, and hound. He is the author of nearly twenty books including novels, novellas, and two short story collections, so far. He doesn’t like eggplant.
You can find Silhouette on the pages of the Alex Caine Series, starting with Bound.
Join us next week to hear from a newly elevated lord, questioned about his clandestine service to the royal family. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.