Dear readers, tonight with us is a young woman, dragged from her job in a coffee shop into a world of witches and vampires, faeries and enchanted gems. She is here to tell us about her adventures.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
I grew up in shitty mildewed apartments in New Jersey, several different cities, always in the cheap area of town. My childhood memories are full of yelling and fighting, at first with my mom and dad and then later with my mom and stepdads. I left as soon as I graduated high school and never looked back. The only positive memories I have were of my brother, and of the dojo. Now I live in Seabingen, a medium-sized city in the far Northwestern corner of the U.S.
What do you do now?
I’m the Dayrunner to the Vampire Guild Leader. It’s like an executive assistant, but with a lot more violence and magic. For a long time I was trying to make ends meet by selling the trees and floral arrangements I made, in addition to working at my brother’s coffee shop, but the Vampire Guild pays real money and has good benefits. That will come in handy if I get shot or break my arm again.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
So much has changed since I inherited the jewel from my uncle Fred! Who knew that something as simple as being able to see magic would change my life that much? But it’s saved my life a few times. Learning how to make myself invisible has also saved my life. And being able to make stakes that kill vampire—it’s not supposed to even be possible. If that faerie hadn’t taught me how to do it, I’d probably be dead by now. I think I can credit some of that to the blade that Yseulta gave me.
Do you think you’ll ever encounter Yseulta again?
You know, I keep having these dreams about her. When I walk through the park, I think I see dryads out of the corner of my eye, only to have them disappear when I turn my head. And that blade, it’s impossible to lose. I’ve deliberately left it behind on camping trips only to have it turn up in my pocket. When I think about the strega in the pizza shop who said I was marked by an Old One, I think that must be who she was referring to.
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
In the movies when people are involved in a shoot out with someone, everyone remains calm and has good aim. But when I had to shoot those assassins, I was terrified, absolutely terrified. Tolstoy says I’ll get used to it in time. I think the vampires know about what happened in the Guild House that night, but they may not know about the other ones.
What is the worst thing about working for vampires?
The gossiping. I swear, vampires are the worst. The worst. Everybody’s up in everyone else’s business and they all have grudges going back decades, or farther. Some of them ignore me since I won’t sell blood to them, and others treat me like the human mascot in a vampire fraternity. Also, having to get up before dawn kind of sucks.
What is the best thing about it?
Having a powerful patron has really opened doors for me. I’m learning witchcraft, even though I don’t identify as Pagan. That took some pull. Except for the fact that he will kill anyone who crosses him, he’s a good boss. He’s investing in my education and I can pretty much set my own hours. Plus, if I need someone to disappear, I know people who can make it happen.
Tell us a little about your friends.
My oldest friend in town is Silvara, who gave me work when I needed it and always has good advice. She’s a handy person to know because she’s the Pagan avatar and holds a lot of political sway. I don’t have a lot of friends I really trust. I mean, there’s Jackie and Chris and Elaina, but basically, outside of James and Fenwick, no one is really in my inner circle.
Any romantic involvement?
They say you only get one shot at true love. I don’t think I’ll ever love anyone as much as Fenwick.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
I don’t hold grudges. If someone is not actively trying to kill me, I mostly ignore them.
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
Tea (preferably chai) not coffee. Favorite color is orange, favorite flower is the bird of paradise and my favorite thing to do in my days off (besides try to learn more magic) is drink beer and shoot pool with Fenwick.
What does the future hold for you?
I’ve been told I have a natural gift at magic. Maybe that’s true, but it takes so much work to learn the smallest thing. I want to be great. I want people to say “she’s good” without adding “for a human” after it.
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
In high school I took up shoplifting because there was never enough food at home. I shoplifted crazy things; cans of food, fruit, and once a package of hot dogs. I think I survived mostly on stolen food for my entire sophomore year. When I had money, I spent it on comic books instead. The one time I got caught (and arrested) it was because I’d decided to use my money to buy food and shoplift the comic book. I’d nicked a comic book and stuffed it down my pant leg. What gave me away is that I was walking funny because I didn’t want to crease the cover.
Kater Cheek is the author of many urban fantasy novels, including the Kit Melbourne series and the Alternate Susan series. She was also the creator of the chicken comic Coop de Grace. Her short work has appeared in various anthologies including The Steampunk User’s Manual and the best selling anthology The Living Dead.
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