Dear readers, tonight with us is the chief thief-catcher for the emperor, and his second in command — a rather mischievous sprite. They’re here to talk about their quirky magical mystery adventures.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
Ned: I grew up in Fidelia with my parents and brother. It’s a coast town like many others I guess except…
Jenni: Yor Dad was ‘ead of T.A.R.T.S and yor bruvver took over and made it even more evil. Only ‘e ain’t yor bruvver or yor Dad.
Ned: Yeah, just found that out. A lot to take in.
Jenni: Specially as you killed yor bruvver. It were self-defence though, Boss.
Jenni: Whereas me, I’m a fae ain’t I, so I was born in the grove. Me mum is Momma K, you’ve ‘eard of ‘er. Queen of the Fae and that. Me dad I just met so I can’t really say much.
Ned: He’s no pillar of society though, is he?
Jenni: Nah. S’good job we got each uvver in Roshaven, eh?
Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
Ned: Just the usual really, wooden swords and toy bows and arrows. That sort of stuff.
Jenni: Yeah but you grew up in a big ‘ouse though, didn’t you? Wiv servants and stuff. You got taught to fence and ride and all that malark. S’not wot people get usually, Boss.
Ned: I left all that behind when I moved away from Fidelia and came here to Roshaven. Started afresh.
Jenni: True. Now you got a real sword. I never ‘ad a sword or nuffink like that. Didn’t need it being fae. Just snap me fingers and I’d get wotever I wanted. Corse that all changed when I ‘ad me coming of age ceremony and then there were the whole fing wiv the Source but I don’t fink we can talk about that, can we?
Ned: Not yet, Jenni. The book came out on 12th November, but we don’t want to spoil it for the readers.
Jenni: Right, right. I wos a ‘appy kid though. Always in everyfink, you know wot it’s like. Fun times.
What do you do now?
Ned: I’m Chief Thief-Catcher here in Roshaven. It’s my job to run the team and keep the empire safe from the criminal element.
Jenni: And I’m ‘is right ‘and fae.
Ned: That’s right, Jenni is my second in command. We also have Willow, a tree nymph, Joe, a regular human and Sparks, a firefly. We are actually looking for new recruits so if you think you’ve got what it takes to keep the streets of Roshaven safe then do pop in to Headquarters for a chat.
Jenni: And don’t go to the old ones on Justice ‘Eights. We ain’t there no more. Not after it got burnt down again again. We’re in The Noose, on the corner of the Black Narrows. Can’t miss us. Curry Night special on Thursdays.
Ned: We both joined the Catchers at the same time. It’s a funny story actually, involving a potato…
Jenni: Yeah, but we can’t talk about that eivver, Boss. It’s coming up, innit. When she wot does the writing sorts out the Case Files.
Ned: Yes, that’s right. There will be more Case Files coming your way, detailing some of our more interesting cases.
Jenni: Like the runaway cheese. And the Tea Cake Alley riots.
Ned: Best not to say too much more.
Jenni: Rightchoo are, Boss. ‘Ere, did you always wanna be a catcher? I tried a few fings first afore I knew. Didn’t get on wiv any of ‘em. And I definitely ain’t gonna be the next Queen of the Fae. No fank you!
Ned: I knew I wanted to do something in the opposite direction to my family.
Jenni: Them’s being thieves and vagabonds and evil and wotnot.
Ned: Erm, yeah. And I saw a notice in The Daily Blag about recruitment for the Catchers so I thought I’d go along. That was when…
Jenni: Boss! We can’t tell ‘em, remember? They gotta wait for the Case File to find out wot ‘appened.
Ned: Yes, sorry.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
Jenni: We just ‘ad the most epic to and eight wiv the Sea Witch. You know ‘er wot ‘as ‘er own shanty? You not ‘eard it? It’s well good, goes like this:
“There once was an evil witch o’ sea
Who would gladly try to capture thee
When the winds whipped up and the boat sank low
She’ll stretch her hand and strike her blow”
Ned: I think that’s enough, Jenni. There’s a fair few verses.
Jenni: Yeah but I ain’t got to the good bit yet.
Ned: Why don’t we share the YouTube video link? Then people can go listen to it if they want to?
Jenni: S’ppose. Fink I sing it better to be ‘onest.
Ned: You can listen to the author singing the Sea Witch Shanty here: https://youtu.be/e7mXFjw6zfE
Jenni: Can’t really say anyfink else can we?
Ned: Well we can tell them that the Spice Ghost thought you stole their bones.
Jenni: Which I didn’t!
Ned: And that they threatened Roshaven if we didn’t get them back.
Jenni: Which we did. Ventually.
Ned: And that we had to go to see the Sea Witch in her cave to ask for the bones back. But I think that’s probably as much as we can give away right now.
Jenni: You forgot the crabs. There wos a lot of crabs.
What is the worst thing about being a Thief-Catcher?
Jenni: I ain’t too keen on getting up early.
Ned: We get a lot of missing cat reports.
Ned: Why are you laughing?
Jenni: It wos all the same cat!
Ned: Still a lot of paperwork though. I think that’s the worst bit.
Jenni: Fun making forts out of it though, Boss.
Ned: You’re supposed to file it, not build with it.
Jenni: That’s Joe’s job, not mine.
What is the best thing about it?
Ned: Catching bad guys is obviously a win.
Jenni: And you met Rose. That’s his wife. She’s Empress of Roshaven an’all. ‘E don’t like to brag about it, though.
Ned: We uphold the law and keep Roshaven safe for all it’s citizens. I don’t think you could ask for a more rewarding job.
Jenni: Plus we end up in life or death situations all the time so it keeps you on yor toes. Always meeting new people. And there’s usually baked goods of some kind.
Ned: Mmm. We recommend the cinnamon twists from Agi’s.
Jenni: Yeah, and the pizzas from Gariboldi’s not Garibaldi’s, though. They’re rank.
Tell us a little about your friends.
Ned: Um, the catcher team is like family really, wouldn’t you say, Jenni?
Jenni: Yeah. Plus we got Fred. E’s like this plonker of a palace guard.
Ned: Jenni! Fred is not a plonker. He’s a very earnest young man. I think he’d make great Catcher material.
Jenni: You’d better ‘ave a word wiv ‘er wot writes it then.
Ned: And we’ve got Pearl, the mermaid.
Jenni: Wouldn’t swim wiv ‘er on a dark night.
Ned: Kira, High Priestess at the Druid Grove. Sister Eustacia – always ready for a chat and a honey cake. Then there’s Jimmy Fingers, he’s good in a pinch. And Ma Bowl makes the best pie you’ve ever eaten.
Jenni: You forgot Griff, yor real Dad.
Any romantic involvement?
Jenni: Ned and Rose just got married. So ‘e’s like an even more important person that ‘e wos before. But ‘e keeps ‘is ‘ouse on Wide Street in case ‘e needs five minutes and that. That’s where I live. When I ain’t in the Grove.
Ned: Yes, thank you, Jenni. It’s true, I am husband to Rose, Empress of Roshaven, but she’s very down to earth. A wonderful person. I’m very lucky.
Jenni: It were so romantic ‘ow it all ‘appened. If you wanna find out more, just go read The Rose Thief – it’s all in there. More or less.
What’s your favourite drink and relaxing pastime?
Jenni: I love a beetle cheesecake. Can’t knock it. I got some insider knowledge on ‘ow to make the best one ever when I went to the Spirit Realm.
Ned: I like cake. Any kind, really.
Jenni: And scumble. And sugared snails although I ain’t keen on the grasshoppers. Wot’s relaxing?
Ned: That’s what you do when you don’t have anything else to do.
Jenni: I ain’t got time for that. When I ain’t at work I’m busy seeing people and ‘aving a go, you know. Keeping in touch wiv the community.
Ned: Are you talking about drinking in The Noose?
Jenni: Yeah. S’how you build connections and that. I knows people.
Ned: That you do.
What does the future hold for you?
Ned: As I understand it, the writer is going to release some more Case Files. There’s one out there already – The Interspecies Poker Tournament. Nasty business with a shapeshifter. You can listen to that one on audiobook as well.
Jenni: Yeah, I’m looking forward to reading those. Can’t wait to see wot she chooses first. We’ve ‘ad some good times.
Ned: And then we’ve got to sort out Norm.
Jenni: Oh yeah…
Ned: Norm is Jenni’s father. He has a skimming problem, you’ll find out about it in The Bone Thief. We’re going to get him the help he needs.
Jenni: And yor Dad’s coming an’all, ain’t ‘e?
Jenni: Yeah, Ned’s dad is Griff, the smuggler but turns out e’s lots of ovver fings as well. Said e’s gonna introduce us to the family and that. Should be good, eh?
Ned: Don’t do that, Jenni. You sound just like him.
Jenni: Awright, awright. No need to get snarky. I like yor Dad. E’s got good stories.
Ned: Mmm. Come on then, Jenni. We’d better get ready. Our writer is going to need us to start our next adventure soon.
Jenni: K. ‘ave fun, guys. Let us know wot you fink about The Bone Thief. I reckon you’re gonna love it. Laters!
Claire Buss is an award-winning multi-genre author and poet. She wanted to be Lois Lane when she grew up but work experience at her local paper was eye-opening. Instead, Claire went on to work in a variety of marketing and administrative roles for over a decade but never felt quite at home. An avid reader, baker and expert procrastinator Claire won second place in the Barking and Dagenham Pen to Print writing competition in 2015 with her debut novel, The Gaia Effect, setting her writing career in motion. Since then, Claire has published seventeen novels and poetry collections and had her short fiction published in six anthologies. As Deputy Editor of Write On! Magazine she’s now a different kind of Lois who champions new writers and helps them share their creativity. Claire continues to write passionately and is hopelessly addicted to cake.
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