Today I am hosting my dear friend (and Magical Words co-founder) Faith Hunter, New York Times Bestselling author of the Jane Yellowrock books. The latest installment in the Jane Yellowrock series, Death’s Rival, will be released on October 2, and to mark the occasion, we thought it might be fun to have Sephira Pryce, thieftaker extraordinaire, the Empress of the South End, and Ethan Kaille’s nemesis, interview Jane Yellowrock. This involved a bit of magicking and time travel, but we managed to pull it off. Enjoy!
I am Sephira Pryce, the most renowned thieftaker in Boston, despite the protestations to the contrary of a certain charlatan. I am also your hostess at an interview, arched through the time lines by a witch of my acquaintance. Yes, I know witches, and various other magick users. All other humans fear them and their powers, but not I.
This witch shall allow me to speak to a woman from the year 2012, and, provided she is not insipid, or a woman caught up in the latest fashions, I expect to find her . . . interesting, though unusual. I have been assured that she isn’t a witch of any kind, but that she is a magick user extraordinaire, of a rare and potent form, her name: Jane Yellowrock.
To accomplish this time-speaking, the witch has charmed a mirror. As we speak, I am seeing my own reflection—a beautiful woman in corset and silk gown, a small table nearby with a blade and flintlock pistol, loaded, of course—the finest steel blade and the most modern pistol that money can obtain. But in moments, I will see a woman from the future.
(Speaking off to the side) Cast your spell, witch.
(The mirror darkens and then brightens, to reveal a woman wearing … I sit back in surprise.) I view a woman, slender to the point of emaciation, though with strong, well-formed limbs, which I can see clearly, as she is wearing pants and boots as men do, and her arms are bare and muscled. She appears to be tall, with coppery skin and black hair, perhaps a member of one of the Indian tribes to the south. Though she wears no corset, she does wear many arcane objects about her person, and upon her breast is a golden chain with a depending golden nugget.
Can she hear me, witch? Excellent. Welcome Miss Yellowrock. Perhaps you would like to begin by telling us a bit about yourself and your world, which I assume is vastly different from my own.
Jane: Pretty different, yeah. I’m a Cherokee Skinwalker. That means I can change shape and form into other creatures of equal mass. Usually I change into a mountain lion.
Sephira: I have killed a mountain lion. I used this pistol, a caliber 35 bore, steel, smoothbore cannon barrel.
(The creature from the future smiles, and her teeth are perfect. Such a strange thing to see—an adult with teeth not yet rotten or browned by tea.)
Jane: You killed a puma, eh? With that little gun? Single shot, right? And you killed it all by yourself?
Sephira: She mocks! (Lifts her brows, her eyes steely.) I mortally injured it. One of my men finished it off.
Jane: (laughs softly) Well, I’ll be sure to keep that little tidbit hidden from Beast. She wouldn’t be happy.
Sephira: Who is this . . . this Beast?
Jane: Doesn’t matter. See this? (She pulls a strange device to her lap. It appears to be a handgun, but of artless design, with no engraving, black, blocky and coarse in shape.) It’s an HK45, and I’m thinking about adding it to my arsenal for more stopping power. It’ll drop an enraged boar with one shot, and if I happen to miss—which I wouldn’t—the magazine holds ten rounds. (She tilts the weapon to show it off.)
Sephira: Such a vain creature you are. Wait. Arsenal? You have more than one firearm? And … ten rounds! You must be wealthy indeed.
Jane: I have a shotgun that holds seven rounds, two nine millimeter semiautomatic pistols, two .380 semiautomatics, and a two-shot Beretta. Financially? I do okay for myself.
Sephira: Oh my! Are you a soldier of your time? Like the Amazons of old?
(Jane sits back in her chair, her legs long and lean. With one hand, she begins to disassemble the weapon, removing a rectangular section from its insides. I am fascinated with the workings and wish to see more, but she does not seem to welcome such inspection.)
Jane: I kill rogue-vampires for a living.
Sephira: Piff. Vampires. They are myth.
Jane: Nope. Real. Blood-sucking predators with sanity problems. (Jane smiles, showing those perfect teeth in her copper-skinned face.) I know one, Leo Pellissier, a real pretty vamp, the strongest vamp from the Mississippi to the Atlantic ocean. He would love to suck you dry.
Sephira: (Picks up her weapon.) I would defend myself.
Jane: And die trying. Killing vamps requires special weapons, and a technique refined over many years.
Sephira: Are you saying that I could not kill the creature on my own, that you’re more capable than I?
Jane: Well . . . Yes, I guess I am. I have the knowledge, and I have the equipment, (she grins again,) as it were. When amateurs take on vamps, they die. Simple as that. And while you might be good at whatever it is you do, I can tell that you’re an amateur.
Sephira: You dare speak to me, the Empress of the South End, in this way?
Jane: So it would seem. Time for me to go. I have work to do
Sephira: What is happening? The mirror darkens. Witch! Correct this instantly!
(But the mirror remains dark, lit only by the reflection of the beautiful woman seething, her designs thwarted.)