Hello, folks. Spot, here--the gargoyle companion of author Cindy Spencer Pape. From time to time, I like to take a more active role, so today I’m interviewing the main characters of Cindy’s newest book, Ashes & Alchemy. I’ve got Seb on this blog, and you can find Minnie’s answers over at Here be Magic. Don’t forget you can enter the contest below from either of these locations. Cindy’s also talking about something else, over at the Carina Press blog today. So here we go!
Spot: Hullo, Seb. First of all, what’s your full name and how old are you?
Seb: Detective Inspector Sebastian Brown. Formerly Captain Brown, of her Majesty’s Army. I’m forty, not that it’s any of your business, gargoyle.
Spot: Well, that answers my next question. You work for Scotland Yard. You’re a copper.
Seb: I am. Used to be in India, and while I didn’t mind soldiering, it’s good to be back in England.
Spot: You live in London, right? What part? Oh, and when, if you don’t mind me asking.
Seb: Just a quiet little neighborhood, in a small brownstone. Nothing special, but it’s comfortable enough. The year is 1860—thirty years into the reign of Queen Victoria.
Spot: You don’t look too comfortable, if you don’t mind me saying so.
Seb: (Grunts) I’m usually the one asking the questions.
Spot: Got it. You’re not much of a talker. Tough rocks, Copper. Tell me how it feels to live in an age of both steam powered technology and magick.
Seb: (Shrugs) I’m used to it. Magick isn’t all that common, but my father was a member of the Order of the Round Table, so it was normal in our house. The mechanical dogs and computing machines, I’m still getting used to.
Spot: Before you met Minnie at the beginning of Ashes & Alchemy, had you ever been in love before?
Seb: Not really. I’d been engaged to marry, during the Siege of Lucknow on the subcontinent, but she died. More lives were lost to disease than to wounds. (He rubs his own hip as if remembering an injury.)
Spot: What would you say is the single most important thing in your life?
Seb: Helping others. Saving lives when I can. Since I know about magick, I can help the Yard with cases other coppers might not want to handle.
Spot: Sounds reasonable. Now how did you meet Minerva Shaw?
Seb: She literally blew onto my doorstep one horribly cold and windy night. I thought she was just a bundle of rags, at first. She was trying to reach the doctor next store, but landed on my stoop instead. Then there was a murder and her daughter was nearly kidnapped. With one thing and another, we had to stay together.
Spot: Ah. And your first impression of her?
Seb: (His eyes light up.) Brave. Deceptively frail. Determined. And a very loving mother.
Spot: So now that you know her better, what is her most distinguishing characteristic?
Seb: Her ability to love, and to persevere against all obstacles.
Spot: What about you? What makes you unique?
Seb: Well, like many born into Order families, I have a little gift. I can almost always tell if someone is lying. Very handy trait in police work.
Spot: I’ll bet. Maybe not so good in a relationship. So now that you’re together, how do you think you and Minnie will get along?
Seb: (smiles like a dope) Not without ups and downs, I’m sure. My Minerva is a strong-minded woman, and I’m not going to be easy to domesticate. But I do love her, and her daughter—our—daughter, Ivy. So we’ll enjoy the ups, and get over the downs.
Spot: Sounds good to me. So, if you could say one thing to Mrs. Pape, the writer of your tale, what would it be?
Seb: Thank you for Minnie and Ivy.
Spot: Well, there you have it. I got the quiet man to talk. Now here’s a little more about Seb and Minnie’s story, Ashes & Alchemy.
Ashes & Alchemy
Police inspector Sebastian Brown served Queen and country in India before returning to England to investigate supernatural crimes alongside the Order of the Round Table. If his wifeless, childless life feels a little empty sometimes, that's not too great a price to pay in the name of duty.
Minerva Shaw is desperately seeking a doctor when she mistakenly lands on Sebastian's doorstep. Her daughter Ivy has fallen gravely ill with a mysterious illness—the same illness, it seems, that's responsible for taking the lives of many of Ivy's classmates.
Seb sniffs a case, and taking in Minnie and Ivy seems the only way to protect them while he solves it. But as mother and daughter work their way into his heart and Seb uses every magickal and technological resource he can muster to uncover the source of the deadly plague, it's he who will need protecting—from emotions he'd thought buried long ago.
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Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after and brings that to her writing. Award-winning author of 18 novels and more than 30 shorter works, Cindy lives in southeast Michigan with her husband, two sons and a houseful of pets. When not hard at work writing she can be found dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book.
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