Today I have a guest interview with Haley Allaire, from Fire in the Blood.
In celebration of the release of my book, Fire in the Blood, in paperback, I globe-hopped to Eyidora and pressured a shy and somewhat resistant Haley Allaire into giving me an interview.
I tap my pen on my desk, sip my coffee, and glance at my watch. Haley’s a few minutes late, but I’m not worried that she’s bailing on me. I know that she’s doing some last minute packing for her mission to find another lost Eyid stone.
Haley flings open the door and rushes inside in a burst of winter air, dropping into the chair across the table from me with a loud sigh. Her cheeks are rosy from the cold, but her eyelids droop and her hair looks like she’s just run through a tornado. She tosses her coat onto a chair, not seeming to notice that the cream-colored tunic she’s wearing over black leggings is wrinkled. She drags another wooden chair closer to her in order to prop her knee-length fur-lined boots on it. She runs her hand through her hair and masters a small, tired-looking smile.
Dale: Glad you made it.
Haley: Yeah, sorry I’m late. Uncle Sal was getting all kinds of annoying. He’s still not cool with me leaving.
Haley: He thinks I’m too young.
Dale: You are only seventeen. Most kids are still in school at that age.
Haley snorts: Yeah, well, after the last few months on Eyidora, I’d say that honestly, school is the least of my worries. And I’m old enough to take whatever crap is chucked at me. I’ve had people lie to me, kidnap me, and try to kill me. I think I proved I can kick ass, don’t you?
Dale: Touche. Anyway, are you okay?
Haley rubs the back of her neck: Just tired. I had a dream last night and, you know, those dreams kind of drain me.
Dale: Want to tell me about it?
Haley glances at the table: Maybe later.
Dale: I thought we could break the ice a little by playing a game. I say something, and you say the first thing that comes to you mind. Ready?
Dale: White or milk chocolate.
Dale: Beach or mountains.
Dale: That's enough ice-breaking for me. So you grew up on Earth. Do you miss it?
Haley: Some of it. Not all.
Dale: What don’t you miss?
Haley lifts one shoulder in a half-shrug: It’s hard to explain. I just never felt like I belonged.
Dale: Don’t a lot of teenagers feel that way?
Haley: It’s different for me. I felt like I was playing a part, you know? I did my hair like the other kids, dressed like the other kids, talked like the other kids, but it never felt natural to me. And no one really noticed me no matter what I did, even though I was trying to emulate everyone else. It just didn’t seem to work.
Dale: You sound as though you’ve had an epiphany.
Haley gestures to her clothes: I don’t know about that, but this feels right. I don’t feel like I’m pretending to be someone I’m not.
Dale: You’re saying you feel more comfortable as an Eyidoran?
Haley nods, slowly: Yeah, I think I am.
Dale: What do you miss the most from Earth?
Haley laughs: Chocolate. Got any?
Dale: Sorry, I’ll bring some next time. So on your 17th birthday you get the surprise of your life when you’re tumbled to a parallel globe called Eyidora. How did you feel when that happened?
Haley: It was unreal, I honestly thought I was dreaming, or that I’d somehow been drugged and was hallucinating. I mean, seriously, who would believe that parallel worlds actually existed?
Dale: If it had happened to me, I’m pretty sure I would have thought I’d gone just a tad off my nut.
Haley: Exactly. It took me a while to figure out my life had totally changed.
Dale: Tell us about the Eyids. What are they like?
Haley: They’re a strange bunch. They’re these gods of nature, right? And they’re supposed to act all goddy, but they don’t: Nala acts like she’s twelve, Nomer’s kind of blunt, Soltar has a big head, and Sylpha’s bossy as hell. And they argue like kids. You’d think they’d be a little more respectable, being gods, but they’re kind of not.
Dale: Sounds bizarre.
Haley: I know, right?
Dale: Is the war getting worse?
Haley: It really depends on the day. You never know when the Eyids are going to get into it. It’s not like a regular war, where you know which side you’re on and who the enemy is. With the Eyids, they’re not even enemies…they just don’t have any harmony between them. A battle can happen at any time, anywhere, and people are collateral damage. If you’re around, say, when Soltar starts throwing lightning at Sylpha because she’s done something to piss him off, you can get zapped in a heart beat…wrong place, wrong time kind of thing…but yeah, the battles seem to happen more often.
Dale: Speaking of the Eyid descendants, how does it feel like to be a descendant of the Air Eyid?
Haley pauses for a long moment before answering: It’s hard to explain how it feels. I mean, it’s sort of like me asking you how it feels to have hazel eyes. It’s just a part of who you are. At first, I didn’t believe I had any kind of power, but when I started actually using that power…well, let’s just say it’s easy to see how people can let power go to their heads.
Dale: What are your thoughts about the Fire Eyid descendant?
Dale: Seriously? He tried to kill you…among other things.
Haley: I know, but…part of me thinks that there’s good inside everyone. No one can be all evil all the time. Can they? I mean, maybe there’s bad stuff going on that I don’t know about. Maybe he’s a good guy that bad things have happened to, you know?
Dale: You mean nature vs. nurture?
Haley: Yeah, that’s it.
Dale: Are you saying you want to save him? Some people just can’t be saved.
Haley shrugs and studies her boots. By the set of her mouth, I’m thinking she’s not going to say more. Time to move on.
Dale: What about the mentas? Good or bad?
Haley’s shoulders relax: That’s the question of the century. When someone has the power of persuasion, it’s hard to trust them. How can you be sure a menta isn’t bending your mind into doing something you don’t want to do? It’s all kinds of scary. Personally, I think they started out good, but then like most political parties, the power went to their head and their good intentions got twisted.
Dale: Do you think mentas and Eyid-emos struggling for power is like Earth’s politics?
Haley: Well, yeah. First you had the Eyids running the show, until they corrupted themselves with greed and power. And then their descendants…the Eyid-emos…took over, and ditto the corruption. And then the mentas took over, and they’re not exactly jumping up and down now that they know some of us Eyid descendants are back, and they don’t seem eager to give up any of that power. In fact, some people think the Mentas started the war in the first place so they could take control.
Dale: Do you?
Haley shrugs: Who knows? Everyone from that time is dead.
Dale: What’s your gut tell you?
Haley licks her lips: That the mentas did start the war.
Dale: Part of the Eyid-emos power is the power of persuasion, like the mentas have.
Dale: Do you ever worry that the same power that corrupted the gods, your ancestors, and the mentas will corrupt you?
Haley: Of course. Anyone would be lying if they said they didn’t.
Dale: Elana’s a menta. Do you trust her?
Haley: Absolutely. Even though she’s a menta, she’s very open and I don’t think she has a secretive bone in her body. She’s my best friend. She has my back, you know?
Dale: Any romance in your future?
Haley raises her eyebrows: You’re kidding, right?
Haley runs her hand through her hair: First, I’ve never even had a boyfriend because of that whole invisibility shield kind of thing I had going for me on Earth, and second, I don’t seem to be a great judge of character when it comes to guys…they always seem to want to kill me…so I’d say definitively that there’s no romance in my future.
Dale: It’s getting late and you have to finish getting ready for your trip, so we’ll just end it at that. Can we talk again when you get back?
Haley pauses at the door: You seem to think I’ll be coming back.
Dale: I should hope so.
One side of Haley’s mouth lifts in a tired half-smile: Not everyone hopes I do.
Dale nods: I know. Have a safe trip, and good luck.
Haley: Thanks. I’ll need it.
Haley’s full story can be found in Fire in the Blood, available now. You can read about her next adventure in Strong Blood, coming out in 2012.