"How I Met Your Mother" meets John Saul's "Blackstone Chronicles".
I love Ral because he's just so black-and-white that you want to pat him on the head, give him a cookie, and then thump him on the side of the head. He's sweet, he wants to see the best in people ... but his most endearing characteristic is what constantly bites him back.
3. Which side character do you love, and why?
Oh, no. This is tough, because every character is special to me. I have a very soft spot for the mortician, Dr. Jon Knight, because he's my wild card... but I have to say that for In the Cards, the Best Supporting Character role goes to Crowley. Shrewd readers will recognize him from my first novel... under another name, of course (he has many). I love him because he has an instinct for knowing which buttons to push on people, and is that sort of gleeful jerk that you can't help liking, in a grudging sort of way.
Ohh ... you want me to spoil that for you? I'm terribly sorry, but I can't do that. I will tell you that they are in my list of my top five characters ever created ... and Aviario's list tops two hundred. I love this character because of their complexity: they're an iceberg, and you only see the very slightest tip of that iceberg in In the Cards. I look forward to lowering the water level on them for you, over time...
5. You hope someday your book gets a review that says ...
"The individual story lines weave themselves together like something by Joss Whedon."
6. Which character would you be best friends with, and why?
I almost considered saying that June Slovich was my favorite side character, until I remembered I could use this prompt to gush about her. Her store, The Balefires, is the heart and soul of the story ... to the point that her group of friends has dubbed themselves "The Fire Gang". She's got her feet on the ground and her eyes on the stars, and is the sort of balanced, enthusiastic friend I feel everyone needs in their lives. She dresses like Cyndi Lauper going through a Goth phase, paints murals, reads auras, and never fails to tell it like it is.
This deserves a two-part answer. The first official inhabitant of Aviario, Dr. Paul Feistus, makes his debut as a side character in this book. I wouldn't say I'd be best friends with him, but he's very dear to my heart, and another of my top five characters. His inspiration came from ... er ... well ... my long and sordid early days dabbling in fan-fiction. He wasn't always human, but when I decided to write my own tales, he evolved, and the town of Aviario followed him almost immediately. I just ... didn't know what to do with it. Which brings us to part two:
The plot of In the Cards came from a tarot reading: the same exact reading that one character receives from another toward the beginning of the novel. I had just started teaching myself how to read tarot, and was laying out a spread in the midst of a towering thunderstorm, during a blackout, by candlelight. (If the cliche fits, have fun with it, I say!) The cards I drew seemed to have absolutely nothing to do with me, or with the question I wanted answers to ... so I began trying to figure out what they could mean. Almost instantly, I realized they told a story of an over-confident person who was in over their head, while someone else was trying to take advantage of their naivete. The story has undergone a lot of changes in terms of plot and character since that first reading fifteen years ago, but I owe this novel - and every other one in the series - to that hour I spent sitting on the basement floor in the dark.
That's all for now - I'll see you all next week with a little more insight!