Lou Hoffmann’s Wraith Queen’s Veil blog tour: (Attempted) Character Interview with Lucky About Romance
When Lucky arrives in Ethra, the world of his birth and destiny, he expects a joyful reunion, but the first thing he notices when he reaches the Sisterhold—his home—is something false behind his mother’s smile. In a matter of weeks, the Sisterhold becomes agitated with worries and war plans. People he trusts—like the wizard Thurlock—frequently can’t be found. His mother seems angry, especially with Lucky. Even Han Shieth, the warrior uncle he has come to rely on and love above all others, maintains a sullen silence toward him.
When Lucky’s resentment builds to the breaking point, his bad decisions put him and his friends, L’Aria and Zhevi, in unthinkable danger. Han arrives to help, but he can’t claim invulnerability to the hazards and evils that threaten at every turn. Events launch Lucky, alone, on a quest for he knows not what, but every step brings him closer to his identity and full strength. Self-knowledge, trust, and strength lead to smarter choices, but even his best efforts might not render his world truly safe, now or for the future.
Hey, Lou Hoffmann here, very happy to be stopping by Elizabeth Noble’s Emotion in Motion for today’s Wraith Queen’s Veil blog tour stop. Thanks, Elizabeth, for having me, and thanks readers for stopping by.
When book one of the Sun Child Chronicles, Key of Behliseth, came out, some people wondered if Lucky was ever (in the series) going to have a boyfriend. The short answer was “you betcha!” Lucky had just turned fifteen in that book, and approximately two-thirds of a year passes in Wraith Queen’s Veil. As people who are fifteen do…especially when forced to face ominous things such as their own magical powers, venomous big felines, insane weather phenomena, magical super-beings, and monsters, not to mention loss, grief, and cold feet both literal and figurative…Oh, sorry, got side-tracked. As I was saying, as fifteen-year-old people tend to do, Lucky grows a lot during those months, taking big steps away from childhood, and toward adulthood. He won’t be there for a while yet, but romantic love and sexual interest are natural developments for most people as their bodies and minds mature, and Lucky is not the rare exception.
To give you a little background, one of the things that repeatedly pops up to Lucky’s annoyance is a prophecy. The first time he heard about it is recorded in this passage from Key of Behliseth, which takes place of an evening after Lucky spent the afternoon fighting zombie-like followers of an evil witch side-by-side with a girl named L’Aria, whom he’d never before met:
Thurlock looked at him sideways and said, “She mentioned that she thought you were rather gallant.”
Embarrassed, Lucky stuffed a biscuit in his mouth.
Han said, “What? She has a crush on him?”
“I think she might be a bit smitten,” Thurlock said. “Which is good, considering the prophecy.”
Lucky wanted to ask his tablemates to back up and explain, but he couldn’t get a word in.
“Not going to happen, I think,” Han said.
Right. Han, Lucky’s badass warrior uncle, has already had a little conversation with Lucky, and is in a position to know Lucky isn’t likely to want to hook up with L’Aria, or any other girl.
When Lucky makes it home to Ethra, Lucky finds that, there as in every world you or I have ever been to, people assume. One morning at the breakfast table, when Lucky (also known as Luccan) is already troubled at having to deal with an iffy (if not disappearing) adult support network, the prophecy gets interpreted at face value, and again it is a source of discomfort to Lucky. Fortunately, Han is a telepath.
The next morning Thurlock didn’t show up at breakfast. That might not have meant anything at all. After all, he didn’t actually live in the manor house, having his own tower just across the way. But he’d shown up for every meal since their return to Ethra, so Lucky asked. “Where’s Thurlock?”
In response he got a quick glance from his mother and a weak smile and a head shake from Han. That constituted an improvement over yesterday, but it still left him wondering.
“Where—?” he started to ask again, but Aunt Rose, who seemed to be acting just the same as she’d behaved since his homecoming, thank goodness, patted his hand.
“He’s around, Luccan. He’s in his tower studying up on something. You know how wizards do.” She returned to her meal, loading her fork with chunks of baked apple, but before she ate it, she looked again at Lucky and smiled. “You know who else will be around today? L’Aria.”
Lucky smiled back. He hadn’t seen L’Aria since soon after they’d come back to Ethra. Her father had taken her away shortly after that, but he thought they’d become friends. It would be good to see her.
So he smiled until he noticed something odd and a little scary. When Rose spoke to him of L’Aria, every head turned his way except Zhevi’s, which was buried in blueberry hotcakes--attractively, though, Lucky thought. Shehrice, whose flyaway red curls had managed to escape her bun for a shaggier look, cheerfully filled cups and served food from platters, laughed out loud, and said, “Oh, and won’t that be nice, young man?”
Lucky’s mom actually looked him in the eyes and smiled. For a minute her eyes even thawed out. Lucky felt his face go hot, and he was having trouble swallowing.
It’s their stupid prophecy, he remembered. I’m supposed to marry her!
Han, who knew exactly why he thought that prophecy sucked, sat directly across the table from Lucky. He caught Lucky’s attention with a slight nod and looked at him, more compassion in his eyes than Lucky had seen there since their snow day. Slowly, gently, Lucky felt something in his mind letting go, when he clearly heard Han’s voice in his thoughts.
“Don’t worry, Luccan. No one knows what the prophecy means.”
“Uncle Han, I…. L’Aria’s my friend, but I don’t want it to be anything else! And even though I’m young, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to change my mind.”
“I’m pretty sure you’re not going to, as well. And don’t worry. It’ll be okay.”
Lucky decided one good thing about speaking mind-to-mind was the opportunity to talk while your mouth was full without being rude. “Can they make me marry her? Why can’t they accept the way I am?”
“No, they can’t make you. They will accept you—or at least everyone who matters will. They accept me”
“But you’re… Han Shieth.”
Lucky looked up from his plate to see Han hiding a smile behind his cup as he took a long pull from his coffee.
“Yes,” Han answered. “But once I was a boy who had no interest in taking a wife. You’ll be okay, Luccan.”
Yes, Han gets it, and mind-reading is all well and good, but most of us are not very good at it. So let’s catch up with Lucky between scenes, on the set of book 3, Ciarrah’s Light, and ask him directly about the romance in this fantasy.
The attempted interview:
I approach with a smile and offer my hand for a shake. When he grasps my hand, I’m a little regretful—he’s obviously been working hard, and his palm is dirty and sweaty. Nevertheless, I focus. “Hi, Lucky—is it okay for me to call you that?”
“Oh, sure, I actually prefer it to Luccan, and I hate being called Suth Chiell.”
“Suth Chiell, that means Sun Child, right?”
Lucky nods and to my surprise rolls his eyes.
“You don’t like being the Sun Child?”
He shrugs. “I dunno. It’s fine I guess. But hey I’d kind of like to have a chance to just be a kid. I just want to be normal, you know—”
“Yes, yes.” I say. He’s getting revved up for a good anti-author rant, and I’m really not in the mood to deal with character discontent. “Let’s not start on that, Lucky. You know it’s not going to happen. You have a destiny and it involves magic and lots of weird stuff and you’ve got to end up in charge of things in the Sunlands. That’s just the way it is.”
“Oh yeah? Everybody keeps telling me I have a choice, that even though I was born to be Suth Chiell I don’t have to if I don’t want to!”
“True enough in storyland, Lucky, but as you well know, I’m the author. You can try to go there if you want but I don’t advise it.”
“I wish my uncle Han was here! He wouldn’t stand for you pushing me around—”
I snort. (No really, I do.) “Yes, you’re probably right. Han Shieth is a formidable fellow. Scares me, a little. But hey, I’d really like to get back on a more amiable footing. I only wanted to ask you about your love life.”
“Not at all, Lucky. People are interested! They like you, and they want you to be happy. So, tell me, do you have anyone special n your life?”
“Sure, let’s just talk about that,” but he’s actually shaking his head ‘no’ and blushing fiercely.
“I don’t mean to embarrass you.” I say this because I hope it will help get us past this.
“I know,” he says, and it sounds as though he’s been takin sarcasm lessons from the wizard Thurlock himself. “It’s the price of being a star,” he says. “You’re like a one person paparazzi, Lou.”
“Exactly,” I say and move resolutely on. “So what about it? A crush? A boyfriend?”
“Um. Okay. Could you perhaps, expand on that answer?”
I don’t really know what to say. How can I get this interview back on track?
Lucky speaks up. “Listen, I’m sorry. I guess I’ve been a little rude. It’s just… you know, I’d kind of hoped in book three things might get a little better, but they’re not! I’m really kind of grumpy about it. So yes, I have a boyfriend. If people read Wraith Queen’s Veil they’ll find out about it—Listen, really, I’m not sure I want you to reveal things about who I meet, but….”
“Okay, Lucky. I apologize too. I didn’t mean to upset you. It’s true, your life is hard enough. How about I switch things up and show a little bit about your uncle Han’s romance blues, instead?”
“Okay, great! I mean, I don’t know if he’ll mind, but—”
“Oh, no worries, Lucky. I can handle Han.”
“Look, here he comes, you can tell him what you’re going to do.”
“Ummm… does it look to you like he’s nocking an arrow? Right, well, I’m out of here Lucky! Hope your adventures continue to go well!”
“Hey, Lou? Before you go, one favor? In the books, don’t show everything my boyfriend and me… do together… you know, on the page? Cuz, you know, kids my age don’t want to check a book out from the school library and have a bunch of naked things going on.”
I’m already running away, hoping to make it to cover behind some nearby boulders before Han gets within bowshot, but I shout back my reassurance. “Got it. I’ll keep that very good advice in mind, Lucky. Promise.”
Since I’m trying to disappear, I’ll say farewell to you too, and just leave you with that final snippet from Wraith Queen’s Veil, and no it’s not really personal about Han’s love life because, well, he’s Han and he knows where I live. So what follows is a little bit of a talk between uncle and nephew.
“We, you know, did stuff together. I mean worked, played cards—I made a Skies deck with his brother’s help, and we played that a lot. We went riding, took walks. We did a lot of kissing and stuff.” Lucky felt the heat rise in his face and refused to look at Han. He cleared his throat and continued. “But we also talked a lot. I know what makes him happy, sad, laugh. I know what scares him, too. It’s like he poured his whole self into my brain and my heart, and it fits perfectly. And he knows me like that too.”
Lucky stayed quiet for a minute, and Han spoke softly, his deep voice comforting. “That’s about the best description of love I’ve ever heard, nephew.”
“But I’ll probably never see him again. And that scares me.”
Han sat quiet for a moment, biting his bottom lip. When he spoke up, his tone was earnest and caring. “Luccan, I would never think you couldn’t love because you’re young. And although you and I are different, so our feelings are not quite the same, I do know what it’s like to be fairly certain you won’t see the one you most want to be with ever again. I’m sorry that you have to go through it. I will hope along with you that you’ll see Rio, that your feelings will be the same as time goes on, and you won’t be lonely. But I also want you to remember you can love more than one person in your life, just as deeply, just as beautifully, even if not the same. You’re lonely now, but you don’t have to be lonely forever.”
You see, that’s why I love Han. He’s cool like that.
Before I run away, a reminder: Now through 10/20, both or either of The Sun Childs Chronicles books is 35% off at Harmony Ink or Dreamspinner Press, with checkout code SUNCHILD2. Also, don’t forget to enter the giveaway. And one last thing: here’s a link that will get you to the tour stops on my tour.
Thank you again for reading!
Lou Hoffmann has carried on her love affair with books for decades, yet she hasn’t even made a dent in the list of books she’d love to read—at least partly because the list keeps growing. She reads factual things—books about physics and history and fractal chaos, but when she wants truth, she looks for it in quality fiction. She loves all sorts of wonderful things: music and silence, laughter and tears, youth and age, sunshine and storms, forests and fields, flora and fauna, rivers and seas. Even good movies and popcorn! Those things help her breathe, and everyone she knows helps her write. (Special mention goes to (1) George the Lady Cat and (2) readers.) Proud to be a bisexual, biracial woman, Lou considers every person a treasure not to be taken for granted. In her life, she’s seen the world’s willingness to embrace differences change, change back, and change again in dozens of ways, but she has great hope for the world the youth of today will create. She writes for readers who find themselves anywhere on the spectrums of age and gender, aiming to create characters that live not only in their stories, but always in your imagination and your heart.
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