Archive for September 4th, 2008

Today, we’re interviewing Brandon Noble from the books, DARK THIRST and DARK HUNGER. Brandon is Tessa’s twin brother and the character at the central point of the growing conflict in the Brethren Series. Please note that because Brandon is deaf and mute, his responses are offered all by means of American Sign Language and translated for us through an interpreter.

Brandon, thank you for joining us today.

Brandon: Thank you very much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Q: You’ve caused a lot of trouble for the Brethren, haven’t you? They’ve worked very hard for hundreds of years — thousands, even — to keep themselves hidden away from humans, and yet you’ve defied the laws of your people and run away, haven’t you — even though you know the punishment for this will be a death sentence. Why would you take such a risk?

Brandon: I may have been born among the Brethren, but I’ve never been one of them. They’ve never been “my people,” and they never will be. With few exceptions, there was no one among the Brethren who gave a shit about me one way or the other. My grandfather, Augustus, went out of his way to have as little to nothing to do with me as he could manage, and then when he would have anything to do with me, it was usually violent. The son of a bitch broke my hand — crushed every bone in it, then told my brother to break the other one. And that’s not counting the fourteen million other times he or Caine — my brother — used to beat me up, belittle me, insult me. My life at the Brethren compound was hell. I knew no matter what the punishment might be, whatever lay on the outside in the human world had to be better.

Q: And has it been? Better, I mean.

Brandon: (smiling) Oh, yeah. Hell, yes. I found Lina again.

Q: Lina?

Brandon: Angelina Jones…we call her Lina. She’s Rene’s former police partner and my old tutor’s sister. I used to have the biggest crush on her…still do, in fact. I met her again when I left the farm, and she’s with me now, traveling with me. Things with her are perfect — I can’t even explain it. She knows what I am, she accepts what I have to do to survive; she loves me. All of my life, I’ve wanted someone like her, someone to be unafraid with, to face the future together with — to build a life with. And she wants that, too. She wants that with ME. Sometimes I still feel like I should pinch myself, just to make sure I’m not dreaming.

Q: But things aren’t all good, are they? I mean, the Brethren Elders are hunting you. You and Lina…Rene and Tessa…you’re on the run?

Brandon: (his smile fades; his expression grows forlorn) Yes. I feel terrible that they’re all caught up in this. This isn’t their fight, not any of them. I’m being selfish, I know, and if anything happens…if any of them get hurt…or worse, I know it will be my fault. Especially Tessa. She followed me to try and protect me, warn me. She’s pregnant, you know. God, if anything happens to her or the baby, I…I’ll never forgive myself.

Q: Rene is with her.

Brandon: I know — and thank God for that.

Q: You trust Rene, then? To keep her safe?

Brandon: Yes. Of course I do. Rene’s already put his life on the line — the life he’s worked hard to build for himself, all of it at risk to help us. He saved my life, not once now but twice. He’s given us everything we have out here on the road — our car, our money, our food, clothes, gas. All of it’s because of him. For no other reason except we’re alike, me, Rene and Tessa. All of us Brethren. And by that, he’s helping us.

Q: It sounds like you admire him.

Brandon: He’s my friend. I love him like a brother. Shit, I love him more than my brother.

Q: What would you think if he and Tessa became involved?

Brandon: You mean romantically? Are they?

Q: I don’t know. Would you be upset if they were?

Brandon: God, no! Are you kidding? Tessa’s husband is a son of a bitch. The Davenants — that’s Martins’ clan — they hate us, all of the Nobles. They hate my grandfather and take it out on all of us, and while I can’t really blame them — because I hate the son of a bitch, too — I know they’ve treated Tessa like shit for the three years she’s lived with them. I can’t even imagine, and she won’t tell me. Doesn’t want to worry me. I know Rene can be kind of…off-putting sometimes, but he’s really not like that, and I think he’d be really good for Tessa. And she’d be really good for him. They’ve both been hurt and alone for a long time, and I think they would feel safe together.

Q: What do you think is going to happen when the four of you reach Lake Tahoe?

Brandon: I don’t know. Rene told us he’s got a place out in the woods there, a cabin that used to belong to his father. It’s in the middle of nowhere, a really remote location, and Rene thinks we’ll be safe there. We can rest, regather…keep the Elders off our trail…for awhile at least. He said he wants me to practice, too.

Q: Practice what?

Brandon: (shaking his head) Oh, Rene’s got it in his head that I’ve got all sorts of untapped powers and abilities going on in my head. All of the Brethren have telepathic powers, you know — we can read people’s thoughts, manipulate their behaviors, that sort of thing. Only when I was a kid…after I was attacked, my powers never developed right. I’ve always been weak. Well, except until recently…and suddenly I can do all kinds of things I never could before — like control birds with my mind, that sort of shit. Rene says it’s just the tip of the iceberg of what I’m capable of — and my grandfather and the Elders know that.

Q: Do you believe it?

Brandon: No. God, no. Rene’s wrong. There’s nothing special about me. I’m no different than him or Tessa.

Q: What will happen, do you think? If the Elders find you?

Brandon: I…I don’t know. I don’t like to think about it. I just…I hold on to the moment, try to enjoy the here and now — spending time with Lina, being near her. Because it could all end…any moment now. For all of us.

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I’m proud to be participating in this year’s Unleash Your Story fund drive to benefit cystic fibrosis research. From their website: “Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a devastating genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. More than ten million Americans are symptomless carriers of the defective CF gene. Advances continue to be made in finding a cure, but your help is needed now-more than ever-to help keep up the momentum of this life-saving research. To learn more about CF and the CF Foundation, visit http://www.cff.org/. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those with cystic fibrosis. Thank you for supporting the mission of the CF Foundation!”

As a personal addendum, while I don’t personally know anyone with cystic fibrosis, as a mother, I couldn’t help but be moved by the real-life story of Chance, son of author Claire Autrey, which she shared on the Unleash Your Story homepage. I’m honored to be part of such a wonderful, supportive and creative endeavor and hope that the money we all generate together helps insure boys and girls just like Chance the opportunities for healthy, happy futures.

As part of the Unleash Your Story challenge, I must not only set a monetary fundraising goal for myself, but a writing goal as well. I must strive to achieve both goals by the end of September. While most writers are pledging to produce a certain word count in that period of time, since I’m kind of in limbo at the moment in between works-in-progress, I’m setting a different kind of goal. Between now and the end of September, I’m going to research, outline, draft and polish a complete synopsis of 10-15 pages detailing a new urban fantasy manuscript.This will be a completely new idea for me, not based on any preceding manuscripts, characters or cities, thus I’ll be literally starting from scratch. This process normally takes me around four to six weeks; I’m aiming to nail it in less than that.

As for monetary goals, well, that’s where YOU come in. I’m aiming low — to raise $150 between now and the end of the month. If you’d like to pledge a couple of bucks in support of not only my writing goal, but cystic fibrosis research, just visit my pledge page here and make your donation safely online. I hope you’ll consider pledging.

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