Update Dory

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A while ago, I ran a contest on Facebook to “Update Radu”, or give his somewhat . . . unusual . . . style a more modern twist. Not that he needed it; the ‘Du, as he will tell you, is timeless. But Dory is not, and as a newly minted senator, she needs something more than her current whatever-isn’t-too-badly-shredded-today style. Pretty much everyone is getting in on the chance to makeover Dory, from Mircea and Olga to Stinky and Radu. Who do you think is giving Dory the best sartorial advice?

Q&A #18 (First Published to Facebook September 24, 2011)

QUESTION 1: In you last Q&A you said the Pritkin was the only incubus-human hybrid to have survived, but made no mention of succubus–human hybrids. Myrddin (or Merlin) had a twin sister named Gwenddydd, who was supposed to be more powerful than he brother and in some welsh mythology was the lady of the lake when Excalibur was return. Are we ever going to meet her?

Well, first, I didn’t mention any succubus/human hybrids because there aren’t any. Incubi and succubi are spirits in the Cassie universe. So if a succubus borrows a woman’s body to help it feed off of a man, and the result of their union is a child, then the child belongs biologically to the human couple, not to the demon. Rosier was the only exception to the rule, because he is the only incubus with his own physical body.

And second, there are a metric ton of legends about Merlin, many of which are contradictory and most of which are either poorly documented or out and out fiction. I went with the legends that best fit my storyline, and the incubus version does not allow for the concept of a sister. So Pritkin is an only child.

QUESTION 2: I just finished reading Midnight’s Daughter again and I was reminded how much I adored Stinky. What made you choose a Duergar? And do we ever find out what other species he is mixed with? If you do a google search for duergar, Stinky is not what comes up! I like your version much better.

I’m glad you like Stinky—he’s one of my favorites. But actually, you’ve already been told what his other half is. In Midnight’s Daughter, and I believe also in the early chapters of Death’s Mistress, it’s mentioned that he is half Brownie. Which is why the Duergars won’t have anything to do with him—he looks odd to them, too!

QUESTION 3: Is this just a stupid theory of mine, or can Cassie speak French now? I remember it said she couldn’t in TtD unless she was possessing the French woman. But there was that moment in CtD when Cassie says “Francoise said some uncharitable things about the Consul. Since they were in French – which I’m not supposed to speak – I didn’t contradict her. It was also a fact they they were all true.”, and then later “She said something, but it was in French and I was too tired to even try to translate.”, both of which imply to me that Cassie can now speak French. Did she retain the ability after her trip to Carcassonne? And if so, does that mean she can permanently pick up a language by possessing someone who speaks said language, or am I just barking up completely the wrong tree here?

Cassie speaks Italian fluently (from growing up at Tony’s) as well as English. She doesn’t speak French, but there are a number of cognates between French and Italian (which linguistically are considered close enough to be dialects of each other), and French and English, meaning that there are times when she can figure out what is being said if she pays attention. And when she isn’t freaking out because she has just time shifted for the first time! It also helps that she’s been around Francoise long enough now to pick up some of her favorite phrases (including oft-used swear words like those applied to the Consul.)

I took this from my own experience of living in Europe and working alongside some Italian girls. I speak German (badly), French (almost as badly), and English. That’s it. And their grasp of foreign languages wasn’t any better than mine. But somehow, we managed to understand each other fairly well anyway.

QUESTION 4: During their long lives, did Pritkin or Mircea ever go to university? If so, what did they study?

As stated in Hunt the Moon, Mircea was tutored growing up, first at home and later at a local monastery. There was no time for anything else, as, by the age when most young men are starting their freshman year in college, he was leading armies into battle for his father. And then running for his life. And then trying to stay alive in the cut-throat vampire world, which doesn’t allow for a lot of scholarly study unless you’re working for someone else (like Marlowe’s “Beetles,” whom he protects.) So no university for Mircea.

As far as Pritkin is concerned, there were no universities in sixth century Britain. In fact, as I used to tell my history students, the level of education in the early Middle Ages was so bad that they developed something called Benefit of Clergy. If you committed a crime other than murder, and you were not a repeat offender, the judge would often let you off if you could read. He’d pull out a book and ask you to read a randomly selected passage, and if you could do it, you walked. It was called Benefit of Clergy after the fact that almost the only people who could read were monks, and was designed to help preserve the very small number of educated people in society.

So anyway, no university for Pritkin as a young man, and then of course he went to Hell. And, if you read “A Family Affair,” you know that Rosier did introduce him to the demon version of higher ed shortly thereafter. Although that wasn’t quite an overwhelming success, as it turned out.

QUESTION 5: If u could rewrite all the Cassy books from (most of the) the male POV- would u do it? which ones would u write from (POV) and why? cuz as i read ur books, we hear about how Cassandra’s feels about others, but not them about her. or do u do that for a reason?

I realize that many romance novels are written from multiple POVs, and it does have certain advantages. But you see that sort of thing less often in fantasy, and it’s rarer still in the mystery genre. And there’s a reason for that.

My books are written the way they are partly to help preserve the mystery elements in the storyline until the proper time to reveal them. That would be far harder, if not impossible, to do from multiple points of view. For example, can you imagine trying to keep the secret of Pritkin’s birth, or of his wife’s death, or of the prohibition against intimacy placed on him by the demon high council, when writing from his POV? When each of those things is not only intrinsic to the man’s psyche, but also influence the vast majority of his everyday actions? Frankly, I couldn’t.

However, if you are interested in other characters’ POVs, there are a number of short stories/novellas available for free on my web site that you might find interesting. So far, they feature POVs from Tomas, Pritkin, Casanova, Marlowe and a character not found in the novels called Gillian. Others will be added along and along. They can be found here: