For this week’s Character Interview post, I welcome to the blog, author Gwendolyn Petrarch and her hero, Gabriel. Last week we met Maggie Van Well’s lollipop sucking, video game playing pediatrician Dr. Jake Harris from her contemporary romance Crazy Little Thing Called Matchmaking. You can find that interview here on Maggie’s blog. But for today, we’ll let Gwen chat with Gabriel.
Take it away Gwen!
The Masquerade series is set in modern day New York. Gabriel, our gay, detective, vampire extraordinaire is a wiseass of epic proportions. Pretty. Big. Pretty big. Fairly gay and the first one to tell you how pretty and fairly gay he is. He hankers for a good suck. Doesn’t need a plate, just platelets… He’s irreverent and sarcastic and leads everyone around him, except his partner, Tully, to believe he’s missing a few bats from his belfry. Big mistake. Huge.
I stutter to a stop as I enter the studio ‘green’ room to interview Gabriel. I find a very tall (even horizontally), very large man in a silk double breasted suit lying on a plush couch, his eyes covered with cucumber slices and his rather pointy teeth covered with…
Gabriel: Hello!? I know you’re stharing.
He sits up and the cucumber slices fall onto his lap. I can’t help that my eyes follow the cucumber… I gawk at the bulge they fall on.
I rip my gaze from his cucumber. He smiles at me like he knows what I’m thinking. I’ll refrain from getting too specific, but now I know for certain that he is pretty big—everywhere… I refocus on his smile, or more specifically, his fangs and what’s wrapped around them.
Gwendolyn: Are those whitening strips?
Gabriel: Cwest whitening stwips.
He lisps and strips the… strips off his canines. He rolls the whitening strips into a ball and flicks it off his finger. It sails across the small space over the red cooler that sits on a table and lands squarely in the small garbage pail on the other side of the room. I watch the trajectory, mesmerized.
Gabriel: Yes! Score! And the crowd goes wild!
He shouts and makes a rush of soft whispers as if there is a crowd all cheering at once in the distance. I’m standing there, still blushing, still feeling a little foolish and wondering what I’ve gotten myself into. There is a soft rustle, a flash of grey suit and Gabriel is next to me.
Gwendolyn: EEEEK! How did… you move so fast?
His expression cools somewhat and he straightens his lapels and smoothes out his trousers.
Gabriel: Uhm… vampire? Super-dee-duper fast? Other-worldly pretty? Teeth? (He points). Blood sucker?
I’m still staring at his finger pointing to his teeth.
Gabriel: Yoo hoo. Any of this ringing a bell? At all?
Gwendolyn: Yes! Yes! I’m sorry… got… distracted.
Gabriel: Understood. I tend to startle mere mortals with my pretty choppers, devastating good looks and impressive package.
He snaps his teeth and I jerk, bouncing on the cushion like a piece of bread popping out of a toaster. He takes a step back and leans against the table crossing one long leg at the ankles his arms over his massive chest. He gestures to his groin area and wiggles his brow at me. Another flash of grey suit and he kicks his leg up and vaults over the back of the couch, coming down on his butt, the wood and fabric groaning as he falls back, reclining with his arm behind his head.
Gwendolyn: Would you please tell us a little about yourself?
Gabriel: Sure… my name’s Gabriel.
I scratch my head.
Gwendolyn: Uhm, Anything else you’d like to share in that regard? Last name? What you do for fun? Work? Or anything else you’d be interested in telling us?
He tilts his head and gives me a look of theatrical suspicion.
Gabriel: Just Gabriel. Like the angel, sans the wings.
He says this as if he’s just sniffed filthy underwear.
Fun? Baby, you don’t want to know what I do for fun.
He gives me a hard glare and bares his teeth again.
When I want to play I tend to fuck people up… just the bad guys, but still… gets rough.
He turns down the intensity and grins.
So back to me. I’m a big guy. Six five. Black hair. Built. Gorgeous, according to just about everyone who claps eyes on me… and Ten and a half veined inches. Beer can width.
He gestures to his lap again.
“Ah Christ almighty Gabe!”
We both turn in the direction of the new voice in the room. At the doorway, one foot in and one foot out, his hand on the knob, is a tall man, a few inches shorter. He looks to be in his early fifties and has short, precisely cut brown hair that screams ‘cop’ and graying at the temples. He would be good looking if it wasn’t’ for the scowl on his face.
Gabriel: Tully! Come on in! I’m being interviewed!
Gabriel throws his hands in the air, his smile wide as if he hadn’t seen his friend in years. Tully steps inside and shuts the door behind him. He’s wearing a trench coat over a dun brown suit. He jerks his wrist so he can look at his watch.
Tully: I know what you’re doing in here dipwad – I drove us and I’ve been sitting outside waiting for you for forty five minutes! Then I peek in to check on you and see you making lewd gestures to this woman?! Are you nuts?
I’m looking back and forth between the two men. Gabriel is smirking. He leans forward toward me.
Gabriel: He won’t admit it but he gets a tiny bit jealous!
Tully: Knock it off Gabe. We’ve got business to take care of – in case you’ve forgotten. Sorry Ma’am. He tends to go off on tangents.”
He glares at Gabriel.
Gabriel: Ah come on Tulls, we were just gettin’ cozy. Sit.”
He pats the couch next to him and Tully huffs, rolls his eyes, then sits down next to Gabriel.
Gabriel: Aw, you DO love me!
Tully: Knock it off Gabe.
He growls, but there’s a fondness between the two. Tully nods a gruff greeting at me.
I smile and look to my list of questions.
Gwendolyn: . Okay, what is your greatest fear?
Gabriel barks a laugh and Tully shakes his head sardonically and jabs him in the ribs.
Gabriel gives him a look, rubs his side and looks back at me.
Gabriel: My greatest fear? Hmmm. He taps his chin. That would be Tully about two hours after the all-you-can-eat bean burrito buffet at Enrique’s Taco Casa. They have a senior citizen’s special on Thursdays.
Tully: Jesus Gabe! Would you get serious already?
Gabriel: What? It’s a good deal!
Tully seems to be unmoved and glares at Gabriel.
Gabriel: Alright, alright. Kill joy!
He looks back at me and opens his mouth. His lips quirk and his very long, very white fangs descend.
Gabriel: Uhm… vamp, here.
He points to himself.
Not much I’m afraid of. Or are you expecting me to sit here and list all the shit that can kill me or seriously fuck up me or my threads? ‘Cause I’m not going to do that.
Tully: That is true. He’s not very forthcoming with that sort of intel.
Gabriel hitches his thumb at Tully and nods.
Gabriel: Your readers will have to cling to their pulp fiction “knowledge” and test their courage. He leers forward suddenly coming real close to my face. I lean back. So I only got one question for ya…
Tully: Ah Christ. Here we go.
Gabriel: You feelin’ lucky? Punk!?
Tully: Ignore him. He’s got this thing for Clint Eastwood.
Gwendolyn: Uhm, o…kay. Have you told anyone about this fear? Why or why not?
Gabriel rolls eyes
Gabriel: Uh I just told you. Why? Because you asked me – so there is no ‘why not’. Duh.
He had a point… I think.
Tully leans in to Gabriel and murmurs loud enough for me to hear.
Tully: What about Sirah?
Gabriel looks stricken but quickly recovers and murmurs back while keeping his eyes nailed on me.
Gabriel: I can’t tell her… he gestures to me… about ‘her’.
Gwendolyn: Guys? I can hear you. Who’s Sirah?
Two sets of eyes turn toward me and stare for a moment.
Gabriel: See what you did?!
Gabriel gives him a nudge with his elbow.
Gwendolyn: Can you talk about this Sirah?
Gabriel sighs, glares at Tully and then begins in a bored monotone.
Gabriel: My maker. One of the ‘Originals’. Wants to us to make beautiful fuck together and make lots of little baby vamps for her army bent on world domination. He glares back at Tully. There! Happy now?
Tully: Well, when you put it like that, it sounds stupid.
Gabriel: It IS stupid. Gay, remember?
Gwendolyn: Where do you go when you need time to yourself?
Both Tully and Gabriel sputter. I frown, wondering…
Gabriel: Trust me sweets, time to myself ain’t a good time. I’ve had a whole lotta years of that shit…
Tully looks a little horrified.
Tully: Called descending.
Gabriel: He’s right. Depths of hell kinda thing. Scary.
He leers at me and his teeth come down. His grin is sadistic and more than a little frightening.
Gabriel: Down there, there be monsters…
Tully: Stop scaring the woman, Gabe.
Tully looks at his watch again. This time he’s trying to be discreet.
Gwendolyn: Uhm, do you have a secret? If so, what is it and why do you feel the need to keep it secret?
Gabriel: Do I have a secret? Does the pope jerk off on Saturday night and confess on Sunday morning?
Gwendolyn: Well, I’m not really sur—
Gabriel rolls his eyes
Gabriel: Rhetorical question, sweets. Got six hundred year vault of secrets. Things I’ve seen. Tortures, iniquities, devastation created by the evil despots through the centuries? Could tell you all about it. Do you have the rest of the week? I’ll tell you what isn’t a secret. I’ve got some asshole gunnin’ for me. Been killing my lovers and dumping them all over the city in strategic places. Blood, pentagrams and bodies falling from rooftops! Not sure who’s doing it… or why, at this point all we’ve got is hunches and the usual suspects; jilted lovers, homophobic co-workers, the odd collections of freaks and miscreants who’ve got nothing better to do on a Saturday night and a whole fucking host of ghosties, vamps and makers who’d love to see me get goin’ gone!
I blink. Guy’s got a lot on going on. But there’s something I don’t understand.
Gwendolyn: I hesitate to ask this next question…
Gabriel gestures for me to go ahead.
Gwendolyn: How is it you can work on a case involving… you?
Gabriel looks at Tully. Tully gestures to Gabriel, shaking his head as if it’s a bad idea but giving in.
Tully: As long as she knows you’re on the down low Gabe…
I nod furiously. I do. Off the record.
Gabriel: Because I’m the number one suspect.
Thank you Arla for allowing me to interview Gabriel… and Tully… here. As you can see Gabriel is one to play everything close to the vest and writing him, his sarcy nature and his devastating secrets was both challenging and frustrating in that he doesn’t give them up easily. But as the old saying goes; ‘give a man enough rope…’. Gabriel doesn’t end up hanging himself – wouldn’t kill him anyway. But he does open the story of his life in the Masquerade series which will be available in 2015.
Arla Dahl is a lover and avid reader of all things sexy and suspenseful. She gets her inspiration from daily headlines and is often surprised by how today’s issues mirror those from the distant past. In her current work, the Immoral Virtue trilogy, which is set during the witch hysteria of the 17th Century, Arla twists an already twisted history into a daring erotic work of passion and pleasure.