Please welcome Victoria “Tori” and Christian to “That’s Swell!” They are featured in Amalie Howard’s darkly romantic debut novel BLOODSPELL. I love Tori and Christian’s answers, especially their answers to my fave movie question. They are super-human and a super couple. Tori is caring, smart and one powerful witch. Christian is mysterious, sexy and a deep-thinking vampire. They are perfect for each other…even though a witch and a vampire are not meant to be together under the law of the Vampyre Covenant and Vampyre Council.
If you’ like to learn more about BLOODSPELL, check out my review!
Bio: Amalie Howard grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure.
An aspiring writer from a young age, Amalie Howard’s poem “The Candle,” written at age thirteen, was published in a University of Warwick journal. She was also a recipient of a Royal Commonwealth Society essay award (a global youth writing competition). A Colby College graduate, she completed simultaneous Honors Theses in both French and International Studies, and graduated Summa Cum Laude/Phi Beta Kappa.
She also received a distinction in English Literature from the University of Cambridge, A-level Examinations as well as a certificate in French Literature from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, France. She is a member of SCBWI.
Bloodspell is her first novel.
So Tori and Christian tell me…
TORI: Honestly, I’m a bit of a worrier. I worry about everything – school, friends, family, homework, whether my blood’s going to kill anyone today … you know, the usual. I’m just kidding, I’m getting much better at keeping that last one under control! I also think I’m open to new experiences, which has served me well given the last year and what I discovered about myself, and of course, being able to date a vampire takes that to a whole new level. For the third, I’d have to say that I’m compassionate. I really care about what happens to my friends and family. The flipside of that is that I’m probably a little too gullible, especially when it comes to trust. Given what happened with my so-called friends at school, my gut response is to close myself off but I don’t want to lose that part of myself. I can’t stop caring, it’s who I am, so that’s a bit of a double-edged sword. Oh, and I’m rebellious, but that’s four things, so forget I said that.
CHRISTIAN: By nature of what I am, I know that I’m quite guarded. I am very careful when it comes to revealing anything about myself because of the Laws governing my world. I have to be careful to not break any of them, like revealing what I am to a human since the penalties are severe. I took a chance opening up to Tori, but it was worth it. Secondly, I deplore liars – it’s the one thing I cannot stomach. I don’t know if it is because of the lie I must uphold to hide what I am but people who lie for no reason other than to get what they want really gets under my skin. I value honesty because it takes courage to be truthful, especially when a lie would be far easier. I thought about lying to Victoria at one point because it would have been much easier than telling her the truth about what I am and possibly losing her, but I took the risk, and she stayed, despite how horrifying the actual truth was. Thirdly, I’m sensitive to others, especially humans. You are really quite fragile in terms of how you think about yourselves. I quite like that vulnerability.
TORI: It takes me about fifteen to twenty minutes. I am pretty low maintenance, probably too much so. My idea of makeup is sunscreen, gloss and maybe some mascara if I feel adventurous. I recently read an article on teens focusing on inner beauty, being “Barefaced and Beautiful” and it really resonated with me. At twelve, you shouldn’t be putting on layers of makeup to go to school. You’re still a kid, enjoy being one. I’m seventeen, and half the time, I think I’m still more of a kid than a grown-up.
CHRISTIAN: Three minutes if needed, thirty if not. Super-speed is useful. However, I do enjoy long hot showers so I tend to indulge most mornings.
TORI: Piano. My mother was a concert pianist. She used to say that she could hear my tiny fingers drumming on her insides when she was pregnant with me. I think I played my first piece before I could even talk. When my parents died, I just stopped playing. It felt like I was betraying them somehow. I only started playing again when I met Christian, and I think that that was one of the greatest gifts he could have ever given to me. It’s my way of speaking to them wherever they are.
CHRISTIAN: One of the best things about being immortal has been the ability to indulge my love of music. In that regard, I have tried my hand at every instrument you can imagine. My favorites are the violin, the sitar, which I learned in India, the Celtic lily harp, and the Australian didgeridoo. I particularly love the symbolism of the different instruments, and what they mean within each culture. Did you know that the didgeridoo, for example, known as the oldest wind instrument in the world, is a ceremonial instrument traditionally used in aboriginal rituals to celebrate the forces of nature? Supposedly, aboriginal men also used it as a magical charm to win their wives. Truly fascinating.
TORI: This is a tough one. My dreams are chaotic, and terrifying. They’re a constant reminder of what I am, and I’m not sure if that’s because my blood invades my subconscious when I’m sleeping, or what. Leto, my familiar, says it’s to be expected because that’s when I’m at my most vulnerable. After all, the blood does have a will of its own. Even though it’s a part of me and bound by my own will for now, it will always be thinking of its freedom, if that makes any sense. Sometimes, in my dreams, I become Brigid, my ancestor, in her darkest moments … when she was a complete slave to the blood. In the end though, what’s really terrifying is how good it feels giving in to the blood. That’s what scares me the most.
CHRISTIAN: (turning to Victoria) Tori, that won’t happen. That’s the blood playing tricks to destabilize you. You know that.
TORI: I know, it’s just a constant struggle. See how lucky I am to have him? I falter, and he’s there in a second to hold my hand. So what do you dream about, Christian?
CHRISTIAN: I don’t dream. Vampires don’t actually have a subconscious. The layers of human consciousness evolve into something more once we become what we are. Vampire consciousness is hyper-aware … which means that we aren’t vulnerable to our emotions or insecurities or dreams. Put it this way, we know exactly what we are doing and what drives us at any given time. But if I did dream, I imagine I’d dream about Tori. And in the interests of propriety, I absolutely will not be able to elaborate any further than that.
TORI: I’d like to think that I’m actually a pretty decent driver. I was stopped once by a police officer for driving through a yellow light in Millinocket, but I got off with a warning. And no, no witch stuff there, that one was the effect of pure teenage waterworks. Why don’t you ask Mr. Lead-foot over here about his ticket record?
CHRISTIAN: *laughing* Tori’s right. I’ve gotten a few over the course of my lifetime. I do have a heavy foot, and as Tori will undoubtedly tell you, I love cars, especially fast cars. I have quite an eclectic collection both in Paris and in Maine. I have to admit that sometimes when I’m here, I forget that I’m not driving on the German Autobahn, which doesn’t have a speed limit. That said, I’m all about car and driver safety so drivers should respect all posted traffic laws. As far as actual tickets go, well let’s just say that getting out of them is one of the more advantageous uses of vampire compulsion. Tori calls it my Jedi mind trick.
TORI: I like Oscar the best. He’s a grouch but have a look at how he is with Slimey the Worm, and you’ll see that he’s got a soft heart hidden under all the grouchiness. He’s like me – all bluster and no bite, really.
CHRISTIAN: The children’s television show? Sorry, I’m not familiar with it. Television wasn’t invented until the mid-twentieth century, long after my childhood years, and well, I’ve had no children around me for obvious reasons since then. (To Tori): why are you laughing?
TORI: Because you’d be a dead ringer for Count von Count! He’s a vampire counting puppet who loves numbers, and he has this funny accent and these cute little fangs and a cape. He’s totally you in puppet form! Ok, fine, let’s move on.
TORI: Wow, great question. I would like to act in the Bloodspell movie and win an Oscar. Ok seriously, it doesn’t have to be me, but I would love to see somebody do this movie. Can you imagine someone playing me? That would take talent and some serious guts. (To Christian): What? I’m just saying! And I’m a teenager so I’m allowed to have flippant shallow answers. Whatever, I’m sure you could sink a ship with all the awards and medals you’ve received over the years: Grand Cross, Cross of War, Silver Star, Medal of Honor … the list goes on and on. Christian would probably be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize if he thought twice about it!
CHRISTIAN: *shaking head at Victoria* I have no words for you right now. What Tori means is that I served as an officer in several wars for different countries, including France. Most of those are military awards rendered for service. I only did what I had to do, what was required of me. As far as the Nobel Peace Prize goes, as a vampire, death is a natural part of my existence as is immortality. I’ve seen first-hand the decay of humanity over many years, and the waste and devastation that war has created. With weapons of mass destruction, the future is not exactly rosy. So in that regard, would I like to be able to help develop some form of anti-war mediation that may preclude nuclear fallout? Sure. Do I need to be recognized for it? Not necessarily. Either way, a win for humanity is a win for vampire society. Our destiny—our survival—is tied to yours, because without humans, we could not exist.
TORI: I am addicted to American Idol. I love the idea of a show where you can showcase your talent to win something, especially if it’s something you do well. Can you imagine if there was some kind of magic competition? I would rule! I am totally just kidding. I also can’t wait for So You Think You Can Dance this summer. I’m all about supporting performance arts.
CHRISTIAN: Probably Survivor, because that’s what I do. I’m confident I could take it to the end. And no, not by eating the other contestants!
TORI: I would be Hermoine in Harry Potter. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to be the smartest witch at Hogwarts? She’s so cool, calm and collected. Plus I kind of like the idea of playing with wands—I mean honestly, what kind of witch doesn’t have a wand? Me, that’s who! Where’s the fun in that? Anyway, speaking of Hogwarts, which looks so interesting and mysterious, I can’t wait until I can do something like that myself, you know, go to a place where you could learn about spells like you would about Math or English? Meet other witches my age? That would be incredible. Contrary to what you would think, they do exist. Although unlike Hogwarts, I think they’re in regular buildings, hidden in plain sight. We’re actually looking at a couple schools in Europe, one of them in Paris near where Christian’s estate is. I can’t wait!
CHRISTIAN: I love this question, because you’ve unveiled my Achilles heel, movies. I could be Rick Blaine in Casablanca, Hans Solo in Star Wars, Vito in The Godfather, William Wallace in Braveheart, Maximus in Gladiator, even Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean would be fun and interesting … there are so many choices! But in the end I would have to go with Steve McQueen in Bullitt for the simple reason that I can’t go past the 390 GT Mustang. I’m a man’s boy … what can I say?
TORI: One billion dollars.
TORI: You’re asking me the meaning of life? Seriously? The girl slash witch who can’t even figure out what to do with her own schizophrenic blood? I’m kidding! I think we find meaning in life. For me, it’s all in the journey, where you begin and start to learn about yourself, where you go and grow on that path, and finally where you end up. At the end of my life—and who knows when that will be—I just want to be content, and to have lived my life with the least possible amount of regret as possible. Each and every experience will hold meaning for me … whether it is learning to love, to embrace myself, to accept others, to be humble, to be grateful, or to just become a better person. Given everything that has happened to me in the last year, and the fact that my boyfriend is a vampire, I have so many more questions about the meaning of our existence as a whole. I’m talking about human and non-human existence, happiness, purpose, good versus evil, the existence of a soul, or the afterlife. I’m questioning everything right now. I mean, if you knew that creatures like us existed, wouldn’t you? If I can, I’d like to find some answers along the way as I walk the path, or as I like to say, as I carve my path.
CHRISTIAN: I’ve had many years to ponder this question, if only because it undermines a vampire’s very existence, in a way. Life has meaning when it is finite. For a vampire, whose existence is forever ongoing, it may start to lose meaning because there’s no time limit. You don’t need to redeem yourself before a certain period because in time anything can be forgotten or ignored. Finding meaning in anything becomes clouded by the clamor of other immediate things, like desire and blood, and sometimes both in tandem. Most of us are ruled by our very base instincts and the immediate satisfaction of those, and after a while it’s difficult to think of anything else. Plato defined meaning as obtaining the highest form of knowledge whereas Aristotle redefined this knowledge on a more ethical level as the pursuit of goodness, or virtuousness. For vampires, by definition of what we are, virtue flies out the window. So we have to work twice as hard to be “good” per se. As a vampire, I see the meaning of life as one more step to redemption … redeeming a part of my humanity, reclaiming a part of myself, once lost. The more I can hold on to that, the more meaning life holds for me. And of course, this girl, this woman, who loves me so unconditionally, brings so much more into my life. When I’m with her, I feel alive … I feel worthy, and there’s infinite value in that. As imperfect and impure as I am, she sees perfection and purity in me. And if that isn’t meaning, I don’t know what is. She makes me more than I am, more than I can ever be alone.
Thanks, Tori and Christian!
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