Today it’s my pleasure to welcome over Kyoko M, author of The Deadly Seven, Book Two in the Black Parade Series.
Number of pages: 120
Word Count: 58,546
Cover Artist: Christine Savoie and Katie Litchfield
Michael O’Brien. 24. New Yorker. Musician. Commander of Heaven’s army.
It’s been centuries since Michael stayed on Earth for an extended period of time. Now he’s here because of Jordan Amador—a Seer who helped him restore his life and memories and thwart the archdemon Belial from taking over the city. With Jordan on Belial’s hit list, Michael decides to stick around and live out life alongside her as her friend and temporary bodyguard. But as the days pass, he finds it harder to resist the seven deadly sins that tempt all men. Especially as he and Jordan grow closer fighting the demons who want her almost as much as he does…
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If you could spend an hour in real life with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
If I could sit down with any of my characters to chat, I'd probably pick my main villain, Belial. Granted, he'd probably try to kill me for writing him lusting after a woman he can never have, but it'd probably be worth it. I'd love to get his perspective on his past lives. He is one truly vicious individual and yet I'm a bit impressed by how little he cares about what people think of him. He just says whatever pops into that disturbed head of his. He has a sense of direction and nothing makes him hesitate, not even the worst thing you could ever imagine. I'd like to know what it must be like to have no limitations and to be so ambitious.
Tell us a little bit about the conflict in your story.
The main conflict of The Deadly Seven is of course the seven deadly sins as Michael experiences them while masquerading as a human alongside Jordan Amador, the Seer he's protecting. Michael has been a soldier and a leader since his inception, so he has never quite experienced the temptations we deal with every day. There is always the urge to be a massive a-hole in any frustrating circumstance, and he has to deal with all kinds of crap that all rests on his shoulders. Michael is a great guy and a true gentleman, but he has a bit of a dark side underneath that the story digs in to as it progresses. He also has some pretty serious feelings for Jordan that he doesn't quite understand yet, and isn't sure if he is ready to in the first place. His cluelessness about Jordan, and women in general, is a big source of tension as well. She likes him quite a bit, but she keeps things to the chest. They are basically two big idiots in denial and that is what makes them so interesting.
Are you currently working on another story? If so, we’d love some details.
The next novel in the series is She Who Fights Monsters. We jump ahead a year in the midst of a harrowing string of murders. Someone has been systematically killing off Seers and Jordan and Michael are trying to hunt the killer down. When they finally catch wind of a clue, it turns out that they require the help of the sinister archdemon Belial. The struggle then becomes tracking down the killer while dealing with Belial's hidden agenda. There is also the continuing thread of attraction between Belial and Jordan, which drives a wedge in her relationship with Michael.
What sort of personality does your hero have?
Michael has an interesting personality type because he has some traditional traits of a soldier, a leader, and a gentleman, but his time as a human musician changed him into a much more laidback kind of guy. He has quite the sly sense of humor and he lends himself to a lot of great lines in the series. His sense of justice is unshakable but he does begin to slide into the grey areas during the Deadly Seven.
What sort of personality does your heroine have?
Jordan's personality contrasts Michael in that he wears his heart on his sleeve and she keeps most things to herself. Her attraction to him is obvious to everyone but her, and that's on purpose. Jordan grew up under constant abuse and neglect, so she is afraid to trust anyone, or depend on them. However, she has the same drive and need to save people that Michael does and that is what helped their friendship gel so quickly.
Being Jordan Amador’s angelic bodyguard against a horde of bloodthirsty demons was a lot of things, but certainly not boring.
I checked my watch for the fortieth time in the last twenty minutes. Jordan usually got off at eight o’clock. Things had been quiet for over two weeks now, which was rare for a Seer’s lifestyle. She encountered ghosts with unfinished business a few times a month and that kept the both of us busy. Earlier, she had convinced me to meet her at the bus stop a couple streets over instead of in front of the Sweet Spot.
“So would you mind waiting for me at the bus stop instead of out here?” she had asked, sweeping her shoulder-length black hair up into its usual high ponytail.
I frowned. “Why? Doesn’t it kind of defeat the purpose of the whole ‘temporary bodyguard’ thing?”
“It’s been quiet for a while now, Michael. Come on. Helping avert the end of the world and ganking an archdemon aren’t enough to prove I can take care of myself?”
I glanced between her and the store front. A couple of her waitress friends who were watching us through the window scattered as soon as I looked over. Then it clicked.
“They think I’m your boyfriend, huh?”
Jordan got really interested in her shoes all of the sudden. “Yeah. They do.”
I shook my head. She was an anointed soul charged with helping the dead find peace and yet she still cared what her coworkers thought of our relationship. I couldn’t decide if it was cute, frustrating, or hilarious. Possibly all three.
Then again, I could see how her coworkers would get confused that a six-foot-tall, dark-haired, green-eyed “underwear model” (which I overheard one of them dub me last week) dropped Jordan off at work on a frequent basis. I decided to be lenient for once.
“Fine. We’ll give it a test run today. If you survive, I’ll take it into consideration.”
She shot me a scowl. “Gee, thanks, almighty Michael. I am humbled that you considered the request of a lowly human.”
I grinned. “You’re welcome, my humble servant.”
She rolled her eyes and swatted my arm before turning to head into the restaurant. “Later, pretty boy.”
“Stay out of trouble.” I called, and then headed back towards the bus stop.
That had been eight hours ago. Getting off a shift late wasn’t unusual for a waitress, but most times it was by only five or ten minutes. My instincts needled at me that something was off.
Sighing, I fished out my cell phone and called her, tapping my foot. “Come on, Amador, pick up.”
Several rings. A click. Voicemail message. Ugh. I hung up and stuffed my hands in my pockets. It was a short walk through the heavily trafficked area on this side of Albany, New York, but it was during one of the busier times of the day. Nighttime in the city meant chatty couples walking through holding hands, teenagers hollering and chasing each other down the street, and music pouring out from the clubs already packed to the rafters with the twenty-somethings.
Two stop lights, one near-death experience courtesy of a speeding cab, and one step in some gum later, and I reached the glowing red sign to the Sweet Spot. The Southern cuisine eatery was busy. As much as Northerners made fun of the South in sitcoms and stand up shows, they sure did like the food.
I pushed the door open and smiled at Beth, the head hostess. “Hey, you.”
“Michael.” The short blonde grinned. “Good to see you as always.”
“Is Jordan still in the back?”
A slight frown marred her brow. “No, honey. She left about ten minutes ago.”
I froze. “Left how? She was supposed to meet me at the bus stop.”
“She went out back to take out the trash and I just assumed she went home after. Why? Something wrong?”
A cold lump settled in my stomach. Something wasn’t adding up. Jordan wasn’t the type to disappear without texting me. I didn’t want to concern her friends so I kept my expression pleasant. “Nah, she probably just wandered off to window shop. I’ll catch up with her. Thanks, Beth.”
“No problem, sweets.”
I made a point to leave the restaurant in a casual manner, but once I was out of sight, I hurried around the block to the back of the building. The Sweet Spot was part of an entertainment district in this section of Albany. There were narrow alleys between the establishments and the streets ran parallel to the store fronts
The Sweet Spot’s back alley looked like any other restaurant in Albany—lined by dumpsters and garbage cans. The concrete was littered with fallen bits of food. A couple of mangy cats fought over fish bones. The entire area stank to high heaven. I called Jordan’s phone again and prayed that my instincts were wrong.
The raucous chorus to Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” echoed behind me.
I turned towards one of the dumpsters and lifted the entire thing with one hand. Her phone lay cracked and forlorn underneath it.
About the Author
Kyoko M is an author, a fangirl, and an avid book reader. Her debut novel, The Black Parade, made it through the first round of Amazon's 2013 Breakthrough Novel Contest. She participated and completed the 2011 National Novel Writing Month competition. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Lit degree from the University of Georgia, which gave her every valid excuse to devour book after book with a concentration in Greek mythology and Christian mythology. When not working feverishly on a manuscript (or two), she can be found buried under her Dashboard on Tumblr, or chatting with fellow nerds on Twitter, or curled up with a good Harry Dresden novel on a warm central Florida night. Like any author, she wants nothing more than to contribute something great to the best profession in the world, no matter how small.