Today I have the second half of the Brain to Books Cyber Convention author feature for Timothy Bateson. Remember, this great event for authors and readers alike is coming to Goodreads this April, on the 8th, 9th and 10th.
Be sure to check out all the details and pertinent links for the event here:
Now on with the main event, our Brain to Books author feature.
Today I have one of our delightful Fireside Chats.
Please welcome, Timothy Bateson's character, the lupine shapeshifer, Richard Parsons.
A Fireside Chat With Richard Parsons
“Welcome everyone, to another Fireside Chat. I’m Richard Dale, your host. Today, our guest is Richard Parsons, Seattle resident and lupine shapeshifter. Welcome Mr. Parsons.” He holds his hand out to the man sitting opposite to him.
A brief smile crosses his lips as Richard leans forward, taking the offered hand for a light, brief handshake. “Glad to be here.”
Richard Dale smiles. “Why don’t we begin with you telling our audience a bit about yourself.”
Richard settles back into the seat a little, glancing down for a moment as if trying to decide how much to say. “Well, there’s not really that much to say about me personally. I’m an average guy, who happens to be one of the few shapeshifters that’s somehow managed to make it into the public eye. Most of us try to maintain a low profile, but that’s been difficult for me, even going through childhood.”
“I see. Speaking of your childhood, it was less than idyllic, with your father abandoning you, and you losing your mother when you were a young teenager. How do you think those losses have influenced your adult life?”
There is a brief flash of sadness, before Richard reigns in the emotional response to the reminder of his losses. Wringing his hands, he backs a little further into the chair. “It’s definitely been hard, I can’t deny that. There’ve been no parental figures in my life since I was twelve.” He stops, and licks his lips, “No. That’s not fair. There has been one person, and he knows who he is.”
Richard reaches for the water glass sitting on a table beside him, and takes a slow sip as he thinks. “I guess in some respects a lot of what I’ve done over the years has been in an attempt to impress, or earn the approval of those I’ve allowed close enough to call friends. It’s just unfortunate that my actions haven’t always resulted in the best outcomes.”
Mr. Dale nods in sympathy. “The best laid plans, as they say.” He exhales slightly, and continues. “What is your best memory? And your worst memory?”
Richard leans forward a little, that pain returning to his eyes, but there is hint of a smile as well. “I’d have to say the two are very closely linked. I’m a lupine, a wolf-shifter, if you will, so hunting is something that comes naturally to me.”
There is a pause for a moment, as he looks down, and then back up, and there is a renewed intensity in his eyes. “My fondest memory, is the first time my mother took me hunting in the wild, and we chased down a brace of hares. Of course, I was too young to understand how special life is, or the responsibilities that come with taking a life. But being a city-born lupine that didn’t know that feeling of freedom, or the rush of fresh air through the senses… It was like a whole new world had opened up.”
Then he seems to choke up for a moment, and has to take anther sip of water before composing himself enough to continue. “Unfortunately, I felt many of those same things on the day I lost my mother. A rogue lupine had been hunting the trails, and we’d been told to stay clear while the pack handled the matter. Unfortunately, my mother hadn’t really been herself since my father abandoned us, and had taken to drinking.”
Wiping a tear away, Richard continues slowly, “We went out hunting, and I don’t know if it was coincidence that we ran into that group of hunters, or if my mother knew they were out there… But she gave her life to save me, and I couldn’t even bring her body home. I was twelve, and I lost everything that still mattered to me.”
Another tear falls, and Richard turns from the camera for a moment to brush them away. When he turns back to the camera, he seems somehow smaller, less sure of himself.
Mr Dale pauses, letting the silence hang and his guest finish composing himself. Then he asks, “What one act in your past are you most ashamed of? What one act are you most proud of?”
There is an anger in Richard’s voice as he answers the first question “You want to know the one thing I’m most ashamed of? After the hunters who killed my mother were caught for illegal hunting, the police gave her body to a museum. They had her stuffed and mounted for display. You see, when one of us dies, our bodies remain in whatever form we were in when we died. My mother was in wolf form on her death, and apparently there’s so little difference between a lupine’s wolf form, and that of a natural wolf, that no-one assumed she was anything different”
“The exhibition traveled for a while, with my mother’s corpse on display for all to see. Her display showing the perils of humanity encroaching on the territory of wild animals. I had an opportunity to recover my mother’s body when the display came back to town, and I let someone talk me out of it…”
“I remained angry for a long time, following my mother’s death, and I fell in with a lot people who weren’t good for me. But somehow I managed to make friends who encouraged me to finish my education. So if you want, let’s consider actually finishing my schooling as the one thing I’m proudest of, until now”
Mr Dale shifts forward slightly, making direct eye contact. “You led a rather wild and slightly criminal youth. How do you feel about now being on the other side of the law working with the Seattle Police Department’s Supernatural Taskforce?”
“Honestly? I guess it’s okay. It pays the bills, and keeps me from getting into more trouble with the law than I was already in. It’s like a lot of jobs working in law enforcement. You’ve got your usual mix of people you like, and hate. And jerks who’ll never accept you as part of the team, for whatever reasons they might have. At the moment, I’m just a consultant for the taskforce, but when they need my skills, they bring me in to help hunt down particular suspects. Thankfully I’ve not had to go up against any pack members yet. We lupines still prefer to deal with our own kind between ourselves. If I were to join the taskforce as a full team member, I’d have no choice in the assignments, and I’d be the only supernatural actually on their side. As a consultant, I get a certain amount of deniability, and I’m one of several supernaturals working with the STF.”
“Well—Oh, wait. I’m afraid I must hold that thought. I believe it’s time for some refreshment.” They are interrupted by the arrival of a gentleman carrying a tray with shot glasses and a decanter. “I see Jenkins has decided on whiskey for us.” Richard Dale smiles as Jenkins sets the tray down and waits. “Care for a nip? It’s an excellent Irish whiskey. Jameson I believe.”
Richard’s eyes light up as he spots the decanter, and glasses. His grip on the glass of water tightens noticeably, as his eyes follow the whiskey, before he forces himself to look away. The glass in his hand comes up and he takes a long gulp from the glass, before setting it down on his knee.
“I’d better not. I’ve got a meeting after this one, and it wouldn’t look good If I arrived smelling of even such a fine whiskey”. His tone might be even and measured, but there is a very strong hint that it’s a practiced response, and he seems very much on edge with the drinks sitting there.
“Ah well, a shame. I’ll have a glass, Jenkins.” The butler nods and pours a whiskey before retreating, leaving the decanter behind. Mr. Dale leans back in his chair, sips his drink, and asks, “As a paranormal being, do you consider yourself an outsider, or are you a part of a community?”
“Um...” His eyes are watching the glass in the interviewer’s hand, and keep darting back to the tray. He blinks before looking up, dragging his eyes away from the amber liquid, and his gaze is off to one side as he answers. “I guess we all feel a little distanced from the mortals, though we try to form friendships and such with them. I mean, the number of supernaturals in the city I small compared to the number of mortals, but yeah, we kind of have our own communities too. Lupines tend to form packs, because of the wolf in us. Vampires are either loners, or part of small groups that build mutual havens for themselves. But we all try and keep a low profile among the mortals. The witch hunts are just one example of what can happen when too many mortals become aware of us.”
“So yeah, I guess I’d have to say I’m an outsider, even though I have mortal friends, and work with mortals every day. There are far too few make the attempt to really understand the supernatural world, and how different we are. But then there are even fewer who can accept our similarities too, and keep the secrets that prevent news of our existence getting out, and leading to another Salem.”
“Excellent insight, Mr. Parsons.” Mr. Dale smiles. “Is there anything you would change about yourself?”
“Sure, isn’t there something you’d change about yourself, given the chance?” His eyes glance back over to the decanter on the table, and he sips at his water, hands noticeably shaking as he sets it down on the tray.
“Take this for example.” His hand is inches from the decanter at this point, and seems to drift closer as he talks “More than anything, right now, I want to reach out and pour myself a double shot. But if I did, I wouldn’t stop there.” Whatever else is on his mind remains unvoiced, as he pulls himself back under control “Let’s move on, shall we?”
“Of course. What would you consider to be the best quality of human nature?”
“Wow. We’re getting to the tough ones. If by human nature, you mean that which is in all of us, supernaturals and mortals alike, then I’d have to say perseverance. It’s what keeps us getting up every morning, even if we already know the day ahead is going to suck. It’s what pushes us onward, despite whatever boundaries are ahead. But it’s also the one thing that keeps us making the same mistakes over and over again. We keep doing the same things, and insanely expect different outcomes. But it’s also the one thing that actually DOES result in those changes, once we find a way to break the cycle of repetitious behaviors. Perseverance is what keeps the visionaries from giving up on their dreams, no matter the odds against them.”
“One last question. What do you find relaxing? Are you fond of reading, listening to music, or some other leisure activity?”
Richard seems to finally settle back into a more natural tone, and leans forward just a little to answer “Honestly? Despite the wolf in me, I have to say that I love exploring the city. I mean, I grew up here, and the streets were pretty much my home for a long time. But, everything’s always changing, and I find that exciting. I love taking my morning runs through the streets, finding new routes that push my limits; exploring ways that I can shave a little time off my distance runs; seeing the city waking up, and preparing for a new day. When I can beat my best times, or find something new… It’s like the rush you get when the prey is ahead of you, and you can all but taste the kill. Just be glad I’m not allowed to bite the prey I have to chase though the streets.” There’s a flash in his eyes, and Richard settles back into the chair, smiling as if imagining what would happen if he were allowed to bite.
Mr. Dale shivers a touch, before giving him another smile. “Well thank you Mr. Parsons, for agreeing to this interview. It was an enlightening treat.”
For more on Timothy Bateson and his character Richard Parsons check out his website:
And be sure to check out his virtual booth at the convention this April.