Alma Katsu is visiting Smexy today to interview her character, Adair from The Taker Trilogy. Welcome Alma!
Before we get to the interview, a little background on the books for readers who aren’t familiar with them. Since The Taker came out in 2011, there’s been some dispute about its genre. Is it paranormal, romance, historical or fantasy? The Taker—and now The Reckoning, the first second book in the trilogy—defy convention, making it the perfect choice for readers who are looking for something fresh.
What is story behind The Taker? A moderator for Barnes and Noble’s fantasy bookclub said it best: “While the premise of the story – a young woman who will literally do anything to compel the man she loves to love her back in the same manner – is all but irresistible to romance aficionados, this is not a romance: it’s a romantic cautionary tale of the highest order…The storyline is heartrending and brutal and every single one of the characters are deeply flawed. But, strangely enough, there is an undertone of hope – the hope that someday everyone will be able to find that perfect love where both are givers and no one is a taker… I loved the multi-tapestried feel of these novels – it’s an utterly readable blend of supernatural-powered fantasy, historical fiction, and existential horror. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy Deborah Harkness or Diana Gabaldon.”
Readers have been particularly drawn to Adair, the antagonist in the first book, a darkly powerful, pleasure-seeking immortal whose fate is to never experience love. If you like your villains seductive and charming in addition to being as bad as they come, Adair may be just your brand of poison. One blogger called him “a 21st century Lestat” and the Paranormal Book Club named him the best villain of 2012. I am pleased to offer you this interview with Adair, the first time I’ve seen him since we finished the third and final book in the trilogy late last year (it comes out in 2014).
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Adair is already waiting for me when I show up at the appointed meeting place. I haven’t seen him for a while and he looks good. It’s windy outside and so his long black curls are blown about and looser than usual. He’s bundled in a pea coat and wears jeans. I’ve never mentioned it before but he has the kind of butt that can give a girl ideas and the jeans show it to its best advantage. He catches me looking at him and gives me a wicked grin, flashing those wolfish eyes at me. Oh, those eyes. I’ve missed them since wrapping up the last book.
The other thing that comes back to me, besides his fatally tempting eyes, is how it feels to be in his presence again. Electricity rushes through me just looking at him. You have to experience it to believe it. I’ve forgotten that there really is no one else like him. I can’t imagine what it would be like to touch him, to run your hands over him. I blush at the thought and find myself envious of Lanore, because she—lucky creature—can touch him anytime she wants. She has this singular man all to herself.
Lanore isn’t with us today for some reason. “How is Lanny?” I ask.
He smiles knowingly at me. “She’s fine. She sends her regards.”
“Why didn’t she come with you?” I seem unable to stop myself from asking. “I would’ve liked to see her.”
He looks at me a bit sheepishly. “She’s mad at you, if you must know. For everything you put her through,” he says.
“But it worked out in the end,” I protest.
“You could’ve been a little easier on her,” he says in her defense.
“It wouldn’t have been the same,” I push back, but I shouldn’t have. He’s right to defend her, after all: they belong to each other now. “Are you ready?” I ask him. He nods and leans against the desk behind him, sitting on the very edge with his hands shoved into the pockets of his pea coat. I settle into a chair, still in my jacket. It is cold in this dusty room, as bleak as a boxcar. We’ve chosen this anonymous house because no one can know where they are: they’re in hiding, and for a very good reason. “Alright, I’m going to ask you a few questions. Things the fans want to know.”
“Fans?” He’s surprised he has fans. “I thought everyone hated me.”
He has fans, I tell him; believe it or not, even for all the terrible things he did—and he is guilty of some spectacularly horrific acts in the first book—some women love him. It’s his turn to blush. “I can’t imagine why,” he grumbles.
“Why do you think?” I say pointedly. “Here you are, a guy’s guy, so strong and aloof, and yet you fell helplessly in love with Lanny. And in the end, you gave up everything for her. You were willing to be vulnerable. Women love a guy like that.”
He snorts. “I had no choice. She wouldn’t stay with me the way things were. I wouldn’t have changed one iota if she’d let me get away with it, the cunning little wench.” He’s being disingenuous, playing down the extraordinary sacrifice he made so that they could be together. But I don’t want to get into it here; it’s all in the last book in the series, The Descent. We shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves.
“I can’t believe that you’re going to put it all behind you, the travel, the adventure. The power. You could’ve had the world at your fingertips,” I say, dangling the last words to see if he’ll bite.
But he gives me that cocky smile again; he’s not going to be caught that easily. “It wouldn’t have been worth it without her. What else could I do?”
“And what are you and Lanny doing these days to keep busy?”
His eyes glint. “Oh, you know what we do to keep busy.”
“Besides the obvious,” I say, pen poised over my notebook. “What will you do now that the clock is ticking, so to speak?”
“We want to live our lives like any other two people. We’ll see what each day brings us. We’re not in a rush. We’ve already had the world. Now we’ll have just each other, and that is world enough for me.” He ducks his head, embarrassed to be so sentimental but it suits him now.
“Do you see any of the others? Alejandro, Tilde?” I ask but he shakes his head. I finally ask, “What about Jonathan?” and he howls. “If I never see him again it will be too soon. No, I think we’re finally rid of him. I can finally have some peace.”
We chat for a few more minutes. It is so good to see him like this, the malevolence in him defused. I have to hand it to Lanny: she was able to turn this monster into a man, an extraordinary man at that. Such is the power of love. When our time is up—he won’t be away from her for too long, worried for her safety—he buttons up his coat and kisses me on the top of my head, and slips out the door into the bright light of day.
Today, Alma Katsu is going to giveaway two copies of The Taker. To enter, just leave a comment. Contest open to US only through March 8.