Sometimes the best way to get to know a recalcitrant character is to sit down and interview him. That’s what I did with Xavier Saint-Amant, the Robin Hood of vampires. In Luminari, Saint-Amant is an alchemist, a glorified drug dealer for the undead, who strikes a hard bargain, when a hapless mortal comes seeking his wares. Saint-Amant feeds unlucky vampires who can’t feed themselves. So he needs blood. Lots of blood.
To celebrate the release of Hibernaculum, my new anthology of short tales (that includes Luminari), I’m posting this snippet of my imaginary interview with Saint-Amant.
Interview with Xavier Saint-Amant. Location, Venon-sur-Lis, France. After dark.
KM: Thank you for agreeing to see me, Mr. Saint Amant. May I call you Xavier?
XSA: If you must.
(A wolf howls in the distance and the hundreds of candles lighting the room flicker)
XSA: Are you comfortable?
KM: Yes. Yes. Thank you.
XSA: I could offer you wine, but my assistant has locked himself in the cellar again.
KM: Does that happen a lot?
XSA: Yes. Good help is hard to come by in my line of work.
KM: And what work is that exactly?
KM: Alchemy? I didn’t think there was much of a market for that anymore.
XSA: I’m not in it for the money.
KM: Yes I’ve heard of your humanitarian efforts…
XSA: You’ve never interviewed a vampire before, have you, Miss McDougall?
(KM shakes head.)
XSA: Humanitarian isn’t quite the word for my work. I help vampires in need. Those who can’t or won’t hunt for themselves. I’m like a soup kitchen, but I don’t serve soup.
KM: I see. I’ve heard you developed a drug that enables vampires to go out in the sunlight. The Luminari. Is this true?
(With uncanny speed XSA crosses the small space between them. He leans over and whispers in her ear.)
XSA: It doesn’t work on mortals, but I could fix that for you.
(KM squirms away and stands.)
KM: Yes, well. Maybe another time. Perhaps now would be a good time for a tour of your…ah…soup kitchen. My readers would find that fascinating.
(A scream breaks the quiet.)
XSA: Yes, let me show you around.