Lee French is a fellow member of NIWA, who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person when we joined forces to sell books at Norwescon! She’s got several titles out already that I’m looking forward to reading–including her brand new YA release, Girls Can’t Be Knights. Between that title and what I already know of Lee, yeah, I expect to see some stereotypes stomped on nicely. And today, she’s bringing us an interview with her character John Avery, a detective who has a suspect to catch, and who is not happy about it!
Questions And Answers: Today, we’re welcoming John Avery, a Detective with the Portland, Oregon Police Department. He’s graciously agreed to sit down and talk about his work and home life.
John Avery: Wait a minute. I never agreed to talk about my home life. The divorce is still fresh, and I don’t want to talk about that.
Q&A: Do you have kids?
JA (scowling): Yes, two sons, both teenagers. Again, I don’t want to talk about this. My wife–sorry, my ex-wife–who makes more money than me hired a pricey lawyer and now I live in a crappy little apartment by myself, with no one around to complain when I work long hours. That’s all I’m going to say on the subject.
Q&A: Fair enough. Tell us about the case you’re working on.
JA: There’s a young man I’m looking for in connection with a few minor crimes. He hasn’t hurt anyone yet that I know of, but when I met him, I got that burgeoning serial killer vibe from him.
Q&A: That sounds awful. What’s he like?
JA: I first met him when he was 18. My initial assessment said “dumb,” and I’ve never run across anything to challenge that. He ran away from an abusive home to live with his girlfriend, who he managed to get pregnant right before his 18th birthday. I think she was a year younger. Barely graduated from high school, scraped up a job as a garbage collector for a few months before becoming a Spirit Knight.
Q&A: What’s a Spirit Knight?
JA: It’s a group of lunatic men who think they’re saving the world when they’re actually destroying it. Like the Crusaders. They have these delusions about dangerous ghosts they need to destroy. The truth is, the ghosts are the one thing holding our reality together. Without them, we’d all…(JA frowns) I’m not entirely clear on the specific consequences, but suffice to say it would be unpleasant for the majority of people.
Q&A: You seem to know a lot about this group.
JA: Well, yes. Of course. I was one of them until I discovered the Truth. They’re so insular and paranoid, though, that now I’ve opened my eyes, I have to work against them in secret. Anyway, Justin. He’s one of these deluded numbskulls. Unfortunately, when I’ve met him, I didn’t get his last name, and I don’t know enough to find him. I suspect he might live over the border in Washington state, as that would make it nearly impossible for me to track down anything about him. Without a felony to tag on him, I can’t access databases across the state line.
Q&A: Since he hasn’t done anything serious yet, and you have no proof he’s specifically planning to, why are you chasing him?
JA (scowling again): Because I need him to–ah. Er. Look. He seems harmless, like one of those SCA people, the ones who dress up like knights and beat each other with fake weapons. But he carries a real sword and rides a real horse that he talks to. The guy is deranged. Any day now, he could lose the few marbles he has bouncing around in his thick skull and carve people up for no reason. He’s already stolen an important post-war artifact from a museum in Eugene. I can’t prove it, but I know he did it. Same for several incidents of minor theft from convenience stores.
Q&A: Um, he sounds more like a nuisance level problem. Isn’t Portland kind of known for having weird people?
JA: I knew this was a joke. Captain Travers set this up to prank me, didn’t he? (JA gets up, tosses the chair, and leaves while muttering obscenities)
Q&A: I certainly feel safer now, knowing that Detective Avery is on the job.