Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Progeny by Ashlynne Laynne -- Character Interview with Ascher Rousseau



His arms filled with a large cardboard box, Ascher Rousseau strolls into the SimpliRead Readers Lounge. He hands RC Bean the box, and then slips his dark aviator sunglasses off, revealing intense, blue eyes that focus in on her. “This is for you. I read somewhere that you like Toblerone chocolate. My wife is a chocoholic.”

“Wow.” RC beams. “That was really thoughtful of you. Thanks for the gift, and thank you for coming, Ascher.” She motions toward a plush leather sofa. “Please, have a seat.”

RC taps on the screen of her tablet. “Thank you for agreeing to the interview.”

Ascher flashes a smile, sweeping the long, black hair from his pale face. “It’s an honor to be here. I was very excited when Ashlynne informed me that you wanted an interview for your SimpliRead blog. This is my first solo interview, so I’m a bit nervous. I usually do these with my wife, Shauna, but she’s home at Promesse, recovering from the birth of our first child. It was a difficult delivery and it has left her somewhat weakened.”

“I’m sorry to hear that she isn’t well.”

He again runs a hand through his straight raven locks, exposing several streaks of gray underneath. “No need for concern. My wife is tough. She’s on the mend and getting stronger every day. Now, let’s get to these questions. Just ask away—anything you’d like to know. Anything at all.”
                                                                                                                      
What is your idea of perfect happiness?                                                       

“Wow, R.C. You just get right to the point, don’t you?” He grins, then sighs. “If I’m going to be completely honest, I don’t think I was ever really happy before I met Shauna. I mean, I existed. I did the day to day things that were expected of me. Being half human and half vampire in a home filled with full-blooded vampires was hard. I never really felt like I belonged in either world. To complicate things even more, I was engaged to seal to a vampire named Ursula, whom I didn’t love at all. I went through the motions with her because I believed she was my destiny.” He pauses in contemplation, before speaking again. “Yes, perfect happiness was only a possibility after I met my wife. She was like this illumination that lit up my dark soul and stoked this passion inside that altered my existence forever. With her, came the prospect of unconditional love. A future. Children.” His face flushes, taking on a boyish smile that conveys shyness. “Perfect happiness, for me, is an eternity spent with my wife and vampire family, Shauna and I watching our children grow and develop their gifts.”



What is your greatest fear?

Ascher’s stare cools to an icy blue.

“If you’d asked me this before the baby was born, I would’ve told you losing Shauna. Now that I’m a father, my greatest fear is, undoubtedly, losing my family. Because of this fear, I can be a bit overbearing at times. I think that drives Shauna crazy because she’s so independent and doesn’t like for me to hover. That is actually something I’m working on, attempting to balance my need to protect her with her need for independence.”



What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

“I think I kinda touched on it in the previous question. I’m, admittedly, obsessive about Shauna’s safety, even though she is perfectly capable of protecting herself now. My wife is strong in her gifts, but that doesn’t stop me from worrying. I’m mighty afraid that this compulsion to protect my loved ones has only worsened since the birth.”



What is the trait you most deplore in others?

“Closed-mindedness. My father raised us to be accepting of everyone and to joy in people’s differences. Being raised to follow the covenants, I always believed that vampires and Wiccans didn’t mix. This caused me a lot of heartache when I met my Wiccan wife. I fought what I felt for her because I took the covenants’ laws very seriously. They are as close to a religion as most vampires get. I will raise my children, as I was raised, to judge others on the weight of their character.”



Which living person do you most admire?

“Growing up, I really admired my big brother Gabe. My father went into a decade-long depression after my human mother passed away after my birth. Gabe stepped in and became a pseudo parent of sorts. I’m not sure where I’d be if not for him.”



What is your greatest extravagance?

My family is extremely wealthy. I mean—come on—we’re vampires and some of us are multiple of centuries old. I, myself, am a billionaire several times over. Before Shauna, the money didn’t mean much to me. It just sat in accounts drawing interest. My wife was raised without much money, so I take every opportunity to spoil her rotten. We have a home in Saint-Tropez, a penthouse suite above one of the most popular hotels in New York, and we just built our dream home on the grounds of my family’s vineyard. For me, extravagance means the ability to give my wife anything her heart desires.”



What is your current state of mind?

“I’m a bit anxious at the moment. I’m a first-time dad who has absolutely no clue what he’s doing. Loving a child is the easy part. For me, protecting my children from the evil intent on claiming them is a whole other story. You see, my wife has this ancient demon who wants her to join him and rain havoc upon the Earth. And while I love her, she has a temper that has only gotten worse with her turning. There are times when I am afraid that she’ll choose to leave me and follow the cloaked one. I’m not sure what I’ll do if that happens.”



What do you consider to be the most overrated virtue amongst humans?

Being half human, I’ve spent my entire life observing them to understand that part of myself. The thing that always angers me about humanity is the fickleness. They fall in and out of love so easily and most times for the wrong reasons. People take vows of forever that often are discarded when the next best thing comes along. Physical attributes change and bodies decay over time. The real person is always on the inside. And while Shauna is a gorgeous shell, she is luminous on the inside. I fell in love with that deep and caring soul.”



On what occasion do you lie?

“I endeavor to be honest in all phases of my life, but I lie every day. I pretend to be human when I’m anything but. I lied to my wife when we met, keeping the fact that I was a vampire from her. My lies are usually secrets that I keep from those I love, in the hopes of protecting them. That never ends well.”



What do you most dislike about your appearance?

“It’s funny you asking me that. As a half-blooded vampire, I go through these occurrences called hemoglobin dysplasia. During these episodes, my blood volume shifts and I’m more human than vampire. The hormonal changes usually cause my hair to grow at unprecedented rates. The few times this has happened, I usually shave and cut my hair. During Shauna’s pregnancy, I suffered a trauma that caused my system to go haywire. When it was all over, I had grown three inches, gained thirty pounds, and my hair was more than twice its original length and streaked with gray.”

Ascher shifts in his chair uncomfortably and sweeps his hands through the silky mane of black locks.

“I don’t mind the extra height and weight. When I was 6 foot 1, I was the shortest of my brothers. Now at 6 foot 4 and 213 pounds, I am of considerable size. It’s been an adjustment, learning to function in this new body, but I’m finally getting the hang of it. But this gray is a different story.”

His eyes go heavenward, bringing attention to the dark strands accented with white.

“I do not like being gray. I love looking older, but I never imagined myself ever graying. I’m immortal. Ageless appearances are part of immortality. It’s something small, I know, but it still bothers me.”

Ascher stands and stretches his arms above his head, then gives his interviewer an inquisitive stare. “If that’s all of the questions you have for me, I’ll be going. I’m pretty anxious to get back home to my family. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you today, R.C. I hope your readers enjoy the interview.” He offers her his hand for another shake before leaving.
                                                                                           

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