By Joshua Robertson and JC Boyd
Erzebeth convulsed. Her fur and skin shedding away while she wheeled about on the ground in agony. The bones readjusted and organs reset from beast to human. Where a beast had stood was now the naked figure of Erzebeth. Cuts and scratches patterned her body, but none were fatal.
Tyran had no place for modesty. The Vucari woman, within the privacy of the ice dome, struggled to her feet. Again, her dark eyes met his own, filled with compassion.
“You need to be put down, young Red.” Her voice was calm as her feet crossed in front of one another, closing the distance between them. “Your power is greater than any I have seen before, even from the Anshedar.”
“What?” Tyran said, forehead wrinkled with confusion. He had never heard of the race before, whether beast or otherwise.
“You are like a rabid dog, young Red. You are the perfect companion, loyal, and possibly even loving somewhere deep inside,” Erzebeth bit her lip. Her breasts, barely covered by her dark hair, touched the front of his chest. She halted her feet. “But, you are tainted by a disease that is stronger than the goodness in you. You cannot be left to live in this world, or you will corrupt every living thing around you.”
Tyran tilted his chin, lips parting. His free hand touched her pale skin, as whitish as the ice fortress that veiled this moment.
“You would taint me, young Red.” She stepped up on her tiptoes. “As with the rabid dog, you need to be put down.”
He grabbed her by the back of the neck, and pulled her to him. He kissed her with more force than he had ever kissed any woman.
This woman was not Isolde. This woman was battle hardened, and a warrior. She was not plain.
She grabbed his shoulders and returned the embrace, her tongue touching his lips. Her body was far warmer than his own, as if it were heated by the darkness.
He did not know what he was doing in this moment. It may have likely been the first time that his mind was clear from thought, acting without thinking. Though, in time, he may consider that when his death was nigh, he found that this was something he wanted to do before death found him.
The crashing against the ice pulled him from the moment. Tyran pulled back, moving the Vucari’s hair from her cheek. “You won’t kill me, Erzebeth.”
“No,” she breathed. Her hands fell to his chest. “But, it still needs to be done.”
Interview with Joshua Robertson and JC Boyd
1. Tell us a little bit about this project: what was it like working with another author?
JC: Far more rewarding than I would I have thought. I had always figured that trying to co-write something would end up a muddled mess, ending with anger and donuts, but that was definitely not the case. Although, it probably helps quite a bit that Joshua and I have worked together for years, so I know how to handle his over-exuberance and he knows how to handle my moodiness. The best part, though, was the fact that he really helped to compensate for some of my weaknesses as a writer. I just hope that he can say the same for me.
JOSHUA: Haha, absolutely! Yes, JC and I developed this idea for a book in 2004. We wanted to create something that captured the themes of friendship, loyalty, and sacrifice. As with many writers, life continued to get in the way of writing the story. But, as brothers, we could not really escape one another’s pestering to get it done, and after eleven long years, Anaerfell is the final result of the original idea.
2. Describe your favorite scene (without giving away any spoilers).
JOSHUA: Oh man! No spoilers? There is a scene in the second half of the book when Tyran and Drast are discussing the best strategy going into battle. Drast’s response to Tyran makes me chuckle about every time I read it. Then again, most everything that comes from Drast makes me laugh.
JC: I, too, really enjoy most of the scenes with Drast as a central figure, because he never failed to surprise me—no matter how much of a hand I had in his creation. But my favorite scene has to be with the pair of them chatting towards the end of the novel. Joshua and I tried hard to earn the genre of Dark Fantasy with this novel, and when the two brothers have their heart-to-heart, I think that the novel finally finds its home, solidifying who they are, what they have done, and what they are leaving behind.
3. What can your readers expect from you in the future?
JOSHUA: I am releasing Book 2 of The Kaelandur Series in a few months called Dyndaer. This is the sequel to my best-selling, dark fantasy novel called Melkorka. For those who do not know, Anaerfell is the prelude (but a standalone novel) in the same world.
JC: Let me first say that nothing is set in stone. Joshua and I have toyed with a couple of other co-written works in the coming year or two, but I am not about to give away any spoilers. I joined him in Aenar, and if all goes well, he will be joining me in my world all too soon. I also have personal projects, which I will certainly be playing with in the coming year, including a novel set in Aenar with a character from Aenarfell—see if you can guess who!
4. Do you have any advice for authors just starting down the self-publishing road?
JC: Come back to your keyboard (or pencil, or pen, or voice-to-text program, or…smoke signals?). Joshua and I spent years playing with the concept of Anaerfell. It is easy to get discouraged or to struggle to see the end of the daunting process that is authorship, but we came back to the idea time after time until we had the words to say what we needed to say. If you leave, just make sure you come back again.
JOSHUA: I agree with JC. There is a lot of advice out there, but to echo what he is saying, I think the best advice is to keep writing.
5. Fun question: Your favorite movie producer of all time calls. Not only does he/she want to make your book into a movie, but he/she wants your help in a) deciding where to film and b) who to cast in the lead roles. What location would you pick and who would you case?
JC: I would hand the phone to Joshua. We had a bit of a “Ha ha, what if” conversation about this exact situation a few weeks back, and I told him that I could not resolve myself to make changes to Anaerfell for a movie. I would be such a pain in the neck for any producer that the movie would likely never get made. We determined then and there that I was not allowed to have any part of it.
JOSHUA: I am partial to Scotland or Ireland, and it would closely match the environment, but so would Newfoundland. Kevin McKidd (Gray’s Anatomy, Brave, Percy Jackson) would play a good Tyran. And, I would love to have Zach Ward (Chicago Fire, Resident Evil, Postal) play the role of Drast.
6. Fun question: What’s your favorite part of Halloween?
JOSHUA: I enjoy the history of All Hallows’ Eve with the change in seasons being a bridge into the world of the dead. And bonfires!
JC: Carving pumpkins. I can do without the candy, the children, and the pranks, but pumpkin carving is actually quite a bit of fun. I don’t know that I am very good at it, but I can still pretend.