Monday, December 1, 2014

Meet River Maracle from the Angel Island series

My friend and critique partner, Molli Moran, asked me to be part of a blog hop for authors where we interview one of our characters so that readers can get to know a bit more about them. Molli interviewed Reece Walker from her Walker Boys series; you can read the interview here. Thanks for asking me to go next, Molli!

The character I’m interviewing is actually a secondary character, but he was the first one that came to mind when Molli asked me. I seriously love River Maracle, and I hope you will, too. He’s from After the Storm, which came out this past April, and he’s also in my upcoming book Take Them by Storm, which comes out in January.

Ready to get to know a bit more about this lovely boy?

I take the ferry from Kingston to Angel Island, where River and Ella are waiting to pick me up. I’ve known Ella for a couple years now, and when she introduced me to her boyfriend, River, last year, we became friends instantly. There’s just something about him - he’s serious and intense, almost to the point of being a bit intimidating, but when he smiles at you it feels like the sun coming out after endless days of rain. He’s beautiful, with his dark hair and eyes, copper skin, and boyish grin, and he’s beautiful inside, too - funny, sweet, loving, and a real gentleman.

He greets me with a smile and a hug, and when he wraps his arms around me, I have to remind myself that not only is he over a decade younger than I am, he’s also madly in love with my friend Ella. *sigh*

We drive to the O’Dells’ beach house with the windows down and the music blaring. I love the feel of the lake-scented air whipping through my hair, and I can’t help but grin as I watch River and Ella holding hands in the front seat and sneaking secret smiles at each other. These two give me hope for my own love life…as do Ella’s sister, Charlotte, and her boyfriend, Ezra, who are waiting outside the house when we pull up. There are hugs all around before I’m ushered inside.

I intend to get the interview out of the way first thing so we can enjoy the rest of our weekend together, but it’s like a reunion in here, with not only the O’Dell sisters and their boyfriends, but our friend Sadie and her girlfriend, too. We sit around and talk for hours, eating pizza from the island’s famous pizzeria. These guys have welcomed me into their makeshift family, and as I sit and talk with them, I know it’s a privilege to be part of something so special.

Finally, River offers me his hand and I take it, letting him lead me out onto the back deck. The sun is starting to sink toward the horizon, and the sky is a riot of colours. People down the beach are setting up for the nightly bonfire, which we’ll be joining later tonight. River and I sit in the big wooden swing between the O’Dells’ house and Ezra’s, and he sets us rocking lightly. 

Me: Ready to do this? You sure this isn’t weird since we’re friends? 

We’ve already talked about how he should answer questions as if I don’t already know the answers (which I do). I’m beginning to think I should have sent someone else to do this interview, but River just smiles and pats my leg. Have I mentioned how much I love his smile? 

River: I’m ready. Let’s do this.

Me: Can you tell us your full name? 

River: River Darel Maracle. 

Me: Are you a fictional or historical character? (He gives me a raised eyebrow look and I shrug.) What? I didn’t come up with these questions.

River: (laughs and pokes my leg) Feel that? I’d say that makes me real, not fictional. Although I do believe you took some liberties with my ‘character’ while writing the girls’ books.

Me: Hey, creative license. It’s part of the job. (We both laugh.) Anyway, moving on…when and where is your story set?

River: I’m actually in two stories—my girlfriend Ella’s story, After the Storm, and my best friend Sadie’s story, Take Them by Storm. After the Storm takes place on Angel Island, Ontario, and happens during our last year of high school. Take Them by Storm is set partly on Angel Island, but mostly in Bellevue, during our first year of college.

Me: What should we know about you?

River: Well, I was born and raised in Tyendinaga, a Mohawk reserve about an hour from here. My dad died before high school started, so when my mom was offered a counseling job at the high school on Angel Island, we moved here. I just finished my first year of college at Loyola, taking Addictions and Community Service Worker, with the hopes of becoming an Aboriginal Outreach Worker.

Me: What's the major conflict of your story? What's going on with you?

River: I’m pretty much a supporting role in both books. In After the Storm, Ella is dealing with a lot - the death of her mother, trying to patch up her relationship with her sister and dad, trying to get past people’s perceptions of her. She kind of…fell apart when her mom got sick, and she did a lot of things she regretted. I just tried my best to be there for her and let her know a second chance was possible and that she could be whoever she wanted to be. Having lost a parent myself, we bonded over that, and I tried to help her as much as I could. In Take Them by Storm, Sadie’s going through some…well, let’s just say some transitional stuff. She has to deal with a lot of changes all at once, and she’s feeling like an adult for the first time. She’s trying to forge ahead on her own, figure out her place in the world, and what she wants in life. I was there for her as much as possible, while also trying to find my own path with school and my future career, plus handling a long-distance relationship.

Me: What are your personal goals?

River: I want to help people and make a difference however I can, especially on the reserve. It makes me so sad that when a lot of people think of Aboriginals (or Natives/Native Americans/however they’re known in the rest of the world), they think of alcoholism, addiction, riots and protests, and people living in squalor. Unfortunately there is a lot of addiction among my people, but that’s not all we are. We’re a strong, resilient people. I want people to see that. I want to see positive representation in the media, and I want more accurate portrayal in movies and on TV. I’m proud of my heritage, and I want to give back to the community I came from, and help preserve our legacy - language, customs, beliefs, etc.

Me: When can we read more about you?

River: After the Storm is already out, and Take Them by Storm comes out January 6th. I really can’t wait for people to read Sadie’s story. She’s such an amazing person - so strong and funny and driven - and even though we had some issues this past year, it was an honour and a pleasure to watch her grow and become the person she is now. She’s never been happier, and our friendship has never been stronger. I’m a lucky guy.


Now that you know a bit more about River, here’s a scene from Take Them by Storm:
On the first Friday of school, River and I finally have class together. Today we’re in an actual lecture hall, since both our groups are combined. We’re taking different courses, but they’re similar enough in some ways that a few of our classes overlap.

The room is like something straight out of every college-set TV show I’ve ever seen: tiered seating leading down to an open space with a small podium on either side, plus two long desks, and the biggest whiteboard I’ve ever seen. The differences between high school and college have been coming at me from every direction, but this is the first time all week I’ve really felt like I’m in college. It’s such a silly little thing, but this lecture hall has sealed the deal—I’m a college student.

“What are you grinning about?” River asks as we find seats about halfway down. “I thought you would hate being in such a big room with so many people.”

“Well, that’s not my favourite part, but I’m…adjusting,” I tell him. “It’s kind of weird, but it’s part of the experience, you know?”

He nods. “I’m proud of you, Sades.”

“Aww, you’re giving me the warm fuzzies.” I lean over to kiss his cheek, and he chuckles.

“Seriously. I didn’t know how this whole thing would be for you. Coming from a small town, living a somewhat sheltered life, plus living in your own little world…” I’m not sure what my expression is, but he quickly adds, “That’s not a bad thing. You’re artistic, and artists tend to live inside their own heads a lot of the time. It’s what makes you you.” He pauses and sighs. “This isn’t coming out right.”

“No, go on.”

“What I mean is…you’ve been surrounded by the same people your whole life. When I came to Angel Island, I was the first new person in your life in a really long time. Then Ella and the others last year. A lot changed after that, but it was still a small-town life with the same people, same school, same high school drama.” He has his thinking face on when he stops, like he’s trying to decide what to say next, where to go with this.

“I think I get what you mean,” I say. “Now it’s my time. For the last four years, I’ve had you by my side, and then Ella this past year. And you’re still here, but it’s different. I have to do stuff on my own. I have to make new friends and learn to deal with crowds without always running to you to hold my hand. I have to be a big girl.”

This gets the grin I was hoping for. “Basically, yeah.” He’s quiet for a minute as he looks around the hall, which is almost full of people now. “I hope you know you can still come to me anytime.” His eyes return to mine, and they’re dark and serious and full of so much warmth, I just want to squeeze him. “No matter what. No matter how old we get, or how many new friends we make, or how good you get at being independent, I’ll always be here for you. If you need me to hold your hand, if you need someone to talk to, if you need a shoulder to cry on, whatever, I’ll be here.”

I lean against him, closing my eyes. Voices buzz around us and someone jostles my seat as they move down the aisle behind me, but I tune it all out. I needed to hear what River just said. I needed to know that no matter how much things change, he’ll always be my best friend. “Thank you.” I tilt my head so my chin rests on his shoulder. “Same goes for me, you know. You’re never getting rid of me.”

He laughs quietly, his breath ruffling my hair. “Good.”
Want to see more of River? 
Add After the Storm on GoodReads
Add Take Them by Storm on GoodReads

Buy After the Storm: Amazon, Kobo, B&N, Smashwords
Pre-order Take Them by Storm on Kindle (pre-order links coming soon for Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes)


~Up next~
Next week, my friend Lilly Avalon will be interviewing the oh-so-sexy Devlin Pierce from her novella, Resist, and her upcoming follow-up novel, Longing. 

About Lilly:
Lilly Avalon is the author of the erotic romances Here All Along and Resist, and the upcoming novella More Than Words. She's somewhere in the midst of her twenties and lives mostly in the stories in her head. When she's not enveloped in the worlds she creates, she's out in the real world making stories happen. That or reading other romances. It's a toss-up.

Find Lilly on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads

Want to win the very first complete swag set for the Angel Island series? No one else has one of these yet (well, except my mum *wink*)! It includes postcards, mini bookmarks, and stickers for all three books. Open internationally.

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1 comment:

  1. Just discovered Miss Marie on Twitter and I can't tell you how exciting it is to find new authors and to basically be a Fangirl. Looking forward to reading all of your work.


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