One aspect of Kept Tears highlights the very real issues facing injured veterans, but at my core, I am a fan of fantasy, urban fantasy, and science fiction. Both Aaron and Rhys share aspects of that, Aaron more so than Rhys. Aaron shares my geekiness, loving steampunk, comics, and the like. While Rhys writes fantasy young adult novels as his cover, most of it could be actually non-fiction from his own realm.
It is Rhys’s true nature that made writing Kept Tears
so much fun. He’s a prince of the Seelie Court, a Tylwyth Teg. I chose the Teg, since at least here in America, readers haven’t heard too much about Welsh Faeries. It’s a familiar theme with a little bit of a Welsh twist.
Rhys makes an excellent counterpoint to Aaron, who is facing life, learning to deal with his disabilities. Rhys, actually Prince Myrddin, is accustomed to a world filled with magic, even though he has been on Earth for centuries as a guard to ensure his people don’t take advantage of the non-magical humans. While he has lost people he loved in war, magic usually eased any non-lethal wound without so much as a scar. Aaron’s injuries make Rhys feel something he rarely has: powerless.
The urban fantasy parts of the novel were a lot of fun to play with, especially taking established folklore and expanding upon it. The concepts of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts are very old indeed, but I got to reimagine them in modern times. Rhys brings with him all sorts of magic, old rivalries, and a host of bizarre entities.
Baudelaire said Strangeness is a necessary ingredient in beauty.
I couldn’t agree more. I like things to be a little bit strange, and that’s why I think I’m more drawn to urban fantasy and the like over contemporary fiction. I crave the unusual, and I have been reading folklore since my earliest memory. My mother was asked to please buy me a book of Bulfinch’s mythology when I was in second or third grade because I kept constantly checking it out of the school library, and no one else had a chance at it.
In Kept Tears
, I was able to merge that strangeness and my love of folklore in with the more serious and real issues facing veterans returning from war. It was a joy to write and I hope you enjoy it.
His portal home dropped him on the castle green. In some ways, the building resembled the Gothic style castles on Earth, built for much the same reason. However, instead of sand or limestone, his family’s castle—well, palace might be a better term—was made of rock not found on earth. Hard, dense, and opalescent, it was blinding in the midday sun: beautiful in a cold, glimmering way. Around the castle, detectable by only certain high-level magicks, stood ensorcelled barriers adding to the protection of the royals.
Myrddin went inside and found his mother in the royal chambers. Like most fae, his father had many lovers, but only one was queen.
Seren looked surprised to see her son. “Myrddin, isn’t it a little early for a visit? Is something wrong?” Seren glided over, her fiery hair brushing against her hips. Opening her arms, she hugged him tightly.
“Possibly.” He returned the embrace. His mother smelled of wyrhas flowers, reminding him of lilacs, only much stronger.
Seren gestured toward the soft leather couch set in front of a huge window. One of the many palace gardens lay beyond the glass, a wild riot of color. Myrddin settled on the couch, his mother sitting next to him.
“Do you remember Morcant?”
“It’s hard to forget those who betray us,” she replied, her voice hard with disappointment.
“He’s back with veiled threats.” Myrddin slapped a hand against the arm of the couch. “Damn it, this is the last thing I need right now. I’m starting over somewhere new, watching the Pittsburgh area like you and Father asked me to. It should be exciting. I’m making new friends. I don’t need to have my attention divided, worrying about my family when I should be worrying about keeping the city safe from any interference by our kind.”
“Do you think that could be it? Morcant is there merely to distract you while the Unseelie Court sets something into action in that area?” Seren tapped a finger to her lips. “They know how thin our ranks are. The human world is so much larger now than it was. Ideas fly about like magic with the Internet and world news. It would be easy for them to sneak in agents and tap into the human potential while you’re running back and forth making sure your family is safe. It’s what I would do if I were them.”
“Damn, that is a good idea. I should have thought of it.”
Thanks Kim for having me over. I appreciate it.
– Having left most of his arm and his self-confidence behind in the Afghanistan desert, young veteran Aaron Santori has enough on his plate learning to use his prosthetic arm. Attending graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh makes life both interesting and challenging. Mentally, he’s ill prepared for meeting Rhys Edwards, a young-adult novelist from Wales and everything Aaron could want in a man. Between the scars from the explosion and his PTSD, he’s reluctant to date. Ready or not, though, Aaron finds himself jumping into the deep end of the relationship waters.
What Aaron couldn’t possibly know is that Rhys isn’t human at all. As a prince of the Tylwyth Teg, Rhys is fae, with a list of enemies he’s accumulated over the past few centuries—among them a former lover, Morcant, who is back to make Rhys’s life miserable. An unwitting pawn in their Machiavellian fae politics, Aaron only knows he’s falling in love, never suspecting love might be his death sentence.
Jana Denardo’s career choices and wanderlust take her all over the United States and beyond. Much of her travels make their way into her stories. Fantasy, science fiction, and mystery have been her favorite genres since she started reading, and they often flavor her works. In her secret identity, she works with the science of life and gives college students nightmares. When she’s not chained to her computer writing, she functions as stray cat magnet.
Jana is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her.