Spoiler Alert!: The following interview contains spoilers for The Rebirth and Awakening of Wolfie Star-Runner, namely the part near the end. If you haven’t read that book yet and want to avoid spoilers, then come back to this interview later. If you have—or, at least, don’t mind spoilers one way or the other—then proceed.
A chubby, brown-skinned young woman waits patiently in a comfortably decorated private meeting room at an inn. She pushes up her black, pseudo-cat-eye framed glasses and then turns her dark brown eyes to the grandfather clock in the corner of the room. It is now 3:35…he’s over an hour late.
Just as she is about to give up and reschedule, however, the door of the meeting room swings open and a young man rushes in. He is about six-foot-three, with the slim but powerful build of a professional dancer, medium brown eyes, and dark brown hair which is cut short aside from the long bangs which hang over the right side of his face—just barely propped up by a red bandanna—and a long rattail which is just about lower back length. In addition to the bandanna, he wears a green denim cut-off vest, white T-shirt with crossed flaming axes printed on the front, worn blue jeans, brown leather boots, and dark brown leather bracers on his forearms—giving him a look reminiscent of a typical generic street tough from an 80’s movie. He catches his breath, then runs a hand through his hair, strikes a confident pose, gives the young woman a charming smile—the kind that one would expect a random gleam of light to accentuate in a cartoon—and sits down in the armchair opposite her. Here the interview begins.
Quick Facts about Calvin Bendis
Name: Calvin Meriwether Bendis
Birthday: Februne (February) 21, 1023 P.W.D.
Height: 6 feet, 3inches (190.5 cm)
Hair: Dark Brown
Eyes: Medium Brown
Weapon of Choice: Tracer Bayonet Series Mark Three gunblade (part sword, part single-barrel pump-action shotgun)
Favorite Color: Gold
Danielle Freeman: *gives him a flat stare* You’re late, Calvin.
Calvin Bendis: Hey, come on! This bunch of guys thought they were tough and tried to mug me on the way here! I almost just kicked their asses and let ’em run like the pansies they were, but I recognized their leader from a wanted poster and chased him halfway across town for the bounty. Got him to! That’s a thousand krowns for me and twenty-five-to-life for him. That aughtta teach him to mess around with Calvin the Great! *smiles proudly*
D.F.: *sighs* Well, so long as it wasn’t because you were chasing girls or something…
D.F.: Anyway, let’s get started. First question: Why did you decide to become an adventurer in the first place? What motivated you to want to strike out on the road?
C.B.: Heh! That’s simple! I want to become a legendary hero, that’s why! I wanna make a mark on this world so big that every bard and historian on the planet will have a million tales to tell about me even ten thousand years after I’m dead and gone. I want little kids hundreds of years from now to be able to pick up a book and read about me and go “Yeah! I want to be just like him when I grow up!” I want kids in History classes to suddenly get yanked out of their boredom when the teacher starts talking about my heroic deeds. I want thinking of me to bring out the badass in even the weakest, scaredest, most miserable people. Plus, a normal, settled, work-a-day life would just drive me bonkers! No monsters or villains to fight, nothing new to discover, just the same old boringly safe crap over and over again…There’s a reason why I hated school!
D.F.: Those are all really good reasons. So, is there a particular hero who inspired you to want to pursue this path?
C.B.: Yeah. My dad, Falcon Bendis. Don’t go telling him this, but…well, I’ve always looked up to him a lot. I mean, even though he can’t really get the rank he deserves as a werewolf hunter by sticking to his principles, he does it anyway. He won’t kill innocent people just because they’re werewolves, and he doesn’t care who knows it. When he was bitten, he didn’t kill himself just because of some stupid code or pussy out and turn evil. Instead, he chose to live and use his powers to continue to protect the innocent—human, werewolf, or whatever! If I can become half the badass he is…I just know I can become a legend!
D.F.: And what about the fact that your dad kept you, your mom, and your sisters a secret from the rest of the family for over twenty years? Or the fact that he kept the fact that he’s a werewolf a secret from his family for over thirty years? Doesn’t that put a dent in your perception of him at all?
C.B.: I said he’s a badass. I didn’t say he’s perfect. He only kept all of those secrets because it was the only way he knew he could be there for everyone he loves, so I accept it. Sometimes a hero’s gotta make some hard decisions, you know? And everything’s not always all black and white.
D.F.: And how do you feel about it all? Not having been able to meet your cousins or aunts or uncle for all these years?
C.B.: Honestly? I freakin’ hated it! I kept thinking, “maybe if Uncle Hawk wasn’t such a tight-ass,” or, “if people weren’t such damn cowards,” you know? When I learned that Dad had finally come out to everyone and—well, aside from Uncle Hawk—they were all cool with it…man, that was probably the best moment of my life! And the fact that I got to meet Wolfsbane and Inferno right before that…it made it even better. Now, if only I can live to see the day when no werewolf has to keep who and what they are a secret ever again, that would be awesome!
D.F.: Well, you’re certainly full of big dreams, aren’t you?
C.B.: It’s either dream big or sleepwalk, babe! Everything worth going for in this life is either grand in scale or scope, so if all you’re shooting for is to pay some bills, maybe get hitched and raise a few kids, then die of old age, you’re fuckin’ cheating yourself. You only live once, so you might as well try and make it incredible!
D.F.: Speaking of incredible, you received your first gunblade at ten years old and are now a master with that weapon. That’s a pretty rare thing, because of how unwieldy and complex gunblades actually are to use at full potency in combat. You don’t have the added boost of a fairy blessing like your cousins…so how did you get so good with a weapon that even master swordsmen and marksmen have trouble with?
C.B.: Simple, a crap-ton of hard work!
D.F.: *gawks in disbelief*
C.B.: What? Don’t look at me like that! See, I told Dad all the way back when I was four or five that I wanted to fight with a gunblade when I grew up. Most parents would have laughed, but he just smiled and said, “Then you’re going to have to work real hard to get good with a swords and guns separately first,” and we started training. Caroline had started training to be a werewolf hunter around then, so it wasn’t a big stretch for Dad to be training the both of us at the same time.
I practiced my swordplay and marksmanship every chance I got. I would spar with Caroline or Dad every time I could rope them into it. I would go to the shooting range after school and practice with shotguns, rifles, machine guns…I got in trouble with Mom over the machine guns…I practiced combat skills at the paintball arena downtown. While the other kids at school were playing Tag and Hide-and-Seek at recess, I would sneak off with the teacher’s yardstick and practice sword techniques by myself out in the schoolyard. I didn’t have a lot of friends growing up because most of the other kids either thought I was weird, crazy, or a total loser…but it was all worth it when Dad finally gave me my first gunblade. It took a few months to get the hang of switching between slashing and gunning on the fly, but once I got it down, there was no stopping me!
D.F.: And you got that gunblade and hit the road when you were just ten, right? That brings me to yet another question: How did you earn the nickname “Collateral Cal” anyway?
C.B.: *growls, crosses his arms, and pouts a bit* Just a bunch of jealous rivals who wish they had my skills, that’s all. I mean, sure, I’ve gotten into a few big, destructive fights over the past ten years too…But, hey! I can’t help it if some crooks use grenade launchers and high-level spells or some monsters are super aggressive and won’t die permanently unless you make chunky salsa out of their insides or spatter their brains all over the place! Heroics isn’t all clean and pretty, you know. Buildings get smashed, shit blows up, rich ladies’ psychotic little purse dogs get eaten by newly-spawned hydra’s heads…that’s life. The main thing is just the jealous mercs and monster hunters out there who can’t stand that I was tough enough at twelve years old to take down targets by myself that most guys twice that age couldn’t handle alone…with a gunblade, no less! You know what they say, though: Haters gonna hate…
D.F.: …Ooookaaaay…But the title you’ve chosen for yourself, Calvin the Great, is a little ambitious, isn’t it?
C.B.: Hells no! I can live up to it. I’ve got the skills, the drive, the courage, and the looks to do it. In fact, I’ve got a whole checklist of quests to go on, ruins to explore, and treasures to claim to make sure no one can deny my pure awesomeness. Mount Teratos is just the first in a whole string of amazing adventures I’ve got lined up! And now that I’ve got myself a real badass crew, nothing short of the gods themselves can stop me now!
D.F.: Oh, a whole list, huh? Well, can you tell me a few of the items on that to-do list?
C.B.: *winks and smiles* Sure thing. Aside from Mount Teratos, I’m looking to explore the Catacombs of Milstra, the Garurulfus ruins, and the famous Sunken Tower of Ringa, just to name a few. As for quests, I’m definitely going for The Trial of the Towers once we get to Avalonia. After all, they say no one’s passed that shit in two hundred something years! I mean, Dad, Uncle Hawk, Uncle Eagle, Aunt Liz, Aunt Osprey, and Falor’s mom got together to try it back in the day and totally blew it! You know I have to beat it just because Dad couldn’t.
D.F.: It seems that you’ve got just as much confidence in your team as you do in yourself. So, is there anyone that you consider a potential rival at this point?
C.B.: Well, as far as being a rival in terms of fighting skill, Wolfsbane could definitely give me a run for my money. Between my quick reflexes and his pure speed, we’re pretty evenly matched. But, when it comes to the ladies, Falor is definitely one to look out for. I mean, he’s almost as charming as I am and between the blue hair, his skintone, and his features, he has sort of an “exotic half-fae” thing going on that’s just as alluring to the ladies as my “dashing, roguishly handsome badass” look! If I’m not careful, he could steal all my fangirls…
D.F.: Oh, I wouldn’t worry about that…Alright, it’s getting late, so one final question: What is the deal with your hairstyle? A lot of people have probably asked it, but…
C.B.: Every adventurer needs an iconic style. Me? I started cultivating this look when I was six years old. Just one time when Mom was cutting my hair, I asked her to leave one side of my bangs longer than the other, just to see what it looked like. I liked it, so it stuck. But, the look was missing something, so I started experimenting and eventually tried growing the ponytail. I tell you, it’s not easy being pretty…
D.F.: Thanks, Calvin. That does it for now.
C.B.: No problem. So…when’s my next one?
D.F.: Don’t push it.
And so, the young woman heads off to continue her work and the young man heads back out on the road to adventure. Thus ends the interview.
Well, that does it for this week, folks! Be sure to check out the Star-Runner Chronicles books on Amazon.com (and all international versions thereof, print and kindle ebook versions available), and join us next week for a special surprise topic (read: “I haven’t decided what to write next week yet…again.”)! In the meantime, you can check out my Twitter page at @DanielleVFreman, poke about my Pintrest page, and give my Fan Works Spot a glance. And if you’ve already read my books? Don’t be shy! Drop a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or any other book review site you happen to be a part of (even if all you can give is a star rating and a single sentence opinion). Also, don’t forget to tell your friends in real life and on the interwebz all about the books and blog. (First Adopters, make my fanbase GROW! [Yes, a Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers reference. Ya’ll made me go there.])