In honor of the release of Crystal Tomb the characters of the series have stopped by to give us some inside to who they are.
OR Raea What was it like when you found out that you were different?
Raea I wish I could say it was easy. It was like…like I was in a weird, twisted dream. You know, one that is so vivid you wake up not knowing where you are? In my case it was about not knowing what I was, and it wasn't a dream but a vision. Everyone thinks they're like totally odd, but this was way way beyond just the usual awkwardness.
Yet, there was this part of me that said it was real and right. I always thought the dreams of me and my mom flying were just dreams, you know. That's what Debbie always said.
Oh, but Debbie…I can't believe she of all people knew the truth and didn't tell me! That totally pissed me off. I mean, I trusted her. I thought she was like a friend, but here she had this HUGE secret, about me of all things.
But that passed after I thought about why she kept the secret. I could see her point. I kind of still feel like my own mother betrayed me, but I love them both, so I can't stay mad or anything.
OR Elis Was it hard for you to keep your secret undercover while trying to move in on Raea?
Elis I…wasn't trying to 'move in on Raea', as you put it. I was there to protect her, to keep watch on her. It was hard to keep my distance when I wanted to tell her everything, but I was forbidden. After what Debbie told me about her mother, it hurt to sit in the shadows, but I couldn't disobey a Crystal Keeper.
It was even harder to not be myself. I've always loved flying. It's who I am and I can't give that up. I was devastated when Saffir asked me to come to Earth, because I knew it meant I would have to give up all I had left of myself.
Thanks to Evelyn's hint, I found a way around that limitation, and I rediscovered myself in the process.
OR Josh is it hard being the go to friend, the one everyone confides in?
Josh Psh…Yeah! Why me?
Still, it's pretty cool to know that they trust me that much. It makes me feel good to know I can be there for my friends. Oh, man, though. Keeping Raea's secret is the hardest thing. Her and Elis—Wow! My friends are the sickest! I'm friends with Dark Angel, and I can't tell anyone, not even the fan group I lead online. It is sooo hard to pretend to still be interested in learning about the angel. I've found I have to just keep silent, and a couple of them have noticed, so I just say I'm investigating or busy or something like that. You know what I mean—I can't, like…I don't know. It's just really super hard to not blurt it out.
I hate keeping secrets, but this is important.
OR Josh what where your feelings when you found out that not only was the Dark Angel in your grade but that your friend was an angel also?
Josh I guess I kinda answered that but not quite.
The finding out part was like—Holy bleep! Elis is Dark Angel. ELIS IS DARK ANGEL!! It was like being run over by a semi…not that I would know, but that's how it felt when I saw his wings—black wings.
And then everything sort of made sense in an instant, except I still wasn't sure about Raea's connection, until he explained that Raea was like him. I couldn't believe it. I'd known Raea since first grade. Never would I have suspected in a million years that she wasn't human. But seeing her return home with her wings made my chest swell with pride. She was gorgeous! My best friend is an angel.
OR Raea can you describe what it feels like going through the wing transformation?
Raea Painful. You know those growing pains you had as a kid? Imagine them like a thousand times stronger all at once on your back.
OR Elis can you tell us was it attraction at first sight or did it take time to develop feelings for Raea?
It was definitely an attraction at first sight, but I didn't lose my head. I knew it was likely my desperation speaking, so I tried to stay reasonable; but it was hard because it was my job to protect her. Being so close but so far away and not knowing what would happen was the hardest test of patience. I'd already been through a lot, but it kept me going, that slim hope that something could happen.
OR Raea, can you tell us your thoughts on the experience with the "out of Towner" who almost killed you?
Bastard. I'm glad it's over.
Chill, Josh. I know what you're going to say. I don't care if it's inappropriate language.
OR Raea, Elis made you mad by concealing a big secret from you. Was it hard to forgive him?
Raea You mean bonding? It was hard to accept that he hadn't told me. That's kind of important, you know. I mean, it's permanent, all our lives, so yeah, I was a little pissed. We'd only been together for what…a month, not counting before I admitted my feelings. So, yeah. But he's too cute to stay mad at, and I realized when I was on Inar'Ahben that they just learn it. I could see why he didn't think about telling me.
OR Raea, what emotions did you experience when you were kidnapped?
Raea Frustration, 'cause I couldn't get home. Anger, at myself mostly, for being stupid enough to go flying without Elis. Nare didn't know what she was getting into. And speaking of her, I was a bit mad at her too for letting her come between me and Elis. Then again, if Elis had been there when the Shirukan attacked, he might have died, so I guess I have Nare to thank for that. Weird how things work out.
It's a mixed bag. I'm just glad I survived.
OR Elis, what was it like for you when Raea was gone?
Elis In a word—torture. I felt like a part of me was gone forever. Knowing the Shirukan had taken her left me empty from my failure and from the reality that I would likely never see her again.
OR Josh, tell us your thoughts on the time when Raea was gone.
Josh I just kept praying she was safe and would return. I had to believe. I didn't want to consider the alternative. As long as there was a slim hope, I held onto it. My faith saw me through, because…well…she came back safe and sound.
OR For all of you. What does the future hold for you as far as relationships friendships education etc.?
Josh—NDSU. Go Bison!
Raea *chuckles at Josh* --Yeah, that. If all holds out, I had planned on UND, but now I don't know. So much has changed. If I stay on Earth, I suppose I need something to fall back on, so I suppose I'll continue my education; but I'd like to do that on the home world, if it the empire ever falls and I could feel safe there.
Elis—wherever Raea goes, I'll go.
Raea—as for the rest…Spoilers!
Learn more about Raea, Elis, Josh, and others in the Starfire Angels series (STARFIRE ANGELS, BROKEN WINGS, and CRYSTAL TOMB) and the website at starfireangels.melanienilles.com.
To enter the grand prize drawing of a set of signed paperbacks, please post your comments on or before June 5th. (Comments may include questions for the author or the characters interviewed here; please specify which individual you wish to address.)