Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Character Interview: Vivia from A Glimmer of Guile by Mary Patterson Thornburg

Where are you from? Did you have a happy childhood?
I was born in western Monsara. My mother died, and I was two when my father took me away with him and my brothers, peddling his wares. Cyra the Goldsmith, he was called. Still is, as far as I know.
It was a lonely childhood in some ways. In the cold months we lived in Muir Town and I knew some children my own age. But the rest of the time there were only my three brothers. The youngest of them, Jareth, was simple-minded, I thought, and I didn't find him very interesting. Milo, my oldest brother, actively hated me. Only the middle one, Hanal, was my friend. He told me stories, taught me things. Father never paid much attention to me, until he had to stop ignoring the fact that his only daughter was a witch, and Milo told him one of us had to go – him or me.

Where do you live now and what do you do for a living? Is there something you'd rather be doing?
I live at Ladygate, in the High King's Province, where I'm supposedly learning the finishing touches of my trade, which is guile – magic to you, or close enough. And something I'd rather be doing? Ha! I'd rather beg for pennies in the streets than fiddle away another minute listening to gossip from a lot of bitter, jealous women and taking orders from old Mother Harken, who's not half the witch I am. Well, maybe half. Maybe more…

What's going on in your life right now?

Right now I'm on the road, by myself, and I've just done two incredibly stupid things in rapid succession. The result is I'm wearing rags, I don't have any money or other clothes, and I've just cleaned a stinky chicken house in order to afford one tiny meal. And I have to think of some way to get to the North Sea and across it, because Harken sent me on a mission to rescue the High King's son from the scariest witch in the world, and I didn't dare say no.

Is there someone special in your life?
There was. I've been trying not to think about him. Taso Raym. He was my teacher, until he brought me to Ladygate and dumped me on the doorstep. I seem to have made a career of being dumped on somebody's doorstep by a man – first my father, then Raym.

How did you meet? What's his family like?
He hasn't got a family. He was an only child, and both his parents are dead. How we met is another story. I'd heard about him for a long time, but when I met him I didn't know who he was. I was expecting a white-haired old wizard with a magic walking staff or something. Flashing black eyes. Well, the eyes part was right, but the rest was definitely not. To say I was surprised is an understatement. It was really sort of funny, although I didn't think so at the time. I'll tell you about it someday, maybe.

What's keeping you two apart?
Not counting pride? All right, what drove us apart is a quirky little thing about guile. See, I can do things with my mind – start fires, move objects around. Make people see things that aren't there. It's not all magic tricks, of course. I can heal someone who's sick. And once I killed a man. With my mind. So guile is a great gift. But to stay a witch, you have to stay a virgin. Not every witch – not Raym, for example, or so he told me. But there's no way to tell, ahead of time. So I can't be with Raym, and that's why he dumped me at Ladygate.

What one thing could you do that would make you feel like the relationship will work out?Oh, it's not going to work out. If we'd done what we wanted, I'd have lost my guile. We'd have come to resent each other. Maybe when we're old we could be friends again, but that's all. And even that won't be possible if Raym's in the kind of trouble I think he's in. See, Raym's the strongest witch in the world – or so I thought. Now I'm not so sure. He's disappeared. And if he's where I think he is, I'm going to have to save his life. Or try to.

Blurb for A Glimmer of GuileVivia is what people in her world call a witch. She can create illusions, influence thoughts and feelings, move objects and light fires with her mind. But witches frighten people. There are some very bad ones out there – like Orath, "the Red Prince's lady," who has kidnapped the High King's teenaged son, Tedor. A woman almost as scary as Orath has ordered Vivia to find and rescue the boy. She'd love to duck this assignment. But Taso Raym, the strongest male witch in the world, has also been kidnapped – at least it looks that way.

It was Raym who taught Vivia how to use her own strengths and warned her that losing her virginity would almost certainly mean losing all her powers too. Their growing attraction to each other is why he ultimately sent her away. Although Vivia resents the way Raym dumped her, how can she leave him to Orath's not-so-tender mercies?

So Vivia's off to the Red Prince's kingdom to save Raym, save Tedor, and save herself a lot of trouble. To do this, she'll have to win the battle of her life. Does she have a chance? Of course… well, maybe. While she is admittedly young, she's nearly as strong as Orath… unless the Red Prince's lady and Raym are in league with each other.

Excerpt from A Glimmer of Guile

A day or two before I expected Raym back, I worked in the garden until midmorning and then went up into the hills about a half-hour's walk from the cottage to dig some roots from the trillium that grew near a small, deep lake there. We would grate, dry, and store them as a tea to ease childbirth; Raym had taken the last of our supply with him to Khori's court.
When I'd dug and cleaned as much as I wanted, I stripped off my light shift and sandals. They were all I was wearing, since it was a hot day and there was no need for modesty, no one else for miles around. I walked out into the lake, swam for a few minutes in the icy water, and then stretched out in the sunlight on the grassy shore.
I was awakened in what seemed only a few minutes by the sound of running footsteps on the path, nearly into the clearing. As I stood and hastily grabbed up my shift, I heard Raym's voice, ringing with what sounded like apprehension. "Vivia? Vivia!" I turned to face him.
He had stopped, frozen in his tracks. When he spoke, his voice was hesitant. "You weren't there, at the house. I – I seemed to see you in the lake. I was afraid..."
We stared at each other for a long moment, motionless as statues.
Something happened inside me then, a kind of tremendous fluttering as if I were a tree full of birds that had startled up and then settled briefly, tense and quiet but ready to fly. Time began again and I took a step toward him.
He held up his right hand as if to ward me off. "Forgive me for disturbing you." His tone was cold. "Come back to the house, please, in a few minutes. We must talk." He turned and strode away.

Amazon Buy Link http://www.amazon.com/Glimmer-Guile-Mary-Patterson-Thornburg-ebook/dp/B00JS2ZCL8

About the Author 

Mary Patterson Thornburg was born in California, grew up in Washington State, moved to Montana when she was 18, and spent many years in Indiana, where she studied and then taught at Ball State University.

Her dream was always to write fantasy stories and novels, but she didn't get started until she and her husband moved back to Montana in 1998. When she'd finished her first story and it was published, she took off running and never looked back. She's had stories in Cicada, Zahir, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Strange, Weird, and Wonderful, among other places. Two of her short stories earned honorable mention in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror (2006, 2008), and "Niam's Tale," in the July/August 2010 Cicada, won the SCBWI 2011 Magazine Merit Honor Certificate. Her first fantasy/romance/adventure novel, A Glimmer of Guile, was published by Uncial Press in 2014. Her second book for Uncial, The Kura, came out in April, 2015.

Twitter: @MaryPThornburg
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Mary-Patterson-Thornburg-Author-751054628247208/
FB Book Page (A Glimmer of Guile) : https://www.facebook.com/aglimmerofguile/
FB Book Page (The Kura): https://www.facebook.com/The-Kura-1302439603104206/


  1. Sharon, thanks so much for having Vivia and me on your blog! I'm having a wonderful time here, and I know it really cheered Vivia up to be interviewed at such a low & grouchy point in her life.

  2. Wonderful interview and an intriguing excerpt. I love your stories, Mary!

    1. Thank you, Jana ~ and same to you! Haven't read all of yours, but I thought "Seeing Things" was marvelous, and just put "The Girl Most Likely" on my TBR list, since it's on sale for a few more days. :-)