“Harsh Gods” (Novels of the Shadowside #2) by Michelle Belanger
Published as… Urban Fantasy
A Chat with…Lil
Bella: What is the name of the book where we’ll find you? Can you tell us a little about it?
Lil: This year, you can find me in Harsh Gods. It’s part of the Shadowside Series, named after the realm of dreams and spirits half a step off from the mortal world. Honestly, the name of the series shows a little favoritism on the author’s part. Zack Westland, who happens to be a very old friend of mine, is the guy who gets center stage. Zack has this knack for stepping bodily into that plane of reality, the better to punch cacodaimons and other nasty spirits in the face. It’s the special power of his tribe, the Anakim. Oh. Did I mention he’s an angel? Don’t worry – we’re not talking the glory hallelujah kind. Zack and his brothers have been kicking around here on earth for half a dozen millennia, easily. Not that Zack remembers any of that – which is where I come in. Someone needs to babysit the big goof, otherwise I think he’d spend weeks locked away playing videos games, rather than fighting the real monsters. Men are so easily distracted.
Bella: Tell us a little about yourself. Where do you fit into the story? What should we know about you?
Lil: Three things you should know about me. I’ve known that sex is power for longer than your country has been on a map. I can kill you with any one of five items currently in my handbag. And if you ever hurt one of my sisters, I will hunt you through your next fifteen incarnations and teach you the meaning of pain.
As for where I fit? I come in whenever I damn well please. Usually, I try to time it so Zack has to thank me. He hates that, and it’s a delight to watch him choke on those words. When I’m not keeping Zack out of trouble, I do a lot of fun things. What’s the point of being immortal if you don’t enjoy what you got? There’s the Windy City Vixens, my burlesque troupe. Sometimes I help out my old flame Remiel with events at Club Heaven. I can’t stand his boss Saliriel, but when you meet the same old people life after life, eventually some of them start getting on your nerves. So you deal, because killing an immortal leads to an endless circle jerk of vengeance. No one stays dead for very long and, frankly, that gets dull.
Bella: What do you think of the author? Be honest. We won’t tell.
Lil: The author really likes putting Zack through his paces. I can hear the cackling whenever something really twisted comes down the pike. So she’s a sadist. I can get behind that. I like making Zack squirm myself — although I prefer more sultry ways of getting him flustered. Who wouldn’t enjoy watching an angel blush?
Bella: How do you feel about the story you’re in?
Lil: I wasn’t thrilled with the snow. When a pissed-off spirit that used to be worshipped as a storm god blows into town, it plays hell with the weather. Zack rises to the occasion, but he takes his sweet time about it. At the start, all he does is slack off. Damned fool shut himself away from the world after losing my sister. For a whole month, what does he do? Sit around playing video games. Assassin’s Creed, mostly. What’s the point? If you want to practice murder, go out and kill a few people. Hiding the bodies isn’t that hard. And if he needs tips, I’m happy to share.
To be honest, I’m still getting used to what a bleeding heart he’s become. You know what it took for him to even take notice of the disaster brewing in his city? This kid. Autistic, all kinds of other issues, and psychic as hell on top of it. Her parents named her after a comet. Mother’s Tears! In the old days, comets were always bad omens. Who saddles their kid with that? Anyway, so these boneheads name their kid after Halley’s comet, and she ends up caught in the crosshairs of a vicious battle with a bunch of Zack’s undying relatives. Who’s shocked? Anyone?
At least Zack gets it handled. Though, he’d be dead and awaiting a new incarnation several times over if not for my timely intervention. Maybe someday, he’ll learn to appreciate that.
Aside from all that, I’ve got one big complaint. When the hell did my ex Remy hook up with that police officer? Sure, we’re not married anymore, but it’s not like we got a divorce. One of us died. That’s different. And what was Remy thinking anyway? I know he’s got a thing for redheads, but I’m right here. How can a mortal possibly compare?
Bella: Do you like being a character in the book?
Lil: It’s worth my time just to harass Zack, but seriously, I love it. The author doesn’t make me hold back – not that she could, but it’s nice to be appreciated for exactly who I am. Belanger gives me all the benefits of being a main character without any of the boring responsibilities the protagonist gets saddled with. Zack has to fret over his hero complex and whether he’s being human enough. Me, I get to say what I want, do what I want, and kill when I want without ever having to make apologies. It’s like a vacation where I paint the town red.
Bella: How do you see your future? Without giving anything away about the story, naturally.
Lil: I plan to stick to Zack like glue. He dragged my sister Lailah into his family’s messy affairs, and she got bound in a jar for her troubles. I’m not going to let him forget that. He owes her, and by extension, he owes me. We sisters stick together.
Of course, you may not always see me, but that won’t mean I’m not there. I’ve got ways of keeping tabs on our flyboy. The Anakim aren’t the only ones with handy powers.
On my own time, I may hunt down that police officer that Remy’s seeing so we can have words. Some of those words might happen to be knives. Small and very sharp knives.
Bella: What do you know about your author’s plans? Can we expect to see you in any future stories?
Lil: Oh, I’ll be back. Nothing keeps me away for long. Besides, I’m certain I’ll have to pull Zack’s ass out of the fire at some point. So long as he’s useful, I’ve got the big guy’s back – whether he likes it or not.
Bella: Let’s say they make a movie about this book. Who do you want to play you, and why?
Lil: I’m a classic, sweetie. You’d need to dig up someone from the past – a real woman with attitude and genuine curves. Give me Gene Tierney or Ava Gardner or don’t even bother to call.
About the Book
The last thing Zack Westland expects on a frigid night is to be summoned to an exorcism.
Demonic possession, however, proves the least of his problems. Father Frank, a veteran turned priest, knows Zack’s deepest secrets, recognizing him as Anakim—an angel of the hidden tribe. And Halley, the girl they’ve come to save, carries a secret that could unlock a centuries-old evil. She chants an eerie rhyme, and she isn’t alone…
“HANDS TO TAKE AND EYES TO SEE.
A MOUTH TO SPEAK. HE COMES FOR ME.”
As Zack’s secrets spill out, far more than his life is at stake, for Halley is linked to an ancient conspiracy. Yet Zack can’t help her unless he’s willing to risk losing his immortality—and reigniting the Blood Wars.
Buy the Book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble
About the Author
Michelle Belanger is an author, occult expert, singer, and psychic seen regularly on the television series Paranormal State. She’s been featured on programs on HBO, the History Channel, Destination America, and CNN Headline News. Michelle’s work has taken her around the globe, but she resides near Cleveland, Ohio with two cats, a few friendly spirits, and a library of more than five thousand books.
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