Please join us in welcoming author Cheryl Headford to The Novel Approach today, on the Hostage blog tour. Enjoy the character interview with Rowan Gabriel that Cheryl’s chosen to share with you, and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win a copy of the book.
Q: What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Rowan: That’s one I don’t need to think about. Astrin Raphael. It’s crazy how far we’ve swung. I hated him for so long, and looking back I have no idea why. It’s so strange to think that I hated him for so much longer than I’ve loved him. I’m working on that one.
Q: What is your favourite journey?
Rowan: Well, this is a no–brainer also. The journey Astrin and I took into the heart of enemy country to rescue his father and my uncle. Again with hindsight I can hardly believe it ever happened. Was I really that stupid to get caught up with Astrin’s whole ‘vision’ think? It could all have ended in disaster but, even with the danger, the uncertainty, and almost losing Astrin, it was absolutlely the time of my life. We camped, we partied, we got caught up in a revolution, we spent the night in a tent city in the desert. I’ve never felt so alive.
Q: What is your most marked characteristic?
Rowan: My temper, I guess. And my impulsiveness. According to my uncle they’re a dangerous combination, and they’ve got me into trouble more than once.
Q: When and where were you the happiest?
Rowan: Here and now. *Glances over at Astrin, who’s talking animatedly to some of the guys. A look of dreamy intensity crosses Rowan’s face, until Astrin glances up and they both freeze for a moment. Astrin looks away first, a delicate blush colouring his pale face* Yeah. Right here. Right now.
Q: What is it that you most dislike?
Rowan: Stupid people. Really, I’ve got no patience for stupidity. Or people who want to spoil things for others. *Glances at Astrin* Okay, yeah, I was one of those, but… Actually, I was stupid and I wanted to spoil things for someone else, but Astrin saved me from myself.
Q: What is your greatest fear?
Rowan: That I lose Astrin. My whole world turned upside down when he came into my life. Everything changed and without him I’d be lost. I gave up everything for him, and gladly, but without him where would I go? What would I do?
Q: Tell me something about Astrin
Rowan: He’s amazing. I can hardly believe that when all this started he was only seventeen. It’s always been easy to forget he’s almost two years younger than I am. He’s the one with the level head, with all the resourcefulness. He’s always so calm and sensible, and it’s amazing how he always seems to know exactly the right thing to say and do. *Rowan chuckles* House Gabriel is supposed to be the one that has the gifts with diplomacy and leadership. I think in this case, Astrin got all my share of that, as well as all his Raphael sweetness.
Q: What is your greatest regret?
Rowan: That Astrin was hurt because of me. I was such a blind, angry fool. I wouldn’t listen to anyone but my anger, and it took Astrin almost dying for me to realize how stupid and wrong I was. I treated him appallingly in the first days. He was lost, confused and ill, and I abused him. I convinced him he was a bad person, that he was worthless, when absolutely the opposite was true. I’m utterly ashamed of how I acted and I’m in awe that Astrin was able to get past that so quickly and completely. He’s the best person I know.
Q: Which living person do you most admire?
Rowan: Apart from Astrin, my uncle Charles. He’s always looked out for me, and has had a far clearer vision of what I am and what I could become, than I have. He was our greatest champion because he could see that Astrin was the one who brought me to my full potential, as I do to him.
Q: What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Rowan: Chastity *Grins*
Q: On what occasions do you lie?
Rowan: Astrin hates lying. I’m more…open minded. Lying has its place. Even Astrin lies sometimes, but only when he absolutely has to, usually in a diplomatic way. As far as I know Astrin has never lied to me. Have I lied to him? Um….
Q: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Rowan: *Glances at Astrin and chuckles* You’re such hard work, Raphael.
Q: What is your motto?
Rowan: Motto? I don’t think I have a motto. I guess it would be something like ‘Grab life by the throat and try not to put your foot in it’
*Astrin appears at his side and burrows under his arm. “Maybe you’d do better with something like ‘Think before you act’*
Well yeah, but that might take away my impulsive charm.
*Astrin reaches up to pat his cheek* “Don’t worry. I’ll always find you charming.”
Blurb: Astrin Raphael wakes up in a strange place, frightened and confused. He is told to trust someone who seems to hate him, and he tries—he really tries. However, things change rapidly when he discovers his friend is actually his archenemy, Rowan Gabriel, whose abusive behavior stems from a deeply ingrained, if unwarranted, hatred over something that happened many years before, and simply wasn’t Astrin’s fault.
When Rowan’s uncle and Astrin’s father are kidnapped by Strebo Michael, the two crown princes are catapulted into an adventure that forces them to work together, and along the way their feelings for each other grow. Rowan is quick to let his hate go, but Astrin can’t release his inhibitions. It takes Astrin almost dying from a poisoned dagger before he finally accepts Rowan’s love.
When they return home, their problems continue as their Houses try to negotiate a way for the young men to be together. It soon becomes clear at least one of them will need to relinquish his throne.
Cheryl Headford was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was sixteen, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry, and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.
Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews, and cousin, and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.
Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a reenactment group who traveled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.
It was there she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.
In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the Valleys with her son, dog, hamster, and two cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. She’s never been happier since she was made redundant and is able to devote herself entirely to her twin loves of writing and art.
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