Today I am very happy to host a Guest Post by author Jocelynn Drake, in which she interviews Trixie, one of her stunning characters from The Asylum Tales:
By Jocelynn Drake
As the stories for The Asylum Tales started hitting e-readers and shelves, I found myself traveling back to Low Town for a meeting with Trixie Ravenwood. Gage hired the tattoo artist a couple years ago, completing the staff for the Asylum. This was only my second visit to Low Town (the first being a series of interviews I conducted to celebrate the release of The Asylum Interviews: Bronx), but I was feeling a little more at ease in this strange city overflowing with shifters, trolls, vampires, sirens, elves, and warlocks. I think it helped that it was just past noon rather than late at night for this visit.
Trixie agreed to meet me at Asylum a few hours before her shift started so that we could talk. The neighborhood that housed Asylum was relatively quiet as pedestrians wandered up and down the sidewalks as they headed to their various shops and restaurants in the area. For the most part, everyone looked human to me, but I knew that looks can so easily be deceiving here.
At the end of the block, Asylum sat in a small, old-fashioned two-story building with a large picture window. A soft chime echoed through the lobby as I pushed open the door. A blast of cold air hit me in the face, threatening to steal my breath away, but it was a welcome cold after baking out in the last of the summer heat. The wooden floors creaked under my feet as I stepped inside and closed the door. Puddle of Mudd was blasting through the speakers hidden about the shop, but I could still hear the steady buzz of a tattooing gun humming in the next room.
“Hey, Joce! Come on back!” Gage shouted from the next room and I smiled. The tattoo artist apparently saw me on the security monitor. I walked around the glass case that served as a counter at the back of the lobby and stepped into the main tattooing room. A tall, shirtless skinny man was stretched out along his side in the tattooing chair while Gage tattooed some script along the man’s ribs. Gage paused, lifting the tattooing gun as he looked up at me. “How’s it going? Trixie mentioned you’d be by today.”
“Everything’s good, though I could do without this heat,” I said, pushing a sweaty strand of hair out of my face.
Gage sighed. “We all could.”
“Yeah, she just went upstairs to crank up the air conditioning. You remember the way?”
“I’ve got it.” Patting him on the shoulder as I walked past, I cut through the main tattooing room and headed down the hallway to the back room. I used the back door and stepped into the small open area behind the shop that led to another alley. Both Gage’s SUV and Trixie’s hybrid were parked out there. On my left, a set of wooden stairs lead to a second floor apartment. Gage had lived in it for the first year after opening Asylum, but had since moved out. He never bothered to rent it out because he preferred to hold private meetings in the apartment as well as crash there after a night of drinking.
At the top of the stairs, I knocked on the door before pushing it open. The warning was probably unnecessary since my footsteps weren’t exactly quiet on the way up. Trixie smiled at me as she stepped out of the kitchen with a couple of glasses. Her long brown hair is up in a pony tail, pulled away from her beautiful, heart-shaped face. She was in a pair of short shorts and a light blue tank top, revealing lots of tanned skin.
“Hey! Sorry about the heat. I just turned on the air conditioner,” she said as she handed me a glass of ice water.
I took a grateful sip before looking at the glass in confusion. “I thought Gage only kept plastic cups up here.”
Trixie sent me a rueful smile as she walked over to the sagging couch mended with silver duct tape. “Over the past year, we’ve started using the apartment more. Bronx brought a little TV in for Sofie and I’ve brought some extra kitchen items here as well as some towels for the shower. We’ve also left a spare change of clothes here.”
“Things been getting crazy?”
Her smile slipped a little. “It’s gotten quiet again, but we’re learning that it helps to be prepared.”
“I can understand that.” Sitting on the couch, I set my ice water on the table before reaching into my purse to pull out my digital recorder and a small notebook. “Thanks for meeting up with me. Gage’s novella about how you met is coming out on September 4 and I wanted to give readers a chance to meet you with an interview.”
“Not a problem. After everything that has happened during the past few years, I can understand why Gage wants to tell his story.”
Jocelynn: Let’s begin. When you met Gage you were new to Low Town, correct?
Trixie: Yes. I was living and working in the San Francisco area when I met Jo, who happened to be Gage’s ex-girlfriend. Her band had come to town for a few weeks and Jo and I hit it off. She told me all these stories about how great Low Town was. At the time, I was thinking about moving, but hadn’t decided on a place. Before Jo left San Fran, she told me she was heading back to Low Town and that I should come as well. (shrugs) It seemed like a pretty good idea so I did.
Jocelynn: And do you like living in Low Town?
Trixie: (smiles) Definitely. I’ve moved around a lot during my life, and Low Town has become one of my favorite places to live. It’s a nice, medium-sized city. It has everything you could want from a big city in terms of diversity, but there’s a lot of forest land around Low Town as well. If you’re in the mood for going to a night club, we’ve got it. If you want to go camping, there’s that too.
Jocelynn: I’m sure the company helps make it a nice place to live as well.
Trixie: (flashes me a wide, knowing grin) Yeah, there’re some cool people hanging about as well. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without Bronx and Gage. They are the best friends I’ve ever had.
Jocelynn: Let’s talk about work for a moment. I understand that you’ve been tattooing for a very long time. Is there one species that is harder to tattoo than others?
Trixie: It seems like every client has the potential to be … entertaining. I’d have to say that vampires are consistently problematic. It’s very rare one will come in for a tattoo. They quickly heal from everything, so the ink doesn’t always take. As a result, you have to put garlic oil in the ink. That, of course, causes a lot of screaming and squirming in the seat. Most tattoo artist won’t tattoo a vampire because it’s dangerous. The best to tattoo are always the shifter, though it usually requires a lot of shaving. They tend to have a high pain threshold, clear skin, and fast healing that doesn’t reject the ink.
Jocelynn: Are there any types of tattoos that you’re tired of doing?
Trixie: Good luck. I am so sick of tattooing shamrocks and horseshoes. Everyone wants good luck, but the kind of good luck everyone is expecting is extremely rare and damn expensive. Most people don’t understand how good luck works either. Sometimes bad things happen, but it works out for the best in the long term, which can be good luck. People only focus on the short term. Also, the good luck potions never last long. I just think that luck is one of those things that you shouldn’t mess with.
Jocelynn: Are there any potions or tattoos you wish you did see more of?
Trixie: I know it’s going to sound strange, but there’s an awareness potion that I wish people used. It’s a small thing, but it helps to enhance a person’s awareness of their surroundings. People get so caught up in their little electronic gadgets and personal problems that they get distracted. The awareness potion would help reduce car accidents and other potentially fatal mistakes by making people more aware of what they are doing. Unfortunately, most people don’t know about the potion, don’t consider how helpful it would be. You don’t need to be lucky if you’re just aware of the opportunities around you.
Jocelynn: Switching gears just a little. It is my understanding that the first time you met Gage was in an attempt to help his ex-girlfriend. What was your first impression of him?
Trixie: Gage? I thought he was an arrogant, condescending, self-absorbed, insensitive asshole.
Jocelynn: And now that you’ve known him for a couple of years, what do you think now?
Trixie: I think he’s an arrogant, condescending, self-absorbed, insensitive asshole. (big grin) No, I’m just teasing. He can definitely be arrogant at times and he’s still pretty good at being an asshole when he’s pissed about something. But he’s also pretty damn smart, sneaky, and frighteningly talented when it comes to stirring potions and inking. He cares a lot about his friends. He’ll do whatever he can to help a friend in need, no matter what it costs him. I count myself very lucky to know him.
Jocelynn: Yes, but knowing Gage has also brought a lot of danger into your life.
Trixie: True, but the joy I get from being his friend far outweighs the danger.
Jocelynn: After that first meeting, did you expect you’d be working for him? And for this long?
Trixie: No! (laughs) After that first interview, I didn’t like being in the same room as him. I never thought I would work for him and definitely not for this long.
Jocelynn: You said that you’ve moved around a lot. Do you think you’ll be staying in Low Town for much longer or are you getting ready to move again?
Trixie: I think I’m going to be staying for a while. It seems that I have more reasons to stay in one place for once and no reason to leave. I’m even considering buying a house.
Jocelynn: Well, I’m sure that Bronx and Gage would be happy to hear that you’re considering a more permanent home while you’re in Low Town. Do you have any advice for a person thinking about visiting Low Town for the first time?
Trixie: Do your research before you come to the city. Make a list of the things you want to do and see. Come with a plan and be organized. There’s a lot to see and do here, but with so many different peoples, you have to be prepared or you’re going to waste all your time in meetings and filling out paperwork rather than enjoying the sights. Oh, and don’t piss off the werewolves. Jack’s been really cranky since his last run-in with Gage.
I laughed as I reached for my digital recorder. “Thanks for the advice,” I said as I turned off the device and stowed it in my purse along with my little notebook. “I’ve recently been tempted to ask Gage for a story about Jack, but he’s been grumpy with me since we finished the last book.”
Trixie’s grin faded before my eyes and she looked worried for the first time since I had come into the apartment. “Yeah, I get the impression that things didn’t end well. There’s things he’s not telling me.”
“I’m sorry,” I said, wishing I could say more. It wasn’t my place. Gage needed to tell her what had happened to him.
Trixie forced a smile on her lips and nodded. “He’ll talk to me when he’s ready.”
I pushed to my feet and shouldered my purse again. “I should get going so you can get ready for work.”
“Okay, but will you be back for All Hallow’s Eve?”
I shook my head with a smile. “Not a chance. This place is strange enough already. I don’t think I’m ready for Halloween here.”
Trixie’s laughter followed me out the door as I headed back down to the parlor. Ducking back through the rear door, I returned to the main tattooing room only to find it empty. Gage was now seated on a stool behind the glass case as he fiddled with an MP3 player.
“Interview done?” he called.
“Need to talk to me?”
“Nope. I think you need a break.”
“Good idea,” he said with a smirk as he looked at me over his shoulder. “But I’ve got some more stories to tell you … when we’re both ready.”
With a chuckle and a wave, I cut through the lobby and hit the street again, ready to leave Low Town and head home. It’s a nice place to visit, but with the warlock, witches, trolls, ogres, shifters, vampires, and heaven only know what else running around, I’m not ready to live there.
The Asylum Tales follows the adventures of warlock-turned-tattoo-artist Gage Powell and his friends Bronx and Trixie as they fight the Ivory Towers and try to stay alive in their dangerous world. If you’d like to read more about Gage’s adventures in Low Town, check out the first prequel novella The Asylum Interviews: Bronx. Gage’s story of how he met Trixie and helped his ex-girlfriend Jo is called The Asylum Interviews: Trixie and will be released as an e-book on Tuesday, September 4. The first full-length novel for The Asylum Tales series is called Angel’s Ink and will be released on Tuesday, October 16.
Jocelynn Drake’s bio:
Love comes in many varied forms. There is the love of family, love of country, and love of chocolate. But for Jocelynn Drake, one truly treasured love is the love of a good story. This Midwestern native spends the majority of her time lost in the strong embrace of a good book. When she’s not hammering away at her keyboard, frowning at her monitor, or curled up with a book, she can usually be found cuddling with her cats, Harley and Demona, walking her dog Max, or flinging curses at the TV while playing a video game. Outside of books, cats, and video games, she is completely enamored of Bruce Wayne, Ezio Auditore, travel, tattoos, explosions, fast cars, and Anthony Bourdain (but only when he’s feeling really cranky).