I sat down to have an interview with Jaiden Sideth from my book Amaranth of the Wild Things, which was a rather difficult thing to manage considering he adamantly refused to do it, insisting that his personal life is nobody's business. However, after I firmly reminded him of all the trouble I went through to get his story told, he grudgingly obliged.
He is scowling when we sit down, which is nothing new to me. I spent quite a bit of time while writing Amaranth with Jaide scowling at me. He doesn't intimidate me any longer. He's dressed in black, which is also not a great surprise, and while I know him well, the malevolent power that radiates from his strong frame is almost tangible, making the air in the room slightly more difficult to breathe. His beauty is also a thing of wonder. His face is stern, harsh, full of strong lines, and every move he makes it etched with primal elegance. His piercing green eyes seem to see straight through me, into me. While this may be unnerving to most, I find it to be one of his more endearing qualities.
J: (With a heavy, almost growling sigh) Can we make this quick? I have duties to attend to.
I squelch my smile, which is almost uncontrollable, and get down to the business at hand, not wanting to torture him longer than necessary.
B: Thank you for taking the time to do this. I know it is against your wishes, but I do have many readers who I am sure would like to know more about you.
He gives me a noncommittal noise.
B: First of all, for someone who is such a private person, why did you contact me in the first place? Why did you want to have your story told?
J: (He looks up at me, and for a second, his harsh expression fades.) Because it needed to be told. Not because of me. My history is not important. But the world needed to know...about Amara. (He frowns and averts his gaze, visibly uncomfortable.) Others need to know that not all in existence is blackness.
B: Tell us quickly how you met Amara.
J: I was working as an assassin and one of my regular clients gave me a healthy amount of gold to kidnap her.
B: What was your first impression of Amara?
J: (His lips twitch only slightly, barely discernable.) That she was much more trouble than she was worth.
B: What was it about her that finally got past your defenses?
J: I still don't really know. Her blind acceptance of me, I suppose, and her all-encompassing goodness. I had never thought anyone so selfless and kind could exist in the world I lived in. It was foreign and horrible, and at the same time, divine. (He shifts in his chair, gaze still averted, obviously uncomfortable with this subject.)
B: Tell us about the amaranth flower. Why has it always been so important to you?
He heaves a sigh and I feel a twinge of guilt for my interrogation. He really is the most private person I have ever known, and I regret putting him in the spotlight this way.
J: The amaranth is the only thing that mattered to me, before Amara. It was the only beauty in the world, the only good thing. It was the only thing that offered me solace or peace.
B: Can you tell us more about your past?
The glower he shoots me should have murdered me on the spot.
B: (With a sigh) Can you at least tell us more about why the amaranth matters to you? That was the vaguest response ever. These people are going to read the book anyway. What’s the point of keeping it a secret?
J: Aren’t you supposed to be tactful and agreeable?
B: In the time you have known me, have I ever been tactful and agreeable when you’re trying to bully me?
J: No. It’s aggravating.
B: Too bad. Answer the question.
To my shock and amazement, his lips quirk slightly at the corners and his eyes glint with something almost mischievous. It is uncharacteristic, and a side of himself he only shows those allowed in his inner sanctum. All two of us. I am honored to be one of those people.
J: When I was a boy, I was forced to train at a mercenary barracks. It was unpleasant, to say the least. Outside of it was a field of amaranths. At the most crucial moment of my life, those flowers offered me beauty when all of it had been abolished. They helped me hold on to the last sliver of the man in me so the monster couldn’t have complete domination. Because of that, I was able to have Amara (he averts his gaze again, almost shyly.)
B: Would you say Amara is similar to that flower?
J: Completely. Entirely. She embodies it in every way.
B: Tell us how your life is different now.
J: It has meaning to it, a purpose. It is more fulfilling. And my nightmares no longer haunt me. I know what it means to love, and in effect, I know what it means to live.
To me, this answer is the most satisfying to hear, and I decide to leave it at that. I have bothered him enough and do not wish to make him more uncomfortable than he already is. I thank him for his time and wish him well. He stands abruptly, ready to bolt, but I am almost as fast as he is, although not quite as graceful. I force him to hug me because I know it irritates him. He stiffens at first, his strong body still and ramrod straight, a soldier, a warrior. After a short moment, he relaxes slightly, and with a defeated sigh, he wraps one arm around my shoulders and squeezes just a bit. When I pull back, I am granted a rare and fleeting smile and a curt nod before he escapes as quickly as he can manage.
Read more about Jaide by clicking on the picture below