Who am I?
My name is Chalcedony—yeah, it’s a mouthful-and-a-half, right? My mom was into all that New Agey stuff, so would you believe she named me after a crystal? It’s supposed to be a nurturing stone, or crystal or what-the freak ever, that absorbs negative energy, removes hostility and promotes feelings of benevolence and generosity. Yeah, riiight. Thanks, mom. *eye roll*. So please, call me “Chalcey”… unless of course you happen to be a cursed warrior from another world who can turn my insides all marshmallow-soft and gooey merely by speaking my name. God. The way Wulf says “Chalcedony”—all sensuous syllables and soft promises. The way he looks at me—like he wants to throw me over his shoulder and cart me off to the bedroom. That man… he should be illegal.
*blinks* Uh… sorry ‘bout that. So where was I?
Oh yeah. Introductions. So I’m Chalcey—or Chalce, as my friends call me—and I'm the heroine of The Crystal Warrior. And before I get distracted by Wulf again—happens far too often I gotta admit—here’s the answers to a bunch of questions I’ve been asked:
Well, you might not know this, but Maree used to be a dance teacher—only part-time, but she did run her own Ceroc Dance franchise for a while. And she met her husband, Rob, when he showed up at a class she was teaching… in RNZAF uniform, having rushed straight from the airforce base to make the class. A man in uniform. She didn’t stand a chance ;-)
Writers are always being told to write what they know, right? So a heroine who was a dancer, struggling to get her own dance studio up and running, was familiar territory for Maree. Plus partner dancing is sexy fun, and the intrigues between students are fascinating. It’s all good fodder for a story, don't you think?
Maree says: Chalcey’s doing herself a huge disservice, here. I needed a heroine who was strong enough to fight for what she wanted and not be overwhelmed by a man like Wulf, and smart enough to realize what’s truly important when it seems she’s lost everything.
Here’s what reviewers have said about her:
"She’s independent, witty, and strong. I instantly loved her."
"She’s a strong and independent woman who stood on her own two feet, took no crap from anyone and ran her own business. That I could identify with 100%. I read a lot of romance and I often feel that the women are not as strong as they could be and that they are simply part of a story that involves snaring some hot guy and getting a HEA- almost like their actual character is unimportant."
"Chalce is a girl after my own heart, even if I have two left feet. She’s fun and feisty but not so perky that you want to smack her every time she opens her mouth."
"Chalcey is an independent woman who knows exactly what she wants, and how she plans to get it. She’s worked hard to achieve her dream, and isn’t about to let it go for the sexy stranger who rescues her from the Date from Hell."
"The sexy alpha male hero had me hooked from the beginning and I loved the sassy heroine who tamed him (just enough)."
Awwww…. Thanks Maree. *blushes* You are so sweet—when you’re not being really really mean to your characters and putting them through hell, that is.
Are you ever going to forgive your mother for trying to keep you and Wulf apart—especially now you know she was once chosen for a Crystal Warrior, and she only had your best interests at heart.
Look, my mother believed she was condemning her Crystal Warrior, Malach, to death when she rejected the bond—like the fact he’d die rather than suffer a few more centuries in his hellish crystal prison made it all okay. Sheesh. Cold-hearted, much? Turned out Malach didn’t die, but it’s a goddamn miracle he retained enough sanity to take advantage of a second chance to redeem himself when the Crystal Guardian decided Jade was the girl for him. (You can read their story in Jade’s Choice, Crystal Warriors 3. And I'm warning you, it's a tear-jerker!)
When I think of what Wulf suffered, and then consider Malach going through that same torture not once, but twice? And when I consider that if my mother had succeeded in tearing us apart, Wulf might still be trapped in that cursed piece of wulfenite crystal? I’m sorry but that’s hard to forgive. Wulf's working on it, though. He's a bit of a softie and he knows Francesca's dying to meet her grandchildren.
At the beginning of The Crystal Warrior, you made it clear you weren’t much interested in anything guys had to offer. To quote you: “Who’s got time for all that angsty dating crap when I’ve got a new dance studio to run?” What was it about Wulf that made him the kind of man you’d fall into bed with when you’d only just met and you didn’t know him from a bar of soap?
Hey! We didn’t exactly fall into bed. I passed out when that damn bonding spell kicked in—it was like my brain went super-nova, just so’s you know. Not. Fun. At. All. And Wulf put me to bed—which was very nice of him, though I gotta say, crawling in with me was a bit OTT. Men! Then he passed out when he fulfilled his part of the bond—the whole feeling like you've been kicked upside the head by your warhorse tends to do that to a man, I guess. So yes, we did end up in bed, but we didn’t do anything—I’m so not that kind of girl. Well, okay, maybe I am that kind of girl, but that whole letting myself be seduced in the shower thing was a one-off, and—
Getting back to the original question?
Okay, okay. Wulf’s never treated me like a body without a brain, or "tits on a stick" as that asshole Ray so politely termed it. I didn’t ask for these boobs and I don’t appreciate guys speaking to my cleavage and judging me to be a certain “type” because I happened to grow a pair of double-ds. Wulf’s alpha all the way, and given his background, and the way women are treated in his world, he could have been an arrogant asshole who thought he could take what he wanted. But he treats me as an equal and my opinions matter to him. And when push comes to shove (that is, my interfering mother convinces him my feelings for him are only a result of the spell), he's prepared to endure hell rather than take away my right to choose. How could I not love a man like that? How could I not want to try and save him? (And did I mention his delectable pectorals, oh-so-strokable abs, and the way he looks at me like I'm a delicious treat? Le sigh….)
You mentioned Malach and Jade: how did Wulf react when he discovered his 2IC had been given another chance to be redeemed?
When my mother 'fessed up about Malach, all evidence pointed toward Malach having been destroyed by the Crystal Guardian. And to be quite honest, Wulf believed it was for the best. But when Pieter—the Crystal Guardian—had the opportunity to destroy Wulf, he gave me another chance to save him. So it was no surprise to me to learn that Malach was alive, and had been given another chance at redemption. The old sorcerer is many things, but he's not a murderer.
And Wulf is rapt to bits that his right-hand man has found love and happiness with Jade. Of all his men, Wulf believes Malach deserves happiness the most. But Jade's so young and innocent and sweet I couldn't help worrying about her at first—what the hell was Pieter thinking! But despite their age-gap you only need to see the way Malach encourages Jade to follow her dreams to understand how good he is for her. And without Jade, I really believe Malach would have chosen to take his own life. She saved him—gave him a reason to want to live. So much as it pains me to admit it, that old sorcerer does seem to be able to look deep in our hearts and know exactly who we need to complete us.
The only other Crystal Warrior we’ve discovered so far is Wulf’s kinsman, Kyan. Now don’t you dare tell Wulf I said this, coz he’s doesn’t exactly get on with Kyan, but I gotta say Kyan’s the most gorgeous-looking man I’ve ever seen in my life. And I would never in a million years have guessed that he’d end up with Ruby, but that woman is the best darn thing that could ever have happened to Kyan. She’s humanized him. And although some people might think she’s the one who’s lucky to have snared a man like Kyan, from what Wulf tells me it’s the other way around.
Those two are so in love it makes me all teary-eyed. And when I heard what the Crystal Guardian had put Ruby through? I'm telling you, if I get my hands on that old man I'm gonna kick him into orbit. I thought Wulf and me had it tough. (For Ruby and Kyan's story, check out Ruby's Dream.)
So what’s next for the Crystal Warriors? Has Maree any plans to write another book in the series?
Maree’s busy writing the sequel to Freaks of Greenfield High right now—stay tuned for some super amazing news about Freaks, BTW. *rubs hands with glee* . And then I believe she has plans to revisit an old fantasy trilogy that did quite well in RWNZ Clendon Award. After that, a little bird tells me she’s dead keen on diving back into the Crystal Warrior world. So I’ll keep you posted!
Thanks for stepping in at the last minute, Chalcey.
And if you’d like to know more about The Crystal Warrior (Book 1), Ruby’s Dream (Book 2), or Jade’s Choice (Book 3), please visit the Books page of Maree’s website.