Arland: Nice to meet you, Caleb. Kate tells me we have many things in common. If your Tabitha is anywhere near as headstrong as her, I know you must be exhausted trying to keep her safe.
Tabitha: Oh please. Don't listen to him, Arland. We keep each other safe. Nice to meet you, Kate. Don't you dislike when the men talk about us as though we aren't here?
Kate: Honestly, this is the first time he's ever done that. I'll make him pay . . . somehow.
Arland clears his throat: I believe the point here is how our two worlds are similar, and eerily so. We suffered a daemonic invasion twenty years ago. Knowledge of my duty to Kate was the only thing that kept me going after they murdered my mother.
Kate: And he had to keep me a secret, even after I arrived. Did you lose anyone close to you during the invasion, Caleb?
Caleb: None of my family during the invasion. But watching the men who lost their destined mates was painful for all of us. We experienced their loss with them. None of those men will ever take another woman as their own again. I did lose someone later on.
Tabitha: You don't have to talk about it, Caleb. They'll read Ruined if they want to know more, since it's so painful for you to talk about.
Caleb: Let us talk no more of loss. How about the two of you tell us how you met.
Tabitha: Oh, that's a good question! How did you two meet, Kate? And aren't you glad they don't usually talk about us like we aren't here? I would never be able to handle that.
Kate: He'd be in deep trouble if he always did that. And about our meeting . . . well, it is kind of embarrassing. I'd just found myself alone, scared, and worried my best friend Brad was going to die. I went in search of answers but found food. I loaded a plate and turned around to take some to my friend and bumped right into Arland. I couldn't believe the man I'd dreamed about for six years stood in front of me—
Arland: We met before then, Kate.
Kate: But how am I supposed to remember that? I was two-days old, and my parents were about to escape to Earth.
Arland: I remember our first meeting clearly.
Kate: He was five. So, we have different memories. What about the two of you? And what was the hardest obstacle you had to overcome?
Caleb: I found Tabitha training in the woods. I’d never seen a woman wield a blade with such skill. She was extraordinary. I knew then that she was mine. Simple.
Caleb: Maybe not simple. But I still knew you were mine.
Tabitha: Well, we figured it out, but I can't believe you would call anything about the experience simple. This relates to my hardest obstacle. As the first female Warrior in the kingdom who wanted to be accepted as a Guard, I had to prove I was stronger than the men in order to be accepted. Actually, I overcome a lot in Denied, but some of it's kind of personal and probably best left for you to read, where I don't have to see your reactions.
Caleb: Yes, you did. And my hardest obstacle was saving my people and being denied over and over by circumstances.
Tabitha: What challenges did you two face during the early parts of your relationship?
Kate: My identity would have tipped off a few people of my arrival into Encardia, and that would've been a bad thing. So, Arland kept me, and his feelings for me, a secret.
Arland: All while trying to discover her magic. Her prophecy stated she would become the most powerful Draíochtan of our time and overcome Darkness, but she was scared and confused, and to an extent, so was I. From my prophecy, I knew Kate needed protection, but I did not realize how underprepared she was.
Kate: If my mom had shared anything about my true life with me, maybe it wouldn't have been so difficult. I'll let the readers figure that one out. Next to finding my powers, learning to control them and my emotions were the biggest obstacles.
Arland: By the way, Tabitha, Kate is fairly handy with a sword.
Tabitha: We should practice together. That's my weapon of choice.
Caleb: She's better with a sword than an arrow.
Tabitha: Caleb! Don't tell them that story.
Caleb: Fine. It's not like they can't read it anyway. Denied outlines the whole amusing event.
Tabitha: Well, they'll just have to read it then. Kate, tell us one thing we should all know about Arland.
Kate: Sounds like you and I should swap embarrassing archery stories, but definitely not today!
Arland: I believe she asked about me.
Kate: Ahh. Yes. Arland loves his people, deeply, maybe as much as he loves me. Protecting me and saving Encardia are two things he will never give up on, and sometimes he beats himself up when he doesn't think he's doing enough. Do you guys have time for one more question? Just a teensy little question?
Kate: He's right. So, if the war was over, and you could go anywhere in the world, where would that be, and what does it look like there?
Caleb: I can answer that one. After years of traveling the realms, I know exactly where I'd go. It's a realm full of shadows and darkness, greenery and fresh waters. There is struggle there and things are not always easy, but the kingdom has a lot of heart.
Tabitha: Sounds like the Shadow Shifter Kingdom.
Caleb: That's right. I wouldn't want to go anywhere else.
Tabitha: Me neither. It was so nice talking to you, Kate and Arland. We definitely have a lot in common and your story sounds great. Can't wait to hear more about it. As a last question, why don't you both tell us one of your favorite moments in the story, or at least give a little hint?
Kate: The moment I discovered my magic—
Arland: Or what fuels it. That was my favorite moment as well, but we should not give away any details.
Kate: We definitely need to allow the readers to discover this scene for themselves. The details are too intimate to share. Thank you so much for sitting down with us. Hopefully we'll do this again soon.