Character Interview: Gwen from Other by Karen Kincy
Seventeen-year-old Gwen hides a dangerous secret: she’s Other. Half-pooka, to be exact, thanks to the father she never met. Most Americans don’t exactly roll out the welcome mat for Others, especially not the small-town folks of Klikamuks, Washington. As if this isn’t bad enough, Gwen’s on the brink of revealing her true identity to her long-time boyfriend, Zack, but she’s scared he’ll lump her with the likes of bloodthirsty vampires and feral werewolves.
When a pack of werewolves chooses the national forest behind Gwen’s home as their new territory, the tensions in Klikamuks escalate–into murder. It soon becomes clear a serial killer is methodically slaying Others. The police turn a blind eye, leaving Gwen to find the killer before the killer finds her. As she hunts for clues, she uncovers more Others living nearby than she ever expected. Like Tavian, a sexy Japanese fox-spirit who rivals Zack and challenges her to embrace her Otherness. Gwen must struggle with her own conflicted identity, learn who she can trust, and–most importantly–stay alive.
Today I have a special interview with Gwen. Gwen is the main character in Karen Kincy’s debut novel Other. Thanks so much Gwen for stopping by!
So Gwen, you’re a shifter, right? What exactly does that mean? Can you take any form you want
Yeah, I’m a shifter! And as far as I know, I’m the only half-pooka out there. I inherited the power to change into any animal from my biological dad, who I’ve never met. Of course, some animals are easier. My default form is a black horse with yellow eyes, just like those stories about pookas appearing on dark, misty nights along deserted roads, though I don’t go around tricking travelers and dumping them into ditches. I’ve got better things to do. Not including those sudden cravings for grass and sugar cubes.
Are all shifters born, like you?
Of course not. You can’t forget all those werewolves out there who got bitten. I’m not sure whether werewolves can have babies or not, which is kind of a creepy thought, but I do know about bloodborn. It must suck to be minding your own business one day, then have a werewolf bite you and change you forever. Though of course a lot of those werewolves aren’t so innocent, since they started out as criminals bitten by other criminals. But I digress.
What do you think about the werewolf pack that just moved into town?
To be honest, I’ve never really met that many Others like me, so it’s kind of exciting that there’s a big number of them in my backyard. But obviously I’m not too thrilled that they’re werewolves. They tend to do everything but lie low, killing livestock and scaring neighborhood kiddies, which is bad news for the rest of us Others. The nightly news is already having a field day. So is the overzealous sheriff here.
Are you allowed to tell people that you are a shifter? Do your friends know?
I’ve spent my whole life pretending to be 100% human, rather than 50% something that scares the crap out of most people. My family knows, of course, but I’ve only told one of my friends. That would be Chloe, the owner of a bread and breakfast called Bramble Cottage in downtown Klikamuks. She also happens to be a dryad, a tree spirit from Greece, and a whole lot older than she looks. Nobody else knows what I am, not even my boyfriend, Zack, but I’m definitely going to tell him. As soon as it’s the right moment.
What would be the right moment to tell your boyfriend that you are Other?
Good question. Zack comes from a really conservative Christian family, and I’m afraid they have some old-fashioned ideas about Others. Don’t get me wrong, his religion isn’t the problem. He even has a brother who’s training to be a pastor, and we get along great. But I’m just afraid that he won’t look beyond the stereotypes spread by people who like to take biblical phrases out of context and use them against Others.
What do you think about the cute Japanese boy who works at the book store?
Well, off the record, I do think he’s cute. But don’t tell anybody. I mean, I’m not exactly single. That certainly didn’t keep this guy—his name’s Tavian—from flirting with me to a ridiculous degree. Turns out that I already knew him online as this artist who loves to draw weird fantastical creatures, especially foxes dressed up as humans. I think Tavian is a little odd. Maybe not in a bad way.
Is there any way to tell that a person is an Other by looking at them?
Definitely not always. You could be the only human in a room full of werewolves, vampires, and faeries and never know it. Though there are some Others who just can’t help it. Mermaids, centaurs, and whatnot. I actually saw a centaur at the grocery store the other day! He was just buying produce, but everybody gawked at him. Even my dad, because obviously living around me hasn’t accustomed him to weirdness yet.