Clairvoyant Viola Thorne wants to forget about her days of grifting and running errands for ghosts. The problem? Playing it safe is dull. So when a dead stranger begs for her help, Vi jumps at the chance to dust off her hustling skills. The unlikely companions are soon tangling with bandits, cheating at cards, and loving every minute.
It’s not often one gets to interview a fictional character, but I highly recommend it. Today I’m talking with Viola Thorn from No Rest for the Wicked by Phoebe Darqueling.
IM: Hey, baby, come here often?
Vi: Just passing through.
IM: I understand you’ve traveled a lot. Is there a particular bar or saloon that has fond memories for you?
Vi: Not to boast, but my own establishment in Sacramento comes to mind. It is not the fanciest, nor does it have the finest clientele, but it is mine. I bought it fair and square, and fixed it up with my own hands. (Well, ‘fair and square’ may be over-stating the matter a little… I did use stolen money to purchase it.) As soon as Sacramento became the capital, business started booming, so I can bring in the top shelf bottles for myself even if my average customer doesn’t appreciate it.
IM: If someone, me for example, were to craft a drink based on you, what elements would it have?
Vi: I spent a lot of time after the Rebellion along the Mississippi and in New Orleans, which gave me a taste for absinthe. There’s something about the cool spiciness of the anise (not to mention it has the strength to knock even me for a loop) that I just love. So, that would definitely need to be an ingredient.
IM: Rumor has it that you’ve retired from ‘the life’. I am an aficionado of the craft myself. Any good stories you want to share?
Vi: My biggest score, and what I thought was going to be my last, was a sham marriage. I was approached by an informant (which in my case, usually means someone dead with a score to settle) who was angry with her former husband. Once she told me what he’d done during the war, it was easy to see he needed to pay. She gave me all the dirt I needed to wheedle my way in, marry him, and leave with the deeds to most of his real estate holdings. (Plus his prize race horse, but that was a mission of mercy.)
IM: As a follow-up, what’s your favorite, sure-thing con?
Vi: I love the feel of a deck of cards in my hands. Blackjack is a good one, but poker is my favorite. Sure, there’s some counting and probability involved, but I’d take my read of a man over the cards in his hand any day.
IM: If you and your author had a drink, what would you talk about?
Vi: Though I have seen my fair share of the Americas, she has the benefit of spending extensive time on the continent. I am sure we’d have plenty of stories to swap about our time at home and abroad.
IM: If you could invite your 4 favorite people to a bar, who’s drinking what?
Vi: I would love to have a chin wag with my favorite author, Charles Dickens. If he and his characters share the same taste in spirits, he’d probably order a gin punch. There’s always a place at the table for my valet, though as he is a boy of nine, he’d be enjoying a cup of hot chocolate. I’ve recently made a new friend, Bonnie, though what she sees in me is somewhat baffling. She’s not much of a drinker (though I’m going to see what I can do about that on our way South), so she would probably have lemonade. That’s it for the living, really. Any of the dead who would come to a bar wouldn’t be able to drink anyway, so I’d just order myself a double and let them hover over the vapors for a while.
IM: Are you a sipper or a shooter?
Vi: If I am working a mark, I make sure to sip. It’s important to keep a clearer head than the one you are trying to bunko. When I’m alone, I tend to swig right from the bottle.
IM: Ah, yes. I’ve got a friend who follows that same rule about keeping a clear head.
IM: Now that you’re drunk, tell me about No Rest for the Wicked.
Vi: I do not usually jaw about myself, but seeing as how you have been plying me with your top shelf whiskey, I suppose I could tell you a few details. The story starts a few years after my attempted retirement. I wanted to get out of the game for a few reasons, but most of all to get away from all the ghosts who wanted me to finish their unfinished business. Sometimes it could be lucrative, but mostly it was a nuisance. There was a something of an entanglement brewing with my partner, Peter, as well, but… actually no. You don’t need to know anything about that. All you need to know about him is that when he died, he came looking for me. There’s something happening back in New Orleans and some very bad people want to find me very badly. The smart thing to do would be to keep my head down, but I have never been the sharpest tool in the shed. Instead, I plan to get to the bottom of his murder and make them pay. But California is a long way from Louisiana, so who knows what kinds of mischief my companions and I will get up to along the way?
IM: Where can readers find you?
Vi: No Rest for the Wicked can be found here:
Amazon Shortlink: http://bit.ly/ViolaThorne
And author Phoebe Darqueling can be found hanging out in these places:
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Phoebe-Darqueling/e/B072853PG4/
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PhoebeDarquelingFans/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/phoebedarqueling/