It’s my pleasure to introduce you to a new to me YA author, Angela Yseult!
To the risk of being a bad guest for this birthday bash, I have to admit I’ve never been very fond of celebrating my birthday. I’ve had the full ‘big party with guests’ thing when I was young, but it was always on my mother’s prompting that I made guest lists or wrote invitations. These days, a simple visit to my favorite fondue restaurant with Dear Hubby is quite enough for me. As for attending birthday celebrations… well, I’m not one for crowds, so that doesn’t work too well for me either!
Looking back at my latest release, You Promised Me Two Years, I have a feeling that my disinterest for birthday celebrations might have bled through and colored the story…
One of the two main characters, Connor, is a very special young man. He is a ‘Prophet’, which means he is able to ‘See’ the future and predict what will happen. His predictions, or ‘Messages’, come out as senseless words, and it’s the role of his interpreter to make sense of it all. At the beginning of the story, a new interpreter is introduced to Connor. It doesn’t take long for Tyler to realize Connor is lonely, troubled, and needs a friend more than an interpreter, but it’s not until months later that he starts to get answers about what happened to Connor for him to close himself off. Read on the following excerpt to find out…
The weekend before they were due back at the Academy, Tyler found himself one afternoon in Sophia’s office, seated across the desk from her, a coffee cup in his hands. Connor was busy with some feather he’d found and absolutely wanted to identify before they left the estate. Tyler kept glancing back at the closed door. He was rather apprehensive about the kind of warning he was going to get today.
“Do you know Connor’s birthday is on January ninth?” Sophia asked after taking a sip from her cup.
January ninth… less than a week, and Tyler had no present for him. Damn.
“No, I didn’t know,” he said, fiddling with his cup. The porcelain was fine, very thin, with delicate paintings; it seemed antique. It looked more like a tea cup than anything made for coffee. “Thanks for telling me, I’ll—”
“You will do absolutely nothing about it,” Sophia cut in smoothly. “You are not, under any circumstances, to get him a present, or a cake,
cupcake, cookie, anything with a candle on it or that is in any way festive. No song. No best wishes. It would in fact be best if you pretended you don’t know it’s his birthday.”
It made no sense, and Tyler wasn’t shy in saying so. “Why would you tell me it’s his birthday and then ask me to pretend I don’t know?”
“Because it’s not just his birthday.” Sophia raised the cup to her lips, but she never took a sip and set the cup down on her desk instead. “It’s also the anniversary of our parents’ accident,” she said in a voice stripped of emotions. “As you can imagine, the day is not a joyous one.”
“But I thought—” The words tumbled from Tyler’s lips before he could stop himself, before he could remind himself that they were Sophia’s parents too and that he should at least say he was sorry. Or something.
“What did you think?” Sophia asked, picking up her coffee again.
Tyler should have dropped it. He really should. But somehow, he heard himself ask, “Why did the Christmas tree stay up all the way into January?”
The briefest of frowns was the only reaction Sophia offered. She didn’t even ask how Tyler knew.
“They used to put Connor’s birthday present under the tree,” she said in between sips. “Our mother coddled him rather a lot, when she forgot to be ashamed. Or maybe to make up for it.”
Tyler stared at the coffee in his cup. He felt like he might be sick soon.
“Maybe…” He cleared his throat. “Maybe he needs better birthday memories to replace those.”
Sophia’s stare was as flat, as cold as her voice.
“You think so, don’t you? You’ve known him for almost a full year and he’s shown you some affection, so of course that makes you an expert on what my brother needs. Let me enlighten you then, Tyler. One of your predecessors also believed she knew him and what he needed. I warned her the same way I am warning you, although maybe not with so many details. She disregarded my words. She had the cook at school bake him a cake and brought it to him in the school cafeteria, singing that obnoxious song and coaxing their peers into singing along. Do you want to know what he did, Tyler?”
It was all Tyler could do to stop himself from shaking his head no. He doubted it’d stop Sophia anyway.
“He said one word to her. Just one little word. And she fainted. Would you like to know why she fainted?”
Tyler didn’t want to know that either but he didn’t have a choice, did he?
“This young lady was very brilliant. One of the traits she was most proud of was her perfect memory. That was how she got the job as an interpreter for Connor. The Secretary of the Future thought it’d be a good thing for her to recall everything my brother said. But with that one word, as I understand it, he told her about her entire life. He told her whom she’d date. Who would break her heart. Whom she’d marry. When she’d divorce. He told her about her two children, and how one of them would suffer brain damage from a swimming accident when he was four years old. He told her when her parents and her friends would die. He told her every painful thing life had in store for her until the day of her death. All the things she will try and probably fail to change because most people never manage to change what a Prophet Sees. All the things she won’t be able to forget. All that with one small word.”
She paused then, and Tyler knew it wasn’t over. He braced himself for the rest of it.
“And after saying that one word, he went ahead and… indulged in his bad habits. To my knowledge, he has indulged this way at least six times on that particular day over the past nine years. So you will heed my advice, Tyler, and you will not wish him a happy birthday. But you will keep a very close eye on him.”
Tyler nodded, unable to utter a word. His hands shook so much that he
almost dropped the cup before managing to set it down on the desk.
Leaving Sophia’s office, he went straight to Connor’s room. He came up behind him at his desk, and pressed his face to Connor’s neck, wrapping his arms around him.
“Pepper flakes?” Connor asked absently.
Tyler’s throat felt tight, but he pushed the words out anyway. “No, nothing wrong. I just missed you.”
Connor’s left hand covered his for a little while as he scribbled some notes. Tyler tried to relearn how to breathe.
When Tyler became Connor’s interpreter, he thought all that entailed was translating the Prophet’s cryptic messages about future events.
However, it doesn’t take him long to realize Connor needs more than that. First and foremost, he needs a friend, someone who will stand up for him at the Academy, the elite school they both attend and where Connor, despite his talent, is far from popular. He also needs someone who understands that, for him, the talent of prophecy is a curse he would get rid of if he only could, a curse that pushes him toward substance abuse and oblivion.
It also doesn’t take Tyler very long before he starts seeing Connor as more than a friend, and he’s lucky enough to have Connor return his feelings. Just as things begin to settle down, however, the arrival of a new Prophet at the Academy threatens Connor’s hard-won and still-fragile peace of mind.
Through it all, Tyler is all too aware that every day brings Connor closer to being eighteen, the age of his prophesized death, two years after their
Available as ebook from:
Tyler was warned against presents, but I’ll be happy to share one with you! Just fill out the form below, or click on this link to open the form, and I will mail you the trading cards for You Promised Me Two Years as well as my upcoming novel Demon World!
About Angela Yseult:
Being a teenager when you happen to be a Shifter, when the universe is your playground, when you live with vampires or your world is under siege by demons is even more complicated.
Or at least, that’s what Angela’s characters tell her; her own teenage years were fairly uneventful… and still, rather complicated at times, too.
She grew up in France, the quiet, bookish, geeky older sister to an athletic younger brother, and started at fourteen to put down on paper the stories that were playing in her head. Her first story was a sci-fi short set in space... and was probably sufficiently inspired by Star Wars to trigger a lawsuit!
Her next effort was a longer, also sci-fi story that earned her the first place in a novella contest in her high school. Her parents' stunned expressions upon receiving an invitation to attend the prize ceremony were interesting...although really, what did they think she was doing, typing on her electronic typewriter for hours every night?
Switching to writing in English was a process, and for a time Angela focused on more adult stories, but her first loves have called her back for too long to ignore them any longer...