A while back I reviewed Griffin Rising, Darby Karchut's debut novel for teens and one of my favorite books of 2011. Today, it is my pleasure to interview the main character, Griffin. Now remember, he is a teen and teens have their own way of looking at life, as I was gently reminded the other day by the young man who carried my groceries to the car. Griffin is also a guardian angel in training. And now, Griffin has a word or two for us.
Thank you for visiting with us today, Griffin.
Uh...thanks, Mrs. McClure.
Your story fascinates me. I believe there are angels among us, and you are proof that it’s true. So what is a Terrae Angeli exactly?
Well, Terrae Angeli are guardians for humans. Like celestial angels in a way, except we are a lot more down to earth. In fact, that’s what Terrae Angeli means in Latin: earth angels. And we are more like humans than angels. We look and act like mortals. We have free will. We can get hurt or even killed on missions. And we like and dislike the same stuff as most people.
There are two kinds of Terrae Angeli: Earth & Fire and Wind & Water. I’m an Earth and Fire angel. That means I can harness the power of earth and fire to help me on rescue missions. My Mentor, Basil, is a Wind and Water angel.
First, you are a Tiro, the lowest rank of Terrae Angeli. What must you do to reach the higher ranks?
You’re right, Mrs. McClure. The Tiro is the lowest level, followed by Mentor, then Guardian, then Sage. A Tiro is an apprentice to a Mentor. Basil once said it’s like a knight and squire type of relationship. When I turn sixteen, I have this trial-by-combat test called the Proelium. Once I pass it, I’m on my way to completing my apprenticeship.
Basil is your second mentor. What happened with your first, Nicopolis?
I don’t like talking about him. Heck, I don’t even like THINKING about him. He used to beat the crap out of me. But then I got re-assigned to Basil. Talk about total opposites!
So how’s it going with Basil?
Awesome! I’ve learned so much from him. He uses our missions to teach me more advanced Element control as well as using my Might. Plus he’s pretty cool, except when he’s doing the whole Mentor thing. Then he’s a pain in the rear. He’s always on me about my manners and being a gentleman. Blah, blah, blah. (Um...don’t tell him I said that, okay?)
But he did rescue me from Nicopolis. And he treats me like I’m worth something. Worth his time and energy. I guess he’s like a dad to me in all the best ways.
Do you have special powers?
Besides controlling earth and fire, I can also use Might. It’s like the Force that the Jedi use. But I’m still not very good at it. It takes a lot of training and practice. But Basil says I’ll get there eventually.
And, of course, I can fly.
Do you ever wish you were human?
Nope! The only thing I want to be is a Terrae Angeli.
I hear you have a cute neighbor. Tell us about Katie.
Katie’s great. Wicked smart and really pretty. She’s become a good friend – I guess you would say we are boyfriend/girlfriend. But she doesn’t know what I am. Sometimes I wonder if it would change how she felt about me.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?
Dogs and small children are the only ones who can recognize us Terrae Angeli. They go nuts around us. Dogs jump all over us and kids keep trying to hug our knees! It’s totally embarrassing. Katie has this enormous Irish wolfhound named Bear that goes berserk when I go over to their house. But I love the big guy, even when he’s being insane.
Thank you, Griffin, for sharing your story. I’m excited that you’ll be in another book to continue your adventures.
Hey, thanks, Mrs. McClure, for having me. This was a lot of fun!
Wow! What a great kid. And guess what? We'll meet Griffin again in April, 2011, when Griffin's Fire is released.
Now for a little about Darby:
All her life, the archetypal hero and his journey have enthralled Darby Karchut. A native of New Mexico, Darby grew up in a family that venerated books and she spent her childhood devouring one fantasy novel after another. Fascinated by mythologies from around the world, she attended the University of New Mexico, graduating with a degree in anthropology. After moving to Colorado, she then earned a Master’s in education and became a social studies teacher.
Drawing from her extensive knowledge of world cultures, she blends ancient myths with modern urban life to write stories that relate to young teens today.
Darby is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Pikes Peak Writers Guild. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband, where she still teaches at a local junior high school. She enjoys running, biking, and skiing the Rocky Mountains in all types of weather.