Characters in the Cosmos: Meet Siobhan
Siobhan is the main character of author Sara Bond's current unnamed work in progress. As a fan of the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Brigg and the Hollow Series by Kim Harrison, Bond thought she’d try her hand at writing a new urban fantasy story that takes place in Atlanta. After spending the past year querying her fifth book, a space opera called Gravity’s Heir Bond realized she wanted to write something completely different. As a lover of urban fantasy genre, she is currently rereading the Weather Warden series by Rachel Caine.
Who are you? What do you do?
My name is Siobhan Kesi Illythia, daughter of Queen Illythia of Atlanta. Yeah, I’m that daughter.
The half-human heir to the throne who left the Fairy Court and took up as a bartender at the Greenwood Knoll. It’s honest work, though. More honest than anything at Court. And I’m good at my job. You’ve never met anyone who can make a better Old Fashioned or Manhattan.
What is your greatest fear?
Not being enough. I’m not the first royal (ex-royal, I should say) to be half human, half fae. Look, everyone does it. My bar is full of people who straddle the worlds. And we all struggle with that fact. I’m not unique. But I don’t know if any of us ever feel like we’ll be fae enough. It’s not about the magic, though, of course, I’d be happy to have half the power of my mother. I guess it’s really the feeling that I don’t belong. Not in the fae world, not in the human world.
What's the worst thing that's happened in your life? What did you learn from it?
Both the best and the worst thing was leaving the Fairy Court of Atlanta, renouncing my birthright as the heir, eschewing my magic, and striking out as a Solitary. Granted, I could have chosen a better time than the 60s. It is hard enough finding your footing as a newly Solitary fae in any time. Throw in my biracial heritage, and lack of any real support network, and it’s a wonder I survived. But on the advice of Rania, the Court’s head chef and a dear friend, I went to the Greenwood Knoll, a local watering hole and sanctuary for solitary fae. Thank Mab I did. Argus, the owner and best bartender in the South, offered me a job on the spot. Been there ever since. He taught me that when you live outside the system, when you have no structures to fall back on, it’s the people in your life that make the difference.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
While I’ve had some amazing romances in the past fifty or so years, there’s never been any real reason for them to stick around. The only one who’s stood by me continuously has been Argus. He took me in when I had nowhere else to go. He’s stood by me through all of my family’s politicking and kept me safe through the tumult of segregation and the Civil Rights Era in the South. I also say, “Who needs a knight when you have a dragon?” Even if he wasn’t the only living pureblood dragon in the Southeast United States, Argus is truly special, and I’m lucky to call him my friend.
When and where were you happiest?
That’s hard to answer. Because though you might be happy in certain moments, it doesn’t mean those times always stay happy when you look back. The simplest answer is to say my childhood in Court. I wanted for nothing. As the heir, everyone in Court catered to everything I wished. For thirty years, I had a dream life, full of every indulgence you could imagine: culinary, experiential, carnal. It was amazing. And sure, I had to work hard to make up for my human heritage, but I knew I could survive as Queen. I was strong, I was smart. It didn’t matter what anyone else said, I was going to be the best Fairy Queen I could be.
My mother should never have sheltered me in the way that she did. Knowing what I know? It changes what I think of those perfect happy years.
What is your most treasured possession?
My vinyl collection. One of the first things about human society I fell in love with was the music. Though the standards have relaxed by now, when I was brought up, we didn’t indulge in the cultural revolutions of humans quite so much. We didn’t enjoy the fruits of human creativity. When I struck out on my own, it was everywhere. Music came from every store front, every home. Patsy Cline had just died, so I heard her music all the time, but Johnny Cash was a favorite in the area, and then the Beatles, of course. James Brown, Chuck Berry, Aretha. I filled the bar with them every chance I could. Everything I could get my hands on. I collected vinyl like it was my new religion.
My record collection has moved with me over the years, through the evolution of rock, hip hop, rap, grunge. You name it, I’ve loved it. I have a special place in my heart for Southern Rock, as I was there at some of the first concerts of the Allman Brothers, the Black Crowes, REM. But my favorite album? The first one I ever bought for myself: Afro Bossa by Duke Ellington. It was so different from everything I’d been brought up with, but it spoke to something in me. Fifty some odd years later, the record is still in pristine condition, though I have backups in case anything happens to it.
What do you most value in your friends?
Loyalty. When you’re solitary, you don’t have the Courts to fall back on when you find yourself in trouble. You’re on your own, unless you have friends. And you had better be able to count on them.
Tell me about your best friend. How did you meet? What do you like about this person? What do you think they like about you?
Besides Argus, who I think would spit fire if anyone referred to him as a “best friend”, Mikka Balaur is probably it. She and her twin Varon are the bouncers/gofers/pinch-bartenders at the Knoll. She’s my partner in crime, keeps me laughing when all but the worst happens, and knows to get me the strong stuff when it inevitably does. She’s a drake, half human/half dragon, and while a lot more magically inclined than I am, she’s never even acknowledged that fact. If the world came tumbling down around us, she’d be right there beside me, passing me a flask, and making a joke. And she knows, no matter what her latest girlfriend has done or whose house she’s lit on fire, I’m going to be there to help her fan the flames and roast some marshmallows.
What's the worst thing you've ever done to someone? Why?
I should never have abandoned my sister to take on the mantle I threw off. When I left home, I left my sister to take on the role of the Queen’s heir. She would learn to be the conduit, instead of me. And while she’s better suited to it being a pureblood fae, no one should have to bear the burden of that political cesspool. She may not face the same hostilities I did in the role, but she’ll have to accept the same moral compromises. She might have the magic to face the responsibilities of Queen one day, it doesn’t mean she’s strong enough to bear all that comes with it.
What is your ideal world?
My ideal world is one where the fae can live in harmony with humans, instead of the parasitic predators they have been reduced to. One where the fae don’t have to worry about our dwindling numbers and declining fertility, where they don’t have to make the choices they do to stay alive. One where I can look my mother in the eye without shame and fear. One where what I am is looked at as a strength and not a weakness among the fae.
You can find author Sara Bond on Twitter, @Saramuse. Follow her!