Stop by Angela Korra’ti’s blog for a talk with Herakles from Beautiful Death! I’ll add the main blog entry listing all participants once it’s up. And now, here’s Tasmin!
One of the things that intrigued me so much as The Chocolatier’s Wife (TCW) unfolds is how very upfront everyone is about the Mating Spell. It was guaranteed only to find the “best match” not “true love.” In William’s life, most everyone joined by the Mating Spell had significant difficulties (I won’t expand to avoid spoilers!). Is the same true in Tarnia? Is true love viewed as “ridiculous” as in the South? Did anyone that William and/or you know personally ever disregard the Mating Spell and marry strictly for love, or were all required to either accept the spell or remain alone?
T: I believe that, for the most part the spell is so culturally integrated that we all accept that it has to be done, usually the spell is completed when we are children and are too young to do anything else, and grow up accepting what has been given. Since it is against the law to go against the spell, no one really speaks about whether they had or not…I don’t actually know of anyone who has gone against it, but you always hear tales of people being murdered so that they can be with the one they love. It’s more like a whisper, or a myth…like the hook handed pirate who hangs about in the forest at the edge of town to kidnap naughty children.
When you found out that William had been arrested for murder, it would have been so easy for you to simply accept the news and remain at the university. That’s certainly what your entire family wanted! You’d kept all of William’s letters and gifts over the years. Were there any special items or a particular tidbit in a letter that made you more determined than ever to join him?
T: I don’t know that there was one particular item that drew me, I think that I was far more enchanted by the whole than any one thing…because in some ways, the things he sent me, the letters, were all bits of the puzzle of what kind of man he was, and I knew him to be solid, and good, and generous…the way that he spoke was always kind, and it was comforting to know that the man I am to spend my life with would be all of these things.
Very few people are born in the South with any magic at all, at least since the horrible war 500 years before TCW. If someone is born with a talent in the South, where could he/she go for training?
T: If the talent is minor…the ability to find lost objects, or such, then they usually get taught by the Wise Woman, but if the talent is greater, then someone from the North, called a Finder, is dispatched. The person will be trained at a university, without their family having to worry about providing for them…tis a public service, since any unchecked talent is even more frightening than a person who has had training.
Tell us a bit more about your magic and the other talents. Are women always Herb Mistresses, never men? Or are there any clear “classes” that can predict the various talents?
T: No, not always. There are many Herb Masters, as well…there are no truly clear classes, as in any ability there are people who excel at some things and are weak in others. The talent that comes through the strongest is usually the primary talent that people concentrate on, but they can do other things, as well. My mother always felt I could have concentrated more on elements and been quite talented, but I was much more interested in the workings of herb and stone.
William’s family wasn’t very welcoming, to say the least. I thought you accepted their dislike very gracefully, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t have been quite so forgiving. *wg* Were you ever tempted to use just a teeny bit of magic to teach them a lesson? If so, what would you have *loved* to do to gain a little revenge?
T: Oh, never! *grins back* There was never any moment when I would have been strongly tempted to play just a tiny prank to get them to break their absolutely voracious dignity. They all acted with so much decorum sometimes that I would have loved to have seen one of them do something human…something that would have made them laugh at themselves a little and seem a little more reachable.
This is such a sweet, moving love story. Tell me, Tasmin, girl to girl. At what point did you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you loved William, Mating Spell or not?
T: Forgive me for pausing so long on my answer, but I fear you will think me silly. I think it was when we first, actually, met, and he kissed the palm of my hand. I felt the warmth of his lips and this sort of fierceness, as if he were truly glad to see me, and it short right down my arm and into my heart.
As I said in our Book Chats last year, The Chocolatier’s Wife is an incredibly sweet, romantic fantasy with a touch of mystery. Thanks for stopping by, Tasmin!