Novel Excerpt: Table Talk

Jason rolled his eyes. “Will you calm down and eat, Isabelle? Everyone else is halfway through and you barely started.”

Isabelle had a pen and her journal where her plate should have been. The excitement still hadn’t worn off after meeting her favorite author and artist Aravis Quarterfire then finding out Aravis was Nesrin’s niece, and that excitement was especially strong with Aravis sitting across the table from her in their apartment.

“Just a few more questions. So Nesrin and Ceylan both use the last name Halfire, but you use Quarterfire. I know the ‘fire’ part means ‘hidden one’ because their bodies are made of fire, and I know Nesrin and Ceylan are half human, so that must be the ‘half,’ so for you to be half of half fire, your father must have been human too, is that right?”

Aravis gave her a smile. “Nicely done. Yep, that’s what it means.” She wiped her mouth. “See how my face looks a little more wrinkled than Aunt Nesrin’s; she looks twenty- or thirty-something and I look forty-something? That’s another way you can tell. The fire’s more watered down.”

Nesrin put down her glass of water. “I still wish you wouldn’t say it that way. Just because I have slightly stronger powers doesn’t mean you don’t have as much fire in you as I do me. You probably have more.”

“Still means Grandmother Samira considers me a human instead of a hidden one.” Aravis stabbed her stuffed mushroom with her fork and knife.

Isabelle twirled her pen in her hair, processing what Aravis had said. She’d thought of something that seemed common sensical now that she’d realized it, but it hadn’t dawned her till then.

Jason came right with it, speaking through a bite of crab cake. “So being less hidden one makes you more mortal?”

Nesrin cut her eyes at him.

Aravis nodded. “Essentially. I’m still immortal, it just took me longer to stop aging. My children were mortal but lived much longer than normal humans.” She made a ‘spiraling out’ gesture with her fork. “So on.”

Isabelle flung a cube of ice at her brother and made a face. He shrugged in reply and they let it drop. There was about a second of silence, broken by Isabelle.

“So are any of the characters in Starspirit based on people you know?” In her mind she added And if they’re not can I be one anyway?

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