Category Archives: interviews

Montague & Strong-An Interview

NYC home to Montague & Strong Detective Agency
NYC home to Montague & Strong Detective Agency

A few nights ago I managed to conduct an interview with one of New York City’s premier supernatural detective agencies: Montague & Strong. They graciously offered to sit with me, drink some coffee (and tea) while I asked them about their work and lives.

Here is the interview:

I’m sitting at a large table in the back of The Last Gasp Brew- a coffee and tea shop located in lower Manhattan when they walk in. Right away you can see the contrast.  Simon stands around six foot tall and has a casual air about him. He’s wearing a leather pea-coat, black jeans and a light gray sweater. His bronze complexion is off-set by the shockingly white hair that sits atop his head.  He looks around for a few seconds, sees me, gives me a wave and a smile as he approaches. He slides into the chair opposite me.

Behind him glides in Tristan who looks like he just left a martial arts class. His eyes scan the room and he exudes a quiet danger as he enters the shop. He’s wearing what appears to be a black loose-fitting tai-chi uniform. He’s not as tall as Simon, but his presence makes him appear to fill the space around him. His complexion is darker than Simon’s and his hair is a deep black with gray at the temples.

They sit at the table opposite me, both facing the door. Simon and I shake hands, Tristan gives me a curt nod.

Orlando: Thank you both for meeting me here tonight. I know your schedule is usually busy working cases.  I really appreciate it. By the way the coffee here is excellent.

Tristan: You only say that because you haven’t tried the tea. It’s our pleasure. Thank you for having us.

I notice that Tristan has a slight English accent while Simon sounds very ‘New York’.

Simon:  No one drinks tea anymore.

Tristan:  Except maybe most of the civilized world.

Orlando: Thanks again. I didn’t realize how difficult arranging this interview would be. You two must have some of the busiest schedules in the city.

Simon: Well it’s not like we had a choice – what I mean is you are… you know?

Simon makes some gestures I don’t understand with his hands and Tristan sighs.

Tristan: What he means is that he’s  happy to be here answering questions. You’ll have to excuse him, sometimes he’s as tactful as a brick.

Simon looks at Tristan and chuckles. He takes off his coat and reclines in the large wing-back chair. His laugh is infectious and I find myself smiling. Tristan responds with a brief smile, but remains mostly serious and vigilant. I get the impression he has assessed everyone in the shop and found no imminent threats. 

Simon: What the worst he can do, Monty? He did make me immortal you know. Try and relax.

I look down at my notes and prepare my first question.

Orlando: About that- you’re immortal?

Simon: The technical term is ‘cursed alive’.  Apparently Kali-

Orlando: Kali as in the goddess Kali the destroyer? Shiva’s consort?

Simon: Yeah that one. Well I was on this job for Shiva-

Tristan: Which I told him not to take. I distinctly remember advising you against getting involved with those two.

Simon: Anyway- Shiva asked me to get some information, things I’m not at liberty to discuss. Kali found out what I was doing and lost it. She went ballistic and marked me with this.

Simon shows me  the back of his left hand. An intricate design is etched into his skin.

Orlando: What is that?

Simon: It’s called  an endless knot. She basically stopped me from aging.

Orlando: I’m not seeing the downside. She made you immortal. You don’t age. This may sound odd, but can you die?

Simon: Can you?

Orlando: Well yes, I haven’t been cursed by an angry goddess.

Simon: Well so can I. The problem is that I wont stay dead.  Even worse is that I don’t know how I’ll come back. It’s not something I’m eager to test. You know?

Orlando: I can understand your reluctance.

Tristan: His immortality may be conditional, is what he’s trying to say. He could very well die and return as a goat. Which would be an improvement if you ask me.

Simon: He didn’t ask you, Monty.

Orlando: So you don’t know if you’re really immortal?

Tristan: All the indicators are there and several prominent entities have alluded to his altered state-some more violently than others.

Orlando: What can you tell me about the mark Kali gave you?

Simon: It’s part of the curse. As long as I have this-

He shows me the mark again and it seems to reflect the light around us with a subtle golden hue.

Simon: I’ll be hunted every time I use it..also every time I use it, it gets ‘her’ attention.

Orlando: Her meaning Kali?

Tristan looks up at the ceiling and sighs loudly.

Tristan: Here we go. It’s not every time. Your delusions of grandeur are astounding. The universe doesn’t revolve around Simon Strong.

Simon: Her meaning Karma. I don’t even like saying her name out loud. I never know if she’s close.

Orlando: Karma is female?

Simon: You’ve never heard the saying: “Karma is a bitch?”

Orlando: I think everyone has heard that one.

Simon: You have no idea, trust me.

Orlando: Does it do anything special, the mark?

Simon: Yes it’s a source of endless grief. See what I did there?

Tristan: It causes temporal stasis, but we cant really go into much detail.

Orlando: I understand.  So Monty?

Tristan: Tristan please.

I take a moment to check my notes.

Orlando: My apologies I have it here that Simon calls you Monty.

Tristan: Because my friend is a bloody idiot.

Orlando: I see, sorry about that, Tristan. You’re a mage. A magic user?

Simon: Oh not just a mage. He’s a ‘Golden Circle’ mage.

Simon makes air quotes as he says golden circle.

Orlando: A Golden Circle mage?

Tristan: The Golden Circle is the oldest of the mage groups on the planet. They have devoted their lives to the deep study of magic and its connection to all life for the betterment of humanity.

Orlando: That’s some mission and quite admirable.

Simon suppresses a laugh.

Simon: I’m sorry. It’s just that Monty can’t stand them because all they do is study. The mages are forbidden from entering and being part of the world or modern society. Monty is currently AWOL.

Tristan: I’m on extended sabbatical. I believe magic should transcend just study and has practical applications as well.

Simon: That’s what you’re calling it now? How long is the extension-forever? I’ve never heard of a sabbatical lasting ten years. I’m just saying.

Tristan: Next question please.

Orlando: What is that you both do?

Simon: We’re a paranormal detective agency. When things go south, sideways and inside out they call us. We take the cases  no one else can or wants to take.

Tristan: We provide a unique service to the city and the supernatural community. We investigate matters our clients prefer to keep discreet and on rare occasions prevent catastrophes.

Orlando: That would be the Montague & Strong Detective Agency? Who named it?

Simon: It was going to be the Strong & Montague Agency for Paranormal Investigations, but Monty bought the sign. I still think my titles sounds better.

Tristan: It doesn’t and also M comes before S.

Orlando: You two have an interesting chemistry. How did you meet?

Simon: A few years ago I was working a case- this was before the whole Kali thing- turns out Monty was working the same case from a different angle. We were dealing with some sorcerers who were kidnapping  homeless people for a  human sacrifice ring. The Dark Council asked me to look into it and stop the kidnappings. Monty and I teamed up and stopped it. I haven’t been able to get rid of him since then.

Orlando: This is the Council that governs the community of supernatural beings in the city? The one led by Michiko Nakatomi the vampire?

Tristan: You’ve done your research. That information is incredibly difficult to obtain. Yes that’s ‘his’ vampire.

Simon: She’s not my vampire. She is a good acquaintance.

This time it’s Tristan who tries and fails to suppress laughter.

Tristan: The Dark Council is a dangerous and ruthless organization made up of Vampires, Weres and other assorted supernatural beings. All of which can be a threat to humanity. The last thing they do is make ‘acquaintances’. He is madly infatuated with her to his and our detriment.

Simon’s phone rings. He looks down at the number and scowls.

Simon: Excuse me I have to take this. Ramirez- que pasta?

He stands and looks at me apologetically as he begins walking away and speaking.

Orlando: Is that urgent?

Tristan: When it’s Ramirez, it usually is.

Orlando: One last question. Why Simon? It’s obvious you two come from very different circles. Why do you stay together? I’m sure as a Golden Circle mage you could have your pick of partners or join any mage society.

Tristan takes a sip of his tea before speaking. He glances over at his partner who is still on the phone and nods.

Tristan: It’s quite simple really. You’re right I could be in any number of organizations, but I’m here with Simon. He can be and usually is a right pain in the arse. The simple truth is that he’s my friend and I’m his. We look out for each other.

Simon returns, downs his cup of coffee and puts on his jacket.

Simon: Hey, I’m sorry, but we have to roll. Some rogue vampire is terrorizing midtown. Can’t have the tourists be on the menu-bad PR for the city.

Orlando: I understand. Thank you again for your time and sitting with me. Maybe we can do this again when your schedule is less busy?

They both stop, look at me and laugh. 

Tristan: I’m certain we can fit it in. Once we sort out dealing with the Dark Council, Ramirez and the NYTF, stopping the random deranged being bent on starting another supernatural war and any other fresh horrors that crop up.

Simon is at the entrance holding the door for Tristan. He has the phone to his ear again.

Simon: Monty, let’s go. Ramirez is having a fit.

He gives me a wave and heads outside.

Tristan and I shake hands as he prepares to leave.

Tristan: Try the tea, you wont regret it. Oh and stay out of Times Square for a few hours.

He heads out of the coffee  shop. I watch them jump into a 1967 midnight blue  Pontiac GTO parked in front. The engine roars to life and then settles into a purr followed by the screeching of tires as they speed off.

I decide to stay in the Last Gasp a little longer, seeing as how my next assignment was in midtown and order the tea.


Hope you enjoyed the interview! Let me know your thoughts in the comments!blogdragonfly




Author Interview-Alexis Radcliff

A vanishing Glow
A vanishing Glow

I recently read a great new debut book by Alexis Radcliff.

Here is a the synopsis: It is an Age of Revolution, an Age of Industrialism. Constructs, living men who are as much brass and steel as they are flesh, man the factories and wage the wars of a ruling elite who gorge themselves on the fruits of the common man’s labor. Mystech, a brilliant fusion of magic and machine, gives rise to a new class of privileged inventors and merchants even as the country festers with wounds from decades of internal strife.

I’m not a huge steampunk fan, meaning I dont actively read the genre but this book will change that. It is an excellent read. Alexis writes  believable and complex characters. The story has twists and intrigue to keep you guessing for the length of the book and more. Alexis was gracious enough to be interviewed. Please pick up her book and give it a read. You can find sample chapters and  the links where the book is available in the interview below.

Thank you again Alexis!

Alexis Radcliff
Alexis Radcliff

Name: Alexis Radcliff

Age: 30

Where are you from?

I grew up in a small town in the Midwest, but I moved out west after college to work in tech and live nearer to both mountains and ocean.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve written my whole life on and off, and I worked in journalism all through college, but I didn’t start really thinking about fiction seriously until I was in my mid-twenties.

Do you have a novel/collection published? Would you like to tell us about it?

My first published novel is A Vanishing Glow. It’s an exciting blend of epic fantasy, steampunk, and flintlock fantasy set against a Victorian backdrop with an extremely rich world.

What inspired you to write your first book?

While growing up I read a lot of high fantasy, so by the time I went to college I was hungry for something different. The seeds of the world I built for A Vanishing Glow started there, and it just sort of percolated in my head for the next decade or so.

Do you have a favorite character from your book? If yes, who is it and why?

I’m really partial to Nilya Valsu, one of my two protagonists. I just have so much planned for her, and I think she’s a really fun character to write: she’s resilient, smart, and proactive, but she also has a lot of emotional depth to her.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

There’s a lot of intrigue in my plot, and if I could do it all over again, I might have picked a slightly easier or more straightforward plot for my first book. I’m happy with how it all turned out, but I spent a lot of time wrestling with the plot points to make sure everything wove together properly.

What are your current projects?

I’m currently working on Mystech Arcanum novella, and then the third volume in the series. I also have a very exciting superhero series planned for 2016 that I can’t wait to share!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

The more I see what gains traction and what doesn’t in both social media and sales (from my own experiences and those of other writers), the more I realize how big of a deal writing more books is. Nothing will help you succeed more than having additional books out, particularly at the early stages.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Write. Publish. Repeat!

What book are you reading now?

I am currently bouncing back and forth between a few nonfiction books, Station 11, and Annie Bellet’s Twenty-Sided Sorceress series. All very enjoyable!

Do you remember the first book you read? If not tell us what your favorite book is and why.

I remember that the very first “grown-up book” I read was Piers Anthony’s A Spell for Chameleon, and I was so proud of myself for finishing it! The very first book I read on my own was probably something by Dr. Seuss, but my mom had been reading to us for years at that point.

Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

I run, I play videogames, I hang out with my husband, and sometimes I like to bake. Mostly videogames, though, haha.




Bio:  Alexis Radcliff is an author, gamer, unashamed geek, and history junkie who spent the better part of a decade working in tech before dedicating herself to her first love, literature. When not writing, she spends her time reading, running, playing way too many videogames, and thinking too much about everything.

Purchase links for my novel: | Goodreads | Read Sample Chapter 1 | Read Sample Chapter 2


Author Interviews- Alice J. Black

The Doors Alice J.Black
The Doors Alice J.Black

In the spirit of giving back and connecting with my writing tribe I have scheduled monthly author interviews to showcase authors you may or may not have heard of. They will be a combination of indie and traditional with the focus being to give an insight on the writing life.

Alice, who is an online friend graciously asked me to be part of her interview group. I thought it only fitting that she be the first author in my monthly Author Interviews.

Please pick up her book and follow her blog.

Her social media links are provided, you can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (where she has some great pics!) drop by and kindly give her a hello!  Please leave a comment on what you thought. If you know or are an author and would like to be highlighted in the monthly interview drop me a line or leave me a comment below.

Enjoy the interview!


Name: Alice J. Black

Age: 28

Where are you from? The North East of England.

Tell us a little about yourself ie. education Family life etc. I grew up and have spent my life in the North East of England. Ever since I can remember I have always loved reading and writing and though at times it hasn’t always been a priority in my life, I have always come back to it. More recently when I got my first role in my career I have gone back to writing which I love doing. I try to write every day!

When and why did you begin writing? I have always loved writing. From a young age I liked to write stories and I was always encouraged to do this by my family. I still have some of my really old scribblings now and it’s great to look back on. I can’t say why I started writing other than I really enjoyed creating a different world. Continue reading Author Interviews- Alice J. Black