I’m very pleased to have the lovely Elise North to mine for coffee with
Elise this morning in the first of this two part interview, which will conclude next Monday, the 21st.
KD: Elise is a private investigator with some very unique gifts, and one of the main players in A Demon’s Tale, my present WIP, the next instalment of Medusa’s Consortium. Elise, I first heard about you when I read your reports for Magda Gardener concerning your investigation of an incubus, Daniel Sands. What got my attention is that you could get close to an incubus and not be affected by him. Tell us why that is
EN: “First of all, let me say wow, I love your coffee. I adore cold brew, and this morning I really need it. I was up all night searching for a wayward shape shifter. Anyway, never mind that. (runs her hand through short blonde hair, her large brown eyes sparkling like she’s about to share a good joke.)Of course I can’t talk about it at the moment. But to answer your question, yes, for some reason I can’t explain, nor can anyone else, magic has no effect on me, but I can sense its presence, even when no one else seems to be able to. Sort of like a sixth sense I guess you could say.
KD: Let me get this straight, you’re not affected by magic at all? Of any kind?
EN: Nope. Nada. But the flip side of that coin is that I don’t have any magic in me. I mean most normal people don’t, or think they don’t, but almost everyone has a smidge, even if it’s just a bit of intuition that’s uncanny from time to time.
KD: So there’s never a chance of someone slinging magic at you?
EN: Nope, never. The real risk is, for example, the strength of a vampire. I’m as vulnerable to strength and physical power, or a plain old handgun as anyone else. While I’m not vulnerable to demons, a person possessed will have super human strength. It’s the secondary stuff I have to watch out for. But I’ve trained for that. If there’s a physical threat, I mean. I spend a good bit of my leisure time at the little dive gym just down the street from my flat, or on the shooting range and I’m well trained in several martial arts. That’s a part of my job.
KD: So this being immune to magic but at the same time being able to see it, how does that work, exactly.
EN: Well for one thing, I do see dead people, like the kid in the film, though they almost always know they’re dead, and they come to me because they know I can see them, which means I might be able to help them.
KD: I take it you don’t mean help them cross over.
EN: Nope. Like I said, I don’t have even the teensiest bit of magic. They have to find someone else for that, if they’re in a traveling mood. They come for the typical PI stuff, you know, to find out if a spouse was cheating on them before they died, if said spouse might have been responsible for their death, to find treasure that was stolen from them, to get me to sort out things that only the living can sort. They’re only a small part of my business though.
KD: How do they pay you then?
EN: Well, as you might guess, KD, it costs a lot to hire me. You wouldn’t believe what I have to pay for insurance. I mean most insurance companies would laugh me out of their offices. So there’s that, but also, my line of work involves a lot more potentially dangerous situations most PIs would face. I mean most don’t have to worry that a less than well-behaved vampire might try to make them lunch or that they might get caught breaking and entering in the New York City library in the middle of the night to speak with a ghost. And I’m pretty sure none of them has ever had to deal with a demon possessed person trying to hammer their brains out. So while I do have a sliding payment scale when need be, generally speaking, I charge a lot.
Problem is that more often than not, I’m paid in assets that are only moderately liquid or in come cases not very. I get old coins, jewelry, even pirate treasure on occasion. I get a lot of stuff that has a high value, but can’t be easily converted to cash. One vampire paid me with a priceless Stradivarius. I actually kept that, even though I don’t play. At the time the legal hoops I’d have to jump through to place it in a museum without it looking like I’d nicked it were just too much to bother with. It didn’t seem right to take money for it. I figure some day I might know someone who can play, or maybe I’ll take lessons. Not likely, since I’m tone deaf. I wonder if music is a type of magic. Can I have another cup of coffee?
KD: Yes, of course.
I pour her another cup, and push a plate of shortbread across the table
KD: So I imagine you must have a lot of acquaintances and colleagues who can help you convert those sorts of things to cash.
EN: I have connections. Believe it or not a lot of them are in the police department,
mostly people who know someone who knows someone else they talked to while investigating a theft, but they have lots of connections at the NYPD. I try to stay on their good side.
KD: Very wise, I’d say.
Check in with A Hopeful Romantic next Monday, the 21st for the conclusion of our interview, in which Elise North discusses her relationship with the Guardian and what it’s like to work for a demon.