Thanks to Library Girl Reads for hosting this entry in the Virtual Blue tour, a character interview with Paranormal Investigator Rebecca Burton. Burton plays a supporting role in both Haunting Obsession and Virtual Blue. Burton doesn't know she's about to fend off some tough questions by another character that has played, not only a big part in the RJ-Verse, but in Burton's past.
Agent Rebecca Burton of the Special Investigations Unit enters a small interrogation room. She finds only two chairs, and seats herself in the one closest to the door. She checks her cell phone.
Burton: Well, I'll give them a couple more minutes. I told them my time is precious and I can't wait on a no-show.
A voice speaks from the air.
"Oh, I'm here, you just can't see me."
A ghostly, shapely blonde phases in, dressed in a yellow sundress and seated in the chair across from her. Burton's eyes widen in recognition of the deceased sixties movie star bombshell.
Burton: Maxine Marie.
Maxine: Hello, Rebecca. Surprised to see me?
Burton: [Stands] Given what happened after our first encounter, yes.
Maxine: Relax, Rebecca. Our mutual creator made me promise I could interview you, but only if I remained seated. [Maxine raises her hand, flexing her fingers, curving sharp nails into a claw shape] Come closer, Dear. I'd like to tweak your makeup.
Burton: Wonderful. Another bit of RJ's whimsy, I suppose. [Releases a breath] He and I need to have a talk.
Maxine: But you and I are going to talk first, Rebecca!
Maxine: [Holds up copy of Virtual Blue] All in due time. But first....[lowers Virtual Blue, raises Haunting Obsession] RJ let me read the whole story about you and me last year. Since I was there, I thought I knew everything that happened, but I didn't, did I? I thought I had weakened Daryl to the point that he could barely move, and that he found some inner strength at the last second. [Glares] But now I know where his strength really came from, don't I?
Burton: We're going to make this about you? You had to be dealt with. I make no apologies for doing what I had to do. Even you admit you'd gotten out of control.
Maxine: [Lifts Virtual Blue] That brings me to this book. Field agent Rebecca Burton, paranormal investigator. So you're just a humble government official, right?
Burton: My bureau, the Special Investigations Unit, follows up on all supernatural events throughout the country. My territory is Indiana--I grew up there and still live there--but I have no jurisdiction.
Maxine: And that's all you are? A government agent?
Maxine: [scoffs] And I'm resuming my movie career and I'm going to appear in the next Star Wars movie.
Burton: As the ghost of Obi Wan Kenobi, no doubt. Wait a minute. How do you know about Star Wars?
Maxine: Never mind about that. [Giggles. Opens up a page in Virtual Blue] Tell me about the Kelranian Order.
Burton: [Fidgets] The Kelranian Order...they're a sort of...I guess you'd call them occult specialists, sort of intellectual hobbyists that sometimes conduct their own investigations into paranormal matters. They have a number of chapters all over the world, including an active one here in Indiana. I have several members as contacts. Their resources go back centuries, an incredible resource.
Maxine: They're a secret order of white-magic practicing druids and you're an active member.
Burton: Seriously? RJ should let you write the novels. That's quite a plot twist. The Kelranian Order is a close ally of my Unit, nothing more.
Maxine: You're a member of the Kelranian Order. As was your mother and her mother before her, and back who knows how far? You're one of its most powerful practitioners of white magic.
Burton: You exaggerate. They taught me a few parlor tricks through the years, some handy spells in case I get into trouble. Nothing more.
Maxine: Like healing spells and mind reading. Hardly useful in hand to hand combat.
Burton: Not everything I've learned is a weapon, but I'd be happy to demonstrate.
Maxine: [Considers] No, that's quite alright. Back to Virtual Blue, then. So several months after meddling with Daryl's affairs, you stuck your nose into Fiona Shaefer's business, too. Do you make it a habit of sticking your nose where it doesn't belong?
Burton: [sighs] As a matter of fact, I was investigating reports that an extremist cult tied to a dangerous demon had taken way too much interest in a Freeware roleplaying video game. I went to the campus to investigate. I had no idea at the time that the programmer of the game was Eugene Farren, Blue's boyfriend. And you'll be happy to know that fell into a booby trap. Blue and I met when she...tried to rescue...me.
Maxine: [Eyes flashing] How embarrassing for you.
Burton: It wasn't my finest moment.
Maxine: I can imagine, a seasoned paranormal investigator and secret white magic druid of the Kelranian Order had to be saved by a college student. A poetry major.
Burton: Is there a question in there?
Maxine: What was your impression of Blue Shaefer?
Burton: Blue is...extremely talented with solid instincts. She'll make a great paranormal investigator some day. But she's also brash and hot-headed. I...found that out. It's something I have to think about it for awhile. Any other questions?
Maxine: Yes. What do you know about the Tesh Ke Ra?
Burton: Well....[fidgets] Not much, really. I hear rumors about a secret project by the Kelranian Order.
Maxine: In fact, it's a secret breeding project being conducted by the Order, one to create a refined druid and master of white magic.
Burton: If you say so.
Maxine: Blue's boyfriend all but accused you of being the Tesh Ke Ra. Your response was decidedly evasive. Care to enlighten us on---
Burton: [Stands]---I think it's time you returned to your grave or wherever it is you're haunting these days, Maxine Marie.
Maxine: But Rebecca, Halloween is tonight! I'm not going anywhere for hours yet.
Burton: Then you can stay here and haunt an empty chair. [Burton's eyes light up dark red as she advances on Maxine.] But this interview is over.
Maxine: Oh, poo. Fine. You can leave then. [Maxine motions toward the door] Happy Halloween, Rebecca.
[Burton exits and slams the door behind her without comment]
About the Author: R. J. Sullivan’s novel Haunting Blue is an edgy paranormal thriller and the first book of the adventures of punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer and her boyfriend Chip Farren. Seventh Star Press released Haunting Obsession, a Rebecca Burton Novella in 2012 and Virtual Blue, the second book in Fiona’s tale, in 2013. Seventh Star will release a new edition of Haunting Blue in early 2014. R. J.’s short stories have been featured in such acclaimed collections as Dark Faith Invocations by Apex Books and Vampires Don’t Sparkle. His newest project is the Red Lotus series of science fiction novelettes for readers of all ages.
R.J. resides with his family in Heartland Crossing, Indiana. Check in regularly to learn the latest about the projects of R. J. Sullivan. Connect with R. J. on Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads
Book Synopsis: Did you ever wish you could escape to a virtual world? What if you could...but then couldn't get out?
Two years after her deadly clash with a vengeful ghost, Fiona “Blue” Shaefer still can’t shake off the trauma of that night. Moving to New York with her father didn't help. Neither did absorbing herself in her college classes. Not even her poetry provided the solace it once did. She convinces herself that ending her relationship with Eugene “Chip” Farren, her long-distance boyfriend and final tie to the horrors of that night, might bring the closure she needs. Blue travels to Bloomington to break the news to Chip in person, but her timing couldn't be any worse.
The Sisters of Baalina, vengeful cultists who practice a new form of “techno-magic,” have targeted Chip’s multi-player videogame as the perfect environment to cast a dangerous spell to free a demoness from the very pits of hell. In the process, their plan may trap Blue in a prison of the mind with no locks, no bars, and no escape.
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