Damian is the hero of K.B. Davenport’s new adult fantasy novel, Magic in Autumn Springs. Welcome Damian Baxter to Creekside Café.
Damian: Thanks for having me, Sherri! The café is beautiful. Reminds me of home!
Sherri: Damian it is so good to have this chance to get to know you better. I enjoyed reading about your adventures in Autumn Springs. Have you always lived in Autumn Springs? You went to college there as well? Have you ever wanted to travel? Did you ever want to leave Autumn Springs?
Damian: Thanks for reading my story! I have always lived in Autumn Springs. Born and raised! I love my hometown. It’s a friendly place (mostly), and there’s always something brewing. After I graduated high school, I went to Autumn Springs College. I wanted to stay close to home, despite not having the best relationship with my parents. The town always had a pull for me, though, so I couldn’t bear to leave it. I guess, after reading my story, you know why! There was something waiting for me there, I just had to figure out what it was.
I’ve traveled a few times. Mostly to surrounding states and tourist destinations near Autumn Springs. Never too far. But I’ve always wanted to go to Switzerland. It’s so beautiful, I feel like it’s the only place that could rival my love for my hometown. Springtime there seems like a fairy tale!
When I was younger, I wanted nothing more than to leave Autumn Springs. From around ages ten to seventeen, I dreamed of moving far away and living a fast-paced life in a city somewhere. I was convinced that Autumn Springs was only for people who wanted big families and small lives. It took some time to realize how mistaken I was. Something clicked one day, and I’ve been happy there since. That’s not to say I won’t let life take me to other places. Who knows where I’ll end up now that Bartley and I are together! He’s much more of a traveler than I am.
Sherri: You had a special relationship with your grandmother. What connected the two of you?
Damian: Granny Sue was an interesting person. She had a steadfastness that I admired from an early age. I also felt her sadness about not being able to connect with her daughter (my mother), and I think it helped me deal with my own pain. But beyond that, she was an immensely creative and talented person with lots of stories and love. She would paint, sing songs, grow beautiful gardens, and it all came so naturally. I was her only grandchild, too, so I was a bit spoiled, I guess!
Sherri: How old were you when you started experiencing strange things? Magic? Dreams?
Damian: I think I was around seven or eight. At least, that’s when I have conscious memories of things happening.
Sherri: What was your first magical experience?
Damian: Just little things at first. Like, I’d be thinking about a snack I wanted in the kitchen and wishing it was in front of me. I would concentrate hard and try to move it, but the best I could do was lifting it an inch or so off the counter. I think wish fulfillment is every young witch’s first experience with magic, though!
Sherri: Who started calling you Kachoo? Where did the name Kachoo come from?
Damian: Granny and Grampa had an ornate toy train at their house when I was little. I’d always play with it when I visited them. Granny always called it a choo-choo, but I had trouble saying it. I would say “ka-choo” instead, like a sneeze, and Granny always laughed. It stuck around as my nickname as I got older. It was sort of an inside joke between us.
Sherri: You spoke of the men you’ve dated just passing through, only in Autumn Springs for school. What type of man are you attracted to? What is the most important element in a partner?
Damian: I love bookish types with a bit of a roguish side. A guy who can quote Shakespeare and swashbuckle pirates would be ideal. I mean, essentially that’s who Bartley is. He surprises me every day with new adventures. We just went spelunking a few weeks ago! The caves near Autumn Springs are spooky and mystifying.
I hate to sound cliche, but communication is really it for me. If we can talk through what we’re feeling, no matter how silly or childish we may be feeling, we’ll get through any problem. A lot of guys in my past weren’t the best communicators, despite being in college. It’s like they spent all their time expressing themselves at school and wanted to shut off when it came to romantic involvements. Bartley is so much different from any other guy I’ve met. He listens to me ramble on and on and pretends like it’s the most interesting thing he’s ever heard. I’m lucky to have him!
Sherri: You and Granny Sue share a love of plants, what are your favorites? One of my favorites is rosemary but I’ve never had much luck raising it. I have some monster aloe plants though.
Damian: Rosemary can be a bit tricky! I love herbs as well. My herb garden gets a lot of my attention, since I cook with them so much. Aloe plants are great! I love succulents, especially for the porch so I don’t have to spend too much time caring for them. I’ve been pretty busy lately, so I’d hate to let a more complicated plant suffer. I love my spider plants and rubber plants, too. I like classic and simple things.
Sherri: Tell us about Marble, she is a bit of a diva, but she is more than a pet, isn’t she?
Damian: Marble is…
Marble: Marble can speak for herself, thank you very much.
Damian: I guess I’ll let her share the spotlight!
Marble: I was Granny Sue’s familiar for many years. I was assigned to her by the Elder Witches after my previous caretaker passed. I was sad and lonely, and so was Granny Sue after Grampa passed away. She volunteered to take on a familiar, and I was the one she got! I couldn’t have been happier. My time with her is something I’ll cherish forever. Although, Damian treats me pretty great, too. He even lets me help fish when we go to the river. I caught a huge salmon this spring.
Damian: It was a tiny mosquitofish. But it was pretty feisty!
Sherri: Were you a human at one time Marble? Where or when were you from?
Marble: Long ago. As a lady of class, I won’t reveal my age, but I will say I had an adventurous life. Damian knows from our recent trip to New Orleans that I lived in the French Quarter for some time in my youth. I may or may not have gotten into some trouble there which led to my current state. I had a magic show in a little café there and a stunning girlfriend named Marie. We used to cause so much havoc, like when we lured that nasty old politician into the alley way and—oh, but perhaps I should share that story another time…
Sherri: What is the deal with your co-worker Shay? Sometimes she seems a little lazy and others more enthusiastic. Is she bi-polar?
Damian: Shay is an enigma. She’s never told me about being bi-polar, but she has hinted at it in the past. I try to be understanding, as I’m sure she does with my inwardness and quietness. I guess we all have our own things to work on. She’s always supportive of me, though, so I can’t say too much! I think she’s misunderstood by a lot of people, especially new people.
Sherri: If you’d have known who Bartley was when you first met would it have changed your feelings towards him?
Damian: I don’t think it would have changed my feelings, but I do think I would have been less confident! Something came over me when we met, and I presented my best self. That’s always been a challenge for me. I feel like I often misspeak or get tongue-tied when I meet new people and try to explain who I am or what I do. With Bartley, it was so easy. After I found out who he was and how prominent his family was and is in Autumn Springs, I was even more intrigued. But I probably would have freaked out if I realized he was sort of a local celebrity before we met!
Sherri: If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would you change? Why?
Damian: I would change how I dealt with my parents’ passing, if I could. While we were never very close, I did love them. I felt like I tried to push them and their memories out of my life once they were gone. I wish I would have been more reverent toward them and had taken better care of my dad’s study. Who knows what I could have discovered about myself earlier in life had I connected with their memories more? That’s been my mission lately. Since everything has settled down, Bartley and I are cleaning up the study, and I’m finding great artifacts for the library where I work.
Sherri: Do you have any regrets? Anything you wished you’d done differently?
Damian: Pushing away my magic and my sense of whimsy at an early age. Although Granny Sue encouraged me to be myself, I had so many other influences telling me otherwise. I let the naysayers get the best of me for a long time. If I could, I would be open and free with who I really was.
Sherri: What are your hopes or plans for the future? Do they include a hunky Irishman?
Damian: Oh, yes, definitely! Bartley and I are talking about all kinds of new adventures. As Marble mentioned, we’ve been fishing a lot, and we visited my aunt in New Orleans not long ago to help her with a magical dilemma. I can’t wait to visit his family in Ireland! We’re thinking of going to see them at Christmastime this year. Other than that, I just hope to stay happy and healthy with my family. I love to see Marble growing closer with her new pal, Harlan, and hopefully my former rival Elias and I can be friendly neighbors one day!
Sherri: If you liked this interview with Damian and Marble check out their book, Magic in Autumn Springs by K B Davenport and my earlier interview with author, K B Davenport.