How did you first meet Jade Kerrion? Want to dish about her?
Zara: I think Jade was having a midlife crisis when we met. She was growing older, and realized that she was going to live out her life in the frantic corporate rat race of America, while being a mom with husband, two kids, and a mini van. She probably felt that she needed to live vicariously through someone else, namely me. Jade: I am not having a midlife crisis!
Did you ever think that your life would end up being in a book?
Zara: I’m a mercenary, and I own an agency of mercenaries. No, I do not crave the spotlight or expect to make headlines, at least not with my name in print next to my unfortunate victims. Jade, however, appears to be a strong proponent of full disclosure—it’s amazing, though how her novels are full of people who never disclose anything to anyone else—and she decided to get my name out there.
Tell us about your favorite scene in the Double Helix series.
Zara: My favorite scene from the first three books takes place in the second book, Perfect Betrayal. It’s an intimate moment with Danyael Sabre. It’s especially memorable because, if you know Danyael, then you know that Danyael doesn’t do “intimate” often. Danyael, of course, swears the encounter never took place. He’s lying, of course. We have a daughter and five genetic tests to prove it. (smiles) Of course, I have many favorite scenes in Jade’s upcoming novel, Perfection Challenged. The closing scene is particularly memorable.
It sounds like you have a complicated relationship with Danyael. Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?
Zara (arching a perfectly tweezed eyebrow): They’re…charming, like black mambas are charming. Still, we’ve gone through a great deal together, and on a good day, I’d trust them, but not too much.
What do you like best about Danyael Sabre? What do you like least?
Zara: Do we have to talk about Danyael?
Well, your name is frequently mentioned in conjunction with his name and Galahad’s. How do you choose between two men who look alike?
Zara: Danyael is Galahad’s physical template, but in every other way that matters, they are nothing like each other. Galahad, the lab-created perfect human being, is eager and impatient to seize the world. On the other hand, Danyael, after a traumatic childhood as an undiagnosed alpha empath, wants nothing more than to be left alone to do his job as a doctor in a charity clinic. I used to think Danyael was evasive and a coward, unwilling to face his past or embrace his mutant powers. He isn’t really. He’s both courageous and compassionate, but most people don’t see him for what he is.
And what about you? What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? How about after they've known you for a while?
Zara: Ideally, they’d know me as a practical, levelheaded person who isn’t afraid of doing what it takes to get things done. After they’ve known me for a while, I hope they’ll continue to say the same thing. Jade (in a stage whisper): Ask her about that compassionate streak… Zara (shrugs an elegant shoulder): Not there. It doesn’t exist, and you can’t prove it.
Ladies, please. Zara, what would Danyael say about you?
Zara (flashes an amused smile): Ah, he’s much too polite to say anything, but if he did, I imagine he would say that I’m more abrasive than steel wool, and that I have a cruel and ruthless streak several miles wide. He wouldn’t say anything about compassion. Jade (scowling): He wouldn’t have fallen in love with you otherwise…
Jade, if you don’t mind, I’m interviewing Zara here. Zara, if your story were a movie, who would play you? Zara: Kate Beckinsale would do a great job. She’s beautiful, and she knows how to kick ass. She’s not Lebanese-Venezuelan, but nobody’s perfect.
Will you encourage your author to write a sequel?
Zara: She’s already written four Double Helix novels, five, if you include the Young Adult spinoff, When the Silence Ends. She insists that Perfection Challenged is the end of the Double Helix series, but that’s not to say that there aren’t other stories to be told about the world of the Double Helix. Knowing her, she’ll be back with another fascinating story about my world and the people who live in it.
What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?
Zara: You already know what I do for a living; I find ways to keep busy to pay the bills. I also have a two-year-old daughter, Laura. She’s learning her alphabet by reading Dr. Seuss and gun catalogs. Jade (pulls Zara to her feet and drags her away): I am so sorry. This is why I don’t let my characters out unsupervised. I think they say stuff like that just to embarrass me.
Ah, okay, and that brings to an abrupt end our interview with Zara Itani today. Thank you for joining us for this character interview, and we hope you’ll take the opportunity to get to know Zara better in the DOUBLE HELIX series.