Dante, the Hero of Nora’s Soul, Written by Margay Leah Justice

Bertram: Thank you for joining us today, Mr. Dante.

Dante: Just Dante.

Bertram: Okay. Dante. I’m pleased you consented to this interview. We are all interested in your story.

Dante: I am my story. I am the hero of every story.

Bertram: I’m not sure I understand. Let’s start with a simple question. Where you live?

Dante: I live everywhere.

Bertram: Everywhere? What are you, some kind of god?

Dante: I am immortal, but I take what I can, where I can, and live it up like a mortal. I control my own destiny. I am what I want to be.

Bertram: Aren’t you what Margay Leah Justice wants you to be?

Dante: She might think so. She’s made a good start, but there is so much about me that she doesn’t know, so much more that still I have to tell her. But I have every confidence that when I do, she will do a fine job of portraying me the way I want to be. She is such a stickler for accurate portrayals, after all. And she loves me. She just doesn’t know it yet. But I’m working on her. I’ve already convinced her to keep me around for a while.

Bertram: Do you love her?

Dante: I love only Lyric. She was all that mattered to me. My life was damned after I lost her. Now I live in the moment.

Bertram: Living in the moment must be adventurous.

Dante: My existence is an adventure.

Bertram: We don’t seem to be getting anywhere. Maybe it would be better if you just told me a little about yourself.

Dante: I like myself. I like everything about me. What’s not to love?

Bertram: Have you ever failed at anything?

Dante: Of course.

Bertram: Has anyone ever failed you?

Dante: I’d rather not get into that.

Bertram: Have you ever failed anyone?

Dante: You are obsessed with questions of failure. Why is that, I wonder?

Bertram: Perhaps if you’d just answer my questions we could get this interview over with. You don’t seem to be enjoying it any more than I am. And Margay promised you would cooperate.

Dante: It wasn’t for Margay to promise, but you’re right. Let’s get this over with. What do you want to know?

Bertram: Your achievements, fears, hopes, sadnesses, regrets, disappointments.

Dante: Those are all questions for mortals. I don’t bog myself down with petty human emotions. Disappointments? Not on my radar.

Bertram: What about favorites? Food? Drink? Music? Scent? Item of clothing. Prized possession? Favorite book?

Dante: I don’t need to eat or drink. I like classical music because it reminds me of heaven, and I love lavender because it reminds me of Lyric. I have no favorite clothes-they all look good on me. I don’t need possessions. And I have no time for reading. Anything else?

Bertram: You must do something. Do you have any special skills?

Dante: Oh, I am very skillful, but I don’t like to brag . . . Let’s just say the ladies love me.

Bertram: Do you have any distinguishing marks?

Dante: Careful. I think that could fall in the unmentionables category.

Bertram: Look. Just give me something, and I’ll tell Margay everything went fine.

Dante: Peter. I’ll give you Peter. He’s my only real problem. Why won’t he just step away and let me have a little fun, already? It’s a good thing I love to create conflict. And where better to be than right in the thick of it? Run from conflict? Ha!

Bertram: What is your most closely guarded secret?

Dante: If I told you, it would no longer be a secret. I’m no fool. But I’ll tell you one thing, life is made for living. Now I have to go see what I can do about stirring up a little conflict.

Bertram: Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to reading your story.

Dante: I’m sure that’s true. All you mortals want to live like me, you’re just too afraid to take the chance. So you’ll have to make do with the book. It will be availabe in November by Second Wind Publishing.

Siegfried Marggrander, close friend and brother-in-law of Gus LeGarde, of the LeGarde Mystery series, written by Aaron Lazar.

Bertram: Mr. Marggrander, thank you for making time to join us. We seem to have trouble getting on Gus LeGarde’s calendar. And your author friend, Lazar, is just as hard to nail down.

Siegfried: Kein problem. I mean, that is not a problem. Sorry if I speak a little in German. Sometimes it is what comes out of my mouth. And please, call me Siegfried. 

Bertram: Okay. Siegfried. Can you tell us a bit about your life on the LeGarde homestead? 

Siegfried: Home stead? 

Bertram: I mean the LeGarde property. 

Siegfried: Ah! Ja. I do. I live in the carriage house beside the barn. There is a nice room to sleep in, and a kitchen. But I mostly eat meals with the Professor and his family. His cooking is sehr gut

Bertram: You and Professor LeGarde have been through some challenging times. I’ve read the first three books that Aaron Lazar has written to chronicle your . . . adventures together and was frankly astounded that so much could happen in such a short time. Can you comment on that? 

Siegfried: How so much has happened to us? Is that what you mean? 

Bertram: It seems as if you two are magnets for danger. 

Siegfried: Ja! I know. Trouble follows Gus and me. But part of it is not just coincidence. There is evil in the world, and we must stop it where we can. 

Bertram: Can you give us an example, Siegfried? 

Siegfried: Ja. Like last summer. A little while ago we returned from Germany, where I visited my Aunt Frieda. She is not well and . . . 

Bertram: And? What happened?

Siegfried: We ran into some very bad men in Paris. They want to be Nazis, like those who killed my mother’s family in Buchenwald. Gus says they are “neo-Nazis. My mother was Jewish, and I am half. Her parents and brothers and sisters were killed there. She was the only one left. Aunt Frieda took care of her when she got out of the camp. When the Americans saved them. 

Bertram: I heard something about you and Gus getting in a brawl over in Paris, on the Champs D’Elysees. Is that right? 

Siegfried: Ja, ja. My face still hurts. They tried to make me join the parade. They were marching in Paris. The Nazis. I am German, you know. My hair is light, but I am half-Jewish. But I got mad. Very mad. 

Bertram: And their leader was killed? 

Siegfried: Ja, but I did not kill him. He had a knife. A big one. And we fought on the street. His friend tried to shoot me, but I flipped Müller over just when his friend fired the gun. Herr Müller was killed. 

Bertram: The CNN report I saw made it look like you and Gus were responsible for Müller’s death. Did that cause problems for you?

Siegfried: Too many. They took me from my aunt’s house in Denkendorf and put me in a cell. It was in the woods, in Austria. Many men came to train with guns. They shot at targets and chased people in the woods. Sometimes they died. 

Bertram: Did anything good happen to you on that European trip? 

Siegfried: Ja! We had a boat ride on the Seine, and good croissants. I ate too many. And Gus found the same church that is in the Hunchback movie, which I watch with Johnny. 

Bertram: Why is this new book of Mr. Lazar’s called MAZURKA? What does it have to do with your European trip? 

Siegfried: Aaron told me not to talk about the mazurka. Not yet. It is a surprise. But he said I can tell you that we made some unusual discoveries about Frederick Chopin. You see, Gus studies Chopin and writes a book about him. He wanted to learn more in Europe, before the bad guys got in our way. Aaron’s publisher said the book cover is ready and he is waiting for the books to be printed. 

Bertram: We’ll look forward to seeing this one, the fourth in Lazar’s series. Do you think he’ll write more?

Siegfried: I hope he does not. That would mean our lives are normal for a while, Ja? No bad guys to chase! But something tells me it might not be so easy . . .