Today I had the pleasure of interviewing the character of Jessica Packwood from Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (courtesy of the imagination of author Beth Fantaskey). We talked about Lucius, vampires and her exciting wedding nuptials. Let's get started!
Jessica, when you first met Lucius, you didn’t care much for him- what event would you say marked the biggest turning point in your feelings for him and also, what was your biggest misconception about him?
My feelings for Lucius changed gradually – probably starting that day in the cafeteria when he wanted so badly to stand up for me against bully Frank Dormand. At that point, I didn’t realize – or want to realize – how I was starting to feel, though. It wasn’t until Lucius was so terribly injured by his horse that I admitted to myself how much I felt for him. And that was scary, too, in its own way.
The funny thing is, I don’t think I had too many misconceptions about Lucius. I thought he was arrogant, and dangerous, and powerful – and he is definitely all of those things. But I came to love those qualities, because they are Lucius. I just needed time to see how he could also be very caring and tender and thoughtful, too. If anything, that was an initial misconception – to think that he didn’t have a gentler side. However, he kept it pretty well hidden!
Lucius has really changed since you first met him. What would you say is the most startling transformation you’ve seen in him? In addition, what is the most frustrating aspect of his personality?
When I first met Lucius, he was completely emotionally autonomous. He didn’t want, or expect, love from anyone. His primary motivation for everything he did was duty to family and his own hunger for the power he’d been raised to wield when he came of age. But as we grew closer, he became someone capable of deep love - which he feels and expresses in the same profound way that he once adhered only to obligation. The night that my parents cared for him, and he allowed my mom to hold him like he was a true son… that definitely opened up a part of him, too. He’s certainly still not a “soft” individual, but a select few people are allowed to see a more vulnerable side of him now.
The most frustrating part of his personality is also one of his most endearing qualities. Lucius has never lost that instinct to protect me at all costs. (Maybe that impulse has gotten even stronger since we’ve fallen in love.) It’s hard for him to see me even at risk of being hurt. When that happens, he wants to immediately step in, even in situations where I feel like I can handle things. Maybe as I grow into my role as princess, he’ll learn to step back a little.
Since Lucius has come into your life, what is the most important lesson you’ve learned about yourself?
I’ve learned that I have huge reserves of courage that I’d never even tapped before. I went from being afraid to compete in a small horse show to volunteering to sacrifice my life for a clan of vampires I’d only just met. It’s almost hard for me to recall the girl that I was before Lucius. I look back at how I used to get bullied by Frank, for example, and wonder, “Why was I ever afraid to stand up to that?”
How different of a person do you think you would’ve been if you had grown up in Romania with your birthparents?
That’s hard to say, but I think I would have discovered my inner “royalty” a lot sooner. I probably would have been groomed for leadership, like Lucius. I understand that my birth parents weren’t brutal, like Lucius’s uncles were, but I am sure that, had I been raised from birth to lead a vampire nation, I would have been tested early and often. Life would never have been “safe.”
At times your parents embarrass you with the way they march to the beat of their own drum, but what do you think the best thing about growing up with the Packwoods has been?
In their own way, Mom and Dad did prepare me for the life I’ve chosen with Lucius. They couldn’t – and wouldn’t! – ever re-create the harsh vampire world, but they taught me to think for myself, and test my limits within our relatively secure, rural American community. And they certainly did their best to make sure I grew up with an open mind that could embrace the truth about who I am by birth. Although I tried to resist anything that didn’t seem rational, Mom and Dad – in their quiet way – kept pushing me to keep myself open to new possibilities. They are amazing parents.
Jessica, your birth mother was a strong, beautiful woman, yet we know so little about your birth father-can you shed some light on anything you’ve uncovered about him?
My birth father, Ladislau Dragomir, remains a bit of a mystery even to me. By all accounts, he was a quiet, thoughtful man who allowed my mother to have the spotlight and wield the power. I don’t think he really wanted to be a leader. He was happy that Mihaela stepped up to be the public face of the Dragomirs.
I do hear one story about him repeated, though. According to my Dragomir relatives, my father was such a private person, and his face so little known among the people of Romania, that he could have escaped destruction if he’d abandoned my mother and fled to exile. But he refused to leave her side, standing by her to the end. I think that speaks to his character – and to his love for my mother.
What do you think the best and worst things about being a vampire would be?
The worst part is definitely the danger of destruction. Vampires live by a different code, different laws, than humans, and my existence as a vampire princess will always be at risk. That’s pretty scary – especially given what happened to my birth parents and to Lucius’s parents.
The best part: Lucius. He’s worth all the risks, to me.
What do you hope the future brings for the Vladescu and Dragomir clans?
I hope that Lucius and I really can unite the clans, as the pact intended. I’d love to see the day where there’s no threat of war. But I wouldn’t say that day is here yet…
Can you discuss your highly anticipated upcoming wedding nuptials and how you are sharing the planning with all of us?
Lucius and I will get married this September, and I’m in the middle of the planning the wedding. It’s a pretty overwhelming task – especially since I’m still adjusting to life in Romania – so I’m asking everyone to help me select the location, my dress, the music, and some aspects of the ceremony. The wedding is going to be a big event, starting on September 20 and lasting for several days. (We need to make it worthwhile for some of our friends and family to travel from the United States.) The invitation is open to everyone who wants to check it out!
NOTE: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.