Guest Post: A Touch Morbid Character Intro by Leah Clifford


Check out this interview with Zach and Sebastian from Leah Clifford’s A Touch Morbid.  I am so glad that {teen} Book Scene arranged for Leah Clifford to conduct the proceedings, because Sebastian is as prickly as a porcupine today!

Sitting at a table in Milton’s coffee shop, I’m joined by a couple of the characters from A Touch Morbid. Zach, the guy sitting directly across from me is smiling, sipping at a steaming cup of tea and seeming at ease. He’s good looking, but not enough to stand out from a crowd, friendly though not overly so. I can tell he’s a little uncomfortable. He’s used to working behind the counter. In fact, he still has his apron on, though he’s switched out rubber gloves for actual ones to keep from spreading me Touch. I am, after all, mortal.

The other Sider isn’t nearly so calm. Refusing to slide in beside Zach, Sebastian, Kristen’s Second in command, has pulled up his own chair, which is almost totally blocking the aisle. He has dark hair, and darker eyes that canvas the room, the door, the bit of sidewalk outside through the window. He’s made it clear he doesn’t trust me, which only amuses me. Maybe he knows I could kill him in a few words.

“So Sebastian,” I start out. “You seem a bit edgy.”

He shoots me a glare and checks his phone. “If Kristen calls, I’m out of here. It’s not smart, forcing us to meet you out in the open like this. The Bound know about us now. The Fallen are after us. You’re risking our lives for an interview?”

I raise an eyebrow, but before I can answer, Zach’s chuckle cuts me off. “Dude, her publisher would KILL her if she offed us in an interview,” he says, and I give him a wink.

Sebastian doesn’t answer, tapping out a text. “Ask your questions,” he mumbles.

“Zach,” I say, “working here at the coffee shop Eden’s crew frequents has given you quite a front row seat to the drama. But you were here in Manhattan before her. What did you think when she first showed up?”

He leans back in the booth, his smile a careful flicker before he answers. “She wasn’t too keen on me working here. Like she was afraid I was gonna accidently pass Touch to the customers or something. Once she realized I wasn’t an idiot, she wanted me to join up with her crew. I think she trusts me. But I’m better off on my own. No offence to you guys that do the group thing,” he says, nodding toward Sebastian.

“There’s safety in groups,” Sebastian argues. He’s part of Kristen’s Bronx crew. She runs a tight ship, even if she’s more than slightly unbalanced herself. Apparently, schizophrenic grave robbers make wonderful territory leaders. I’m silently begging Zach not to press Sebastian about Kristen. Sebastian’s loyalty to her, just like the other Siders in the Bronx, is unbreakable. The last thing I need is these two to fight.

Zach seems to catch the warning in my eye. “Yeah well, when the Bound angels come raging after us all holy fire and thunder, it’s gonna be easier for them to find a group as opposed to one guy.” He holds out his gloved hands and shrugs. “All I’m sayin’.”

“Sebastian, what do you think of some of the others, the angels in particular? Luke and Gabe. Az if you’ve met him.”

“I’ve only met them in passing, really. Kristen is much closer to them. From what I know of them, I don’t trust them. Especially Gabe.”

“Why not?” I ask.

Sebastian looks at me like I should know. I’m the writer. Maybe I should. It’s obvious he cares about her. After all, Kristen and Sebastian have a bit of a past. Nothing too couple-like, but I’ve always wondered if maybe he wanted more. I’m just not sure why. Is he jealous of Gabe? Is it possible he doesn’t know that Gabe’s not playing for the same team as him? Kristen tends to keep the different aspects of her life separate. Without answering and without another word, Sebastian stands and heads out of the coffee shop.

“Well, he’s pleasant,” Zach manages, and then drains the last of his tea.

I roll my eyes. “Yeah. Never really been able to get a handle on that one. Sometimes I wonder if he’s a bit of a loose cannon,” I say, staring after the retreating Sider before turning back to Zach. “Well, I guess we better wrap this up. Any final thoughts?”

Zach smiles as he starts to head back over behind the counter. “I’m standing by my lone wolf theory. At least Eden’s group isn’t as nuts as the Bronx group.”

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