Interview with Iona Sullivan (THE LAST DAYS OF HONG KONG)
To celebrate the release of the final instalment of G. D. Penman’s Witch of Empire trilogy, THE LAST DAYS OF HONG KONG, Beth has been given clearance to interview the Witch in question herself – Iona “Sully” Sullivan.
Welcome to the Hive, Ms Sullivan, and thank you for taking the time to join us! How was the journey through the interdimensional planes?
I’ve had worse, I’ve had better. Weird to be on the other side of a portal with nobody trying to murder me. Like frosting without the cake, you know? Usually when I’m getting dragged to other dimensions, I’m heading the other way. Kind of refreshing to come out here someplace without magic. Don’t you people get bored?
Incredibly so. Hence why we have things like your stories. And TikTok.
There are a lot of people wanting to murder you – must be exhausting!
It’s like cigars. To start with you get choked up, then it’s just normal, then if you don’t have one you start getting tetchy.
I appreciate you’re not really one for the spotlight, but you’ve got Penman to thank for that. So why don’t you tell our readers a little about yourself?
Nowadays I’m a PI, working out of Hong Kong. If you’ve got a problem and your money’s good, ask around. Somebody will send you my way. Now if you’re asking for credentials, I’ve solved more than my fair share of cases in my time. The Fae abductions. The Manhattan Magi. The Skinwalker Killer. That was all me. If you don’t think I can handle the action, well, have you ever been to a place called London? No? I’m why.
We still have a London here, maybe… stay clear of it…?
And what made you agree to allow them to document your…. adventures for Meerkat Press?
I didn’t agree to shit. The minute I get my hands on them I’m gonna make them regret the day they ever heard my name. Do you know where I can find them? Got any leads? Not sure how the law works around here, but the minute I get a handle on it, those books are stopping. I don’t want my dirty laundry getting waved around. A PI without secrets is like a vamp without teeth.
Some of us have a lot of appreciation for your dirty laundry brave exploits, the way you swoop in and free nations and all… Wales doesn’t get a mention in your novels so I’m not sure what the situation is in your plane, but I can tell you the Independence movement would probably love a chat with you.
Pretty sure our Wales got eaten by London before I killed it. Can’t really recall. Before my time.
Have you started to miss Eugene yet?
Eugene? There’s another name I wish I’d never heard. Jesus. The trouble I’ve had dealing with that dinky demon doll. Forget about the murder and mayhem, do you have any idea how much pay-per-view pornography that little creep ordered when we had him locked up? I swear Ceejay had his work cut out for him trying to expense it all when I dropped the IBI on his lap. What form do you fill out for that? What do you file it under? Almost makes me feel sorry for the guy. Almost.
He was fun though. And I’m sure there are some Tory politicians who could help, they’re practically wizards when it comes to claiming shit that has nothing to do with running the country.
Guess some things never change, no matter what world you’re in.
When we left you, you’d settled yourself quite comfortably as a P.I, but are you missing academia at all? Do you still make time to lose yourself in formulas, or is that not as necessary an element of your magic since you… Well, anymore?
You see this right here? This is why the books need to stop. I don’t need people knowing all about my personal business. I don’t need them knowing about…
The fewer people know what I can do, the safer everybody is, you get me? There will always be some fool thinks they can make a name for themself gunning for me. There will always be some researcher wants to poke around and find out what makes me tick. And if they come along, gunning and poking, I’m going to have to kill them all. Ignorance is bliss. Unexploded bliss.
Remaining unexploded sure would be nice! I hope Penman is taking note!
Your version of the earth is slightly different from ours. Other than magic, obviously, is there anything you feel we’d benefit from your version of reality? Anything we have here you’d like to be able to take back?
Magic? I wouldn’t give you schmucks magic. Can you imagine how badly you’d screw things up? Even without magic this whole place looks like it is one hard sneeze away from collapsing. You add magic into the mix and you’re gonna end up having an even worse time. All that power in the hands of anybody that wants it? Nah. No thanks.
That’s a very good point actually, it is worrying how catastrophically fucked up things are getting even without it.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, my side of the mirror isn’t exactly spotless. We’ve got a lot of the same messes your lot burned through decades back still on the go. Not to mention all the damage from the Great War, and all the Empires tussling and… I’ll tell you one thing I wish I could bring over for you. Fashion. Never gave much of a damn about it myself, but good lord you people dress like slobs.
We do have Hawaiian shirts, Sully, it’s just a little cold for them in the UK.
Having followed your adventures closely, it’s safe to say you’re more likely to experience anger than fear at any given situation. But is there anything irrational that, whilst not necessarily scares you, maybe creeps you out a little?
Listen lady, I ain’t scared of a damn thing, and anybody that tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something.
That’s what I said! More or less.
Fear is only helpful if you need to run to survive. I don’t run. Now if you want to talk rational, yeah I don’t like the dark because I can’t see what’s in it and I don’t like heights all that much because I’ve been punted off high places one too many times. On that same note, wendigo scare the crap out of me, even now. Something about them just isn’t right.
It’s the mimicry that gets me! For our readers not in the know, could you paint a little wendigo portrait for them please?
Just picture a lot of teeth strapped to a shitty attitude and you’re halfway to a wendigo.
Penman skips over a lot of your time in the navy, but do you have any particularly juicy stories from that time you could share with us?
You want to hear about my first day on deck when I beat a shipmate unconscious with a lunch tray for trying to grab my tit? How about the knife-fight in a bar with the were-lizard where I stole his jacket afterwards and didn’t even remember about it until about three months later because of all the gin? The time I turned my CO’s dick into a ferret when I woke up to him putting it on my face? Or what about the time I burned down whole Khanate villages from off-shore, man, woman and child? Any of them juicy enough for you? How about the time they made me into a piece of goddamned artillery and turned me on whoever they wanted made to ash. How about that time? I quit for a reason. Enough said.
The were-lizard does sound like a great story but I absolutely get your point and apologise! Moving on
One of our favourite questions we like to ask guests on the Hive is “which mythical creature would you ride into battle”. Now, you already have something of a history with magical and mythical creatures… and you’ve been known to ride one or two of them in battle… so I guess my question is, if you had a choice in the matter, which mythical creature would you choose on your side to do battle with?
You guys seem to file half the folks I know under “mythical creatures” so that doesn’t make this easy. If you’d just asked what my favourite mythical creature to ride was, I’d say vampire actress, but you had to go and stick “battle” on the end, didn’t you?
Well yes, I’ve read the trilogy. Now I think about it, Penman’s really done a number on you.
The funny thing is, I have actually given this some thought. After riding around on the back of a giant bird through half the war, I… sorry. Not a bird.
Hi Mol Kalath!
Anyway, it wasn’t comfy, it wasn’t easy, demons are not good for riding. Not just because they drink your magic when you touch them, but logistically. The shapes are wrong. You need something you can saddle. Maybe a unicorn or pegasus or something?
I’d say gryphon, but last time I went near one of those I stopped being able to clap.
Penman swears they won’t be cataloging any further adventures from yourself, “not after that last one”, so what are you going to be getting up to once their back is turned?
Maybe now I can settle down and get some peace. It isn’t ever going to be white-picket fences, but there’s a world of difference between regular day to day mayhem and all the apocalyptic shit I’ve been fending off these last few years. I reckon I’ve earned myself a little holiday by now. Yeah, maybe a little quiet would be nice.
An excellent proposal, and very much well deserved. Thank you so much for joining us today Sully!
You can catch up with Sully’s latest adventures, even if she rather you didn’t, in THE LAST DAYS OF HONG KONG,
available now from Meerkat Press