I recently had the amazing fortune to interview and chat with Sadie Matthau.
If you’re not familiar with Sadie, she’s the main character of The Survivors Series written by Amanda Havard. When I read the books (there are three out so far), I found myself so drawn to her that for the first time I wanted to do an interview with a character. I wanted to know more about her, to understand how she thinks, and why she made the choices that she did.
I approached Amanda on Twitter to find out if the interview would be possible, and it was! I sent my questions over for Sadie to answer, and Sadie surprised me by suggesting a chat instead – so that we could interact and have a dialogue. All that chatty goodness is posted below for your reading pleasure. Sadie was delightful to speak to and much more approachable than I expected – though I was SO NERVOUS to talk to her. I hope that you guys enjoy reading it – and learning more about Sadie – as much as I enjoyed talking to her!
Sadie: Hey Mandi.
MK: Not too late!
Sadie: Hard to keep track of time sometimes…
Sadie: Where might I find you this evening?
Sadie: Or, where do I, rather?
MK: I am in Raleigh, NC. Have you ever been here in your travels?
Sadie: I’ve been to North Carolina a time or two. Spent some time learning about the Cherokee there. I also spent an October weekend with Corrina in Asheville, if you can believe it.
MK: I’m going to Asheville this week. I’m hoping the drive will be beautiful as it’s starting to be fall.
Sadie: Yes! It’s a beautiful time of year. It used to be my favorite, actually.
MK: Used to be? Ah.. I’m guessing you prefer Winter now?
Sadie: The opposite, actually. Autumn used to be my favorite for the same reason it is so many’s — the temperatures, the leaves, the fashion. But now fall is just a step away from winter, and things are always a bit stressful around our camp once the air turns crisp.
MK: That makes much more sense than my silly little pun.
Sadie: Not silly! I do love a Winter or two. It would stand to reason I’d love the season just as well if it weren’t for their particular seasonal condition.
Sadie: And I do hate hot weather. Really, I do. You remember Corrina’s wedding, yes? It was positively miserable that summer. But now I’d bask in the hottest temperatures on earth if it meant the Winters could feel less wintry.
Sadie: That sacrifices you make, I suppose.
MK: True enough. Love will make you do the unexpected.
Sadie: That’s the truth.
MK: So – let’s get started in earnest, shall we? 🙂
MK: As you’re (hopefully) aware, there will be other people reading this interview. Can you give those folks a brief introduction before we get to the fun chatty parts, just in case they aren’t as familiar with you and your story as I am?
Sadie: Sure. My name is Sadie Matthau, and though my human cohorts might say I’m a 19- or 20-year-old girl who (if I had to estimate) is a bit awkward (if not extremely fashionable…), the truth is I’m an ancient 146 years old. I come from a long line of supernaturals who simply refer to themselves as the Survivors, after they were accused as witches during the Salem witch trials, were exiled, and survived. They live in Montana, just south of Glacier Mountain National Park, east of Flathead Lake. I was the first among them to leave their sacred stomping ground, and they hate me for it. I started sharing my story a few years ago when my human best friend, Corrina, got married in Tupelo, Mississippi. That weekend changed a lot for me. I met a human with whom I’ve had a will-they-or-won’t-they sort of relationship. His name is Cole Hardwick, and he is the sweetest soul. Head as clear as those blue eyes. But not 24 hours after I met Cole, I came across another supernatural, a strange and violent creature named Mark Winter. When I met Mark, I had never met another supernatural from the outside. Suffice it so say that my life has gotten a little . . . tumultuous since then.
MK: Tumultuous is certainly one word for it.
Sadie: I’ve found it rather fitting throughout the recent years.
MK: When you finally decided to leave your family and join the human world, how did you fit in so quickly? I know that you read a LOT of books, but how did you manage to step so easily into a life that seemed to come from the pages of a magazine?
Sadie: I certainly see how this seems a bit odd to people. You could say I’m something of an obsessive student of my surroundings. A purveyor of social culture. I was fortunate enough to find a way to find money as I needed it (Surely I told the story of the red diamonds at some point?), and so then I started acquiring as much help as I could. In my first trip to Manhattan, I walked into Bergdorf Goodman and asked for a stylist and said I needed a wardrobe. We went on from there. This may seem superficial, but it was important. Once I looked the part, people didn’t question my existence. Sometimes the right appearances offer a lot of power, a lot of control. (For better or for worse, I suppose.)
MK: I knew where the money came from, but having money doesn’t mean you know what to do with it. And you certainly acquired those skills quickly.
Sadie: If you know nothing, you quickly become a sponge.
MK: I’m jealous of your innate fashion sense! I guess that’s what I’m REALLY trying to say here.
Sadie: Ha! If all you ever saw was the pages of Vogue you’d see it wasn’t innate.
Sadie: It’s possible that Grace Coddington and Anna Wintour gave me my style. What they put in the pages, I put on my body.
Sadie: I learned to have fun with after that, sure, but two days after I left the Survivors’ City, I walked barefoot into Chicago. Think about that for a moment. It’s a story I don’t tell often.
Sadie: I started looking at what seemed normal. And I adapted. Quickly.
Sadie: The funniest part now? I know that what magazines portray isn’t actually normal. But that’s what I saw…
Sadie: (I digress.)
MK: Do you find you get noticed a lot more, rather than blending into human society the way you had hoped to do?
Sadie: Absolutely. It’s truly bizarre, and it is nothing to envy. My friend, Ginny (one of the aforementioned Winters), revels in it a bit, but I just wish eyes would deflect. At the same time, I do it to myself. I’m usually a head taller than those around me (when in heels), so perhaps your eye is just drawn to the odd thing. I’m often the odd thing. But now I love fashion. It’s something of a sport, of an escape for me, so I hate to stop enjoying it just because it’s setting me apart.
MK: Okay, let’s switch gears now and talk about Cole.
Sadie: You lead. I’ll follow.
MK: I have to be honest here – I never really understood your fascination with him. Why is he such a magnet for you? Why did you continue to return to him even when you knew it hurt the people you loved?
MK: (Please forgive me for being so brutally honest in my questions)
Sadie: I suppose those who love Cole would argue I hurt him when I come just as much as I hurt those around me.
Sadie: I spent three years among humans. I had one — I hate _hate_ to call it this — fling with a boy before Cole who more or less made me understand that humans were not the sort of loyal creature I was used to. I felt like a particular kind of freak among everyone (except Corrina), and I was constantly disappointed by the people I met. Until Cole. There’s something in him. He’s pure, and he’s sweet, and he has to be the most loyal human being I’ve ever come into contact with. People ask why I return to him, and I ask why he wants me to.
Sadie: I’m not certain that answers your question, but it might be the best I can do. He is a refuge for me. In him, I see the world I want. I have always wanted to be human. I have always wanted to fit in and feel whole.
MK: That answers it perfectly. Thank you.
MK: And it almost makes my next question moot, but I will ask it anyway – because it’s been buzzing around in my head since we were first introduced to Cole.
Sadie: Ask away!
MK: Once you learned that there were other supernatural beings in the world besides your family, did it ever cross your mind to think that Cole might not be human? Did you ever wish he wasn’t?
Sadie: I truly never thought about Cole being anything other than human. So many people have asked me that question that I remember sitting with Everett and Mark one day and asking: Am I being foolish? Is it possible he’s something else? And they all just laughed at me. Of _course_ Cole is human. They can smell him. I can read him. He is what he is.
Sadie: And as for wishing he were supernatural? First, I would never wish that on anyone. Second, I cannot imagine how that would fix anything. He is my escape to humanity.
Sadie: I do already have something of a supernatural love…
MK: That sounds very much like you’re saying Cole is your human love…
Sadie: We’ve never used that word. I find it best to use that word with only one person at a time.
Sadie: Wait, that’s a bit of a lie.
Sadie: There was one time… he said it. And one other… well. It’s complicated.
MK: Isn’t it always?
Sadie: Well, and us. I know that, of anyone who knows my story, 50% are reading this screaming YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF. And that… is true. I know why I do what I do, but I can’t expect everyone to understand.
Sadie: I can’t let the blame fall anywhere other than where it should.
MK: Okay – I won’t ask about your love life anymore, but I can’t guarantee the rest of my questions won’t be easy. I just want to understand you a bit better, if that’s okay.
Sadie: You’re more than welcome to try.
MK:Yes, you do make it difficult, Sadie.
Sadie: My apologies?
Sadie: Herein: tumultuous. As we said.
MK: None needed. 🙂 You’re just a hard gal to crack!
Sadie: Ha! You’ve been talking to Everett, haven’t you?
MK: Why didn’t you trust Corinna enough to tell her your secrets when you already knew she loved you and saw you more than anyone else did?
Sadie: Fear, I think. Fear she’d leave my side, initially. Now fear that she’d be hurt.
Sadie: Hurt in many ways, actually. I know she will be hurt that I’ve lied, but even more than that, I’m actually afraid for her now.
Sadie: I keep her distant to protect her.
MK: But doesn’t the distance hurt her too?
Sadie: It does. I struggle with this. Greatly. Bringing people close to me seems to hurt them. It endangers them, sure, but it also hurts them. And then they tell me, when I keep them away, that that hurts them too. I’ve never known what to do about that. I still don’t.
MK: Is that why you always end up running away?
Sadie: Probably. I’m sure fear motivates many of my poor, reckless, inconsiderate, and otherwise ill-advised moves.
Sadie: But isn’t that true of most of us?
Sadie: Perhaps it’s fear from which I need to break free.
MK: I think that for someone who is 146 years old, you were never given a lot of time to become an adult.
Sadie: And it feels, even now, like I’m not much of one. I’m still intertwined in my family, and in my adopted family, as it were, with the Winters. Some people would say the longer you have, the more you should grow. I say, the longer you spent as a caged adolescent, the harder it is to shake that as a permanent state.
MK: Do you have time for two more questions?
Sadie: But of course. It’s been nice to sit still.
MK: Every time I think of this next question, I want to shake you! (To get some sense into you, not out of violence, of course). Why do you think you’re crazy? By having that belief, you let Alexander Raven into your head for an entire year! Did you truly believe that entire time that you were making him up?
Sadie: I beat myself up over this a lot. Yes, I thought I was making him up. Yes, I thought I had lost enough grip on reality that such an event — such terrible, invasive events — were possible. Not just possible, but plausible. But things have… happened. Tough things. Things that made me question my ability to Survive. So what I’d like to say is that I’m fine now, and I realize I was fine all along. But instead? Too much has happened, and I wonder if I’m not secretly crazier now than I ever was before.
(Everett would shake me too to hear me say that. He just wants me to believe in myself. That’s become a point of contention between us, honestly. But sometimes it’s hard to explain how unsettled everything feels… inside.)
MK: I wish you could see yourself the way others see you. I’m pretty sure that’s how Everett feels too.
Sadie: I hear that from time to time.
MK: You feel awkward and unsure and crazy. But I see someone who is strong and passionate and relentless when it comes to fighting for those she loves. Remember that.
Sadie: I appreciate your kind words. Truly.
MK: My final question for you tonight Sadie is this: Your entire life you have searched for mortality and wanted to be as human as possible. If you do somehow attain these goals, do you honestly believe your life will magically be happy and better than it is now? You would lose your family to gain… whatever it is you believe you will gain. After gaining the people in your life you have over the past few years, is it still worth it?
Sadie: There is some part of my brain that understands what you ask. But all that’s happened… sometimes it makes me wonder if it wouldn’t just all go away if I were human. Humans have pain, have trauma, have triumph, sure. But I’ve wanted humanity for so long! I don’t want to die, I just want… to know it will be over. I sometimes think I’ll be able to enjoy the time I have if I know it is finite. That’s terrible, isn’t it? But have you ever felt really tired? Just… exhausted every day, where you’ve never woken up rested, you’ve never felt relaxed, you’ve never been whole? When that happens, it’s like you’re waiting for something to change, waiting for something to happen that will alleviate things. I don’t know if that Something exists, but I have to think, if it does, it will come with mortality.
Sadie: Will it be worth the tradeoff? There’s no way to know. I see pain either way.
MK: That’s so bleak, Sadie. Do you not see any happiness in your future?
Sadie: I believe happiness can happen. I believed, for a long time, that it would be in the forecasted future Everett and I have together. But now, everything is so blurry. Maybe not bleak but… blurry. And it’s hard to know when to look forward, or, more importantly, what to look forward to.
MK: I do hope that you find both rest and happiness. Sanctuary, if you will.
Sadie: I like the sound of that: Sanctuary.
MK: Thank you, for taking time out of your tumultuous life to chat with me this evening. I do feel as if I better understand some of the choices you made.
Sadie: I’m glad I can offer you such insight if such insight was what you desired!
Sadie: It was enjoyable to talk to someone with whom I can be so honest.
MK: It might seem odd to you, but your story is one of my favorites.
MK: I wanted to know more as soon as I could!
MK: Remember – I see strength and passion in your story.
Sadie: I do appreciate that.
Sadie: And I’m glad some part of my story resonates with you. It makes it worth telling.
MK: Do you have any parting words for me or my readers?
Sadie: Hang with me. If you have faith I’ll find my way, then maybe I will.
MK: We won’t leave you Sadie, don’t worry. 🙂
Sadie: Thanks, dear friend.
MK: Thank you for a lovely chat.
Sadie: Same to you. Have a lovely evening.
MK: You do the same! Tell the boys hello for me. 😉
Sadie: I’ll let the boys know you missed them.
MK: Goodnight Sadie.
Wow! I feel like I know so much more about what drives Sadie now. While she’s not sure of herself, she is sure of her words. She chooses them carefully (this chat lasted more than an hour) to ensure that she says what she means and that those she speaks to understand exactly what she’s saying. She is as much a force in a gchat window as she is in the pages of her books.
If you haven’t yet met Sadie, I encourage you to pick up the first book, The Survivors, and introduce yourself.
Many thanks to Sadie for finding time in her crazy hectic life to talk to me, as well as to Amanda Havard and Kelly P. Simmons for setting up the interview in the first place. I can’t wait to read more of Sadie’s story in 2014!