Meet the Winged Guardians! Part 1
This is going to be a new series of posts for me, interviewing my characters and giving you all insights into who they are and how they fit into the world.
First up, of course, is the heroine of A Killing Moon, Cora.
My name is Cora Westgate, and I used to be a spy. Yes, I stole that from Michael
Westen, but it’s still accurate.
My given name is Coretta Ashai LeStrange Westgate. Yes, as in Therantian Minister of
the Interior Marius LeStrange. I would call him ‘Dad’, but that is greatly overstating our
relationship. Most everyone calls me Cora.
I am a de facto member of House Corvid, specifically the raven shifters who have been
advising the King for centuries. My family and the royal family are forever inextricably
intertwined. Hell, I was raised in the diplomatic wing (no pun intended) of the palace, and
educated alongside the princes because our fathers were best friends. I should have a title,
myself, because my father is technically the Marquise of Ravenscroft, but the strains on
our relationship have made that impossible.
I was supposed to go into the family business after graduating from Columbia Law
School graduate (go Lions!). Essentially I’d been training to work in the Interior Ministry
or the Diplomatic Corps my whole life, which is why I wanted something new. Those
were never my dreams, but I’d never been away from the iron grip of my family to
realize what my dreams might have been.
After graduating I was briefly and unspectacularly married to a non-shifter and divorced
thereafter (to the everlasting shame of my family, though I couldn’t tell you which
bothered them more, the marriage or the divorce) before going off to the join the service.
On paper I’m an honorably discharged Commander of the Therantian Guard, as a cover
for my work as a member of the Therantian Guard Special Protectorate Division. Yes, the
same Interior Ministry my father runs and the agency my estranged brother Nicodemos
oversees. It’s been messy.
I was in the clandestine services for several years and picked up several tricks that have
served me well since getting out and going freelance. I’m not a gun for hire, so much as
someone you can come to for unconventional solutions to complicated problems. My
team consists of my assistant Venus, and my two associates Sam and Mookie. They’re
the closest thing I have to actual family, and I would kill for them with no questions
I’m a bit of a workaholic. Okay, maybe a little more than a bit. I come from money and
privilege, but I’m not soft by any means. I’ve worked hard for what I have and I’m not
ashamed of that at all.
When I’m not guarding Prince Finn against regicidal conspiracies, you can find me
reading Michael Crichton novels or doing crosswords or Sudoku. I love to practice
martial arts and take great joy in practicing at the range.
The Prince and I go back a long ways. He was my childhood crush, back when I was
going through my Awkward Raven phase. It’s like being and Ugly Duckling but angrier
and more goth. He’s always been beautiful to me, the kindness in his heart outstripping
his looks by miles, and he’s physically damn near perfect. Okay, so maybe I’m still a
little stuck on him, but can ya blame me? He’s pretty.
Since leaving the service, I’ve kept to myself. I’ve lived a life of secrets, lies, and half-
truths, and as such, being circumspect is as much a life choice as an effort in self-
preservation. Enemies can pop up at the most inconvenient times. Not to mention
wanting to stay off my family’s radar. My father has his finger in a lot of pies, and he
wouldn’t hesitate to burn me if it served his purpose. He’s a peach (insert sarcastic
I live in a three-story brownstone in Back Bay with purple flowers in my window boxes
and walls reinforced with Kevlar. My decorating style runs to a little more baroque than
not, keeping with the Victorian architectural style. I love to cook, but I never have the
time, so my cupboard is usually filled with coffee, spices of dubious quality and age, and
dust bunnies large enough to fight for king and country.
Likes: Finn, couture fashion, gardening, helping people, cheese snobbery (because really,
why not, cheese is amazing), black coffee, chess, backgammon, cutthroat games of strategy, fried foods, looking after her family and collecting more people as she goes along
Dislikes: the majority of my blood family, slowing down for any reason, people who
think they can get away with something just because they have money, being treated as
fragile or delicate