Professor Kunz, the head of the Integration program, agreed to let me interview him while he was in New York to attend a conference. I spotted him as soon as I walked into the lobby of the Times Square Hilton in Manhattan. It wasn’t hard; he’d sent me several of his books, all of them displaying his picture on the back cover. He looked even more impressive in real life—a distinguished, but slightly otherworldly, professor. After I introduced myself, we found a quiet corner in the Pinnacle Bar for our interview.
How long have you been at Bonfire Academy?
This is my tenth year on the staff at the academy.
Where did you train?
It isn’t something many people know, but I attended Bonfire Academy years ago. Many staff members were originally students. Most people are aware of the recent Academy graduates who come back as staff members or act as mentors during their enrichment year, but some of us old timers got our education there, too. Frau Schmelder and I were actually part of the same graduating class.
Are you a full warlock or a hybrid?
You realize it’s considered bad form to ask these kinds of questions of Bonfire Academy staff. I hope this is just between us. Everyone knows I’m a warlock, but I’ve kept it quiet that I’m a hybrid of warlock and Sigma-Wanderer
I do know, but I thought I’d ask anyway :D I hope you will be okay with me sharing with your fans. Sigma-Wanderers are at Spencer’s beck and call. Are you called away often to carry out duties outside the Academy?
He doesn’t call on me to travel much anymore. There are several younger Sigmas he uses, but he’ll call me out for situations that he’s worried they can’t handle, and we talk often. I probably wander over for dinner at least once every week or two at the Darleys’ home.
Very few Wanderers attend the Academy. Why do you think it was felt necessary to place you here?
We have plenty of demons and witches on staff, and more trolls than we know what to do with. Although there have been very few Wanderers who have attended the academy previously, we’re expecting several Wanderers and Wanderer hybrids in the next several years. Spencer felt having someone who truly understood what it was to be a Wanderer on staff was a necessity. He discussed it with Frau Schmelder, I wanted to return to “my roots,” and everything worked out.
How do your powers compare to Dr. Bern’s powers?
Based on the powers we’re allowed to demonstrate at school, Dr. Bern is more powerful. I’m forbidden from using my Wanderer powers in such a way that they’ll be discovered by anyone here, and my warlock powers are slightly diluted by virtue of being a hybrid. Were that not the case, our powers would be close to equal, as we’re cousins. That’s something that very few at the academy know. In fact, both of us were born in Switzerland, in a little town called Diemtigen, around 150 kilometers west of here, near Berne, the capital of Switzerland. Her last name uses the German spelling of the city. Bern-with-an-e is the French spelling, also used by most English-speaking nations. I believe her paternal ancestors took their surname from the city name.
You approach Integration without taking emotions and natural instincts into consideration. In fact, you seemed slightly disparaging when suggesting that anyone in need of Dr. Phil-type support seek out Dr. Amour. Why is that?
Dr. Amour and I have a history that, to be completely honest, has made me prone to showing my frustration with her when maybe I shouldn’t. I’ve never been entirely sure of the reason, but she attended the Academy for several years; I think four “enrichment” years, and multiple years of Initiation and Integration. She joined the staff immediately after she finally graduated. I’ve heard rumors that her paranormal powers are hard to control. What the truth is, I’m not sure. It was during her final enrichment year that we became involved. In my defense, she was much older than the typical student. I probably shouldn’t go into any details other than to say that Dr Amour’s “emotions and natural instincts” can be great—I sure thought so for a while—but they can get out of control. She sometimes encourages students under her care to do just the opposite of what we’re trying to overcome in their training.
Rumor has it that you may harbor special “feelings” for her. Is that true?
Have you ever been attracted to someone you knew was bad for you? You try to resist, but the attraction is too much. I’ve done well recently, but I’m not sure how much longer I can last.
Integration was particularly challenging for two of your students—Faustine and Mason—this year. How do you think they will fare outside the Academy?
I think Faustine is headed for big things. She’s still learning because she’s so young, but some day, I expect her to be an important leader in the paranormal community. In many ways, she’s mature well beyond her age. Mason is another story. Although a leader among the paranormals, his father has always been a bit of a loose cannon. Mason is a “chip off the old block.” I’m concerned he’s going to require some intervention or reining in, in the future.
What are your plans for the future?
I hope to stay at the Academy and settle down.
I’d like to thank Al Kunz for getting into character and responding to my questions as his paranormal alter ego, Professor Kunz.