William J. Barry
was the first author we wrangled with and now he's back with the dreamy Alexander,
which happens to be my favorite character, to give us tips on how to become a good Reaper.
Agent Tips from Alexander
Hello, this is Alexander, a loyal agent of the Grim Reaper. You may know me from some of my adventures that have been chronicled in the Sebastian and the Afterlife books. If you have read them, you know that being an agent is no easy task. I thought I might offer some tips about what makes a good agent great. What is an Agent of the Grim Reaper? I guess I better start out simple.
After a person’s mortal life, they are sometimes given a chance to remain in the spirit realm for a while to find closure before moving on to the afterlife. This in-between world is run by the Grim Reaper. He usually keeps busy transporting souls from the mortal world to the Archway (the gateway to the afterlife), so his agents act as his police force making sure the laws of the realm are being obeyed. The agents must always remain vigilant against the threat of soul pirates. They’re a pretty big problem in the realm.
So you want to be a great agent? There is no substitute for practice when you are honing your techniques. It’s good to spar against your mentor and other agents as much as you can. Different individuals use different techniques and styles. Not only can you add some of their moves to your repertoire, but you can learn how to defend against them.
One technique I use quite often is deflecting an approaching energy shot with one of my own. It’s pretty effective, but it takes precise accuracy (hence a lot of target practice). There are moves like the deflection technique that even a student can master. This is where the hands are lined up in a certain way to redirect an energy shot away from an individual. A much more difficult variation of that is the backhand technique, used by an agent named Onyx. She has gotten to where she can deflect energy by slapping it away with the backs of her hands. A great agent will always strive to learn different and new techniques so that they have the best move possible in any circumstance. Beyond sparring, there are a number of training rooms next to the agent dormitories that can help you work on your speed and technique. There is also a training device called the Lenimentum Machine. It is very helpful. The machine adjusts to you individually and focuses on aspects of your abilities and character where you need improvement.
Soul pirates can be frightening. There’s no question there. They will always have some new clever plan or strange energy weapon you’ve never seen before. Fighting them can be intimidating. You can never let your fear get the best of you. You have to focus on the fight, your training and your abilities. If they can shake you up, they will already have a psychological advantage over you. When in battle, you must leave behind any thoughts of yourself and think only about the good of the realm.
An agent is not only to act as an authority figure in the spirit realm, but also as a moral compass. This means not only thinking with your head but with your heart also. As an agent, you need a good balance between the two to be able to make the best judgments. There are laws in the spirit realm that need to be strictly obeyed, but as in mortal life, there are always grey areas. A great agent must use a balance to give the best response in any given situation.
There is more advice I could give you about how to better yourself as an agent, but this is a solid start. If you focus on what I have said here, you will be well on your way to becoming an excellent Agent of the Grim Reaper. Who knows, if you end up coming to the spirit realm, and are accepted into agent training, I might be your mentor.
Your friend and agent,
Thank you Mr. Barry for coming back to our blog and we wish you success with Sebastian.
William J. Barry's middle grade books
Sebastian and the Afterlife
Agents of the Reaper
are available in