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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the protagonists of your favourite books

Zack Decker (of the Decker’s War series, by Eric Thomson)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a major in the Commonwealth Marine Corps. He is here to tell us about his career as a space-marine, the alien planets he visited, and the lifeforms he found there — at least, tell us as much as he can without needing to kill us afterwards.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?  Why did you leave and what happened them?

I was born on Mykonos.  It’s a nice place, around twenty light years from Earth and very Earth-like, or so I’ve been told.  I never visited the so-called cradle of humanity except in my dreams, and those weren’t nice dreams.  Mykonos is mostly agrarian, mostly temperate and wholly boring.  Humans don’t have to struggle for survival like on so many other worlds, and it means most folks are pretty complacent and self-satisfied.  That was one of the reasons I enlisted the moment I no longer needed my parents’ permission.  I had to get away from that place before I created havoc just to make life more interesting.  Looking back after thirty years away and enough adventures to last most people a dozen lifetimes, I realize now that I was the most useless, ungrateful little bastard growing up.  Sure, my parents were dull.  Whose parents aren’t?  But they gave me everything they could so I would become a decent, upstanding human being.  A pillar of the community.  Instead, just to spite them, I decided to become a rebel without a cause or much of a brain to be honest.  Fortunately I decided the best way to rebel would be joining the Armed Services instead of a local gang, or God forbid something like the Confederacy of the Howling Stars, the biggest mobsters in human history.  Why the Armed Services?  Mainly because my parents were anti-military, a fairly widespread sentiment on Mykonos, by the way.  I didn’t quite understand it at the time, but now I know it was merely the normal result of living in a safe star system, far from the wild frontiers.  I figured enlisting in the Marine Corps instead of the Army or Navy would prove to everyone how tough I was.  Funnily enough, I damn near didn’t make it through basic training because of my smart mouth and my adolescent belief that I knew better than anyone else.  But the instructors figured out a way to get through the dumbass shell and turn my stupidity into Marine smarts.  The rest, as they say, is history.  After a few years in an infantry battalion, I applied to become a Pathfinder and finally found my chosen vocation: jumping out of perfectly good shuttles from low orbit so I could smash into unsuspecting enemies from above.

What do you do now?

If I told you, I’d have to kill you.  I know – the joke’s so old it’s fossilized by now.  But all kidding aside, I’m a Marine on active duty.  It’s what I’ve been since the age of eighteen, except for a few years on the inactive reserve after I took early retirement as a command sergeant on account of my temper.  Clocking an officer in front of the entire squadron, even if he’s an incompetent career-seeking sonofabitch, isn’t what you’d call a career-enhancing move.  The only reason they allowed me to take early retirement instead of facing a court martial was that everyone in the regiment knew I was right.  Of course, that’s when my real problems started.  I spent a few months traveling from planet to planet, drinking heavily, and trying to look for something.  I never found out what that was.  Then a naval intelligence officer by the name Hera Talyn — she’s my partner now, by the way — used me to infiltrate a plot against the Commonwealth.  Unwittingly, of course.  Hera’s a master manipulator.  She figured that my old loyalty to the Corps would ensure I did the right thing.  It didn’t do our early relationship much good.  Once I blew that plot wide open, Hera offered me a return to active duty as a warrant officer.  But by then, I had a good thing going with a lovely lady called Avril.  Sadly the good thing didn’t last.  The folks behind the plot I foiled tracked me down and took their revenge by killing Avril.  They sold me into slavery, which was as painful as you might imagine, but I escaped.  When Hera Talyn caught up with me, I took the offer of a return to active duty, this time as a chief warrant officer, with naval intelligence’s special operations section.  What do we do, you ask?  We run the blackest of black ops against the Commonwealth’s domestic enemies, those threatening our hard-won civil peace.  Hera and I are one of many teams who live most of their lives under assumed identities and faces, crisscrossing the Commonwealth and cleaning up messes left by feckless, corrupt, or thoroughly stupid politicians and their backers.  Sometimes we clean up those messes with extreme prejudice.  I’m a major now, after accepting a direct commission, but the job hasn’t changed in all those years since Hera brought me in from the cold.  I still hunt enemies of the Commonwealth with her. Continue reading “Zack Decker (of the Decker’s War series, by Eric Thomson)”

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Bernard Abbey (of A Footstep Echo, by J.D. Sanderson)

40584848Dear readers, tonight with me is an unwitting time-traveller. Dragged into a series of hops across time by a mute girl, he tries to make sense of her reasons and the mystery behind the fate of humanity.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

Oh, I’ve spent most of my life in a mid-size city in Western New York. Tough sometimes for an old man like me. Used to be a really nice building, but now half of the tenants probably have criminal records. They’re always harassing people who walk by the main entrance. It’s a damn shame. I used to walk at night with my wife, God rest her soul, and my dog. Wouldn’t do that nowadays!

A few streets over, that’s where you want to live. All these kids came in a few years ago and bought all the empty buildings. Now there’s coffee, food…There’s a British-themed restaurant too! My wife was from Lancashire, not sure if I mentioned it. That’s why we went to London on our honeymoon years back. Anyways, yeah the kids bought up all the property near where the city paper used to be. I worked there until it closed…That’s where we met, Marie and I.  She’d just moved here to the states to be a reporter, and I was a record clerk. Of course, that place closed down years ago. People just don’t like papers anymore, I suppose.

What do you do now?

Well, after Marie passed on and my dog Maverick got off leash and got away, I just mostly kept to myself. I go to that diner over there down the street, have tea and eggs. I work part-time at the library to help pay the bills. Ruth is the Head Librarian. Also my neighbor. Sweet lady, always nice to me after Marie passed.

I put the books back on the shelves and try to help out best I can. I felt more useful in the records office, but I at least get out of the house a few times a week. When I’m home I mostly try to just keep up on my reading. At least, that’s how it all was until she entered the picture… Continue reading “Bernard Abbey (of A Footstep Echo, by J.D. Sanderson)”

Roach the Demon (of Our Frail Disordered Lives, by Mary M. Schmidt)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a guest of a class we do not normally get – a demon.

He’s here to tell us about heaven and hell, and what lies in between. After working for Satan and trying to sign on new souls, he ended up in a (literally) hellish prison.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I’m a demon.  You know that, right?  I was created as angel in Heaven.  I was so gorgeous, I could not stop admiring myself, even for choir practice!  But I knew I could create something much better. I was so great, see?  So, when my boss…he was Lucifer back then, approached me and my buddy (that’s Scorch) and said he was gathering an army to overthrow the Creator, all we could say was, Tell us more! Sheeesh, if only I’d known what a jerk he’d turn out to be!  Do I regret my choice?  Well….no. That’s all I can say about it.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

I was never a child, so no toys.  As for cherished memories…Hell, no!  Just sad ones.  Like….being stuck in Pandemonium Hall while Satan, that jerk, was setting up the itinerary with those 2 poets.  Dante and Virgil.  And I just knew that whatever they came up with would be a classic of Western civilization.  And I wanted so badly to show them how evil I am.  But, no!  Only the A-list demons were included! I was devastated!

What do you do now?

Not much.  I’m stuck in a high-security prison for making such a mess.  I almost made it big, you know?  That close! Continue reading “Roach the Demon (of Our Frail Disordered Lives, by Mary M. Schmidt)”

Alerich Ashimar (of Ties of Blood and Bone, by A.E. Lowan)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a wizard, a man with the soul of a poet and the heart of a demon.

His family is bound to a demon in a geas of murder and mayhem, or risks losing his father. He is here to tell us about his conflicted love life, his estranged relationships, and about deals one might strike with a demon.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I grew up at Ashimar House just outside of Guildford in Surrey in the U.K.. Ashimar House is a respectable old pile, with a great library, but it’s drafty, and Ashimars have been continuously replacing the roofs for centuries. At 13, I boarded at Eton College in Hertfordshire, just west of London. I loved everything about Eton—the sporting fields, rowing, and of course beaks who taught me my mind was more important than my money.

What was your favorite pastime as a child?

My favorite thing about Ashimar House was its library. My favorite days were the ones I could spend with a book in front of the fire. My father was an exacting man, and often found fault with a lot of what I did, but never with my love of books. Stories or knowledge, I love them both.

What have you been up to since University?

I have been living a life of parties, women, and fast cars. My mates and I have become quite the fixtures at wizard parties all over Europe. We spend our time in every part of Europe except home. My father has plans for me to take up the family business, and eventually I’ll have to, but I’ve been steering clear of Ashimar House and its secrets for as long as I can. Continue reading “Alerich Ashimar (of Ties of Blood and Bone, by A.E. Lowan)”

Ava Cerdwen (of The Midsummer Wife, by Jacqueline Church Simonds)

Dear readers, tonight with me is the high priestess of a sisterhood dating back fifteen centuries, to the times of Arthur and Merlin.

She is here to tell us about their heirs, and about the post-apocalyptic Britain they must rescue.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I grew up in Talinn, Estonia, the youngest of seven daughters. Coincidentally, my mother was the youngest daughter of seven, as well. In some traditions, this is supposed to be the mark of a high adept/holy person. The Sisterhood (The Daughters of Arianrhod, a group that worships and serves the Goddess) doesn’t rely on such things, but I think it was a factor in their choosing me to be High Priestess.

I did not have a pleasant childhood. My father died when I was 6—a plane crash in the Sahara. He was there as part of the World Bank’s outreach to tribesmen. My mother died in a mysterious elevator accident in Talinn when I was 12. I was sent off to study at the Sisterhood’s Goddesshouse in Viborg, Denmark, where my grandmother was High Priestess.

I found it stressful to be in classes there. Everyone expected me to be perfect, and to emulate my grandmother—who I look a lot like. I am a very different person—more impetuous, restless, rash. Or at least I was back then.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

My family travelled a lot because of the Sisterhood and my mother’s work for the government of Estonia—especially after my father died.  We were in Viborg, Denmark a lot because of my grandmother. A large number of my family lives in that area, and/or works with the Sisterhood.

I am always amazed when I met other people who had perhaps one or two siblings and don’t talk to anyone else (or don’t know their family history). Everything in my life has always been about family, knowing one’s heritage back 60-or-more generations, and the Sisterhood. I know fourth and fifth cousins and all their relatives. I’m never alone when I’m in a new city—there’s always family there.

So I guess my most cherished memory is being with family, anywhere I go.

What do you do now?

I am the High Priestess of the Daughters of Arianrhod, called the Sisterhood. Almost 1500 years ago, the Sisterhood was tasked with observing the heirs to King Arthur and Merlin in case problems developed, and to assist them in The Time to Come when those heirs will be called upon to Heal Britain in its greatest time of need.

Mostly, my job is to oversee the operations of the Sisterhood—whose main goal is to sow the seeds to return worship of the Goddess back into the world. It’s slow going. It’s a world-wide organization, with thousands of priestesses and initiates, hundreds of temples and residences, and all the logistical and bureaucratic challenges of any large international corporation. So I spend a great deal of my time holed up in my glass-walled office of the Danish-Modern masterpiece that is the Motherhouse, working very long hours… when I am not running to the bathroom and hiding because of yet another panic attack.

I do my best. Sometimes, it’s not good enough. Continue reading “Ava Cerdwen (of The Midsummer Wife, by Jacqueline Church Simonds)”

Nyla (of Catgirl Roommate, by Stephanie O’Brien)

Dear readers, tonight on the interview couch is a human-shaped lunatic with the furry ears, tail, and manners of an oversized housecat. A cat who loves stealing boxes and lying on personal belongings, and despises clothing of every kind.

She’s here to tell us about her life with her  prudish, responsible neat freak roommate.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I grew up in a lot of places! Mr. Michi, the human who gives me food and a house, moves around a lot – usually after I escape through the front door and visit the houses near us.

He doesn’t like it when I do that, but those other yards have lots of interesting animals to chase, gardens to dig in, and places to sun myself, so I don’t really care what Mr. Michi says.

Humans are too ridiculous to listen to, anyway. They tell me to wear uncomfortable floppy cages made of cloth, and when I don’t, they complain about me being “naked” and they try to keep their kittens away from me. As if I even want to be near humans’ kittens – they’re too noisy, and they pull my ears and tail. I don’t like them.

Do you remember anything from when you were a kitten?

Not really. I almost never try to, anyway; none of that is happening anymore, so it doesn’t matter. I don’t even care about what happened yesterday, never mind when I was a kitten.

You humans have this strange fascination with what happened so long ago that it doesn’t matter, and what isn’t even happening yet.

You say things like “Don’t eat too much or you’ll get fat”, but I’m not fat right now, so why shouldn’t I eat your food as well as mine? Yours is probably better anyway. Actually, even if I was fat right now, I’d still want your food, and I don’t see why you can’t understand that you should give it to me.

What do you do now?

Whatever I feel like doing at any given moment. Take a nap on the human’s laptop, lick myself in front of the window, poke the human to wake him up so he’ll feed me, eat the small animal in the yard beside ours, or splash the water out of my bowl because I’m annoyed. Whatever I want.

The humans complain about it sometimes, but it isn’t my fault that what they want me to do isn’t what I want to do. Continue reading “Nyla (of Catgirl Roommate, by Stephanie O’Brien)”

Dylan of Demarn (of In Pain and Blood, by Aldrea Alien)

 Dear readers, tonight with me is a spellster, eschewing the safety of the spellster tower for the freedom to roam the land.

He’s here to tell us about his life in the army, about how his first scouting mission went awry, and the mysterious and flirtatious Tracker.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I grew up in Demarn’s spellster tower. It was my whole world for much of my life, actually. It was more of a complex, us spellsters lived in the tower in the centre, surrounded by gardens and a thick wall where the servants lived.

It was peaceful. Really quiet despite the fact there were hundreds of us. Tracker says the spellster population alone was in the thousands, I don’t know if I should believe him but there were a lot of us. We were expected to train our magic, and compete for a chance to join the army if we were strong enough, but we’d a few choices of how we could apply our talents. I kind of miss the monotony. I used to spend whole days in the library, sometimes weeks without stepping outside.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

No toys, my guardian didn’t really approve of material attachments, not when an errant hiccup of magic could destroy one. We slept in huge dormitories as children anyway and there were always fights over items, they belonged to the tower as it was. I’d a few books I was fond of, but they had to remain in the library. Any game we played needed only yourself, sometimes it involved magic. Especially when it came to bathing where we’d try to make huge waves with very little water, or steal someone else’s right out of their tub.

I’ve plenty of cherished memories, though. Like the times Nestria and I would sneak off into some out of the way place purely to plot the passage of the stars. We were almost caught on a few occasions, there was a curfew we were expected to abide by. Really makes the heart race to think that we could’ve been sent into isolation. When we weren’t doing that, I’d spend long nights trading elaborate stories with Henrie through a crack in the wall.

What do you do now?

It’s oddly reminiscent to what I used to do back home, which was helping the dwarves decipher foreign accounts of their ruins. The only difference really is that where I used to go through my guardian and the overseers, I now work directly with the hedgewitches, which is both terrifying and wonderful. I’m only an apprentice, of course. Not that don’t grant full status to humans, but you’ve got to not have any romantic attachments. Continue reading “Dylan of Demarn (of In Pain and Blood, by Aldrea Alien)”

Tierney J’Arzan (of Dracones Awakening, by Sheri-Lynn Marean)

Dear readers, tonight we reprint an interview from an alternate Earth. The young woman interviewed, an empath, will tell us about life with shape-shifting dragons and fallen angels.


Tierney walks into the room, and I’m stunned speechless. She isn’t really tall, maybe five-foot-five, but she’s slender, and holds herself as if ready to spin into action and put someone flat on their back. Her long wavy black hair reaches her back, but it’s the purple eyes scanning the room, a room that’s been set up just for this interview, that really catch my attention.

“No cameras,” I say, then remember my manners and smile.  “Tierney, it’s good to finally meet you. Will you have a seat?”

“Yes, it’s good to meet you as well,” she says, noting my handheld recorder.

“Would you like some water or coffee?” I ask as she sits down. I notice a bulge under her black leather jacket, telling me she’s carrying. Under the jacket is a black tank top. Then I spot the knife strapped to her jean clad hip and smile. She’d mentioned she would have weapons and that they didn’t trust easily.

“No, I’m good, thank you.”

“Well then, shall we get started?” I ask.

Tierney nods, then grins, and while she is beautiful, there is a presence about her that is just stunning. I tear my eyes from her, and glance at my notes. “So, can you tell me a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?”

“Sure. I was born on Tartaria twenty-one years ago. It’s a beautiful planet filled with color and the most incredible topography I’ve ever seen, though I’ve not been to all the other realms. Oh, and there is an abundance of magic as well. Tartaria has 3 suns and 2 moons. It’s 1 of the 52 realms, and unlike earth, all the different supernatural beings who live there don’t have to hide what they are. Or, actually, that isn’t quite true.”

“What do you mean? I ask, noting the anger on her face.

“What I should have said was that everyone is aware of them. On Tartaria, the population of humans is rather small compared to everyone else, so being a Supe isn’t a big secret like it is on Earth. Unfortunately, everyone still has to be careful because the Ilyium hunt anyone supernatural. Continue reading “Tierney J’Arzan (of Dracones Awakening, by Sheri-Lynn Marean)”

Dembrek (of the DRUX series, by S.P. Joseph Lyons)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a man with a misty past, torn between heroism and rebellion. He is here to tell us about the power of love, as well as the power of heroes.

Note that we’ve previously interviewed Oreunasis, the Lord of the DRUX. It’s rewarding to see characters out of our earliest patron-books returning to the interview couch.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I was born on the home of the Original People. We were the first created beings of the Great Voice. We lived in harmony with nature, and our surroundings. Simple homes among the vast trees under a sea of stars at night. We were a peaceful race but were always ready for war if it should ever come to us. Though our home had been decimated by the men with hands like lightning and thunder, then by Mordrin and his slave army of Gaunlar, we always rebuilt. Stronger. Better.

Any cherished memories of your home?

My mother. She was everything to me in the absence of my father. When she was killed by Mordrin, I…I just, I don’t know. Losing her was the hardest thing I ever had to endure. I miss her terribly. She always saw the best in me, and always had a way of seeing the beauty in everything. When my father left for the stars, a part of her went with him. She’d often look to the night sky, wondering if he could see us. I hated him for leaving, even if he didn’t have a choice.

What do you do now?

After being exiled from my home, I went to the universal Arena to become a champion. In a fight to the death, it was no easy task standing against the greatest warriors in the universe. After winning, I became a legend. I was feared in every section of the universe. I guess having these powers, and being fearless, has its advantages in battle. Continue reading “Dembrek (of the DRUX series, by S.P. Joseph Lyons)”

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