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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

Month

September 2020

Killandrio Bludd (of The Last Witness, by Richard Dalglish)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a defence lawyer from a fantasy world. He’s here to tell us about trials, gifts, curses, and the supernatural.


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

I grew up in Rynland, one of the two easternmost realms of the known world. It’s on the Great Ocean, so everyone learns to swim and sail a boat. I think I spent half my childhood swimming in the ocean or playing on the beach. Rynland is also prosperous, respectable, peaceful and boasts well-educated citizens—in other words, dull. Yet I always find my way back there—until I get bored and take to the road again.

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

I was especially fond of a pair of hand puppets. I often had them arguing with another about some little matter, usually reflecting a dispute I’d had with my mother, like finishing my turnips before she’d let me have some honey cake. [Laughs] Those puppet battles no doubt foreshadowed my becoming an advocate. My eldest sister tells me I had a loud rattle, which she says I shook with such vigor and persistence that it nearly drove her to infanticide. [Laughs] Now that I think of it, that noisy persistence may also have foreshadowed my work as an advocate. My most cherished memory, though, is from when I was a young student of the law at Rynland Wister School. My loresman took me to see Zauph Rauthen, one of the few virrlings left in the known world, and the three of us talked about law and justice and other matters until dawn. Despite the enormous amount of wine we drank, I gleaned so much wisdom from those two that I’m forever in their debt.

And now you’re a famous defense advocate.

Infamous, more like, at least among the lying sheriffs, bribe-taking constables, corrupt prosecutors, stone-hearted judges, dishonest nobles, and greedy landowners. The common folk don’t think much of me either, at least until they need my services. But in the world of cutpurses, smugglers, burglars, whores, gamblers, brawlers, and sneak thieves, I’m well known. That’s another reason I don’t stay long in Rynland—folks who need an advocate like me are more likely to get in trouble in other realms.

What can you tell us about your current trial?

I’m defending Ansin Semble, a thirteen-year-old boy accused of using his peculiar gift to cause the death of a young man. This gift—or curse, more like it—enables Ansin to send someone on what is called a journey of the mind. The traveler on such a journey experiences vivid dreams and illusions that seem as real as the ground under your feet. Wealthy men are willing to pay in gold for the experience. And though it’s true my client possesses this gift, he’s more victim than criminal. He can’t speak and has little knowledge of the world. I can’t divulge more until the trial concludes, but I can tell you that Ansin has a minder who has profited greatly from the boy’s so-called gift.

Continue reading “Killandrio Bludd (of The Last Witness, by Richard Dalglish)”

Serena Mendez (of Serpent Rising, by Victor Acquista)

Dear readers, tonight we conduct our interview in a hogan (a traditional Navajo dwelling) on the Navajo reservation in Arizona. We’re talking to a previously unemployed, pill-popping twenty-one year old who suffered from nightmares and PTSD, whose quest to sort out her life leads her to ancient conflict between the Illuminati and a Luminarian sect with origins to Atlantis.


It sounds as though your childhood was pretty messed up. If it’s not too painful, can you tell us about that?

Up until I was ten, things were pretty normal, at least in so far as a little kid can figure out what normal is. After the cave incident–that happened when I was ten–everything went downhill. My parents blamed my great aunt, each other, and me for what happened. I suffered from terrible anxiety–the doctors called it PTSD. I was put on endless meds and began popping pills like candy. Then my baby brother died in a car crash when my mother was driving me to a psychiatrist appointment, and that caused a whole other round of blame. I really wasn’t close to my parents and only realized later in life that my great aunt, Ooljee, was the only adult I felt comfortable with. I’ve pretty much been on my own since age eighteen and I was just barely getting by. It’s only since I went back to the cave and started my Circle training that everything began to fit into place.

What do you mean, ‘fit into place’?

I returned to this Navajo reservation to ‘confront my demons’ as my psychiatrist recommended, and I went back to the cave. That’s where the opening of my first chakra was supposed to happen when I was ten; that initiation was to start my Candelaria training. When it finally happened at age twenty-one, that’s when I began to embrace my destiny and stopped running away from my life. Things began to fall into place, and as my other chakras were opened, I became progressively more balanced.

What are you up to now?

That’s a good question. Even though I’ve completed my Circle training and am a fully realized Candelaria, I feel like a warrior without a weapon. This great War of the Two Serpents isn’t over. Sure, me and Bryson may have won a little skirmish, but the big plans to establish a New World Order haven’t changed. I should say presumably haven’t changed because we really don’t know how the Illuminati are scheming to accomplish that. So, at this point, I don’t know how to use my gifts, there’s no one to ask, and we don’t know how to fight the bad guys. The good news is that I feel great and genius-boy Bryson will figure out something.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

I got to travel to India, Australia, Greece, Egypt, Mexico and Peru on my journey to open all my chakras. I learned things about myself along the way and I managed not to get killed. That’s not to say Li didn’t try. Still, he does have my DNA and he’s got the resources and know-how to misuse that. I also realize that Ooljee must have carried a great burden, feeling responsible for all the problems she caused in my life, but she was just doing what she thought best. It’s funny how your opinion of people can change once you can ‘walk a mile in their moccasins’–that’s a Native American expression Ooljee used to say.

Continue reading “Serena Mendez (of Serpent Rising, by Victor Acquista)”

Jactatio Dolor (of Add a Cup of Chaos, by Stephanie Barr)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a demon – a denizen of another realm. Rather than the devilish connotation you might have been led to believe, they are peace-seeking beings. He’s here to tell us about magic, cats, dragons, space aliens, and love.


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

Well, I was born on Mundus which would be a lot like Earth except the technology ran on magic and it was full of demons like me. Like most demons with a human parent, my mom kinda just dropped me and left me to my own devices. That was the norm before the Prudens started changing things, but my mom was old school. Or so I guess. Never met her.

But, when I was a kid–barely forty years old–my great great grandmother Hecate found me and told me we were going after  Prudens and her family to another plane, leaving this one to the war with the humans. I didn’t argue since Paul is Prudens’ grandson and my best friend. I half grew up at his house.  Now Orbis, the new plane, was empty and pretty primitive so even the kids had to work hard, try new magic, stuff like that. It’s still kind rural-feeling next to someplace on the Earth but it’s nice to know your neighbors and there’s no smog or anything since we snagged all the renewable ideas the Earth had been working on–no sense not learning from humans even if they’re pugnacious and prone to nuke first and ask questions later–which they did to us. But not the new plane, Orbis, because humans don’t know how to get there.

What’s it like? Well, we use magic sensitive crystalline materials for most things so we can shape buildings and stuff with magic pretty readily and still have something we can imbue with magic. Most of us have a hobby or skill we can use for barter so no one really wants for much.  Most of us grow stuff to eat or have a few animals for milk or meat–or both. It’s a pretty calm relaxed place to live–almost boring if it wasn’t for Beth coming and giving me a chance to show off.  Good thing I’m the best teleporter in the whole demon world so she had no choice but to take me along on her adventures.

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

I don’t remember much about the first decade or so. I was mostly trying not to get eaten by dragonets and unicorns and stuff. I mean, obviously I was a tough demon even as a baby, but young dragons can eat several times their weight in one sitting. My only chance was to try and talk them out of it. Fortunately, if you sweet talk a few female dragons, they’ll help look out for you so some rogue doesn’t decide you’re a snack.

Then Port and Paul stumbled on me, and I never had to worry about how I’d get my next meal or sleeping without a roof over my head. I think Port is the one who told Hecate who came to look after me, but I had to learn how to cook in self-defense. That woman makes a mean potion but her omelettes are twice as deadly.

I don’t remember favorite toys. I don’t think demons have toys like human children. We’re more about making things to suit our interests. You know, tinkering. Now I remember tinkering with lots of stuff that I was proud of, but, once you’ve got it, you kinda move on to the next one. Besides, I didn’t often make something that Dux couldn’t improve on. He’s the best at making cool gadgets especially in conjunction with Paul’s golems.

Good thing I was so damn good at porting or I might have gotten a complex.

As for cherished memories, hanging out with Paul, Dux and Stult, another friend who’s moved away when his mom did. They were a great bunch of fellows, always ready for adventure.  And, since I was the biggest and the oldest, I usually found some for us.

What do you do now?

We still make the odd gizmo, but I scored a sheaf of coordinates in the asteroid belt. Dux fixed up an inflatable station-like thing and a couple space suits. I port ‘em out there and they gather a couple of kings’ ransomes in heavy metals,  and then I port ‘em back. Metals like that are always in demand.

Might give it up now I’m a married man. Hecate knows Dux could port out without me, but I’d be worried someone would lose track of time or something and then they’d be stuck. I better keep helping them.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Now that was a doozy. The demon realm hadn’t been threatened since the human sniffed out Mundus.  And the aliens were canny. Didn’t come gunning for us directly–well, they couldn’t. Didn’t know where we were. So they went after the human world. After all, we’d saved them from the aliens once before, but they didn’t realize how adverse the demons would be to saving the humans. No full scale protection this time, bucko, not after what the humans pulled. For a bit, I thought even Roze and Beth couldn’t convince the demons to help at all–and there’s no way the humans could do it alone–when Beth pulled out the sacrifice of our own to save the humans the first time and damn near got the whole room crying.

Put her money where her mouth was, too, because, when I mentioned I thought I could port to the ship that had a beam that could kill everything on Earth in one blow, maybe sabotage it, she offered to go instead so the demons wouldn’t get on the alien radar.

That’s just hwo Beth rolls. No one goes into danger she won’t face. And she’ll face damn near anything. We went to the alien ship and she was Miss Intrepid. Even when we ran into a baby dragon–a very hungry one.

Continue reading “Jactatio Dolor (of Add a Cup of Chaos, by Stephanie Barr)”

Splice (of SPLICE: HIT BIT TECHNOLOGY, by Bill McCormick)

Dear readers, tonight with us is  a criminal mastermind with unlimited resources, cunning, and guile. He’s here to tell us about being a supervillain and cyber-terrorist.


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

I was beaten and abandoned in Omaha when I was ten. My dad, good Christian that he was, gave me fifty bucks before leaving me on a deserted highway in the rain. Omaha wasn’t bad. Nobody paid any attention to a little black kid. The food was boring, but I wouldn’t realize that for several years. Plus, thanks to the changing economy they weren’t prepared for, there were plenty of empty spaces for me to live in. So I had shelter at all times. Even snagged wi-fi for a bit.

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

Toys were never a thing for me. Other kids had them, but my family needed me to do other stuff. Mostly I had to hide the money my mom made turning tricks so the cops couldn’t get it. But, one fun memory, it was so cool when Jimmy Pruitt’s mom posed naked for the cover of a mixtape. Even though you couldn’t see her face we all knew her neck tattoo. Oh, and her cookies. She made amazing cookies. Also, when the churches had fairs in the summer, my mom would turn tricks behind the porta-potties, so that freed me up to ride the rides. My favorite was the Tilt-A-Whirl. I looked forward to summers just for that.

What do you do now?

Well, according to various law enforcement agencies, I’m a supervillain. But, in reality, I’m just the old man’s business partner. I invented a line of tech, called Hit Bit Technology, while being held prisoner by a terrorist in the Middle East. It enhances a person’s natural abilities. I, and one other person, have a fully functional iteration of the tech implanted. We can connect to the internet, anywhere in the world, without requiring any type of computer or mobile device. Plus, we’re able to run as fast Cheetahs, lift twenty times our body weight, and enhance our vision at will. Telescoping, night vision, and a whole bunch more. Of course, all that requires lots of fuel, so we have to make sure to eat thousands of calories after every use.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Well, we killed a Russian colonel at his home and then rerouted tens of millions of dollars away from his secret accounts into the accounts of our sponsors. Basic day to day stuff. See, my adventures happened when I didn’t plan. That’s how I ended up being tortured while locked in a dungeon in the desert. A lack of planning is how I ended up getting my face turned into blood pudding by two goons in a New York alley. Now, I don’t have adventures, I have successful missions.

Continue reading “Splice (of SPLICE: HIT BIT TECHNOLOGY, by Bill McCormick)”

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