Search

The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

Month

July 2022

Ekaterina Borisova Komarova, aka Katya (of Déjà Doomed, by Edward M. Lerner)

Dear readers, tonight with us is an electrical and computer engineer, working on the moon. She is here to tell us about about commercial operations, international tensions — and finding alien remains


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

That would be Murmansk: a grubby, rundown, vodka-soaked, Navy port town well into the arctic. What was that like? Cold. Miserable. Depressing. For forty days every winter the fucking Sun never rises there at all.

What was it like growing up? Any cherished memories?

In a word, hard. In two words, damned hard.

Father was a submariner. Not that he wanted to be. Not that any sane person wanted any part of the decrepit, post-Soviet navy. He did it because jobs were scarce. Then, in 2000, the nuclear sub Kursk was lost with all hands. Moscow did its best at first to deny everything, and then to deflect the blame. Mother and I were left with nothing but a pittance of a pension. But Mother was a fighter, and she raised me to be one. It took each of us working two jobs, and sometimes three, but I made it to, and through, university. That made me the first in our family to do so.

I won’t call any of the struggle a cherished memory, but there is satisfaction in the accomplishment. I want to believe Father would have been proud. Even though my degrees are from an academic backwater like Murmansk State Technical University.

What do you do now?

I’m an electrical and computer engineer, and I’m damned good at it. Good enough to get a job on the Moon. Do I understand the ins and outs of helium-3 extraction from the lunar regolith? Of the fusion reactors people yet hope to invent, that our He-3 might someday fuel? No. But I do understand all there is to know about the electronics and computerized controls that make it possible for people to live and work on the Moon. More so, if you ask me, than most snooty, overspecialized types with their fancy PhDs from Moscow universities.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Now there’s a question. First you must know that—despite his delusions—everyone at the Russian lunar base always assumed Yevgeny Borisovich Rudin was an FSB spy. (The FSB is the post-Soviet successor to the KGB. I’m just saying, in case you didn’t know.) He was just too damned interested in everyone else’s business to be anything but a spook. That, and his official job, the lunar version of bush pilot, was just too convenient. The job gave him frequent cover to drop in on any of the several small settlements and research outposts, both international and of any nationality, scattered across the Moon.

So, when Rudin came recruiting—for an undefined project, “somewhere” on the Moon—I wanted no part of it. When he dangled a fat bonus (and how, except with FSB backing, would he even have had access to that kind of cash?) some of the people he approached took the bait. Not me. I never wanted any part of that spook shit. However tempting the money, I said no.

Only for the mine’s senior management to order me to cooperate. Not that they knew any more than me what this was about. The FSB must have pulled their strings, too.

I expected trouble, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Continue reading “Ekaterina Borisova Komarova, aka Katya (of Déjà Doomed, by Edward M. Lerner)”

Gilda Wright (of the Gilda Wright Mysteries series, by Diane Bator)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a woman who landed her dream job as the receptionist at a karate school. She’s here to tell us about handsome instructors, a local bookie, and more mysteries than she’d counted on.


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

I grew up in the same small town I live in now, Sandstone Cove, on the shores of Lake Erie. My dad was a police officer and my mom stayed at home with me until I was a teenager. It was a safe place for a kid even with the influx of tourists all summer. My friends and I used to ride bikes and spend a lot of time at the beach. I loved to spend time on the front porch listening to my dad and his buddies talk about cases they’d worked on as well as working in the garden with my mom.

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

My favourite toy as a child was my bike – until my dad died. He and I used to ride around town and around the shoreline as far as we dared to go. He’s where I got my curiosity for solving puzzles and my sense of justice from. Once my mom went to work for an interior design company, Dad and I spent more time together. Since he died a hero, the town renamed the park near where I now live in his honour. If I need a dose of his wisdom, I simply go for a run there to reconnect.

What do you do now?

What I know now is that my little world isn’t as black and white as I’d thought as a kid. My dad was shot while responding to an armed robbery at a bank and one of my most supportive friends now is in the mafia. It’s both scary and comforting that he sits out front of my house when I get myself into trouble.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

While Dead Without Remorse isn’t about my latest adventure, it does fill in a couple things that readers of the series missed due to an anthology story in between Dead Without Glory and Dead Without Pride. This is the adventure where an explosion leaves a gaping hole in the streetscape where the Nine Lives Consignment Shop and the former Yoshida Martial Arts School once stood.

When police find remains of a bomb—and a body—inside, I need to track a killer before the suspects scatter like debris. Especially after my boyfriend, Mick Williams, crawls out of the rubble! Let me tell you, I was terrified!

Continue reading “Gilda Wright (of the Gilda Wright Mysteries series, by Diane Bator)”

Genie, Whit, and Mei (of Descendants of Avalon, by J. Lynn Else)

Dear readers, tonight we are joined by three friends who claim their friend was kidnapped by an evil wizard. I mean, we were supposed to be joined by three friends who are, well, I guess they’re still out looking for their friend? Wait! Something is happening. Yes! A portal is opening. It appears to be made from water. This beautiful circle is expanding on the wall, opening up to–oh my! Lo and behold, we’ve now been joined by three young women. High school ages I would guess. Behind them are lovely trees and a city up in the—no wait! The portal closed. (heavy sigh) Well, welcome guests! May I get your names?

Girl 1: Hi, I’m Genie. Sorry we’re late.

Girl 2: I’m Mei.

Girl 3: And I’m Whit. Hello!


So, portals! That’s an interesting way to travel. Tell us about why you’re here.

Whit: First of all, thanks for having us. We’re all excited for this opportunity. 

Mei: Though we can’t stay long. Beth, that’s our other friend, she’s being held captive. So yeah, Morgana gave us, like, 10 minutes to spread the word.

Genie: Sorry about that. You’ve heard of Morgana, right? AKA Morgan le Fey? Basically, one of the bad guys from Arthurian legend. While I still have my suspicions, she is helping us rescue Beth, so there’s that. She’s pretty strict about things being her way or the highway, and I thought she was going to curse us just for asking for 10 minutes.

So where are you all from? Is it where you portaled from? Oh look, I think I just made a new word. Portaled.

Mei: That is strictly classified. I mean, I’d like to tell you, but.

Whit: We’re actually just visiting there. It’s so pretty in Av–. I mean, that av-idly magical place. 

Genie: Whit is the smooth one of the group, as you can obviously tell. Ouch! Watch the elbows, Whit. Anyway. We’re not supposed to let the outside world know this land still exists.

Mei: I tried to take a selfie, and Morgana zapped my phone. So not cool. It’d better work after we find Beth and go home.

Genie: We’re actually from this small town in Northern Minnesota. Its near Hinckley, if you’ve ever been to the Casino there. The cell phone reception is the worst, but we discovered we have a portal connecting us to a magical land.

Mei: Talk about well-disguised. No way would you guess it’s secret. It’s this old, crusty fountain that we made a wish into. The waters are all orangish and gross. Like you’d never guess it was a magic fountain.

Whit: (whispering) I think they get it.

Mei: (louder) Even if you had a thousand guesses–

Genie: Anyway! We made this wish and apparently an evil wizard now wants to capture us and our wishes. His minions got to Beth. So now we’re on a quest to rescue her. We could use your help, if you could spread the word.

Why does this wizard want your wishes?

Genie: He’s using coins thrown in wishing wells to reforge Excalibur. Basically, he’ll be able to cut himself free from the bonds of his prison and take over Earth since there’s all this dormant magic we’re not using anymore.

Mei: I guess he’s got Excalibur’s hilt, but no one’s seen the blade since King Arthur died or something. That right, Genie? She’s the King Arthur expert in our group.

Genie: You know, Morgana is pretty hush-hush on the details there. Total sus.

Whit: Maybe she’s just misunderstood.

Mei: Watch out, Genie, Viviane may call you arrogant again if you keep on judging Morgana.

Genie: Don’t remind me! So embarrassing.

Whit: Viviane is the Lady of the Lake, by the way.

Genie: Yes, well, Viviane and her friend the misunderstood dark sorceress said this wizard is using people’s hopes and dreams that they imbue into their wishes to reforge the blade.

Mei: So now we’re kicking robes and taking names.

Robes?

Mei: Wizards wear robes, don’t they?

Got it. So what’s the scariest thing in your adventures so far?

Whit: Val’s sword training.

Mei: Morgana’s beady eyes always watching us.

Whit: The bruises I have from Val’s sword training.

Mei: Morgana turning into a raven. She’s like Edgar Allen Poe’s dream girl. Can you imagine what a meeting of those two would be like?

Genie: Seriously, no. It was those Betwixt creatures that attacked us. Twice.

Mei: They’re not scary at first. Stout little dudes with giant puffs of hair.

Genie: They are when they morph into different creatures to try and trick you. And when they have swords they can use effectively. Cause, we can’t use our swords.

Mei: YET. Can’t use swords yet. But okay, you win.

Continue reading “Genie, Whit, and Mei (of Descendants of Avalon, by J. Lynn Else)”

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑