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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the protagonists of your favourite books

Kira and Jed Jenkins (of The Gaia Effect by Claire Buss)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a young couple, excited to have been selected for procreation by their city’s all-controlling corporation.

They have started to suspect things when their friends started to fall pregnant naturally. How long has Corporation been lying to them?  Is it really toxic outside the wall?

They are here to tell us about their shocking discoveries.


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

Kira: Well, we both grew up here, in City 42. My family lived quite near Archive whereas Jed’s were – are – up in the Northern part of the city. The posh part *laughs*.

Jed: Yeah, I mean we sometimes get visitors from City 15 but I’ve never gone out there. Kira and I met at school, we both worked really hard and it was a busy time but we had fun too, right hon?

Kira: We did. I mean school was school, same old same old, but Jed had all the latest tech at his apartment so there was always something to explore. That’s what encouraged your sister to join Corp Tech wasn’t it?

Jed: murmurs agreement

Kira: I mean our childhoods were the same as everyone else’s really, assigned a family at birth, school, friends and then getting funneled into our professions. I had to fight a little for Junior Historian, they wanted me to go into Corp Medical but you were always going to go to Force weren’t you?

Jed: Yeah, I mean it’s good that we all get this standardized education but I think it’s great we can really stretch ourselves when it comes to career. Continue reading “Kira and Jed Jenkins (of The Gaia Effect by Claire Buss)”

Eno the Thracian (of his eponymous series by CB Pratt)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a hero out of the ancient Greece. Eno is a Hero for Hire, with a swift sword and reasonable rates.

Nobody is better at out-witting a sphinx, charming a goddess, or swinging a sword than Eno the Thracian. Armed with a dry sense of humor, a body like living rock, and a wide experience of love, death, and olive oil, Eno is just what the philosopher ordered… if you can afford him.

He’s here to tell us about his adventures.


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

I grew up in the mountains of Thrace, with the sheep, the shepherds, and the wolves. My tribe is the Maedi. While our womenfolk live in huts year round, the men follow the herds, going up to the high country for the summer grasses and returning in the winter. We worship the same gods as the Greeks; some claim that Ares first came from our lands. While I love my home-land, I haven’t been back much. I grew up bigger than most and when I was about 16, I came down to the ‘civilized world’, where I’ve met more scoundrels, dangers, and lies than I would have met in a lifetime in the hills. Oh, well. I was never all that crazy about sheep. Not the greatest conversationalists.

After a few years, I settled in Athens. It’s an up-and-coming town, where the temples are slowly being replaced with stone, the king doesn’t get into much trouble or charge high taxes, and the weather’s good. I get a lot of clients from word of mouth but also from my sign in the agora:

Hero for Hire. All monsters dispatched from carnivorous geese to Minotaurs. Special rates for multiples. Eno the Thracian at the sign of the Ram’s Head, one flight up.

Continue reading “Eno the Thracian (of his eponymous series by CB Pratt)”

Maëlcolm (of Ilavani by Kaelan Rhywiol)

Dear readers, tonight with me on the guest couch is a member of the ruling family of Erieria, on the colony planet Ilavani.

He views his status as a prince as unfortunate. Trained in the arts of espionage and BDSM, all he wants to do is remain a companion.

He’s here to tell us about his struggles for self fulfilment.


Your name is Tourmaëline – did I pronounce it correctly?

It’s Mal, name looks funny when you spell it in English, but it’s still a derivative of Malcolm, my Companion name is Tourmaline, we take our Companion names after the house we trained in.

Mal, then.

That’ll work.

We know from your publicity packet that you’re a Prince? A Righ’sa, right? But what does that actually mean on your planet?

What do you think it means? It means loss of everything I ever wanted for myself. I have to give up my calling as a companion to serve the Righ’sea, the monarchy, by doing something I don’t want to do.

What does a companion do?

Anything we’re paid for that doesn’t violate our code of ethics. Sometimes we’re paid to go to dinner with people, sometimes to sing, or talk about art, sometimes to have sex with someone. That writer, Joss Whedon? He came close to what a Companion does on Ilavani in that show he wrote… Firefly.

Your role is more complicated than that, though, isn’t it?

Mine is, I’m the Guild head of the IGC-Interplanetary Guild of Companions. I chair the board that makes our laws. It’s going to be really hard to give all that up. Continue reading “Maëlcolm (of Ilavani by Kaelan Rhywiol)”

Niklas, Eighth Son of Jesse (of Tyrants and Traitors by Joshua McHenry Miller)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a fifteen-year-old shepherd, who spent his whole life dreaming of revolt against the hygiene-adverse Philistines. Recently an all-but-impossible mission is thrust upon him, and he started to rethink the whole hero business. What chance does the daring schemer have when lions, the Mad King, and a literal giant stand in his way?

He is here to tell us of his race to uncover the hidden traitor, conspiracies and armies which converge on the nation — with his hometown directly in the crossfire.


What’s the most vivid memory you have as a child?

I’ve been wrongfully identified as the chief mischief maker in our family. While I’d never deny my penchant for a bit mayhem, one of my older brothers, Abin, is the real godfather of all things chaos. Growing up, he was always seeking the next prank to pull off, and he often used me as patient zero for his ideas. Once, he convinced me to try every spice in our mother’s cabinet. It went alright until I chomped into a blackened mustard seed. My eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets, and I spent the next two hours impersonating a waterfall, spewing fluids all over the house. He lovingly referred to it as ‘Abin’s Surprise.’

Tell us a little about where you grew up?

Ancient Israel is a tale of two worlds. On the one side, our countryside is awesome. We’ve got fertile hills, clear rivers, and some of the best wine this side of the mesopotamian peninsula. It’s a dream scenario, except for the tiny fact that every one of our neighboring countries want to wipe us off the map. Every decade or so, another regional war breaks out, and we spend the next five years cleaning up the mess. Plus, my people aren’t exactly known for a surplus in courage. We’re more of the ‘flee in terror’ crowd than the ‘stand up and fight for yourselves’ demographic, which only paints a larger target on our backs. Continue reading “Niklas, Eighth Son of Jesse (of Tyrants and Traitors by Joshua McHenry Miller)”

James Terrin (of Fall of Zona Nox by Nicholas Woode-Smith)

 

Dear readers, tonight with me is someone from the criminal element. A master thief in the gang-dominated Galis City, crime-ridden capital of the frontier world of Zona Nox, he soon found himself forced to join the Troopers, a galactic alliance of human soldiers.

James is thrust into defending Zona Nox from the alien invasion, but as the conflict continues James realises that this war is not as simple as it may seem.

He is here to tell us about his efforts to save his world.


Tell us a little about Galis City and Zona Nox. What was it like growing up there?

Most of the street kids were born in Dead Stone. You might have heard of it. It was the old starport city before the last big push by the Xank. A lot of us got out. Even more didn’t. Galis? Skite hole. We starved, at the best of times. Other times, we were making other people starve. We stared them in the eyes, held a gun to their heads. Sometimes, the hunger was stronger than the fear. So, what was it like growing up in Galis City? At first, hell. Then, it got better. The city found its place. We became its lords. We ruled the streets. What had once beaten us, now served us. So, we suffered, but it wasn’t for nothing.

How about your family? You must have had one.

Had a family in Dead Stone. A real one. Mom and dad. They didn’t make it. After that? Well, my godfather took me in. Billy Roman, and my best friend, Andrew Roman. They registered me as James Roman for convenience sake. Didn’t mean much. Overnight, the Trooper registries meant nothing. So did family. No, no. Don’t get me wrong. I loved them. It’s just… survival, desperation – it changes things. To protect family, I had to do things no child of any family should do. I loved Billy, but I will never forgive him for that. Continue reading “James Terrin (of Fall of Zona Nox by Nicholas Woode-Smith)”

Emily Branwell (of Plato’s Cave by Russell Proctor)

Dear readers, tonight with me on the interview couch is a young woman who woke up one morning to find reality disintegrating around her.

From a horoscope that is astoundingly accurate, to sausages which keep appearing out of nowhere all around her, to how she can walk through walls.

She is here to tell us about humanity’s search for truth and the meaning of existence, through the eyes of someone who wishes the Universe would just stop bothering her.


We never meet any of your family. What are they like?

My parents are lovely people. My dad works as an accountant and Mum is a registered nurse. She’s a great person, despite boring people to death with her encyclopedic knowledge of the novels of the Brontë sisters. She really should go on one of those quiz shows. Dad collects Star Wars memorabilia, which is kind of cool. I’m an only child. That is, I did have a brother but he died of cancer. I was only four at the time so I don’t really remember much about him.

What do you do now?

What I did before. Study, bitch, drink coffee and indulge my chocolate addiction. But I don’t know…things are different. The sun is…have you ever seen the Sun? I mean, stared at it for ages, felt the warmth of it on your skin—really felt it, like fingers massaging you? My senses seem to have gone up a few notches since…well, since that time. Things just appear different. It’s hard to explain. Continue reading “Emily Branwell (of Plato’s Cave by Russell Proctor)”

Herald (of Golden Dawn by Aldrea Alien)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a man, a demon, straight out of hell. For over a millennium, his catchphrase is “Family and Blood”.

Called to guard a crystal, what appears to be a demotion turns out very different when Herald discovers the angelic creature trapped within it. He’s here to tell us about the difficult and dangerous decisions he had to face.


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

I can only speak of the one place. It was a cavern, dry and hot with this red light that emanated from the very stone. There was dust everywhere my siblings and I walked, the remains of less-fortunate clans. Sometimes it was our doing. My twin, Harbinger as father called him once we reached the mortal realm, once tried to find the far walls, but we never managed to find it before it was time to return to the Haven and see if we’d another sibling to add to our numbers.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child?

Very few things were given to us and only those that had practical use. I’d a sword as soon as I could lift one, but it was no toy. The minders who raised us all… Well, we could never be entirely sure what they believed in, but Harbinger and I… We came to consensus that they knew what was beyond the doors to the Haven and wanted to prepare us. Once we left, they no longer cared. I don’t think anyone ever expected us to ever be given the means to leave Hell entirely, though. Continue reading “Herald (of Golden Dawn by Aldrea Alien)”

Gentry Mandrake (of Liefdom by Jesse Teller)

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Dear readers, tonight with me is a creature out of fairy tales – but not those tales we reserve for children. A guardian of a peaceful city, tonight’s protagonist is a fairy like no other.

He is here to tell us about the dark troubles he faces in his society, his longing to belong, and about fighting to protect the human child bound to him.


Tell us a little about yourself and where you come from.

I am a protector, a guardian of the city I live in, and the boy that I was born to. Every time a Gentry fairy is born, a human child is born, a child protected by the Gentry. I protect my child zealously. He is my life, and he is in danger.

The city where I live is called Liefdom. There are many cities in the world of The Veil, but Liefdom is the capital city of all fairy life. We are surrounded by a forest, but all our structures are built into dryad trees. Every tree holding up every house is alive and vibrant, personal. My home is in a tree named Lyadora. She is a black chestnut tree and she strongly dislikes me. I don’t think she hates me; I don’t think she’s capable of hate. But she tells me all the time that I am a monster, that I don’t belong here. Maybe she’s right.

What’s your understanding of hate?

I’m a warrior, so I am intimately engaged with the emotion hate. When I look at a thing that needs to die, I am enveloped with the emotion. My blood heated by it. There are a few things, a few acts, that inspire deep hatred in me. They are all tied to my fate as a protector. The city I live in is often called the City of Innocence. If someone endangers that innocence, my soul boils. There is an adversary out there. I can feel him, as I’m sure he can feel me. His life offends me, though I know not why. He has harmed my child. He has risen to destroy everything. He is poised to take it all away from me, and I know not his name. And I know not his face. But when I near him, I will be able to feel him throbbing in my bones. Continue reading “Gentry Mandrake (of Liefdom by Jesse Teller)”

Quinlan Reis (of The Rhenwars Saga by ML Spencer)

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Dear readers, tonight with me is a man facing imminent cataclysm. A conspiracy of darkmages have resorted to harnessing the powers of Hell to save their legacy, and Quin and his brother Braden are determined to stop them.

A mage himself, but with with a turbulent past and terrible and tragic secrets, he’s part of a band trying to prevent the forces of chaos from boring the Well of Tears into the netherworld, right under their city.


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

I grew up in Caladorn. What you probably know of as the Black Lands. Of course, back in my day, they weren’t so very black. All that came about later…but that’s a story for another day. I was raised among the horseclans of the Khasahar until it was discovered that my brother and I could sense the magic field. There, on the spot, we were claimed as property of the Lyceum. After that, Braden and I were taken to Bryn Calazar to be trained to our respective orders. The names given to us by our father were stripped from us, our language replaced, our hair shorn…it was an appalling transition, one that I was only too delighted to make at the time. I was rather naïve back then, you see. I was still under the delusion that I might actually make something worthwhile of myself some day. How optimistic I must have been! Or stupid, which basically amounts to the same thing.

What do you do now?

Now? I drink. I’ve been known to frequent a brothel from time to time. It’s a lifestyle that seems particularly suited to my apathetic disposition.

Continue reading “Quinlan Reis (of The Rhenwars Saga by ML Spencer)”

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