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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the protagonists of your favourite books

Coppélia (of The Girl With Acrylic Eyes, by Greg Krojac)

Dear readers, tonight with me is an android from the early 22nd century.

She is here to tell us about life in the future, about the place of android in human society – from various assistants to sex-bots. She is currently evaluating her purpose in life, and what makes her different from both humans and other androids.


You have an unusual name, Coppélia. Do you know why you were given that name?

I’m named after a character in the ballet Coppélia, a life-size and lifelike mechanical doll. I suppose that’s how some people might describe me, since I’m an android.

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

I didn’t grow up. From what my human friends have told me, I think I would like to have had a childhood, but I was constructed in a laboratory. I don’t think humans would like to grow up in such an environment – there were no toys and nobody to be friends with, just assembly equipment and technicians.

Do you want to be human?

Not really. Why should I? I’m far more durable than any human and my physical abilities outweigh those of humans. My needs are fewer than those of humans – I don’t need oxygen as I don’t breathe, and I don’t need food or water as I draw my power from solar energy. Physically, humans are weaker than I am. I can’t see any advantage in trading in my nano-coated silicon carbide fibre reinforced composite body for an organic one.

What do you do now?

I’ve had lots of jobs. I’ve done everything from working in a bar, to an assistant nurse in a hospital. I’ve worked as a travel guide in foreign countries. I’ve taught in schools and have worked as a sales representative. Basically, I’ve worked anywhere that allows me to interact with humans. My most recent job was as a sexbot. However, I said ‘no’ and ran away. That’s how I met my friend Karen. Continue reading “Coppélia (of The Girl With Acrylic Eyes, by Greg Krojac)”

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Janet Douglas, Lady Glamis (of Kindred Spirits: Royal Mile, by Jennifer C Wilson)

Dear readers, tonight with me is the ghost of the trusted lady-in-waiting to Mary, Queen of Scots. She is here to tell us of royal life in in sixteenth century Scotland.


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

Ah, Scotland. We were a mobile household, but that’s what life was like in sixteenth century Scotland. I was one of seven, so they were lively times. That’s the thing about a good castle; what’s designed to protect and defend in times of siege and attack is great fun for children, left unsupervised by busy and worried parents. We ran riot. You ask about a favourite toy, but really, I wasn’t that keen on playing with toys; I preferred to lose myself in my thoughts, or play with my brothers and sisters. We practiced our courtly behaviour, making sure we were ready to take our places in society. You grew up fast in those days, especially when your brother was stepfather to the King of Scotland; we were practically royalty.

What do you do now?

It’s ironic, really, now, to be the trusted lady-in-waiting to Mary, Queen of Scots, after what happened between her father and I. Happily, she believes that I never truly tried to kill him, and I was certainly never a witch. Queen Mary, she understands how times were, and is glad to have somebody by her side who can truly support her, with an empathy as to what she went through herself.

My days are largely my own, especially when the Queen is not in town. I don’t accompany her out of town, although I hope if she ever goes on a progress, that I would be able to attend her. When she is in town, I greet her each morning, we agree her itinerary for the day, and whether she needs any support from myself or Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange, her right-hand-man these days. He’s such a good man; we make quite the team.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Her Grace Queen Mary’s latest visit. She comes every year, at least once, usually during August, so she can enjoy what the festival has to offer. This year has been, interesting. She cares about her court, truly, but this year, the problems have been closer to home, what with her father’s mood lowering so badly, and then, well, other matters. We have all had to pull together, the ghosts of the Royal Mile. But then, that’s what we are good at. Whether it’s consoling the poor lad down in the tunnels, or keeping Greyfriar’s Bobby out of trouble, we know our roles, and we carry them out. Even the Covenanters know their place, once they are reminded of it.

And don’t forget the haunting. There’s nothing like a good haunting to lift the mood around here. They make it easy for us, with all the ghost tours; we can have our pick of victims, either the guides or the guided, depending on how we feel. Continue reading “Janet Douglas, Lady Glamis (of Kindred Spirits: Royal Mile, by Jennifer C Wilson)”

The Hunter of Voramis (of Darkblade Assassin: Hero of Darkness, by Andy Peloquin)

Dear readers, tonight on the interview couch is the best assassin the world has ever seen. Driven by a cursed dagger with an unquenchable thirst for blood and death, he kills only those who truly deserve to die.

He’s here to tell us of his world and of fight for his life as he tries to find a way to atone for his mistakes.


Tell us a little about where you grew up and your history before becoming the legendary assassin of Voramis.

I have no memories of my childhood or anything before arriving in the city of Voramis. My earliest memories date back to the day I walked through the city gates, with nothing but the clothes on my back and my dagger, Soulhunger. But even despite the absence of memories, I discovered I knew one thing all too well: the art of killing. With no other prospects, I took on the profession of assassin-for-hire, and have spent the last five decades building my legend.

What is it like, spending your life killing people?

Death comes for us all, I simply hasten its arrival. But I do not kill at random. I find those who deserve death for the suffering they have caused others, and I deliver justice. In Voramis, many hide behind their wealth and use it to not only evade retribution, but to inflict pain and suffering on others. I am the one that sends them to the Long Keeper to stand trial for their crimes.

What can you tell us about the contract to kill Lord Dannaros?

When I discovered the truth of what he was doing, importing young women to sell as slaves, I knew he deserved the justice I delivered. It was a simple matter to use my pre-existing relationship with the nobleman—through my disguise of Lord Anglion of Praamis—to receive an invitation to his annual soiree, where I could find him alone and put an end to his cruelty. Continue reading “The Hunter of Voramis (of Darkblade Assassin: Hero of Darkness, by Andy Peloquin)”

Rhuna (of Keeper of Wisdom, by Barbara Underwood)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a young woman who grew up on the fringes of the empire of Atlantis. 

She is here to tell us about her travels across oceans and ancient worlds (from Atlantis to Ancient Egypt), her inherent mental powers, and her mysterious visions.


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

I grew up on a small island called Chinza.  It’s in the middle of the world’s biggest ocean and far away from any other place.  I didn’t even know that there was anything beyond the big blue horizon until I was about 12 solar cycles in age and met Tozar, who was hiding in my cave and told me he came from a land far away.   Up to that point, I lived outside the village with my mother who was always unhappy and picking on me for everything.  It wasn’t really a nice a place, and everyone thought I was strange because my skin was paler than everyone else’s.  People sort of avoided my mother and me, so I grew up playing by myself in the caves.  Chinza is a volcanic island and has lots of caves, so I used to explore those and play in them.  It was a dull and boring place until some strange people wearing white robes came to Chinza and began making huge stone statues that looked like people.  I spied on them once and saw that they used strange and special powers to make the big stone statues.

What was the most important thing that happened in your life?

Tozar – the man I found hiding in a cave on Chinza – took me away from that depressing place and told me about the Atlan Empire and the beautiful City of Atlán, where he lived.  The Atlan people have advanced knowledge and technology, as well as special abilities that enable them to transform elements such as sand to stone and metal to gold, just with the power of their minds!  They can also summon visions of faraway places and people using the reflection of a still body of water.  But the most exciting thing is that I found out that my father was an Atlan with such powers, and that I inherited those abilities from him!   At first I couldn’t believe that a plain girl like me could learn to summon visions of distant places, transform sand into stone, make heavy stone blocks almost weightless and then build my own small pyramid to harness lunar and cosmic energies!

What do you do now?

When I became an adult, I went to the City of Atlán to be with Tozar, and that’s where I attended a school to learn about healing and herbs.  Besides being a Healer, I also became part of the High Council of Atlán, alongside Tozar, helping to solve people’s problems, big and small.  But the biggest challenge was when the Dark Master started subverting our way of life, causing death and suffering among poor and helpless people.  That’s when we discovered that I had extra special powers of summoning visions, and this helped us stop the Dark Master…at least we thought so at first. Continue reading “Rhuna (of Keeper of Wisdom, by Barbara Underwood)”

Cora (of Grim, by Gavin McCallion)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a young woman, with a unique heritage.

With two dads and a year she was locked up in a basement and forced to practice her music, she has a very intriguing tale to tell.


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

Hey, I’m Cora, I’m nineteen and excellent. I’m from a little, angry, wet island called Wilson’s Well. It never stops raining and everything is grey. It’s a population of workmen, cafes and pubs. We’re all just getting by.

Living there is miserable for people who aren’t – well – umbrella salesfolk, I guess.

That seems harsh; the Well isn’t so bad. It’s just not great.

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

Favourite toys? I don’t think so. I was a loud kid with some hyperactivity issues. I never settled down with toys. I was doomed to be a musician. Way before I can remember, I pulled a whole load of pots and pans out of a cupboard and hit them as hard as I could until my dad came to shut me up. He’s since told me how brutally hungover he was that day and that he ‘felt like chucking me out the window.’ I heard that story so much growing up it must’ve subconsciously forced me into drums. Parents fuck you up.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Oh man. Right. You ready? I got black-out drunk one night – which was my brand at the time – and woke up in a basement with four other incredible musicians. With me? Cool. So, there was this ridiculous, eight-foot-tall cyborg who kept us there under orders from a lunatic in tartan trousers who needed the best musicians in Wilson’s Well to perform at his “Gala” where he planned to blow everything up. This guy is an A-grade prick, just FYI. His name is Judge Rabbit. Elsewhere, Judge Rabbit, who is responsible for electing the honest-to-God GRIM REAPER for our island, fucks up and brings my real dad – who I didn’t know about – back from the dead to do the job. He gets help from my step-dad, who I thought was my real dad, and they go on an adventure to rescue me. But they’re both incredibly useless men and the crap they go through to get anywhere near me is straight-up bananas.

So, yeah. That’s my most recent adventure. Continue reading “Cora (of Grim, by Gavin McCallion)”

Shawn Kleiner (of The Blue Bells Chronicles, by Laura Vosika)

Dear readers, tonight with me is the world famous trombonist, Shawn Kleiner. He is here to tell us of his recent trip to Scotland with his girlfriend Amy – and what happened when she stranded him in a Scottish castle tower overnight.


Tell us about your life—back before this whole story started.

At the time, I had it all. Or I thought I did, anyway. I was rich. Well, I still am. More money than I know what to do with—except of course, provide for James—that’s my son, he’s just over a year old now—and make sure he’s well prepared for what’s coming if I can’t stop it.

But look, I’m already thinking ahead. You’re asking about the past. At least, the recent past, not the past I’m talking about. Yeah, before this whole thing started—it seems like centuries ago. I was the featured soloist in this small Midwestern orchestra, and I made them great. Not bragging, just saying how it is.

So we were playing all over the country and all over the world, you know? I was onstage, girls loved me. And I was throwing these great parties and women were throwing themselves at me, I was having a great time and I had this reputation for incredible luck. Until I gambled my trombone away, just before a major concert on our tour in Scotland. I thought I couldn’t lose. And somehow I did. And Conrad was going to have a fit if I didn’t get it back and it just went downhill from there.

I lied to Amy—that’s my girlfriend—or was, it’s hard to say now—to get the trombone back and cover up and one thing and another, we ended up in the half-ruined tower of Glenmirril. I was going to completely win her over with a midnight picnic and instead, she got all pissed and took off, left me there in all this mist. And I woke up—well, I woke up in the wrong century.

You know most people don’t believe that. They know you have a reputation for making up stories. But if we did believe you—what century?

Yeah, well, God’s got a sense of humor, doesn’t He? One time I ever tell the truth is the one time no one will believe me. I woke up in 1314. June, to be exact, about two weeks before the Battle of Bannockburn. Continue reading “Shawn Kleiner (of The Blue Bells Chronicles, by Laura Vosika)”

Clara (of The Relic Guild series, by Edward Cox)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a young woman touched by magic – in a world where that is punishable by death.

She is here to tell us about her struggle to survive in a dangerous and dysfunctional city, about the great Labyrinth, and of the Relic Guild – a secret band of magickers sworn to protect it.


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

Horrible. Labrys Town has some nice places and the denizens make the most of what they have, which isn’t much, to be honest. And when you have as little as me, you don’t get to visit the nicer places much and life can be a little dangerous. When you’re stuck at the centre of a giant maze that doesn’t end, there’s not much chance of getting out, and folk tend to turn on themselves.

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

I never really had many possessions, but I have plenty of fond memories of my mothers. They treated me like I was the most important in the Great Labyrinth and wanted so much more for me in life. I think they’d be proud.

What do you do now?

Well, that’s a little tricky to answer, given the secrecy surrounding my profession. Let’s just say I’m an agent of the Relic Guild, and ask no more. Continue reading “Clara (of The Relic Guild series, by Edward Cox)”

Girton Club-Foot and Merela Karn (of The Wounded Kingdom series by RJ Barker)

Dear readers, tonight we reprint an intercepted missive containing what appears to be notes for an ancient play – a transcripted conversation between an interviewer, a master assassin, and her apprentice. Without further ado, we’ll also print the letter that accompanied the play.


Princess, I found this when going through the unfinished works of the famed playwright Horir ap Valuth and, knowing your interest in the stories of the past, thought of you. It purports to be a conversation between the playwright, the murderer Girton Club-Foot and his master, the assassin Merala Karn. It is probably little more than a mummers play but the parchment appears old and I know you have an interest in these people so I have copied it out for you. From what is said I think this takes place quite a bit earlier on in the life of Girton and Merela than in the other documents I have sent you.

Please do not tell your mother that you got this from me.

 

Rikkoneth, high scribe of Ceadoc. On the first day of Yearsbirth in the rule of Arakoneth III

~ ~ ~

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

G – I grew up a slave. Then my master…

M – Girton.

G – What? I was just saying that you –

M – Girton. Enough.

G – But the man is interested, Master, and I so rarely get to talk to anyone.

M – And why do you think that is?

Pause.

G – What we do is secret.

Did you have any favourite memories? Any toy or somesuch that you remember?

G – Slaves do not have toys.

M – You are not a slave, Girton.

G – Yes, but I did not have toys. Oh!  My master gave me a knife, would you like to see my knife?

I have seen knives before.

G – But not my knife! Look. When my master gave it to me it was rusty and now it is so sharp it can cut mount claws!  My master showed me how to sharpen it, to remove the rust with sand and to rebind the handle. I used pig leather and I dyed it with the blue berries you find at the road edge in Yearslife and…

M – Enough of knives, Girton. I do not think Horir is interested in the possessions of those he sees as slaves, Girton.

G – But you said I am not a slave, Master. Continue reading “Girton Club-Foot and Merela Karn (of The Wounded Kingdom series by RJ Barker)”

Richard Parsons (of Shadows Over Seattle, by Timothy Bateson)

Dear readers, tonight on the interview couch is a lupine – a werewolf, one of many breed of shape-shifters – from Seattle. He’s here to set some things straight, what is true and what is merely myth in our understanding of lycanthropy.


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

Seattle’s an amazing city, but then most people would say that I’m biased in my opinion. Because I lost both of my parents before I as even in my teens I grew up on the streets, crashing with friends, or occasionally fellow lupines. Sure, the streets can be a tough place to grow up, so I ran with one of the gangs, and lived off petty crime and handouts.

Now, you may think I spent a lot of nights sleeping on the streets or went hungry a lot, but thanks to my lupine heritage that didn’t happen often. I could head out to the hunting grounds on Cougar Mountain, and hunt down a rabbit or two and spend the night in wolf form.

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

My father left after I started showing signs of having inherited my mother’s lupine abilities. Somehow, she’d kept this side of her life from him even after they married, and she ended up having to raise me on her own. It was a tough time, because she sank into the bottle, blaming herself for my father leaving and she was in and out of jobs for a long time.

I had to learn to hide my shifting abilities, as well as hunt in wolf form just so the two of us could eat. But I’ll never forget those lessons, or the day I lost my mother while we were hunting.

What do you do now?

I miss those simpler days. Running with the gangs didn’t leave me much time for school, and I barely graduated. For someone like me it was hard getting a job or keeping it. I’ve never dealt well with authority, and I’ve had more than my share of run-ins with the police. Somehow, I can’t seem to stay out of trouble, and I know that’s partly how I ended up in my current predicament.

In the space of one night I went from having a great woman in my life, to a drunken brawl which somehow resulted in me being blackmailed into something I should never have agreed to. I couldn’t face being trapped in a cell for what happened, so I made a devil’s bargain and agreed to join a taskforce that investigates and hunts the criminal elements in the supernatural community. Continue reading “Richard Parsons (of Shadows Over Seattle, by Timothy Bateson)”

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