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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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17th Century

Sir Blandford Candy (of The Last Roundhead series by Jemahl Evans)

the-last-roundhead-jemahl-evans
Dear readers, tonight with us is an irascible old drunk with a hatred of poets and a love of hats, straight out of the 17th century English Civil War.

He is here to tell us of his adventures, from battlefield to bedroom, unmasking Cavalier plots, earning the enmity of the King’s agents and uncovering an attempt to steal thousand.

 

 

 

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

I was born on the Ides of March 1624 – prophetic, no? My father was a rich cloth merchant who had an estate in Hilperton, near the town of Trowbridge in Wiltshire. Papa gave me the name Blandford after the town where he had just bought a new tannery. ’Twas not the best of starts perhaps, but then my father was ever a drunken old sot. He was likely too soused to think of a proper name.

My mother died when I was but a child from smallpox, and my eldest sister Elizabeth did her best to raise me, and my siblings. I had four: two brothers and two sisters, all dead now, of course. I was the fourth of five, with my little sister Anne the youngest – and most witless; truly she had less intellect than your average sheep. I am the last of the Hilperton Candys, excepting my idiot great nephew. He has just married; he is charmingly naïve.

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

I used to love to play with a whip and top that Mr Figgis carved for me, but my brother James took it, broke the whip over his knee, and threw the bobbin into the River Avon. I had my vengeance: I hid some dead gudgeon under his floorboards until the stink drove him out of his chambers. My eldest brother Henry was a hairy giant – more monkey than man – and another bully, but ’twas ever James that was most cruel. I remember little of my mother – soft white hands and a smile, nought else of worth. ’Tis a tragedy for a son not to remember his mother’s love. Do you see? I am not averse to playing for sympathy if it be to my benefit. Continue reading “Sir Blandford Candy (of The Last Roundhead series by Jemahl Evans)”

Captain Hollie Babbitt (of Red Horse by M. J. Logue)

Red Horse - M J Logue

Dear readers, tonight with us is Captain Hollie Babbitt, of the Parliamentarian Army. A scruffy ex-mercenary, his command includes a posh poet, a bad-tempered horse, and a troop made up of every rebel, dissenter and horse-thief the rest of the Army didn’t want.

 

 

Can you tell us a bit about where you grew up? What is the best memory of your childhood?

Has my wife put you up to this? That sounds like her kind o’ daft question.
I grew up in Lancashire, in Bolton, on the edge of the moors. There’s some folk as believe I was dragged up not brought up, which I was not. Never knew my mother, and the old – sorry, my father – hated me for better part o’ thirty-six years. Mam died having me, and he always said he’d have took her life over mine, if he’d been asked. That, and he never wanted a lad; he wanted a little girl, if he’d had to have a child instead of a wife.

I grew up a bit wild, bit not wicked. Neglected, you might say. I reckon the old mon thought if he beat me hard enough and often enough it’d do for bringing me up. The daft thing is, he thought he was doing the right thing. Thought if he let up on me I might go off and be a worse sinner than I was. Didn’t want me to bring shame on mam’s memory. Very godly feller, the old mon.

That’s not the sort of childhood you end up wi’ good memories of. Although there was a lass in Bolton that I was very fond of – no, not like that! Well, a bit like that – bless her, she used to look after me, slip me gingerbread, the odd hot pie, when he wasn’t around. I thought a lot of Gatty Norton. The old man taught me my letters, and my manners, but Gatty taught me kindness. Saw her again just before Marston Moor, but that – well. That’s a story for another time. She deserved better.

Oh aye – and she gave me a bit of a fondness for competent women, especially if they’re heavy-handed wi’ cake. But don’t mention that in front of the missus, eh? Continue reading “Captain Hollie Babbitt (of Red Horse by M. J. Logue)”

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