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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Toil Deshar (of The God Fragments series, by Tom Lloyd)

Dear readers, tonight we transcribe the records of a psych evaluation of a customs investigative officer. It seems like her job involves rather more magical relics and ancient horrors than is normal, and she has turned into a merciless killer.


Now Ms Deshar – you’ve been assigned to me for psychological assessment and we’ve been warned about you in advance, hence the bars. I am a professional, however, and mean to do my job properly. So – let us start with your childhood. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a small town just outside the city of Su Dregir. Da always joked that we had to live there because he wasn’t allowed in the city and… well. Turns out the commander of a famous mercenary company isn’t exactly encouraged to visit and take in a show.

All the same, it was a nice place to grow up, if you didn’t mind all the drinking and fighting. I was the luckiest girl in town of course, no one messed with me. I grew up around (and learned from) some of the more evil and dangerous reprobates in the world. By the time I was sixteen, men knew not to mess with any other girl in town too.

And this explains… ah, the way you are? The trauma of being in this violent world from an early age?

Oh nice try, but for this daddy’s girl the upbringing wasn’t traumatic, it was perfect!

All the same, I wish to explore it a little further. Tell me about your cherished memories from childhood, your favourite toy perhaps.

Whenever Da came home from campaign, it was like a whirlwind hit. Almost the entire Red Scarves company lived there so it was like every feast day rolled into one! It seemed magical to a girl who loved chaos, but I remember the small stuff just as fondly. My brother whispering at night about city-ruins and monsters. Creating elaborate plans to steal treats from the pantry, building secret dens. As for toys, there were two. A doll Ma made – she had red hair just like me and went on all kinds of grand adventures. I also had a Duegar relic Da had picked up on his travels. A metal box with a lens in, look through it and it’d draw patterns with the stars, the constellations of a dead race.

And now? This happy little girl, active and imaginative, albeit rather spoiled perhaps, became… um, well, what is your job exactly?

Oh you know, this and that. I’m a girl who doesn’t like to get bored. I do have an official job title, customs investigative officer, but I’m rarely found on the docks of Su Dregir. My boss appreciates talent and after I stopped a gang war, he decided my skills could be put to use elsewhere. My hobby of relic hunting means I wander far and wide – if on my travels I hear information that might benefit the city or I accidentally kill someone who deserves killing, so much the better.

Continue reading “Toil Deshar (of The God Fragments series, by Tom Lloyd)”

Mathew Slade (of Gaslight Gunslinger, by Sugar Lee Ryder)

Dear readers, tonight with us is an ex Pinkerton Agent turned detective and gun for hire. He’s here to tell us about the 1870’s Wild West, and of how a gunslinger used to open plains and prairies can deal with the criminal underworld of a crowded metropolis.


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

I grew up on the prairies of Nevada. It’s a dry, dusty sort of place. My family moved to Virginia City where my father got a job in the mines during the Comstock silver strike. As soon as I was old enough to hold a rifle, I honed my tracking and shooting skills killing varmints around Virginia City. People in those days didn’t care about the pest control, so whatever I bagged went into the pot.

My father was killed in a mine accident. He’d gotten us into debt, and mother and I still needed to eat and a place to rent, so I took a job as a wagon guard for the silver shipments. People who’d fallen on tough times or slid face first into the bottle were everywhere in a mining town. I got more practice with my gun than I care to admit before I left that town behind.

What made you leave Virginia City?

Mother caught the fever and after she died, I had to leave town to avoid payin’ off the rest of my father’s debt and caught the first train out of town. I ended up in Springfield, Illinois and since I needed to keep body and soul together, I lied about my age and I enlisted in the Army.

I looked as green as grass but shooting skills were in demand due to the start of the Civil War. So when I told them I was 18 they believed me.  I ended up 6th Illinois Cavalry under General Nathaniel Banks. I saw combat, I saw ‘the elephant’ as we then called it. Dreadful, just dreadful. I don’t want to talk about what I saw during the war right now.

All right, then. So what brought you to the current place in your life?

After the Civil war I joined the Pinkerton Detective Agency. First job I really liked, so I spent several years becoming the best agent there could be. Until my last assignment, where I was assigned to track two young women heading along the Oregon Trail to San Francisco.  

Turned out that Samantha Williams and Charlotte Hart were two tough young ladies, gave me a hell of time finding them. Hell of a job – I had to bring Samantha back to an abusive father. Idiot only wanted to marry her off like a damned cow.

Wild Bill Hickok was travelin’ with the two. He told me flat out what a lousy job I had. And when a legend of the West tells you that you’re in the wrong, you plain just listen. A year or two later, I quit Pinkerton and decided to head to San Francisco, where I am now.

Continue reading “Mathew Slade (of Gaslight Gunslinger, by Sugar Lee Ryder)”

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)”

Gary Karkofsky (of The Supervillainy Saga, by CT Phipps)

Dear readers, tonight with my is the supervillain Gary Karkofsky, also known as Merciless: The Supervillain without Mercy™.

Hes here to talk about super-powers, about heroes and villains, and about what separates them.


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

Hello, I am Gary Karkofsky a.k.a Merciless the Supervillain without Mercy™. Yes, I know it’s redundant. I am the world’s first anti-villain and supervillain for the common good. I lie, cheat, and I still with my magic cloak but it’s all for the greater good. Well, at least mine. I live in a world full of heroes, villains, gods, and monsters but it’s all up for grabs if you’re willing to take it.

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

I was born in New Angeles as the younger brother of Keith Karkofsky a.k.a Stingray the Underwater Assassin. Unfortunately, antiheroes gunned down my brother and I swore I’d avenge him. Then life happened and I completely forgot about that vow. It’s decades later and I’ve decided to give supervillainy a go again. My wife Mandy is less than pleased with my new career choice, especially since it brings me in contact with two of my exes. My henchwoman Cindy a.k.a Red Riding Hood and Gabrielle Anders a.k.a Ultragoddess the World’s Greatest Sueprheroine.

What do you do now?

To be a supervillain is to have great power and zero responsibility. I rob, cheat, lie, and steal in order to have as much fun as possible. It sure as hell beats my former job as a bank teller. However, I will say that I try not to hurt the regular people of the world. Unfortunately, that’s harder than it sounds since they seem to think my actions warrant sending cyborg mercenaries and killer robots after me. Other supervillains resent my robbing them as well.

Continue reading “Gary Karkofsky (of The Supervillainy Saga, by CT Phipps)”

Travis Malone and Spencer Abbot (of the Hell Bent series by Kayla Matt)

Dear readers, tonight with me are two people who started their day as anyone would.

Looking for a present to one’s wife, they came across a photography studio. What they uncovered there shocked them – and will no doubt shock and disturb you too.

Read on to learn more about the gruesome underbelly of city of Hell Bent.


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

Spencer: About Hell Bent… Well, there’re laboratories everywhere, for one thing. See, where Travis and I are from, science is the most likely career option for most people. My own parents pushed me to pursue medicine. It might not be the most respected job one could take, but it’s still a necessary one.

Travis: Yeah, our hometown might be all science-y and shit, but some of their laws are kinda crappy. Someone commits a crime or ends up homeless for some reason, they won’t get a lawyer or any sort of aid. Nope, they get shipped right to a lab the moment they’re found out. And when they reach those labs, that’s when the experiments begin.

Spencer: So…yes. Our hometown is that odd combination of progressive and practically barbaric at the same time.

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

Travis: I don’t really think dad let me or my sister have that many toys. Dude was…seriously, SERIOUSLY not fit to be a parent. He kicked us both out when I throat-punched the hell out of him. We got lucky, though, that the first person to encounter us post-evol…em…uh, Spence, what’s that word for when you get kicked out of your house?

Spencer: Eviction.

Travis: Right, right. Thanks. Anyway, post-eviction, we were taken in by one of the city’s best geneticists. Yeah, she sort of tweaked our DNA a bit, but she didn’t do anything without our okay. So, I’d say that meeting Dr. Taylor was one of the best memories I have.

Spencer: What, nothing about meeting me?

Travis: (shrugs) Dude, I’ve known you since before I could remember.

Spencer: Ah, right. Anyhow, my parents were both quite loving and supportive, even if they were rather insistent upon my studying medicine. A lot of the toys I had were related to that. I was a whiz at Operation by the time I hit the second grade. But I had this skeleton I kept stored in my closet. His name was Geoff.

Travis: Geoff was creepy.

Spencer: To each his own, I suppose. My best childhood memory, though, was when Travis and I reconnected. We were separated for a few years, so to see him again was a blessing. Continue reading “Travis Malone and Spencer Abbot (of the Hell Bent series by Kayla Matt)”

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)”

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)”

Dydre Rowyn (of War Merchant by Patrick Parker)

war-merechant-patrick-parker

Dear readers, tonight with me on the interview couch is a woman trying to escape from the black-market arms trade.

Her risky plan went wrong, and she found her – and her son’s – life in danger from her former boss, his mercenaries, a double-crossing businessman, terrorists, the FBI, and a man from the Defense Department.

She is here to tell us about her suspenseful adventures in a world of corrupt politics, a ruthless greedy opportunist, terrorists, and a pawn with deadly skills.


Tell us a little about where you’re from and growing up.

I lived in Hanau, Germany until I was about thirteen when my parents were killed in a car wreck. I was put in a foster home, and about a year later, I ran away. I couldn’t make the adjustment, too young I guess.

I met Johanna Zsigmond in a Frankfurt park not long after I ran away, and she hired me as a live-in domestic and assistant to her. We got along great. Sometimes we’d talk for hours. She convinced me to go back to school and on to Cambridge. She treated me as if I was her daughter and I loved her dearly. I still miss her to this day.

Johanna was such a wonderful person. She was more than a mother to me, she became my best friend. She got me interested in theatre and martial arts, focusing on jujitsu in high school. In my spare time, Johanna taught me the romance languages.

After I moved in with Johanna, I kept quite busy with school and, of course, she kept me busy with language lessons. I liked Frankfurt better than Hanau. There was so much to do in Frankfurt and I loved the markets and festivals. Johanna stressed the arts and we were always going to plays, concerts, and museums.

Any cherished memories?

I miss Johanna. She didn’t have any children of her own and I filled that void. Johanna died of cancer during my junior year at Cambridge. I was devastated and took the rest of the year off. I returned to school the following year as that is what Johanna would have wanted.

I became pregnant during my senior year at Cambridge and was to be married just before graduation. Michael Barron, an army captain, was a very handsome man and a wonderful person. He would be any woman’s dream. Unfortunately, he was killed in Bosnia a week before the wedding.

David, my son, looks just like Michael. David is my world now. Continue reading “Dydre Rowyn (of War Merchant by Patrick Parker)”

Sapphyre (of Sapphyre by Jason Komito)

Jason Komito - SapphyreDear readers, tonight with me is a young woman, who recently found out that she has latent magical abilities. Accompanied by a mysterious gentlemen and following an ancient prophecy, Sapphyre goes out to face the world.

 

What can you tell us of the streets you grew up on?

Thorenn has not changed much in the past 17 winters, I don’t believe. Oh, yes, please pardon me. I forget that most of the people who are reading this have never been to Arstevia. The capital lays on the east coast of the continent and is the largest city in the land. It is also the largest port on the eastern seaboard and it is a few weeks ride south of the Myth Mountains on the finest of steeds.

Even though I spent my first few winters living on the streets of the city and begging and stealing to get my fill, I do have some good memories of my childhood. I never knew my parents and the first time I ever felt any feeling of family was when I met Kat and joined the Pugs.

I’m sorry I get a little choked up when talking about Katrivus. He is my dearest friend and we are still trying to figure out a way to rescue him.

But I digress. We were speaking of my youth. Continue reading “Sapphyre (of Sapphyre by Jason Komito)”

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