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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the protagonists of your favourite books

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Adventure

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)”

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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)”

Sweetnettle the Lobli (of The Malevir Series, by Susan B Marcus)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a little sprite, from a faraway fantasy world.

He is here to tell us about the dangers that afflict his world, about the return of dragons, and about the other wonderful and wondrous creatures that inhabit it. 


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

I am a Dragonwolder sprite called a Lobli, about 18 inches high. I see the world from the height of your knee cap. Dragonwolder is my world, a broad and varied land mass surrounded by seas. I was born in dark times, and I don’t mean at night. A destructive force, the Malevir, was burning farms and towns and killing people’s herds. I left my family of house sprites early on to apprentice with the magician giant Rocànonom who was planning to rescue Dragonwolder from the Malevir by reviving its exiled dragons.

Do you have cherished memories from your childhood?

Before I left home, my parents, sister, and I lived in the wall behind a cottage hearth in the village of Anonom. We helped clean, cook, and care for the indwellers. Secretly, of course, but they always left savory porridge and milk out at night. We all liked that very much. I remember those calm and cozy times with pleasure.  I also remember my father’s saying as I parted for Rocánonom’s tower, “Someday, they’ll all be talking about you and how you made peace between the people of Dragonwolder and its long-hidden dragons.” Imagine how my two hearts leaped at the thought.  

What do you do now?

What don’t I do? I am on Rocánonom’s team, helping him restore order and safety to Dragonwolder. I am small, but loyal and adventurous. You should have seen me bite into the Malevir’s shin—ah, I shiver at the thought, how the beast poisoned me the first time. Anyway, I wanted to protect my giant friend and fellow Loblin from the Malevir’s attack after the beast discovered our secret refuge under a town. Everyone thought the poison killed me, but I came back to life in the dragons’ lair.  All that is in our scribe’s account, Malevir: Dragons Return. Continue reading “Sweetnettle the Lobli (of The Malevir Series, by Susan B Marcus)”

Ember (of The Exiled Otherkin, by D. Lieber)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a half-fae, exiled from the lands of Faerie when her father died. Surprised by the changes in the human world, she takes a job on an airship.

She’s here to tell us about faeries, pirates, and traveling players as she tries to cope with feelings long forgotten and a past that still pursues her.


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

When I was really young, my mother was murdered, so my father took me to live with him in Faerie. As a place, it’s very pleasant. There’s no separation between nature and the inhabitants. For instance, plants and animals are part of your household; they grow and go where they please.

I really loved it there when I first arrived. I got to spend a lot of time with Papa, and Liam and I became great friends. However after Papa married Helena, she destroyed my life bit by bit. The only thing she ever gave me was my little brother, Pika. He is my light in the pit that Faerie is to me now.

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

Most of my cherished memories as a young child where from spending time with my parents and Liam. My parents loved each other so deeply, and I always wanted that for myself one day. I had hope for a while, but it turned sour when Liam betrayed me. After Papa married Helena, I couldn’t afford to cherish anything. If she found out, she’d destroy it.

What do you do now?

I recently got a job as rigger on a merchant airship in the human realm. It’s my job to climb around the envelope of the airship and check it for leaks. Continue reading “Ember (of The Exiled Otherkin, by D. Lieber)”

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)”

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)”

Jay of (Suffrage by Julian St Aubyn Green

julian-green-suffrage

Dear readers, tonight with me is woman with powers beyond any human, trying to prevent the destruction of our world by her father.

She is here to tell us about her efforts to redeem herself, save the world, and about certain ancient relics that lie hidden in our world – and of the travellers who come looking for them.


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

I appreciate what you are trying to do, really. But you need to think very carefully about what questions you ask me. I know you feel like you have a duty to the people of this planet to find out about me. It’s admirable. But I know the purpose of this interview. The President wants to use it for propaganda, but for you it’s a record, history in the making and the reason behind all the deaths.

I’m sorry for making you feel nervous, but understand, there are some things I won’t answer. My secrets are too important to share, some of your people have already tried to kill me for them. I might have agreed to this interview as a favor for the President, but that doesn’t mean you have carte blanche. I won’t answer every question.

That said, I was born in a place I only knew as the Facility, in a crèche of my half-brothers and sisters. It was somewhere in the White Realm, that’s all I know. My slave name was Juliet. You can call me Jay. No. I know what you are thinking, my name has nothing to do with William Shakespear. It comes from the military phonetic alphabet. You know, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie…Delta. I remained in the facility until I was rescued by the Rebellion. I’m telling you this because it’s not me you need to fear. It’s the Monarchs that think they can do what they want, because they have the power, and no consequences for their actions.

What can you tell us about-?

No. I don’t consider him my Father. I call him The Inseminator. It’s an appropriate name for a monster of his caliber. You have no idea what he is capable of. He and the other Royals. He is worse than any of your history’s despots. Who was Adolf Hitler? Yes, even worse than him. During the Monarch War, he slaughtered half the world until there was no one willing to stand against him. Just let that sink in. Half the world. Continue reading “Jay of (Suffrage by Julian St Aubyn Green”

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