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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Australia

Effie Tsiragakis (of Bloodsucking Bogans, by Tabitha Ormiston-Smith)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a library assistant. She is here to talk about her policewoman friend investigating a plague of dead rats and finding something quite else.


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

Oh, I’ve always been a Dingo Flats girl. Same old. Out of the three of us, me and my two BFFs Sam and Shanna, only Sam left, to go to the Police Academy, and now she’s back too. It’s not a bad place for a Western suburb. There’s a big library, that’s where I work. And of course there’s the Vet Hospital. One pub and a nightclub, and a river runs along the edge of town, so it’s nice for picnics and that.

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

Cherished memories, umm… yeah nah I reckon my best memory hasn’t happened yet, but one of the most fun things I’ve done was staking out that hot vet, Gordon Somerville. It was just like being a real detective. Sam was real cross about it – she reckons only cops should do that kinda stuff, but hey. It all worked out for the best. It was for her benefit, anyway. A good deed is its own reward, right?

What do you do now?

I work in the Dingo Flats library. It’s what I wanted to do. I stuck out school all the way to Year 12 to qualify for it. I mean, I was sooooo tempted to leave when Shanna did, she got an apprenticeship at Scissors ya know, and all of a sudden there she is working and earning money and that, and here’s me and Sam still kids at school having to ask our Dads for our pocket money. It was hard. But I made the sacrifice and I love my job. I get to read everything, and even better, I get to know what everyone else is reading. I mean, not many people would guess that Mrs Peabody reads hot steamy fireman porn, right?

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

OMG. The last few months’ve been so epic. Sam came back, she got a posting at the nick back here, so it was wonderful just for a start, the three of us all together again. Me and Shanna had a ball giving her a makeover. Sam’s such a dag. ‘Makeup doesn’t go with the uniform,’ she reckons. OMG and you should hear her get started on drink driving. She’s always taking our keys off me and Shanna. But the most fun thing this year was when Sam investigated how all the dead rats kept appearing outside the shops down the main drag, and you won’t believe what she found out! It’s totally awesome!

Continue reading “Effie Tsiragakis (of Bloodsucking Bogans, by Tabitha Ormiston-Smith)”

Isabella Brown (of The Sentinel, by Jacqueline Hodder)

Dear readers, tonight we witness something a little different. The protagonist of the novel, Miss Devine, a 19th century governess for small children, is interviewing one of her new charges.


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

Well, I don’t rightly remember England as such. Da brought us out to Australia when I was no higher than Grace is now but I do remember the sea. Oh, Miss Devine, how much that sea threw its cold hard hands around our ship and how the wind wailed! I asked Ma what she thought the wind was saying to me but she shut me up with a knock and told me to take little Robbie down below. She was so scared the sea folk would steal her boy away. I got scared watching the way her eyes lit on him like the sea folk were going to steal him away right then, right out of her hands and she’d have no cause to hold on tight, having lost most of her feelings in the bitter chill.

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

There’s always been too many children for us to have toys, Miss Devine, but we made do. I remember a tree that grew out of the hard ground near the docks in Hobart. Ma used to let me climb it when Da’s boat was due and ‘cause I spent so much time in that tree, I got to know it’s branches and it’s colours and it was sort of like a living thing to me. Now, don’t look at me like that, Miss Devine. I know you think I take a fancy to things that aren’t always what you can see with your eyes but you don’t know what’s out there. I swear that tree breathed. In summer I watched it shed its bark like it was growing through its skin. I picked up the brown curling back and put it near my other collections, somewhere near the house so Da don’t find it when he’s had a lick too much to drink and think it’s rubbish.

What do you do now?

What a funny question, Miss Devine! You know what I do now. Nothing’s the same since we all came to the lighthouse together, you know that. I found something, something I can do. Like, when Mr Johannsson asks me to do the weather observation in the morning, and I know how to judge the swell height and the size and shape of the waves and the names of the clouds that sweep around that piece of land over there – see, Miss Devine, that rocky ledge where the blue sea breaks? The clouds get caught on the trees sometimes and their underneath hangs down, they remind me of Grace’s skirts when she’s been running in the sharp bushes after Roger, and Ma growls at her because she’s ruining more clothes we don’t have. Anyway, I love helping Mr Johannsson and I love it here at The Sentinel.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Oh, there’s been so many, Miss Devine! How about that time when the Madeleine almost foundered and all those poor souls nearly lost their lives? Or the time when the storms hit and we didn’t see the sun for days and Da got so mad with me for helping Mr Johannsson? I thought we were lost then, Miss Devine. But Mr Johannsson, he always comes through for us, don’t he? I wish Da didn’t make me stop seeing him but Mrs Dawson, I know you don’ t trust her, but she’s kind to me and she said she’d talk to Da about me going back to help Mr Johannsson in the weather room.

Continue reading “Isabella Brown (of The Sentinel, by Jacqueline Hodder)”

Nash Bannon (of Lifeliners, by Stefan Vucak)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a member of homo renata, the species destined to replace homo sapiens. This young lifeliner, as they are commonly called, is here to tell us about his life in Australia amidst protest marches by extremist groups, riots, attacks against lifeliners, and repressive laws enacted by governments everywhere — and his current position as a Senate candidate for the Lifeliner Party.


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

What can I say? As far back as I can remember, which is a long way back – my eidetic memory is a dump truck – Melbourne has always been a fun city for me. My twin brother Mark and I spent time riding the trams and keeping our parents from finding out what we were up to. We played pranks on our younger sister Natalie. Let’s face it. We were mean to her, girls having an odd idea of fun. As Melbourne changed, so did I. I knew about lifeliners, of course. They sucked energy from people, and everybody thought they would one day take over the world. When Mark and I turned fourteen, Dad has a quiet talk with us, which turned my bright, innocent world into something dark. Why? We were lifeliners, a secret I could never reveal to anyone, not if I wanted to live.

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

As a kid, I was never much into toys, preferring to explore the wonders of emerging technology, devouring books, and learning what it meant to be a lifeliner. On a tram, Mark and I would select a donor and jam off him. We weren’t fussy. It could also be a woman. A light touch to establish a connection, and two minutes or so would be enough to drain a bit of life-force, as I called it, without disturbing the donor.

I loved our family outings, having fond memories of our trips to Daylesford. Dad was a QANTAS exec and Mom a graphics artist. I guess some of their smarts must have passed to me and Mark. I must say that our sister Natalie was pretty sharp herself. We had a wonderful time as kids, something that will stay with me always.

What do you do now?

Would you believe it? I am now a Lifeliner Party federal Senator! When I fell in love with Cariana Lambert, the last thing I expected was being betrayed by her, something that wounded me deeply. I got it sorted out, but the draconian laws being passed by the federal government to strip away rights and freedoms not only from lifeliners, but ordinary people, and the increased incidence of attacks against lifeliners, led me into politics. There is a lot more to the story, of course, but you’ll just have to read the book to find out. Continue reading “Nash Bannon (of Lifeliners, by Stefan Vucak)”

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