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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the protagonists of your favourite books

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Crime Thriller

Gaius Petreius Ruso (of Vita Brevis by Ruth Downie)

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Dear readers, tonight with us is a combat medic, servicing in the legions assigned to one of the Roman Empire’s most notoriously dangerous provinces – Britain. He’s here to tell about his adventures, and accidental involvement in crime.

How does a Roman army medic end up solving murders?

I’m glad you asked that, because the answer is: reluctantly. I’m supposed to be in the business of making people feel better, so despite what anyone tells you, I’m not keen on stirring up trouble. I wouldn’t have gone near that business of the dead girl back in Deva if anyone else had been willing to deal with it. Oh, and if the lady who is now my wife hadn’t been quite so insistent.

(Of course as the head of the household, I’m the one in charge. Not my wife. I want to make that clear, because some of the people reading this may be Britons, who often have trouble remembering the proper order of things. I know this because my wife, Tilla, is a Briton. On the other hand, since very few of them see the point of reading and writing, this paragraph may be redundant.)

To return to the subject of murders—I certainly don’t go looking for them, but in the course of my work I stumble across suspicious injuries, and now word seems to have got round that if you’ve found an unexpected body, Ruso’s the man to deal with it. My author tells me that in the future there will be a specialist unit called the Police Force who are called in to sort out these things, while doctors can get on with seeing their patients and writing reports for the Treasury administrators. I’m sure she must have got the second half of that wrong. No-one in their right mind would pay a doctor to work as a scribe. Continue reading “Gaius Petreius Ruso (of Vita Brevis by Ruth Downie)”

Bane Shaw (of Closer to Home by Regan O’Leary)

Closer to Home - Regan OLearyDear readers, tonight with me is a Scottish musician, now living and working in Hollywood South (that’s the south Louisiana film industry, for those not in the know).

He will tell us of his move, and of some dark secrets from his past that haunted him across the Atlantic.

 

It’s rumored that you drink a lot of whisky, is that true?

Aye, well I suppose the answer depends on your definition of “a lot.” Let’s just say I enjoy whisky like the true Scotsman I am.

What is the story behind your nickname ‘Bane’?

(Wry laugh.) Well, it means ‘Bone’. The week I turned eighteen I got a job at the public house of the Hill’s Hotel. I worked as a barman. But, bartending at night at The Rigg sometimes required breaking up fights, especially during football matches between the Rangers and Celtics. The rivalry is as old as Glasgow itself and has more to do with religious bigotry than football so things often got intense inside the pub. My manager gave me the nickname, “Bane,” because, more times than not, anyone I had to throw out of the pub left with a broken bone. Continue reading “Bane Shaw (of Closer to Home by Regan O’Leary)”

Josie Tucker (of The Bride Wore Dead by EM Kaplan)

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Dear readers, tonight with me is the renowned food-blogger and critic Josie Tucker. She is here to tell us about some of the hair-raising, Agatha Christie adventure – only vaguely related to food – which she had recently. 

 

Where did you grow up? When did you decide to become a food critic, despite your digestive issues?

I spent some formative years growing up in Tucson, Arizona—partly in high school, the rest in what you might call the school of hard knocks. I’m not bragging or anything—sometimes I think I’m lucky I’m still here. Those chollas, man, can eat you alive. Do not mess with teenage girls of the Latina variety. Though one of them saved my butt. More than once.

And my job…Like a lot of jobs, I fell into being a food critic accidentally. I mean, my mother used to have a restaurant, so I have a blue collar knowledge of the food industry first hand. But when I applied as an intern to the now-defunct newspaper that was my first job, I was just supposed to be a human interest researcher. You know, follow up on names and places and dates. Get a few pictures if no one else was around to do it. Long story short, I ended up ghostwriting the food column for the psycho-columnist-in-residence. By the time the psycho imploded and they found out I didn’t have any formal training—no degree from the Cordon Bleu or the Culinary Institute, nothing like that—my readership had increased enough that I was safe from being fired. The people had spoken and they liked me, for whatever reason. Luckily.

As for the digestive issues, no one knows about that, so I’d appreciate it if you keep that off the record. I’m in denial myself. Continue reading “Josie Tucker (of The Bride Wore Dead by EM Kaplan)”

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