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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the protagonists of your favourite books

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Crime

Dana McCarren (of The Hook, by Kathleen Doler)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a globe-trotting journalist making the journey back to her childhood town, a place she has been running away from all her life.

She is there to reconnect with her family, her drug-addicted brother, and the town’s tight-knit surfing community. In the process she runs into a gang war, a violent drug kingpin, the FBI, and a whole new family crisis.

She is here to tell us about facing her ruinous childhood, her inability to sustain relationships, and her struggle to move on with her life. 


Tell us a little about growing up in Half Moon Bay and learning to surf?

When he was a thirteen-year-old grommet, my older brother, Shane, started learning to surf with his buddy, Craig. I was always determined to do anything Shane did. So, I’d ride my bike out of the neighborhood and hunt them down — I had the makings of a journalist even as a tween. I’d pedal as fast as I could…away from that house, away to anywhere. Finally, Craig got tired of seeing me sitting alone on the foggy damp cliffs, watching. For my twelfth birthday, he gave me his old yellowed and dented surfboard, coated with dirt-encrusted surf wax. It was waterlogged, heavy and hideous, but it smelled like coconuts and it was mine. I started trying to ride it, getting drilled into the sand regularly. I was hooked. Surf rushes. It fills my ears and quiets my brain. It washes off the shame.

Do you have any cherished childhood memories?

Cherished? Not a word I’d ever use in the same sentence as “childhood.” I ran away from my fucked-up family (sorry, journalists always have potty mouths) as soon as I’d graduated from high school, when I was just seventeen. I rarely visit my hometown of Half Moon Bay. It can suffocate me worse than a collapsing wave. Craig helped me make my escape to college…at the time, Shane was already self-medicating, escaping in another way.

What do you do now?

Although I’m a business journalist with a well-respected newspaper I like to tell people I’m a professional gossip. Really, what do I do? I get people to tell me things they’re not supposed to say and I’m not supposed to know. If I ask the right question, the person I’m interviewing squirms. That tells me I’m on the right track. I’m a road warrior; I travel frequently for work. It’s a great way to avoid having a real life, one with relationships and commitments. I don’t have pets; hell, I have a hard time keeping house plants alive.

Continue reading “Dana McCarren (of The Hook, by Kathleen Doler)”

Dydre Rowyn (of War Merchant by Patrick Parker)

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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)”

Detective Lisa Paco (of Vital Spark by Leah Devlin)

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Dear readers, tonight with me is a young millennial homicide detective.

While it may seem that this small-town, hashtag-speaking, police offer is too young for it, she had the (mis-)fortune of dealing with some scary serial killers.

She is here to tell about what is now known as the Chesapeake Tugboat Murders.

 

 

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

The name’s Paco.  Sergeant Lisa Paco.  I’m a detective on the River Glen Police Department, the best PD in the best village in America.   Yeah, yeah, I know I look like a sixteen-year-old, but here, if you don’t believe me, check my police ID.  See, right there.  My DOB.  I’m almost thirty.  I was born and raised here in River Glen on the Chesapeake Bay … on the Maryland part of the bay, not the Virginia part.  So we don’t have those stinging sea nettles like the Virginians in the southern bay.  And if some joker tells you that Virginia blue crabs taste better than Maryland crabs, well, he’s just plain delusional.  Okay, back to River Glen.  We have a population 89.  We have a psychic, Cannabis farmers, burnouts from the 60s, moon-shiners, artists, crabbers, and fishermen … all the usual suspects.  Oh, we also have pyrates.  Yeah, yeah, you’re laughing like you don’t believe me.  But I promise, it’s true.  We have pyrates.  Really!  Real-life modern pyrates.  Yep, River Glen was founded by pyrates from the pyrate ship Raven.  Every summer we have the annual pyrate festival, Giles Blood-hand Day.  It commemorates Giles Hale’s slaughter of the deranged Whitby family who stole gold from the village treasury in 1694.  He’s a local hero for returning the treasure.  The festival’s wilder than a Jimmy Buffett- or Grateful Dead concert.  It’s crazier than Burning Man.

So here’s how we got pyrates.  In the late 1600s the Raven was hiding out in today’s Tampa Bay to avoid a hurricane.  After the storm, a Spanish treasure galleon appeared off the coast.  While the crippled galleon was mending her masts, the Raven attacked.  Guns blazing, the Raven’s crew killed the Spaniards, stole the treasure, and made a runner up the eastern seaboard, but not before abducting women prisoners working on a Virginia tobacco plantation.  The Raven slipped behind colonial defenses at the mouth of the Chesapeake and found a remote river to make repairs.  Her hull was rotten with shipworms; the planks crumbled to the touch.  The pyrates and their ladies were stranded on the upper Chesapeake.  So that’s the origins of the tiny village of River Glen.  But what … I ask you … happened to the Raven’s fathomless treasure? Continue reading “Detective Lisa Paco (of Vital Spark by Leah Devlin)”

Katla Sieltjes and Bram Merleyn (of the Amsterdam Assassin Series by Martyn V. Halm)

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Dear readers, It’s quite an honour to receive the protagonists of the Amsterdam Assassin Series for an interview, since both are known to be notoriously reticent to talk about themselves. For this interview we have left the usual couch behind, and meet them at Katla Sieltjes’s new office in the Kavallerie Kazerne near Artis, the Amsterdam Zoo. Katla’s boyfriend, Bram Merleyn, is already there, cleaning his tenor saxophone. His distinctive looks, especially the scarring on his face caused by the shrapnel that blinded him, make Katla look especially nondescript in her appearance. Katla often remarked how her bland appearance was an asset in her occupation, so I asked about that first.

Katla Sieltjes: Unlike most of my girlfriends, I didn’t really want to stand out with my appearance. I often dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, and I wasn’t curvy, so some people even confused me with being a boy.

Assaph Mehr: Why didn’t you want to stand out?

Katla Sieltjes: Fits best with my nature, I think. I tend to be an observer more than a participant. I guess you could call me an Einzelgänger. Continue reading “Katla Sieltjes and Bram Merleyn (of the Amsterdam Assassin Series by Martyn V. Halm)”

Jerry (of What One Leaves Behind by Regan O’Leary)

What One Leaves Behind - Regan O'LearyDear readers, in a bizarre and somewhat worrying turn of events, our little interview couch is now participating in a crime across international borders.

You may recall the interview about two weeks ago with Bane Shaw. It seems that his dark past is not yet done with him. Revenge killings never end, and now the son of the man Bane murdered to protect his family is after him. We tracked him down on his murderous path, and asked him some hard questions.

 

 

Tell us about growing up in Glasgow, about your involvement with the street gangs

Gangs in Glesgae – that’s just the way of life. Gang life’s been around for hundreds of years! Hell, Glesgae has mair gangs than London – I’ll bet you didnae ken that! But, the only street gang that matters are my boys! The Billy Boy from Bridgeton. They’ve goat my back – always have, always will. We’re family! My da and my uncle were members – it’s who we are. We stick together against them Shanley Boys in Bridgeton and those Peel Glen Boys in the Drum. *Curses* Fenian Tims! We will always threaten their shops, piss on their churches, and force their kids from our cinemas! It’s status! I’m feared and respected because of my gang.

How did you know Bane Shaw was back in Glasgow? Did it take you to track him down?

I knew that big-heided arse would come back to Glesgae eventually. He was easy enough to find, an’ aw! Those stupid PGB blabbed all over Glesgae that the Bane Shaw was coming home – like he was some bastard hero! Coming back to marry his yank hoor! He wisnae that hard to find!

I understand you threatened Bronagh?

Aye! That I did! Unlike my da and my uncle, I know how to hurt a man! And it isnae killing whit family he left behind in Glesgae, no! I’ll take his soul from him – I’ll take his woman! Continue reading “Jerry (of What One Leaves Behind by Regan O’Leary)”

Max Villalobos (of The Galapagos Agenda by Leonardo Wild)

Leonado Wild - Galapagox AgedaDear readers, tonight with us is someone who we might mistake for a playboy. This son of a billionaire however, found himself embroiled in an international intrigue involving nations.

 

 

What was is like growing up as the son of a billionaire?

You mean, was I happy? Worry-free. The answer to that is a big “No.”

When everybody wants something from your father—including kidnapping him, or taking his life—then you wish you weren’t the son of a billionaire. Especially when you begin to realize that maybe they have good reason.

That’s not something you’re very much aware of when you grow up, not until you begin to realize that … well, that you don’t like your father much.

Oh yes, indeed, there are perks, perks that for many years seemed not only normal to me, but a given. But then one day I realized my father wouldn’t hesitate to kill me if he could gain something from it. Continue reading “Max Villalobos (of The Galapagos Agenda by Leonardo Wild)”

Daina Harrow (of Skeletal by Katherine Hayton)

SkeletalDear readers, tonight on the guest couch we have Daina Harrow. Daina has been a victim of a terrible crime, and is here to impart a powerful message. 

 

 

What was your favourite toy as a child?

I used to own a fluffy blue duck which accompanied me everywhere. Even when my mother wrenched it from my hands to wash it, I’d stare at the washing machine and the clothesline to make sure it was safe. When my brother died my father boxed up my duck with his belongings by mistake. Dad retrieved it but the duck didn’t feel the same afterwards. For some reason, it wasn’t as fluffy or as comforting.

How do you feel about not ageing while seeing your old friends get on with life?

Considering the poor choices my old “friends” made with their lives, it hasn’t been upsetting. I still have my true friend with me here, and he’s not getting any older either. Besides, it’s not like I’ve been sitting still, watching them the whole time. I came back for the inquest because it’s all about me. If it were only them, I wouldn’t bother. I’m sure the reverse applies. Continue reading “Daina Harrow (of Skeletal by Katherine Hayton)”

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