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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the protagonists of your favourite books

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Dark Fantasy

Lawrence Choyce Bartholomew (of Tompkin’s School: For The Dearly Departed by Tabi Slick)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a young man who has been forced to go back to school – a century after he originally graduated. It’s not too bad, as he is a creature of the night, and is able to manipulate time.

He is here to tell us about his extraordinary powers, his time travels, and his continuing quest to be reunited with his younger brother.


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

I was born in Missouri in 1893 so you can imagine it was definitely in the country. My father owned a brewery and my mother raised my younger brother and I. Or tried to, anyway. I never could get control over my bloody temper and my younger brother was no better. That’s why we were sent off to Tompkin’s Academy when it opened in the autumn of 1910.

What have you been doing since 1910 and now?

Since my brother and I have been separated, my powers haven’t been progressing like I know they were meant to. So I’ve been using what power I do have to sense other beings like myself in the hopes that I find  the one powerful enough to reunite me with my little brother, Edwin Bartholomew. Continue reading “Lawrence Choyce Bartholomew (of Tompkin’s School: For The Dearly Departed by Tabi Slick)”

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Tynan Selvantyr (of Into the Darkness, by A. M. Rycroft)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a man long departed, contacting us from the other side.

Once the realm’s greatest sell-sword and adventurer, he sealed his sword in a dark cave, and placed a curse upon it. He spent a century in the caves as a ghost, until someone found a way to accesses the deepest reaches of the caverns and trigger the curse.

He’s here to tell us about his adventures as a ghost, mentoring the young woman who retrieved his sword and triggered the curse.


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

I was born in the bustling port city of Acantha. It’s close to the Golden Peaks, south of Cathell itself. My father was a well-known merchant there and our family was quite influential across the region. I found it a stifling environment, however, with too many expectations I had no desire to meet. I made every attempt to leave as soon as I was old enough to set out on my own.

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

No, not really any favorite toys I can recall, other than my stuffed bear Rufall. My father did not believe in a lot of play time for his children. He pushed learning on us more. I had favorite books instead. Histories of the realm and the rise of the Tae’Ahjin Empire. And my magik primers, of course.

What do you do now?

Well, as a ghost, I don’t have many worldly demands on my time anymore. However, I was once Cathell’s greatest adventurer. The bards sang of my exploits across the realm. I genuinely miss being an adventurer — the thrill of exploration and hunting out treasures that farm-hands only dream about. There are few things as exciting as that. And of course, a good clash of swords and trading spells with rival adventurers and mercenaries! I have to admit, when the chance arose for one last adventure, I jumped at it. Perhaps I should have warned Aeryn, before I gave her my sword, but sometimes the path to a good adventure requires a little subterfuge at first. Continue reading “Tynan Selvantyr (of Into the Darkness, by A. M. Rycroft)”

Kaiya (of The Last Faoii, by Tahani Nelson)

Dear readers, tonight with me is the last disciple of a militaristic order, that for generations have protected the empire.

Her monastery was destroyed and all her sisters slain. She now travels the country on a mission to avenge her sisters and preserve what is left of her heritage.

She is here to tell us about a war-ravaged empire, of betrayal and freedom, and of family secrets she has uncovered.


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

I grew up in the Monastery of the Eternal Blade, which I think is the largest of the Illindrian Monasteries. It was an okay place to grow up. Every girl wants to be Faoii, right? The Preoii used to always tell me I should be grateful for the chance to be there. And for the most part I was grateful. I loved learning swordsmanship and war magic, it’s just… do you have any idea how long the Preoii can babble on for during Chapel? I always hated that part. Why should Faoii have to learn about Preoii spells? Or Cleorii? And when am I ever going to use calligraphy? That kind of stuff was just so boring.

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

I remember the wooden fantoii I got one summer. It was full-sized and weighted and everything! Most of the other girls were still in smaller blades then, but I was already the tallest in my class, and the Ascended Faoii decided I was finally worthy. It even had “my blade is my arm” engraved on the side! Can you believe it? Part of the Oath right there! For everyone to see! Mollie was so jealous!

What was the worst thing about living in the Monastery?

Early Morning Chapel. Seriously. If the Goddess is Eternal, why would it matter to Her whether I’m up at Dawn or two hours later? Continue reading “Kaiya (of The Last Faoii, by Tahani Nelson)”

Drangar Ralgon (of Shattered Dreams by Ulff Lehmann)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a man fighting men and demons in a world torn apart.

When war engulfs the land and an ancient evil is about to be released, gods and wizards try to intervene. Our guest was raised as a shepherd, until he found himself embroiled in their machinations – after being dead for a few days.

He is here to tell us about his world and his adventures.


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

I was raised by the Sons of Traksor. And before you ask, the cunts fool others into believing they were tasked by Lesganagh to guard the world against a demonic incursion. Another demonic incursion, I mean. What? Never heard of Lesganagh, have you? He’s the ruler of the gods, the Lord of Sun and War, and some say I was blessed by him as well.

Demons? Yeah, the Sons say that a hundred years ago or so, some asshole found some books in an elven ruin, and upon being promised something or other, you know how it is, power-starved bastard promises another bastard more power if they free them. So, story goes something came out the door the idiots opened. In the end the Kalduuhnean prince Tral of House Kassor beat them back. If you buy into that kind of shit.

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

Favorite toy? I liked the blunt sword my… da… gave me on my sixth birthday. At least I thought he was my da, bastard only pretended I was his son. Cherished memories? Amidst all the pain of being shunned by other kids, and mocked by my cousin, Dalgor, and generally being treated as an outsider, at best, yes, there were some. Anya, one of the weapons teachers, she didn’t treat me like a leper or target for whatever the others would throw at me. She took me under her wing. Felt nice not being the pariah for a change, but a student. Continue reading “Drangar Ralgon (of Shattered Dreams by Ulff Lehmann)”

Superior Mother (of Women of the Grey: Starburst, by Carol James Marshall)

Dear readers, tonight with me is the chilling leader of an alien race.

She is the Superior Mother, leader of the secretive Women of the Grey. They live amongst us, unknown to humanity.

She is here with her assistant, to answer a few questions.


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

“It is understood among my kind that we do not question our leaders. Answers, my sweet, are earned. I hardly believe you have bothered to earn such information from me.”

With this Superior Mother sits back. There is a sense of cold in the air, almost like the first hint of autumn.

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

Superior Mother learns in, seeming displeased.

“If I had known you were to ask my questions of such insolence I would have prepared myself to be entertained. Our kind does not play. We plan, we build, we watch, and when humans are busy with these toys you speak of, we strike. I do not understand how humans have thrived for so long, with concepts like toys.”

Superior Mother sits back, slowly shaking her head with the occasional tap of a ring on her index finger to the table. Continue reading “Superior Mother (of Women of the Grey: Starburst, by Carol James Marshall)”

Herald (of Golden Dawn by Aldrea Alien)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a man, a demon, straight out of hell. For over a millennium, his catchphrase is “Family and Blood”.

Called to guard a crystal, what appears to be a demotion turns out very different when Herald discovers the angelic creature trapped within it. He’s here to tell us about the difficult and dangerous decisions he had to face.


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

I can only speak of the one place. It was a cavern, dry and hot with this red light that emanated from the very stone. There was dust everywhere my siblings and I walked, the remains of less-fortunate clans. Sometimes it was our doing. My twin, Harbinger as father called him once we reached the mortal realm, once tried to find the far walls, but we never managed to find it before it was time to return to the Haven and see if we’d another sibling to add to our numbers.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child?

Very few things were given to us and only those that had practical use. I’d a sword as soon as I could lift one, but it was no toy. The minders who raised us all… Well, we could never be entirely sure what they believed in, but Harbinger and I… We came to consensus that they knew what was beyond the doors to the Haven and wanted to prepare us. Once we left, they no longer cared. I don’t think anyone ever expected us to ever be given the means to leave Hell entirely, though. Continue reading “Herald (of Golden Dawn by Aldrea Alien)”

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)”

Quinlan Reis (of The Rhenwars Saga by ML Spencer)

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Dear readers, tonight with me is a man facing imminent cataclysm. A conspiracy of darkmages have resorted to harnessing the powers of Hell to save their legacy, and Quin and his brother Braden are determined to stop them.

A mage himself, but with with a turbulent past and terrible and tragic secrets, he’s part of a band trying to prevent the forces of chaos from boring the Well of Tears into the netherworld, right under their city.


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

I grew up in Caladorn. What you probably know of as the Black Lands. Of course, back in my day, they weren’t so very black. All that came about later…but that’s a story for another day. I was raised among the horseclans of the Khasahar until it was discovered that my brother and I could sense the magic field. There, on the spot, we were claimed as property of the Lyceum. After that, Braden and I were taken to Bryn Calazar to be trained to our respective orders. The names given to us by our father were stripped from us, our language replaced, our hair shorn…it was an appalling transition, one that I was only too delighted to make at the time. I was rather naïve back then, you see. I was still under the delusion that I might actually make something worthwhile of myself some day. How optimistic I must have been! Or stupid, which basically amounts to the same thing.

What do you do now?

Now? I drink. I’ve been known to frequent a brothel from time to time. It’s a lifestyle that seems particularly suited to my apathetic disposition.

Continue reading “Quinlan Reis (of The Rhenwars Saga by ML Spencer)”

Characters Speaking Out

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Dear readers, while we are taking a short break due to the holidays, I thought we’d include a recent full post done by our very first guest.

As part of Virtual FantasyCon (that awesome event where Felix and Murder In Absentia received an unprecedented five awards), we did a blog hunt. Readers jumped from blog to blog – and as an introduction to our corner of the blogosphere, Felix got a chance to speak for himself.

Of course, the bastard went ahead and started to curse me for making him work. Apparently he’s not big on doing self-promotions without immediate pay.

This post was originally published on Diane Riggins site. I’ll let you read Felix’s words for yourself.


Salve omnibus. My name is Spurius Vulpius Felix, sometimes known as Felix the Fox, but almost everybody calls me just Felix. It means Fortune’s Favourite in my language, though I’m afraid I am more like Furtuna’s favourite butt for practical jokes.

Actually, you may know my language as Latin. Years ago I visited your world, quite by accident. I came to a city named Rome, which was hauntingly similar to my own home in Egretia. Language, artists, philosophers all seemed familiar – yet there were some glaring differences. It was on a river, not on the seashore for one.

And everybody talked about gods and magic, but no one seemed to know how to properly practice it for another.

Anyway, I was approached by one of your world, one by the strange name of Assaph Mehr, and asked to collaborate on my memoirs. I would tell him my life’s stories, all the interesting mysteries I solved, and he promised to publish them to adoring fans in your world.

So far, the mentula hasn’t paid me a single denarius in royalties.

He says it’s a matter of time, that critical review has been exceptional, and that my memoirs are being sold all across your world. I would be paid, eventually, once he has finished repaying all the scribes and artists that have assisted him in the production of the scrolls. Or codices, as it appears your world prefers to bind sheets together, rather than stitch them in a scroll like civilised people.

So here I am, brought here to promote my own memoirs to increase my “fan base”, whatever that may be.

While I am here, I did check out what Assaph has been writing. Mostly true, just embellished a little. For example, there was this one case of a young woman who was haunted by the most dreadful dreams. It turns out that the cellars of her home were infested by lemurs. These are not, as Assaph says, cute and cuddly little creatures who “like to move it”, but rather than animus of unburied dead. They have the resemblance of what might have once been humans, but are now devoid of life and colour; grey shade of the dead.

As the story goes, I had to lure them away from the house and into the Mundus, the gates to the underworld. I distinctly remember that I told Assaph that I counted 44 of the evil spirits chasing me, but he insisted on making it fifty. He said that writing a story called Fifty Grey Shades would help him sell my memoirs, though I didn’t quite understand why.

So I will be here all week, always happy to answer questions and do everything to help Assaph increase our “fan base”. You can read the story about the Fifty Grey Shades on Assaph’s “website” (I won’t even pretend to understand what that is) here: https://egretia.com/short-stories/, together with a few more other short adventures. My first important case has been published as Murder In Absentia, and is available here: http://amzn.to/1XbfKN1. You can buy it for less than the price of a half-decent glass of wine (Assaph insists that that is the only way to go; you people do not seem to appreciate authors as a respectable profession). And lastly, Assaph has, apparently, been talking to other characters from fellow authors’ scrolls. You can find them on TheProtagonistSpeaks.com.


If you like to read more of Felix, you can read the (free) short stories he appears on at his home of egretia.com. You can also find him on the pages of Murder In Absentia, where his memoirs swept the amazing five awards at Virtual FanatsyCon.

We will resume our regular interviews next week, when we will be hosting a woman whose music moved heaven and earth. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right), via Twitter, or like our Facebook page to be notified when the next interview is posted.

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