The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the protagonists of your favourite books


Dark Fantasy

Tobias (of The Court of Broken Knives, by Anna Smith Spark)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a foul-mouthed cynical mercenary. He was hired to lead his rag tag troop to the capital city, infiltrate the Palace, and take down the decadent and indifferent Emperor.

He is here to tell us about the Yellow Empire, about ordinary soldiers and gritty heroes, epic battles and blood-soaked revenge.

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

I grew up in village in Immish. Immish is rich country. My village is piss-poor. I lived with my mum and my grandma, and if you ask about my dad I’ll lamp you one. My mum and my gran were weavers. Gods, the cloth they could make you. Silk and cotton. Patterns in the weave: flowers, faces, luck charms all woven in. And I was a damn good weaver myself. Lovely bit of cloth, I could make you. Top notch.

Then Garet the dyer died, and his dyeing secrets died with him. And that’s a pun that never gets stale, even after I’ve nicked it off someone else. And now the village is poor as piss.

Lovely country, though, Immish.  Black soil, rich bloody soil, there’s bits of southern Immish where you can get in three harvests a year. Fruit and veg like you wouldn’t believe.  Borders on the Bitter Sea, and nice beaches, even, some of them, if you like that sort of thing. White sand and all that.  The city of Alborn: now that’s a place worth seeing.  All made of white marble, the city walls are white marble and silver, the Great Gate is white marble and gold.  Flashy? Hells, yeah. New money, all of it, and its bigwigs feel kind of insecure. So it’s not exactly what you’d call refined. And the back streets stink of bloody sewage, like anywhere, and half the kids have got worms and lice  and rickets and gods know bloody what. Price of progress, as they say. But it’s a place worth seeing, if you ignore all that.

May we just only visit the nice bits?

The rest of Irlast, the wider world …  Well, now.  I’m well-travelled (perk of the job), I’ve seen quite a lot of it, mostly when it’s on fire and drowning in blood, admittedly, but hey. Different building styles still look different when they’re on fire. Desert and forest and corn-land look …  actually, you know, desert and forest and corn-land look bloody identical once they’ve been burned and trampled and soaked in the blood of innocents, and I can’t pretend otherwise. We walk through the unburned bits, though, to get to them to burn them, and they’re all pretty enough in their way.  Continue reading “Tobias (of The Court of Broken Knives, by Anna Smith Spark)”


Anastasia Savoy, aka Tazia (of the Written by Birds trilogy, by S M Henley)

Dear readers, tonight with me is half-demon, Tazia of Savoy.

After a century and a half of servitude, she’s finally managed to shake off her shackles and wants to celebrate her freedom. But a psycho angel has interrupted her plans, and instead of a life of tequila on the beach, she’s been forced into an alliance to save the demon who was her jailer.

With a father in Hell, a dead lover, and a demon gangster on her tail, Tazia is here to tell us of her complicated life.

Erm, Tazia, tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

Seriously? It was a hot stinking cesspit of a place where the melted fat of the dead ran down the walls and mixed on the floor with the blood of my father’s victims. Surprise! It was actually hell–in Hell. I was brought up in the Cells of Permanent Incarceration until I was thirteen years old when my father sealed up my soul with magical tattoos to cut me off from my humanity. The Red River flowed less than half a mile from my door. Most of the times I was chained to the wall. Fun times! Just cos I’m a half-demon doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have liked a comfy chair or clean clothes occasionally. Things are better now. I have my own place in Turin. And Netflix. I like Netflix–Billy hacked it for me. Though, that Supernatural show makes me laugh my arse off. Salt? Really? Ha!

Not sure I should ask this… Did you have any favourite toys as a child? I’m so sorry, I’m just reading what’s here…

My first toy was my knife. I love my knife. Got it when I was eight. It’s a Bowie. Come closer, I’ll show it to you. Continue reading “Anastasia Savoy, aka Tazia (of the Written by Birds trilogy, by S M Henley)”

Denman Malkuth (of Dance of the Butterfly, by Scott Carruba)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a man from an old European family. He swears that he is protecting humanity from a great threat, but is refusing to divulge details – for our protection, it seems.

So secretive, in fact, that we believe we have an antagonist on our hands.

He is here to tell us of his competitive and clandestine family.

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

I grew up in a small town in Germany, one you’ve likely never heard of. It was very nice, privileged. It is a town that is fairly ensconced by my family.  It’s not exactly an incubation, but we do need more than the usual amount of privacy.  Of course, as you may imagine, we wanted for nothing. Do not mistake this with being spoiled.  We are far from that. Education and training become vitally important at a very young age, very young.

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

I did, but I was thankfully disavailed of such.  Those can be a weakness.  My family is somewhat competitive, and if you want to have a decent place in it, then you must be strong. It’s all for the greater good. I have an enormous amount of cherished memories, and I will keep those so by not sharing them.

What do you do now?

Oh, I do many things.  My most ‘formal’ work, as it were, is as a psychiatrist, consultant, and professor.  As you may note from this, I am interested in protecting and furthering humankind.  We really are a fragile, threatened species, and it will take strength to protect us. Continue reading “Denman Malkuth (of Dance of the Butterfly, by Scott Carruba)”


Aemilia (of In Numina, by Assaph Mehr)

Dear readers, with the forthcoming release of In Numina, the second novel by our fearless leaders, we are proud to present an interview with one of the novels’ most charming characters.

This young lady is here to tell us about life in Egretia, that wonderful fantasy city based on Ancient Rome and Alexandria, from a point of view other the Felix’s. The interview is set at a time between the books, and reveals things that might surprise you.

(Note that this interview first appeared on D. Lieber’s blog. Our many thanks for her prompting to write it.

Welcome to Ink & Magick. I’m your friendly neighborhood witch. What kind of spell can I get for you today?

You do incantations? Right here? What branch of magic? Can I watch you do it? Will you show me how you do it? Oh, you want something specific? Anything really, just so long as it’s not permanent and I can see you perform it. Maybe light a fire? It’s rather chilly in this time of year.

Please introduce yourself, and the book you are from.

My name is Aemilia, and my first appearance is in Murder In Absentia.

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

I grew up in the Clivi Ulterior, in my family’s domus. If you’re not familiar with our city, the Clivi Ulterior are the highest reaches still within city limits on mount Vergu. It’s a neighborhood of rich men’s mansions. My father was Tiberius Aemilius Mamercus, a consul and a direct descendant of the T. Aemilius Mamercus.

My life, I know, was better than for the vast majority of people in our city. In matter of fact, I knew little about how most Egretian live their lives. I grew up with friends of the same social circle – sons and daughters of the Senate’s elite. My elder brother died young, but my family kept his tutor. I thus benefited for a scholarly education beyond that of most women.

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

My brother had a couple of wooden toy soldiers, that one of the slaves made for him. One was an Egretian legionary, the other an Arbari barbarian. When Tiberius died from the ague, I kept those soldiers. I hid them under my pillow, and I imagined my brother’s spirit was still in them, that he – and they – were guarding me. I treasured them more than anything else I owned. I still have them.

What do you do now?

Trying to delay the inevitable… I’m nineteen. My mother is busy planning my wedding. I may have some little say in who I marry – or at least absolutely refuse to marry – but the outcome would be the same. Some young scion of a well-respected, old family. Probably a lawyer or a promising career military man, on his way to the senate. Me, I’d just like to experience life a little bit, before I become a show wife, sitting quietly behind the loom. Continue reading “Aemilia (of In Numina, by Assaph Mehr)”


Victoria of Ourtown, aka Vic the Blade (of A Wizard’s Forge, by A.M. Justice)

Dear readers, tonight we are republishing an article from the premiere newspaper in Latha, on the fantasy planet Knownearth.

After Vic, a former scholar turned soldier, nearly killed her erstwhile captor, the newspaper issued a scathing article condemning her actions.

The newspaper has followed this up with an interview with Vic, to hear her side of the story. We publish this second interview in full. Read on to learn of Vic’s adventures, and what drove her from being a shy scholar to become a warrior and pick up the fight against Relm.

Last week, this paper published the news that Captain Victoria of Ourtown—aka Vic the Blade—had tried and failed to assassinate Lornk Korng, the Lord of Relm. The Monarchy and Prime Minister’s office have protested that the Heralds’ coverage of the incident was biased. As members of the Lathan free press, we stand by our story, but invited the Blade to tell her side. Much to our surprise, she granted an interview, published here in full.

Let’s start with some background. You grew up on the northern steppes. What was it like there?

It was nothing at all like Latha. Before I arrived here, I’d never seen a tree, much less a forest as big and dense as the Kiareinoll. The steppes could be beautiful, especially in spring when the snow shrank into the ground and the sun bathed the purple hills in golden light. But it was bleeding cold all the time, and in winter we had no more than an hour of sunlight a day. And the wind was endless. You’d think I’d have felt claustrophobic in the Kiareinoll, but somehow I’ve always felt more at home surrounded by trees than I ever did on the steppes.

What sort of things did you do as a child? Any special toys or games?

These aren’t the sort of questions I expected. You really want to know about my childhood? Continue reading “Victoria of Ourtown, aka Vic the Blade (of A Wizard’s Forge, by A.M. Justice)”


Sav (of Black Cross – Black Powder Wars, by JP Ashman)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a former city guard, turned pathfinder for the spymaster.

He’s here to tell us about his love of scouting and archery, his travels, and the arcane plague that befell his lands.

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

Wesson? It’s not bad, as cities go, but growing up there was fun, to a point. The sea air is nice, although I prefer the smell of green. You know? Out in the fields and forests of Altoln. No cramped living. Less sickness and people! Childhood was running the streets, fighting with sticks and making slings and makeshift bows. It’s that sort of play that led to me enlisting in the City Guard.

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

The bows I mentioned. They weren’t all that good, but I loved them alright. Set me apart from the other lads who were all wooden swords and axes and such. Heh, I remember one time when this little shit came up out of Dockside with his mates, slinging rocks at us, one of which slotted poor little Dayn in the face. What did I do? I loosed my shitty shaft across Kings Avenue and… hit a passing coach. Not my finest moment, but I remember it because the arrow stood proud of the wood. Honest truth! I’d been lucky in finding a scrap of iron behind a smithy, which I used as a makeshift arrowhead, and the Dockside shite was lucky the coach passed when it did. Continue reading “Sav (of Black Cross – Black Powder Wars, by JP Ashman)”


Konnon Crillian (of Song, by Jesse Teller)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a bounty hunter from the world of Perilisc. He’ll take any job though – bodyguard, a mercenary, anything – to afford the medication his daughter needs.

He’s here to tell us about taking the job of hunting one of the kingdom’s most dangerous men – together with others just as bad.

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

Dragonsbane is a marvel. It’s filled with landmarks and wonderful things that are mythic and legendary at the same time that they are terrible and magnificent. Your viewpoint on the city really depends entirely on where you grew up. So my viewpoint of the city is disjointed and confusing. I went from a poor child with a loving family, to a child monster, to rich, all within the span of about two years. I was raised in wealth, but never really took to it. I could drink at a corner pub on a mean street, in an angry section of town, or talk art with dignitaries and nobility. If I had my choice, it would probably be the corner pub.

What do you do now?

I’ve got a sick daughter. What do you think I do now? I’m sorry, I, you didn’t deserve that. I get angry when I think about the life she leads and the life I’m forced into. I have no money, though I was raised in wealth, I have no money. My daughter’s medicines are expensive and failing her. So I wander the country trying to cut a living out of the jobs that are available to a man who’s only really good at one thing. So it’s the sword, and whatever it can get me. Sometimes bounties, though I don’t really like that work. Sometimes I’m a bodyguard, a mercenary, anything I can do to put medicine in my daughter. I don’t get to see her much. But at least I know she’s out there, safe and happy, as happy as she’s capable of being. Continue reading “Konnon Crillian (of Song, by Jesse Teller)”


Bauldane (of the Ivory Chronicles by James Mansfield)

Dear readers, tonight with us on the interview couch is a living skeleton. He has no memories of how he got to be this way.

He is here to tell us of the world he lives in, and what he had discovered about it since awakening in this state.

Tell us a little about where you grew up.

I cannot.

Why is that?

I awakened in the Aulaen Grey Forest. Before then, there is nothing. I have retained my memories of the world, Gaea, but know nothing of myself, of who I once was. (Bauldane removes a gauntlet from a full set of cloth-like armor revealing the bare white of bones assembled in the shape of his hand, then promptly dons the gauntlet once more.) I was left for dead, transformed into a monster. Only bones remain.

That can’t be easy. What have you decided to do?

There is but one thing I aim to do; one thing I wish to accomplish – find the one who did this to me and take my revenge. I am searching. And yet, despite this all-consuming goal of mine, I cannot ignore those who need my help. In spite of this transformation, I was left with incredible strength, speed, and am impervious to physical harm. I am a monster, but I do not wish to behave as one.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

While desperately seeking answers to my…situation, I came upon the name of one who may have answers, however meager. Quoran the Abandoned, a sorcerer now cut off from his ability to use magic, was said to know of who might be responsible, but Quoran was not easy to find. We were required to delve into long-forgotten corners of Gaea, and journey into less-than-desirable realms – a nuisance to be sure. Once we reached Quoran the Abandoned, we discovered that I am at the center of a greater plot formulated by an elusive enemy. Though a mere tool for his nefarious purposes, something went awry that left my memories shattered and my body altered. Quoran did not surrender this information easily. Continue reading “Bauldane (of the Ivory Chronicles by James Mansfield)”


Angelica Cross (of The Paranormal Detectives Series by Lily Luchesi)

Dear readers, tonight with me on the interview couch is an unusual woman. A half-vampire, she is employed by law enforcement agencies to hunt down other creatures of the night.

She is here to tell us about 

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

I was born in Leicester, England in 1814. I grew up the daughter of a human Lord, Vincent, and a vampiric Lady, Veronica. My childhood was spent learning how to control my appetite as a half-vampire and learn to be  a ”proper” lady like my mother after me.

In the late 19th century I moved to Chicago Illinois and have remained there all this time. I love the city, and it feels more like home than England ever did.

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

For the first twenty years of my life, I lived relatively normally. Half-vampires can go out in sunlight, so few suspected what I was and I was able to deal normally with humans. I lost my fiance at eighteen, a werewolf who had become possessed by a demon.

As a small girl I preferred books to toys, and I suppose I still do, if you count blessed serrated blades and Glock 9mm guns as “toys”.

My parents were wonderful people, people I tried hard to emulate and make proud of me. Mother was a true Victorian Lady, and Father was a businessman and former vampire hunter before he met Mother. It wasn’t until Mother turned him that things went sour: he killed her right in front of me. Continue reading “Angelica Cross (of The Paranormal Detectives Series by Lily Luchesi)”


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