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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the protagonists of your favourite books

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Double Interview

Girton Club-Foot and Merela Karn (of The Wounded Kingdom series by RJ Barker)

Dear readers, tonight we reprint an intercepted missive containing what appears to be notes for an ancient play – a transcripted conversation between an interviewer, a master assassin, and her apprentice. Without further ado, we’ll also print the letter that accompanied the play.


Princess, I found this when going through the unfinished works of the famed playwright Horir ap Valuth and, knowing your interest in the stories of the past, thought of you. It purports to be a conversation between the playwright, the murderer Girton Club-Foot and his master, the assassin Merala Karn. It is probably little more than a mummers play but the parchment appears old and I know you have an interest in these people so I have copied it out for you. From what is said I think this takes place quite a bit earlier on in the life of Girton and Merela than in the other documents I have sent you.

Please do not tell your mother that you got this from me.

 

Rikkoneth, high scribe of Ceadoc. On the first day of Yearsbirth in the rule of Arakoneth III

~ ~ ~

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

G – I grew up a slave. Then my master…

M – Girton.

G – What? I was just saying that you –

M – Girton. Enough.

G – But the man is interested, Master, and I so rarely get to talk to anyone.

M – And why do you think that is?

Pause.

G – What we do is secret.

Did you have any favourite memories? Any toy or somesuch that you remember?

G – Slaves do not have toys.

M – You are not a slave, Girton.

G – Yes, but I did not have toys. Oh!  My master gave me a knife, would you like to see my knife?

I have seen knives before.

G – But not my knife! Look. When my master gave it to me it was rusty and now it is so sharp it can cut mount claws!  My master showed me how to sharpen it, to remove the rust with sand and to rebind the handle. I used pig leather and I dyed it with the blue berries you find at the road edge in Yearslife and…

M – Enough of knives, Girton. I do not think Horir is interested in the possessions of those he sees as slaves, Girton.

G – But you said I am not a slave, Master. Continue reading “Girton Club-Foot and Merela Karn (of The Wounded Kingdom series by RJ Barker)”

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Dai and Julia (of Dying to be Roman, by Jane Jago and EM Swift Hook)

Dear readers, tonight with me are two people from the modern-day Roman province of Britannia. They are here to tell us about life as law-enforcement officers in the empire that never collapsed.

An unlikely pair, Dai is a Briton and a hard-working Investigator trying to solve a brutal string of murders and Julia, a Roman Inquisitor, sent to pour oil on troublesome provincial waters when a Roman citizen joins the body count.

They are here to tell us about their adventures.


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

Julia: I spent the first five years of my life in the slums that gather around the skirts of Rome. Then my mother died and my grandparents took me in. It still wasn’t a good part of town, but I was loved and I had enough to eat.

Dai: For a Briton, I had it pretty good. My family are well known landowners around Viriconium. No Citizen rights, of course, which meant my education was pretty rustic. But it’s a lovely place when you get out into the hinterland away from the city itself. I did well enough at school to get into the academy in Aqua Sulis – yes, we do have one or two academies in Britannia, even if they are not in the top one hundred recommended.

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

Julia: I suppose my favourite thing was my adoptive brother: he’s twenty years older than me and when he was home he would carry me around on his back. And my grandmother had a little dog called Toto. I would spend hours combing his coat

Dai: I loved running and I still pride myself on my physical fitness. As a boy I was a reader and a dreamer, always trying to hide from chores on the family farm. There was a place I used to love going to – a small valley with standing stones. No one ever went there, so I would run there and sit and read with my back to one of the stones. Continue reading “Dai and Julia (of Dying to be Roman, by Jane Jago and EM Swift Hook)”

Captain Jack Boone and Miss Katherine Ashe (of Captain’s Lady, by Jamaila Brinkley)

Dear readers, tonight with me are two enchanting characters out of the Regency era. Captain Boone would like nothing more than to – legally – plunder the seas. When he finds himself made a viscount, his friends and family insist he needs a wife.

Katherine Ashe wants only to help her sister, who’s caught in an unpleasant predicament. When marriage to Boone seems to be the only solution, she takes the opportunity to have her own household, escaping her overbearing aunt’s house once and for all and helping her sister in the bargain.

But before their convenient marriage can settle in, there’s a flight to Scotland to arrange; a budding sorceress to soothe—and oh, yes—a baby. 

They are here to tell us about their somewhat chaotic lives.


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

Jack: I spent the bulk of my formative years as a ward of the Duke of Edgebourne, a distant relation. His Grace took me in when my parents died at sea, and the entire Edgebourne family welcomed me. The Duke did his best to give me a proper education, but I’m afraid I was far more interested in when I might be able to get my own ship.

Kate: I grew up on my grandfather’s estate. He was the Earl of Ashewell. I helped him manage his estates for years. Unfortunately, my family has had a string of sad occasions, I’m afraid, and so the earldom passed to a distant cousin recently.

What are your fondest memories of your childhood?

Jack: Running rampant over the estate with Lords Westfield and Kilgoran, my two closest friends. I’m afraid we terrorized virtually everybody.

Kate: You still do.

Jack: We’re practically tame now.

Kate: That’s not what I heard after Lady Mountmatten’s ball. Continue reading “Captain Jack Boone and Miss Katherine Ashe (of Captain’s Lady, by Jamaila Brinkley)”

Travis Malone and Spencer Abbot (of the Hell Bent series by Kayla Matt)

Dear readers, tonight with me are two people who started their day as anyone would.

Looking for a present to one’s wife, they came across a photography studio. What they uncovered there shocked them – and will no doubt shock and disturb you too.

Read on to learn more about the gruesome underbelly of city of Hell Bent.


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

Spencer: About Hell Bent… Well, there’re laboratories everywhere, for one thing. See, where Travis and I are from, science is the most likely career option for most people. My own parents pushed me to pursue medicine. It might not be the most respected job one could take, but it’s still a necessary one.

Travis: Yeah, our hometown might be all science-y and shit, but some of their laws are kinda crappy. Someone commits a crime or ends up homeless for some reason, they won’t get a lawyer or any sort of aid. Nope, they get shipped right to a lab the moment they’re found out. And when they reach those labs, that’s when the experiments begin.

Spencer: So…yes. Our hometown is that odd combination of progressive and practically barbaric at the same time.

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

Travis: I don’t really think dad let me or my sister have that many toys. Dude was…seriously, SERIOUSLY not fit to be a parent. He kicked us both out when I throat-punched the hell out of him. We got lucky, though, that the first person to encounter us post-evol…em…uh, Spence, what’s that word for when you get kicked out of your house?

Spencer: Eviction.

Travis: Right, right. Thanks. Anyway, post-eviction, we were taken in by one of the city’s best geneticists. Yeah, she sort of tweaked our DNA a bit, but she didn’t do anything without our okay. So, I’d say that meeting Dr. Taylor was one of the best memories I have.

Spencer: What, nothing about meeting me?

Travis: (shrugs) Dude, I’ve known you since before I could remember.

Spencer: Ah, right. Anyhow, my parents were both quite loving and supportive, even if they were rather insistent upon my studying medicine. A lot of the toys I had were related to that. I was a whiz at Operation by the time I hit the second grade. But I had this skeleton I kept stored in my closet. His name was Geoff.

Travis: Geoff was creepy.

Spencer: To each his own, I suppose. My best childhood memory, though, was when Travis and I reconnected. We were separated for a few years, so to see him again was a blessing. Continue reading “Travis Malone and Spencer Abbot (of the Hell Bent series by Kayla Matt)”

Kira and Jed Jenkins (of The Gaia Effect by Claire Buss)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a young couple, excited to have been selected for procreation by their city’s all-controlling corporation.

They have started to suspect things when their friends started to fall pregnant naturally. How long has Corporation been lying to them?  Is it really toxic outside the wall?

They are here to tell us about their shocking discoveries.


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

Kira: Well, we both grew up here, in City 42. My family lived quite near Archive whereas Jed’s were – are – up in the Northern part of the city. The posh part *laughs*.

Jed: Yeah, I mean we sometimes get visitors from City 15 but I’ve never gone out there. Kira and I met at school, we both worked really hard and it was a busy time but we had fun too, right hon?

Kira: We did. I mean school was school, same old same old, but Jed had all the latest tech at his apartment so there was always something to explore. That’s what encouraged your sister to join Corp Tech wasn’t it?

Jed: murmurs agreement

Kira: I mean our childhoods were the same as everyone else’s really, assigned a family at birth, school, friends and then getting funneled into our professions. I had to fight a little for Junior Historian, they wanted me to go into Corp Medical but you were always going to go to Force weren’t you?

Jed: Yeah, I mean it’s good that we all get this standardized education but I think it’s great we can really stretch ourselves when it comes to career. Continue reading “Kira and Jed Jenkins (of The Gaia Effect by Claire Buss)”

Mary Granger and the angel Gabriel (of Catch the Moon, Mary by Wendy Waters)

catch-the-moon-mary-wendy-watersDear readers, tonight is another special double interview. With us on the interviews is the archangel Gabriel, as well as the mortal woman he fell in love with, Mary Granger.

They are here to talk about love, light, and music – and how all three are connected.

 

 

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

[Gabriel] I’d like to answer this one if you don’t mind, Mary. My name is Gabriel. I’m an angel and have always “been”. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t conscious of myself in relation to all that is and ever will be so I’ve never “grown up” as it were. I don’t remember why I was called Gabriel or who called me that. Eons ago my Father recognised my singular creative genius and 2IC’d me into helping Him create worlds upon worlds, one of which humanity calls the Universe but there are many more. If I had a mother I can’t recall her. There’s only ever been me and my Father orchestrating life. Now, of course, my Father no longer speaks to me and I depend on Mary for…well, everything.

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

[Gabriel] Why don’t you answer this one, Mary?

[Mary] Very well, I became who I am the day I heard the music. It came to me winged, unbidden and fully-orchestrated. I was six. My home life was unmanageable and it was driving me mad because I depend on order to keep control of events and the people around me. And yet, this music took me to places where I had no control…under the sea, distant galaxies, foreign cities, fairyland. It showed me life without constraint or restraint and I learned to trust it completely. It was the only thing I ever trusted. The only person, too.

[Gabriel] You trust me, don’t you?

[Mary] No, Gabriel, I do not. Continue reading “Mary Granger and the angel Gabriel (of Catch the Moon, Mary by Wendy Waters)”

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)”

Dahoud and Merida (of Storm Dancer by Rayne Hall)

STORM DANCER dark epic fantasy RayneHall cover 2013-01-30Dear readers, tonight we are hosting the notorious Dahoud, a former siege commander with more curses on his head than a camel has fleas, and a conscience heavier than a bricklayer’s tray. Together with him is his lover, the foreign weather magician Merida. 

 

 

Let us start with Dahoud first. Tell me, what are you most proud of in your past?

[Dahoud] The first time I took charge. I was a fifteen-year old grunt in the army. Our unit was transporting supplies when the enemy attacked. One after the other, our officers fell. I rallied the survivors, and we recaptured some of the supplies, and got our wounded back to base. Nobody questioned my command, and it felt good. I was made a centurion after that, quite an achievement for a young nobody from the Samil tribe without family or education.

What was your childhood like? Any favourite toys?

[Dahoud] There was no time for childhood. When you were old enough to walk, you were put to work, guarding the flocks, mostly. I don’t remember anyone giving me toys. My mother certainly didn’t. I made my own stone sling and bow and arrows and practised with them – do they count as toys? Continue reading “Dahoud and Merida (of Storm Dancer by Rayne Hall)”

Joe and Amber (of Summer’s Dark Waters by Simon WIlliams)

Summer's Dark Waters - Simon WilliamsDear readers, tonight with me are two extraordinary young persons. Joe and Amber have just returned to us from a series of adventures – very extraordinary adventures. One can say, out of this world adventures.

 

 

How was your life at school, before your adventures started?

Amber: It was just ordinary really, but I always felt I was trying to be someone who I actually wasn’t – like just a normal kid… sometimes I just wanted to go away and be on my own and just think about things.

Joe: Mostly I kept myself to myself. I suppose thinking back I must have known deep down that I was different, but I could never have imagined how.

What was it like, the first time you met the aliens?

Amber: Oh, the Lost? We didn’t really know what they were at first, or at least we wouldn’t have if Stephen hadn’t told us. The weird thing is, some of them ARE aliens, but some of them are human. Continue reading “Joe and Amber (of Summer’s Dark Waters by Simon WIlliams)”

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