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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Fantasy

Bridget Etheridge (of Mystic Evermore, by Cecelia Hopkins-Drewer)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a young woman who moved to a small rural town — where things are not quite as they seem.

She is here to tell us whether there is something more to kids than dressing as goths, or running away from home once a month.


Can you introduce yourself, please?

My name is Bridget Etheridge and I am eighteen years old.  The tales in “The Nevermore Parables Series”, which commences with Mystic Evermore, are punctuated with extracts from my diary. So you can say I’m sort of the narrator. The books don’t use the first person all the time – but the guiding thread is ME!

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

I’m an army kid. I grew up everywhere my father was transferred, which was mostly around the easterly coast of the United States of America.  It was quite unsettling and I didn’t have any long term friends until we moved to Mystic Evermore in Georgia. By that time I was desperate for us to settle down and with any luck, this will become a permanent placement for dad and we might settle down.

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

As an army kid, I got pretty good at letting go of material possessions.  I do have a collection of school uniforms from all the different schools I have attended. Role plays anyone?

What do you do now?

I’m a senior at Mystic Evermore High. What else would an eighteen year old be doing? Oh and I have some volunteer work happening.

Continue reading “Bridget Etheridge (of Mystic Evermore, by Cecelia Hopkins-Drewer)”
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Jame (of the Kencyrath Chronicles, by P.C. Hodgell)

Dear readers, tonight we are extremely excited to host a character from a fantasy series we’ve been following since childhood (ours, as well as hers).

Jamethiel’s Priest’s-bane, known as Jame to most, comes to us from down the chain of creation, where her people – the Kencyrath – have been fighting the encroaching evil of Perimal Darkling for millennia. She is here to tell us about her adventures, and about the thin and blurry line between life and death.


Jame:  Oh, my head.  What happened to me?

Voice out of the shadows:  You stormed the priests’ subterranean college at Wilden, tripped, and fell down the stairs.

Jame (sitting up, grumbling):  I’m usually more agile than that although, admittedly, prone to accidents.   Kindrie.  I came to rescue my cousin Kindrie.   Your voice is familiar.  Who are you?

Voice:  We met in Tai-tastigon.  You were hunting demons, also dead gods.  Some of them, in turn, were hunting you.  See if you can remember yourself first.  Where were you born?

Jame:  In a keep in the Haunted Lands where my father, the Highlord, had gone into exile.  I suppose it was a terrible place, but then it was simply home.  The gray grass cried.  So did the vegetables when put to the knife, and they tasted of watered blood.  Nothing was properly dead there, nor properly alive.  That’s what it means, to live under shadows’ eaves, because Gerridon’s monstrous House loomed over us, day and night.  He sent our mother, the Dream-weaver, to us.  After we were born and he reclaimed her, our father went mad.  He tried to kiss me once, and ended up smashing his knuckles against the stone wall beside my head.  Father hated me because I was Shanir, also because he said that I was too like my mother.  He must have known that my brother Tori was Shanir too, but he never admitted that.  Tori was his favorite.

Continue reading “Jame (of the Kencyrath Chronicles, by P.C. Hodgell)”

Kara Tanner (of Glyphbinder, by T. Eric Bakutis)

Dear readers, tonight with me is Kara Tanner, a recent graduate of the Magic Academy of Solyr. What follows is Scribemaster Tarano’s interview with Kara several days before her planned graduation.

The chaos that unfolded on Kara’s graduation day is still unclear to many, but we do know the academy came under attack, a number of students were injured, and that Kara and several of her friends (including an amnesic soldier treated for his wounds at the academy) disappeared. Their current whereabouts are unknown.


To start, Kara, I would like to congratulate you on your nomination as Speaker Supreme. You must have worked very hard to get here.

Thank you. I’m honored to be chosen, and will absolutely not make a wreck of my speech.

I’m certain you’ll do fine. To start, what do you most enjoy about your studies at Solyr?

Everything. Where else can you learn to set someone’s hair on fire and talk to the dead?

You set someone’s hair on fire?

Really? I honestly expected you to be more concerned about the other thing.

Well, you are a Glyphbinder. Soul glyphs are one aspect of your training, are they not?

Oh, right! This is an opportunity to promote Solyr to our patrons in Tarna. Five know I love promoting our academy!

If you could simply answer the questions as you would for someone outside Solyr?

Of course, Scribemaster. Forgive me. I’m practicing. For my speech.

What would you say is the most challenging aspect of your studies at Solyr?

The variety. Every week offers new aspects of glyph magic that either complement or contradict what’s come before, but wielding the power of The Five Who Made the World is inspiring. The Five made literally everything … the world, the sky, us … so channeling their power? Nothing compares.

Now that we’re into advanced glyph combinations, I find the more esoteric mixes fascinating. A week ago we learned the proper Life glyphs to form ice sculptures based on glyphs of idea, and there’s been no shortage of gorgeous and occasionally obscene ice sculptures popping up since.

Occasionally obscene?

Well, you taught us to create ice sculptures … with glyphs of idea. Look, I’m eighteen, and many of my peers are as well, but I imagine girls mature faster than boys. If I come across one more ice peni—

Why don’t you tell us more about your particular school! What’s it like to be a Glyphbinder?

Challenging. We teach Firebrands, Lifewardens, Soulmages and others, but Glyphbinders learn tricks from them all. Every school is scribed differently, and remembering how the lines work is a chore.

I won’t horrify you with what happens when you scribe Rannos the Wolf on a squirrel and accidentally use a Firebrand’s blood lines, but it’s not a mistake anyone makes twice. You never forget the smell.

Continue reading “Kara Tanner (of Glyphbinder, by T. Eric Bakutis)”

Caelynn Creed (of Songs of Tarros, by Kelly Phillips)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a woman whose studious life is shattered when a museum robbery exposes her father’s secrets – including that she is the key to the brutal Alfath gaining the magic and taking over the world of Thelios.


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

Physically, Thelios is much like Earth, though with some differences like the color of our vegetation, our planet is a little larger and we have two moons instead of one. We have four continents: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta, and each of those are divided into regions. I grew up in a little town called Phaeneus in Region Delphi, which is one of the southern regions so it gets a little chilly at times. Since Delphi – and all of Gamma, actually, isn’t heavily populated, Phaeneus is pretty remote, but growing up there felt cozy and comfortable.

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

When I was about four, my father gave me a plushie doll with long, blonde hair. I cut the hair short, called him Inkin, and carried him with me everywhere until his head nearly fell off. Dad tried to fix it but he’s not that great at sewing, so Inkin stayed on my dresser after that.

I have a lot of good memories from childhood – mostly doing things with Dad since it was just the two of us. I guess one of my favorites is just helping him in the garden. He loves gardening even if he isn’t very good at it. We would always make a special dinner for whatever we were able to harvest.  

What do you do now?

I guess technically I’m still in the Academy records as a final year student with a primary focus in Pre-Thelian History. To put it in Earth terms, I’m just a few final exams away from a PhD in human history before we settled Thelios. I also worked at the Delphinia Museum, but they probably don’t want me back since I was arrested for robbing the place.

Continue reading “Caelynn Creed (of Songs of Tarros, by Kelly Phillips)”

Korax of Rhodes (of The Mazes of Magic, by Jack Massa)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a man from the ancient world. He is here to tell us about his life, from Thracian roots, a childhood in Rhodes, and a slavery in Egypt — as well as about temples, gods, and dark magic.


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

As best I remember, I grew up in a prosperous family on the island of Rhodes, site of the glorious Colossus of Helios. I say ‘as best I remember’, because my memories are fractured, and I am subject to spells of madness.

That is most unfortunate. How did this happen to you?

I fear I have only myself to blame.

My father was a merchant of Rhodes, but my mother hailed from Thrace, the land of witches. When I was a babe, I watched her with her handmaids performing magical rites. Later, when I was older, I would sneak from my bed on nights of the full moon and climb to the roof of the house, where I could spy on her ceremonies. It seems I learned more than was good for me.

How do you mean?

In the last memories I have of Rhodes, I was 19. Spring had come, the Festival of Dionysus. It was my favorite time of year; I played the lyre and was passionate about drama and song.

But that Dionysia was different. I used the witchcraft I had secretly learned from my mother to conjure the god, to help me win a singing contest. I also used his inspiration to compose satiric songs, to humiliate certain rivals—young men who had bullied me on many occasions. My strategy worked too well. The bullies were driven from the feast hall in shame. But the next morning they cornered me on the street and beat me nearly to death, smashing my head on the pavement.

What happened after that is unclear—painful fragments of memory. Eventually, I found myself in a slave yard in Egypt.

Where do you live now?

Now I am a scribe at the Temple of Ptah, in Memphis on the Nile. I translate documents from Egyptian to Greek, as required by King Ptolemy of Alexandria. I am also used as a seer by my master, the High Priest Harnouphis. Continue reading “Korax of Rhodes (of The Mazes of Magic, by Jack Massa)”

Jarrod Torrealday (of The Outworlders Saga, by Joseph Malik)

Joseph Malik - Outworlders banner

Dear readers, tonight with me is a cross-dimensional champion. Taken from Earth to a strange new world, this former Olympic saber hopeful and medieval weapons expert was tasked to be an adviser to the war council for a magical realm teetering on the edge of collapse.

We wanted to meet Jarrod Torrealday since we first read his book, and finally caught up with him at his castle home in the Wild River Reach at the end of this past autumn, between his two book adventures.

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

I grew up in Connecticut, on an estate called Knightsbridge. Our house was one of these castle homes, with stone turrets and everything. (Laughs) I guess it kind of warped me. My family owns Eastern Technology Bank. We mostly handle hospitals and big tech campuses. We had a few hundred acres of woods that butted up against a huge green belt that went right down to the sea. I was much more into getting into adventures out there than I was ever interested in playing with toys.

What do you do now?

I’m part of an order of knights here in the kingdom of Gateskeep. Our order teaches hand fighting and military science to the troops, but also serves a counterespionage function, as well. We keep an ear to the ground and keep an eye on the fighters in the castles where we train other knights and soldiers. We find spies, and disrupt plots against the crown.

I’m also a Lord Protector of the principality of Falconsrealm, which means that I can be called upon—and have the right—to settle affairs of the crown in personal combat. A lot of the time, here, they’ll settle small wars and grievances with just two guys beating the crap out of each other, sometimes not even to the death. It’s a pre-industrial, mostly feudal society—interlinked fiefdoms of regional lords and magnates operating under privatized rule—but it’s technically possible to take over a castle and lands in a fistfight. Which keeps the afternoons interesting.

It all just goes to prove that we never really know where we’re going to end up, I guess. It’s a good gig.

What do you find most surprising about living here? Compared to Earth?

The number of women in the ranks of the military, especially the knights, and how effective they are. On Earth, we’ve really underrated them. Our brightest military leaders, and some of our toughest knights here, are women. Continue reading “Jarrod Torrealday (of The Outworlders Saga, by Joseph Malik)”

Benji Fisher (of Mermaids Are Real, by Bo Wu)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a young boy who grew up by the sea. Used to surfing with dolphins and some odd things encountered underwater, he’s come here to tell us about how his life changes following a recruitment speech from an octopus the night before his thirteenth birthday.


What was it like growing up in Beech Mill?

I liked the town much more than the growing up part. It’s hard when you stick out and all everyone else is trying to do is conform. I think no matter where you are in the world, that’s a problem for kids.

Having said that, Beech Mill was a great place to grow up. I was in or on the water whenever I wanted for as long as I wanted. My dad had a boat. What else can you ask for, right?

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

I wasn’t a toy kid. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I just gravitated toward the outdoors. A part of me always knew I belonged outdoors and, more specifically, in the water. I just didn’t know how much I really did belong until Octavius showed up and told me about my real home in Sanjowqua.

But, I guess my surfboard could be considered a toy. I had plenty of fun on it. That’s for sure. It was on my surfboard that I had my first run-in with Eeke, Zeeke, and Mai, the dolphins that kept watch over me.

What do you do now?

I’m still thirteen, so no matter what, I get to still be a kid, but now I get to be a merman kid with an ocean full of creatures to play with and unexplored territory, at least for me, that I get to call my home.

I think for the meantime, I’m going to be helping prepare for the next full moon party in a few weeks which, by the way, is the first one Sanjowqua has celebrated in thirteen years. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have my hands full for the foreseeable future.

I’ll spend my free time working on honing my Mystiq powers. I see another visit to my dad’s lair again pretty soon, as well. Continue reading “Benji Fisher (of Mermaids Are Real, by Bo Wu)”

Vladimir Taltos (of Jhereg series, by Steven Brust)

Steven Brust - Vlad Taltos (Jhereg) series covers

Dear readers, we are excited and proud to host tonight a character out of one of fantasy’s longest running series! He is a wizard, an assassin, a crime baron, and a foreigner. He climbed his way to the top against all odds, in a society controlled by a different race. We wanted to speak with him since we first read his books. Please welcome Vlad Taltos!


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

I grew up in South Adrilankha, the Easterner’s district. What was it like? It stank, that’s what it was like. You had the slaughterhouses on one side, dead fish smells from the other.  You could sometimes find a witch to help you out when you got sick.  Sometimes you couldn’t.  Then we moved across the River.  That stank too, only in different ways.  Not so much in the nose, except when you got punched there.  It stank because I was short and weaker than everyone else, and some of them didn’t like Easterners much.  You could always find a sorcerer to help you when you were sick, but you couldn’t afford to pay him.  It sucked, okay? Can we talk about something else?

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

My favorite toy was a lepip, which is a piece of iron, usually about as long as my arm from shoulder to wrist, with some leather wrapped around it to reduce bleeding.  My most cherished memory is using it on some asshole of the House of the Orca who was expecting me to just, I don’t know, stand there and get hit.  Those guys aren’t too bright.  But they make these great sounds when you smack them really hard in the kneecap.  Ever done it?  Try it.  If it goes well, come and see me, I might have some work for you.  If it doesn’t go well, that’s your problem.

What do you do now?

There are people trying to kill me.  I thwart them.  I also travel a lot.  Sometimes I meet bandits, highwaymen, you know?  When I do, I rob them.  It’s a living.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Adventure?  You call it an adventure?  I call it people trying to kill me.  Maybe that’s an adventure for you, but–okay, let me explain.  When there’s this vast criminal organization that hates you because you didn’t quite play by their rules, and they want to stick a weapon into you that destroys your soul, that’s not an adventure, that’s just scary.  So, anyway, I thought up a way to maybe get myself out of that uncomfortable situation.  See, I had a plan… Continue reading “Vladimir Taltos (of Jhereg series, by Steven Brust)”

Xander Portmanteau & Lyra Jones (of Cliche, by Allison Rose)

Dear readers, tonight with me are two characters that sprang out of their books to confront their authors. One, a handsome rogue, is the last chauvinist left in the feminist fantasy realm; the other is a space defender, struggling to be a strong female protagonist in books written by a pulp-fiction author.

They are here to tell us about their adventures.


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

Xander: My background is of little importance.

Lyra: *glares*

Xander: Oh, all right.

I was born in the village of Scrubbleypot, a three-day trek from the Landrian capital. My father was a knight in the old king’s royal guard, and died a warrior’s death on the battlefield, leaving behind his wife with child, a farm, and a cow. I was the child, and I had a miserable upbringing. My mother thought little of me because I reminded her of Father. I, in turn, think little of her.

Lyra: I was born on Terra in the year 5740. After years of rigorous training, I was inducted into the prestigious League of Space Defenders, a special force that protects the galaxy from alien threats.  In ’75, I and a team of seven other Space Huntsmen were dispatched to the Jerome Moon Outpost, in preparation of a future civilian colony.  Unfortunately, there was a … devastating incident on the base that left everyone but myself dead.  With our comms destroyed, I had no way to call home and report what had happened; instead, I’ve taken it on myself to identify the culprit and avenge my team.

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

Xander: A great warrior does not require such … intricacies…. Actually, we were too poor to buy toys, and I hadn’t a father to carve gewgaws and baubles from fallen branches as the other lads did. I never did learn to carve my own, but perhaps I shall when I meet a woman worthy of bearing my children.

My most cherished memories are those of solitude. When I’d finish milking the cow and letting it out to pasture, I would run to the untamed forests surrounding our land and listen to the birdsong. It is possible to lose track of time in there, for it is always dark beneath the canopy of trees. Thus ends the cherishable portion of any such memories, for Mother detested when the cow got out from being left unattended.

Lyra: My favorite toys growing up were my model starcruisers and VR headset.  We all got them as space cadets for training simulations, but I figured out how to add a variety of entertaining games to my system….

What do you do now?

Lyra: I may have no contact with the League of Space Defenders, but I’m still a Space Huntress through and through.  I’d dreamed since childhood of going to space, colonizing the moon, and expanding our access to the world as much as I can.  I just hope I’ll make it back to Terra with my findings someday.

Xander: At this time, I am my own master. After a brief juncture in the Landrian army, I took up service as a rogue mercenary.  I serve whomever I please, but unlike many, I am still a man of great honor.  And alas, my heart belongs the fair ruler of Landria, Lady Jen Mondegreen. Continue reading “Xander Portmanteau & Lyra Jones (of Cliche, by Allison Rose)”

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