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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the protagonists of your favourite books

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Fantasy

Alerich Ashimar (of Ties of Blood and Bone, by A.E. Lowan)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a wizard, a man with the soul of a poet and the heart of a demon.

His family is bound to a demon in a geas of murder and mayhem, or risks losing his father. He is here to tell us about his conflicted love life, his estranged relationships, and about deals one might strike with a demon.


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

I grew up at Ashimar House just outside of Guildford in Surrey in the U.K.. Ashimar House is a respectable old pile, with a great library, but it’s drafty, and Ashimars have been continuously replacing the roofs for centuries. At 13, I boarded at Eton College in Hertfordshire, just west of London. I loved everything about Eton—the sporting fields, rowing, and of course beaks who taught me my mind was more important than my money.

What was your favorite pastime as a child?

My favorite thing about Ashimar House was its library. My favorite days were the ones I could spend with a book in front of the fire. My father was an exacting man, and often found fault with a lot of what I did, but never with my love of books. Stories or knowledge, I love them both.

What have you been up to since University?

I have been living a life of parties, women, and fast cars. My mates and I have become quite the fixtures at wizard parties all over Europe. We spend our time in every part of Europe except home. My father has plans for me to take up the family business, and eventually I’ll have to, but I’ve been steering clear of Ashimar House and its secrets for as long as I can. Continue reading “Alerich Ashimar (of Ties of Blood and Bone, by A.E. Lowan)”

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Ava Cerdwen (of The Midsummer Wife, by Jacqueline Church Simonds)

Dear readers, tonight with me is the high priestess of a sisterhood dating back fifteen centuries, to the times of Arthur and Merlin.

She is here to tell us about their heirs, and about the post-apocalyptic Britain they must rescue.


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

I grew up in Talinn, Estonia, the youngest of seven daughters. Coincidentally, my mother was the youngest daughter of seven, as well. In some traditions, this is supposed to be the mark of a high adept/holy person. The Sisterhood (The Daughters of Arianrhod, a group that worships and serves the Goddess) doesn’t rely on such things, but I think it was a factor in their choosing me to be High Priestess.

I did not have a pleasant childhood. My father died when I was 6—a plane crash in the Sahara. He was there as part of the World Bank’s outreach to tribesmen. My mother died in a mysterious elevator accident in Talinn when I was 12. I was sent off to study at the Sisterhood’s Goddesshouse in Viborg, Denmark, where my grandmother was High Priestess.

I found it stressful to be in classes there. Everyone expected me to be perfect, and to emulate my grandmother—who I look a lot like. I am a very different person—more impetuous, restless, rash. Or at least I was back then.

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

My family travelled a lot because of the Sisterhood and my mother’s work for the government of Estonia—especially after my father died.  We were in Viborg, Denmark a lot because of my grandmother. A large number of my family lives in that area, and/or works with the Sisterhood.

I am always amazed when I met other people who had perhaps one or two siblings and don’t talk to anyone else (or don’t know their family history). Everything in my life has always been about family, knowing one’s heritage back 60-or-more generations, and the Sisterhood. I know fourth and fifth cousins and all their relatives. I’m never alone when I’m in a new city—there’s always family there.

So I guess my most cherished memory is being with family, anywhere I go.

What do you do now?

I am the High Priestess of the Daughters of Arianrhod, called the Sisterhood. Almost 1500 years ago, the Sisterhood was tasked with observing the heirs to King Arthur and Merlin in case problems developed, and to assist them in The Time to Come when those heirs will be called upon to Heal Britain in its greatest time of need.

Mostly, my job is to oversee the operations of the Sisterhood—whose main goal is to sow the seeds to return worship of the Goddess back into the world. It’s slow going. It’s a world-wide organization, with thousands of priestesses and initiates, hundreds of temples and residences, and all the logistical and bureaucratic challenges of any large international corporation. So I spend a great deal of my time holed up in my glass-walled office of the Danish-Modern masterpiece that is the Motherhouse, working very long hours… when I am not running to the bathroom and hiding because of yet another panic attack.

I do my best. Sometimes, it’s not good enough. Continue reading “Ava Cerdwen (of The Midsummer Wife, by Jacqueline Church Simonds)”

Dylan of Demarn (of In Pain and Blood, by Aldrea Alien)

 Dear readers, tonight with me is a spellster, eschewing the safety of the spellster tower for the freedom to roam the land.

He’s here to tell us about his life in the army, about how his first scouting mission went awry, and the mysterious and flirtatious Tracker.


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

I grew up in Demarn’s spellster tower. It was my whole world for much of my life, actually. It was more of a complex, us spellsters lived in the tower in the centre, surrounded by gardens and a thick wall where the servants lived.

It was peaceful. Really quiet despite the fact there were hundreds of us. Tracker says the spellster population alone was in the thousands, I don’t know if I should believe him but there were a lot of us. We were expected to train our magic, and compete for a chance to join the army if we were strong enough, but we’d a few choices of how we could apply our talents. I kind of miss the monotony. I used to spend whole days in the library, sometimes weeks without stepping outside.

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

No toys, my guardian didn’t really approve of material attachments, not when an errant hiccup of magic could destroy one. We slept in huge dormitories as children anyway and there were always fights over items, they belonged to the tower as it was. I’d a few books I was fond of, but they had to remain in the library. Any game we played needed only yourself, sometimes it involved magic. Especially when it came to bathing where we’d try to make huge waves with very little water, or steal someone else’s right out of their tub.

I’ve plenty of cherished memories, though. Like the times Nestria and I would sneak off into some out of the way place purely to plot the passage of the stars. We were almost caught on a few occasions, there was a curfew we were expected to abide by. Really makes the heart race to think that we could’ve been sent into isolation. When we weren’t doing that, I’d spend long nights trading elaborate stories with Henrie through a crack in the wall.

What do you do now?

It’s oddly reminiscent to what I used to do back home, which was helping the dwarves decipher foreign accounts of their ruins. The only difference really is that where I used to go through my guardian and the overseers, I now work directly with the hedgewitches, which is both terrifying and wonderful. I’m only an apprentice, of course. Not that don’t grant full status to humans, but you’ve got to not have any romantic attachments. Continue reading “Dylan of Demarn (of In Pain and Blood, by Aldrea Alien)”

Tierney J’Arzan (of Dracones Awakening, by Sheri-Lynn Marean)

Dear readers, tonight we reprint an interview from an alternate Earth. The young woman interviewed, an empath, will tell us about life with shape-shifting dragons and fallen angels.


Tierney walks into the room, and I’m stunned speechless. She isn’t really tall, maybe five-foot-five, but she’s slender, and holds herself as if ready to spin into action and put someone flat on their back. Her long wavy black hair reaches her back, but it’s the purple eyes scanning the room, a room that’s been set up just for this interview, that really catch my attention.

“No cameras,” I say, then remember my manners and smile.  “Tierney, it’s good to finally meet you. Will you have a seat?”

“Yes, it’s good to meet you as well,” she says, noting my handheld recorder.

“Would you like some water or coffee?” I ask as she sits down. I notice a bulge under her black leather jacket, telling me she’s carrying. Under the jacket is a black tank top. Then I spot the knife strapped to her jean clad hip and smile. She’d mentioned she would have weapons and that they didn’t trust easily.

“No, I’m good, thank you.”

“Well then, shall we get started?” I ask.

Tierney nods, then grins, and while she is beautiful, there is a presence about her that is just stunning. I tear my eyes from her, and glance at my notes. “So, can you tell me a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?”

“Sure. I was born on Tartaria twenty-one years ago. It’s a beautiful planet filled with color and the most incredible topography I’ve ever seen, though I’ve not been to all the other realms. Oh, and there is an abundance of magic as well. Tartaria has 3 suns and 2 moons. It’s 1 of the 52 realms, and unlike earth, all the different supernatural beings who live there don’t have to hide what they are. Or, actually, that isn’t quite true.”

“What do you mean? I ask, noting the anger on her face.

“What I should have said was that everyone is aware of them. On Tartaria, the population of humans is rather small compared to everyone else, so being a Supe isn’t a big secret like it is on Earth. Unfortunately, everyone still has to be careful because the Ilyium hunt anyone supernatural. Continue reading “Tierney J’Arzan (of Dracones Awakening, by Sheri-Lynn Marean)”

Dembrek (of the DRUX series, by S.P. Joseph Lyons)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a man with a misty past, torn between heroism and rebellion. He is here to tell us about the power of love, as well as the power of heroes.

Note that we’ve previously interviewed Oreunasis, the Lord of the DRUX. It’s rewarding to see characters out of our earliest patron-books returning to the interview couch.


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

I was born on the home of the Original People. We were the first created beings of the Great Voice. We lived in harmony with nature, and our surroundings. Simple homes among the vast trees under a sea of stars at night. We were a peaceful race but were always ready for war if it should ever come to us. Though our home had been decimated by the men with hands like lightning and thunder, then by Mordrin and his slave army of Gaunlar, we always rebuilt. Stronger. Better.

Any cherished memories of your home?

My mother. She was everything to me in the absence of my father. When she was killed by Mordrin, I…I just, I don’t know. Losing her was the hardest thing I ever had to endure. I miss her terribly. She always saw the best in me, and always had a way of seeing the beauty in everything. When my father left for the stars, a part of her went with him. She’d often look to the night sky, wondering if he could see us. I hated him for leaving, even if he didn’t have a choice.

What do you do now?

After being exiled from my home, I went to the universal Arena to become a champion. In a fight to the death, it was no easy task standing against the greatest warriors in the universe. After winning, I became a legend. I was feared in every section of the universe. I guess having these powers, and being fearless, has its advantages in battle. Continue reading “Dembrek (of the DRUX series, by S.P. Joseph Lyons)”

The Hunter of Voramis (of Darkblade Assassin: Hero of Darkness, by Andy Peloquin)

Dear readers, tonight on the interview couch is the best assassin the world has ever seen. Driven by a cursed dagger with an unquenchable thirst for blood and death, he kills only those who truly deserve to die.

He’s here to tell us of his world and of fight for his life as he tries to find a way to atone for his mistakes.


Tell us a little about where you grew up and your history before becoming the legendary assassin of Voramis.

I have no memories of my childhood or anything before arriving in the city of Voramis. My earliest memories date back to the day I walked through the city gates, with nothing but the clothes on my back and my dagger, Soulhunger. But even despite the absence of memories, I discovered I knew one thing all too well: the art of killing. With no other prospects, I took on the profession of assassin-for-hire, and have spent the last five decades building my legend.

What is it like, spending your life killing people?

Death comes for us all, I simply hasten its arrival. But I do not kill at random. I find those who deserve death for the suffering they have caused others, and I deliver justice. In Voramis, many hide behind their wealth and use it to not only evade retribution, but to inflict pain and suffering on others. I am the one that sends them to the Long Keeper to stand trial for their crimes.

What can you tell us about the contract to kill Lord Dannaros?

When I discovered the truth of what he was doing, importing young women to sell as slaves, I knew he deserved the justice I delivered. It was a simple matter to use my pre-existing relationship with the nobleman—through my disguise of Lord Anglion of Praamis—to receive an invitation to his annual soiree, where I could find him alone and put an end to his cruelty. Continue reading “The Hunter of Voramis (of Darkblade Assassin: Hero of Darkness, by Andy Peloquin)”

Rhuna (of Keeper of Wisdom, by Barbara Underwood)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a young woman who grew up on the fringes of the empire of Atlantis. 

She is here to tell us about her travels across oceans and ancient worlds (from Atlantis to Ancient Egypt), her inherent mental powers, and her mysterious visions.


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

I grew up on a small island called Chinza.  It’s in the middle of the world’s biggest ocean and far away from any other place.  I didn’t even know that there was anything beyond the big blue horizon until I was about 12 solar cycles in age and met Tozar, who was hiding in my cave and told me he came from a land far away.   Up to that point, I lived outside the village with my mother who was always unhappy and picking on me for everything.  It wasn’t really a nice a place, and everyone thought I was strange because my skin was paler than everyone else’s.  People sort of avoided my mother and me, so I grew up playing by myself in the caves.  Chinza is a volcanic island and has lots of caves, so I used to explore those and play in them.  It was a dull and boring place until some strange people wearing white robes came to Chinza and began making huge stone statues that looked like people.  I spied on them once and saw that they used strange and special powers to make the big stone statues.

What was the most important thing that happened in your life?

Tozar – the man I found hiding in a cave on Chinza – took me away from that depressing place and told me about the Atlan Empire and the beautiful City of Atlán, where he lived.  The Atlan people have advanced knowledge and technology, as well as special abilities that enable them to transform elements such as sand to stone and metal to gold, just with the power of their minds!  They can also summon visions of faraway places and people using the reflection of a still body of water.  But the most exciting thing is that I found out that my father was an Atlan with such powers, and that I inherited those abilities from him!   At first I couldn’t believe that a plain girl like me could learn to summon visions of distant places, transform sand into stone, make heavy stone blocks almost weightless and then build my own small pyramid to harness lunar and cosmic energies!

What do you do now?

When I became an adult, I went to the City of Atlán to be with Tozar, and that’s where I attended a school to learn about healing and herbs.  Besides being a Healer, I also became part of the High Council of Atlán, alongside Tozar, helping to solve people’s problems, big and small.  But the biggest challenge was when the Dark Master started subverting our way of life, causing death and suffering among poor and helpless people.  That’s when we discovered that I had extra special powers of summoning visions, and this helped us stop the Dark Master…at least we thought so at first. Continue reading “Rhuna (of Keeper of Wisdom, by Barbara Underwood)”

Cora (of Grim, by Gavin McCallion)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a young woman, with a unique heritage.

With two dads and a year she was locked up in a basement and forced to practice her music, she has a very intriguing tale to tell.


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

Hey, I’m Cora, I’m nineteen and excellent. I’m from a little, angry, wet island called Wilson’s Well. It never stops raining and everything is grey. It’s a population of workmen, cafes and pubs. We’re all just getting by.

Living there is miserable for people who aren’t – well – umbrella salesfolk, I guess.

That seems harsh; the Well isn’t so bad. It’s just not great.

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

Favourite toys? I don’t think so. I was a loud kid with some hyperactivity issues. I never settled down with toys. I was doomed to be a musician. Way before I can remember, I pulled a whole load of pots and pans out of a cupboard and hit them as hard as I could until my dad came to shut me up. He’s since told me how brutally hungover he was that day and that he ‘felt like chucking me out the window.’ I heard that story so much growing up it must’ve subconsciously forced me into drums. Parents fuck you up.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Oh man. Right. You ready? I got black-out drunk one night – which was my brand at the time – and woke up in a basement with four other incredible musicians. With me? Cool. So, there was this ridiculous, eight-foot-tall cyborg who kept us there under orders from a lunatic in tartan trousers who needed the best musicians in Wilson’s Well to perform at his “Gala” where he planned to blow everything up. This guy is an A-grade prick, just FYI. His name is Judge Rabbit. Elsewhere, Judge Rabbit, who is responsible for electing the honest-to-God GRIM REAPER for our island, fucks up and brings my real dad – who I didn’t know about – back from the dead to do the job. He gets help from my step-dad, who I thought was my real dad, and they go on an adventure to rescue me. But they’re both incredibly useless men and the crap they go through to get anywhere near me is straight-up bananas.

So, yeah. That’s my most recent adventure. Continue reading “Cora (of Grim, by Gavin McCallion)”

Clara (of The Relic Guild series, by Edward Cox)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a young woman touched by magic – in a world where that is punishable by death.

She is here to tell us about her struggle to survive in a dangerous and dysfunctional city, about the great Labyrinth, and of the Relic Guild – a secret band of magickers sworn to protect it.


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

Horrible. Labrys Town has some nice places and the denizens make the most of what they have, which isn’t much, to be honest. And when you have as little as me, you don’t get to visit the nicer places much and life can be a little dangerous. When you’re stuck at the centre of a giant maze that doesn’t end, there’s not much chance of getting out, and folk tend to turn on themselves.

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

I never really had many possessions, but I have plenty of fond memories of my mothers. They treated me like I was the most important in the Great Labyrinth and wanted so much more for me in life. I think they’d be proud.

What do you do now?

Well, that’s a little tricky to answer, given the secrecy surrounding my profession. Let’s just say I’m an agent of the Relic Guild, and ask no more. Continue reading “Clara (of The Relic Guild series, by Edward Cox)”

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