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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Historical Fantasy

Raphael (of Light’s Rise, by Yvette Bostic)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a man born in the early 17th century — at least the corresponding time of an alternate history.

He is here to tell us about his magical adventures during the Napoleonic Wars.


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

My name is Raphael Silva Lopez. I grew up in a small village on the eastern coast of Brazil, in the early 1600’s. My father was a retired Portuguese soldier and my mother was the youngest daughter of a sugar plantation laborer for the Jesuits. Her tribe worked for the Jesuits for years. My childhood was difficult, as I wasn’t accepted by either culture. Rather than try to fit in, I retreated to the jungle and learned to hunt, fish, trap and survive. Papa took the time he could to teach me things he learned from the army, while Mama taught me the ways of her people. I was always eager to learn and was grateful when an old Jesuit schoolmaster took me under his tutelage. The school said he was too old to teach, but it didn’t prevent me from soaking up whatever knowledge he would grant me.

Did you have any cherished memories from your childhood?

One evening, Jose, my Jesuit teacher and I walked along a well-worn path where the forest met the beach. He pointed at the different trees, flowers and shrubs as we strolled past them, demanding that I tell him their names and characteristics. What were their uses? Were they edible or poisonous? Did they have healing properties? We reached the old log that marked our time to turn back. Jose never took me beyond that point. For three years, I followed him along the path and for three years we always turned back at the fallen log. That night, Jose paused and looked at the rotting wood. “Raphael,” he said in his old, graveled voice. “There comes a time in everyone’s life where we must walk beyond our comfortable boundaries.” He stared into the darkened trees and fell silent for several moments. “When that time comes for you, do not hesitate.” He turned his gaze on me and his deep brown eyes bore into my own. He placed his gnarled fingers on my bony shoulder and squeezed. “Don’t be afraid of the unknown, son. Everything is unknown until it is no longer.”

Twelve years later, I reached the point in my life where I was faced with crossing my boundary. It was that moment in time when I had to decide to fight against the evil that threatened our world or walk away from it. The old man’s words came back to me and I didn’t hesitate.

What is your role in the Council of Light?

I think I have many roles. I like some of them better than others. I suppose the others I would avoid all together if I could. My role is completely opposite of everyone else. They are blessed with strength, stamina and magical powers. I was blessed with knowledge, for which I am eternally grateful. I was never very good with a sword and only barely proficient with daggers. But my eagerness to learn proved my greatest asset. I cannot manipulate magic the way Mikel or Magdelin do, but I can see the way they use it. I could spend hours watching it surround, caress and flow through my fellow council members. It dances with them as if the magic and person are one. Maybe they are. But, I digress, my job is to use this knowledge to create protective runes and enhancements for our warriors. Continue reading “Raphael (of Light’s Rise, by Yvette Bostic)”

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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)”

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 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)”

Happy Saturnalia!

From all of us here at The Protagonist, may you have a happy and book-filled new year!

It’s been quite the ride this past year, with many characters getting to speak out (and occasionally, speak out of turn). May your next year be full of great books, and may their characters forever live in your head!(*)

We’ll leave you with this interview with both Assaph and Felix (seen together to prove they’re not the one person), originally published on Jen Winters‘ blog. It’s a classic Felix…

 

(*) Yes, we know how that sounds. That’s the point ;–)


Dear readers,

My name is Assaph Mehr, and I am the author of Historical Fantasy Mysteries, or – as I like to call them – Stories of Togas, Daggers, and Magic. The stories tell the cases of a hard-boiled detective named Felix, set in a magical world based on ancient Rome. If you like any two of Urban Fantasy, Detective mysteries and Ancient Rome, you’re bound to enjoy them.

With me tonight is Felix, the protagonist of the stories. I met Felix a while ago, in circumstances that we’d both rather keep quiet for now –

Felix: I still don’t understand why…

Assaph: We’ve been over this before. Back to the introduction. I have been writing and publishing Felix’s memoirs these past two years –

Felix: And I’m still to see any royalties from them.

Assaph: Told you, writing and publishing isn’t as lucrative as it used to be. There are costs involved…

Felix: Yeah, yeah, great reviews… [sotto voce] mentula.

Assaph: I heard that! Please keep respectful language. Seeing how you’re so eager to jump in, why don’t you introduce yourself to the readers of this blog? Continue reading “Happy Saturnalia!”

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)”

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)”

Eno the Thracian (of his eponymous series by CB Pratt)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a hero out of the ancient Greece. Eno is a Hero for Hire, with a swift sword and reasonable rates.

Nobody is better at out-witting a sphinx, charming a goddess, or swinging a sword than Eno the Thracian. Armed with a dry sense of humor, a body like living rock, and a wide experience of love, death, and olive oil, Eno is just what the philosopher ordered… if you can afford him.

He’s here to tell us about his adventures.


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

I grew up in the mountains of Thrace, with the sheep, the shepherds, and the wolves. My tribe is the Maedi. While our womenfolk live in huts year round, the men follow the herds, going up to the high country for the summer grasses and returning in the winter. We worship the same gods as the Greeks; some claim that Ares first came from our lands. While I love my home-land, I haven’t been back much. I grew up bigger than most and when I was about 16, I came down to the ‘civilized world’, where I’ve met more scoundrels, dangers, and lies than I would have met in a lifetime in the hills. Oh, well. I was never all that crazy about sheep. Not the greatest conversationalists.

After a few years, I settled in Athens. It’s an up-and-coming town, where the temples are slowly being replaced with stone, the king doesn’t get into much trouble or charge high taxes, and the weather’s good. I get a lot of clients from word of mouth but also from my sign in the agora:

Hero for Hire. All monsters dispatched from carnivorous geese to Minotaurs. Special rates for multiples. Eno the Thracian at the sign of the Ram’s Head, one flight up.

Continue reading “Eno the Thracian (of his eponymous series by CB Pratt)”

Asa Ragnvaldardottir (of The Saga of Asa Oathkeeper by Colin Brodd)

colin-brodd-asa-oathkeeper

Dear readers, tonight with me is a young viking woman, the rightful heir to her father’s kindgom.

Her rival Haraldur seeks to slay her to secure his right to the throne. She is here to tell us about her life as an outlaw, and of the Viking-Fantasy world of Midhgardhur.

 

 

 

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

 When I was very little, I lived in the Kingdom of Vestfold with my father, a jarl under King Halfdanur the Black. I lived in a long hall overlooking the Great Bay where the longships sailed. My memories of childhood in Vestfold are mostly happy ones, but hazy. When I was just five years old, King Halfdanur died, and my father was elected to be the new king. The day of the konungstekja, the coronation, was the day my world ended – Halfdanur’s son Haraldur attacked without warning, killed my father, and took the crown for himself. I was smuggled to safety across the narrow sea by my father’s loyal retainers, and raised in exile at Ketilsstadhir on the island of Jutey. I guess I really grew up there. I was bitter, and wanted revenge upon King Haraldur for killing my father.

Did you have any cherished memories from childhood?

My favorite memory from childhood is probably my combat training with Hjalti, my father’s most trusted retainer, the one watching over me the day of Haraldur’s attack. The one who took me to safety. Hjalti taught me the ways of the sword; he taught me to be a shieldmaiden. I loved training with him. He trained me out of loyalty to my father, and love for me – he wanted me to be able to protect myself. He did not go easy on me. He raised me to be a good fighter. I loved the exercise, loved to feel my body grow strong as I grew up. And it made me feel like someday I would do something about the wrongs done to me and my people. Continue reading “Asa Ragnvaldardottir (of The Saga of Asa Oathkeeper by Colin Brodd)”

Hannah Valerius (of Hannah’s Heirloom Trilogy by Rosie Chapel)

the-pomegrante-tree-rosie-chapelDear readers, tonight with me are, in a way, two women named Hannah. The modern Hannah, while on an archaeological expedition to Masada, started to see the life of the ancient Hannah Bat Avigail – a woman straight out of biblical times. Hannah saw the Great Revolt of Masada, saw the life of the times, and even fell for a Roman legionary.

She is here to tell us about life in ancient Israel.

 

 

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

I grew up in Jerusalem; it’s a huge city and used to be very cosmopolitan – now I’m not so sure, I expect much has changed. Of course, it was my home and all I knew; families looked out for each other and it was a very happy community. Unfortunately, tension replaced concord, political unrest led to violent clashes between pro and anti Roman supporters and my beautiful city descended into chaos.

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

Toys! Ha! I never played with toys, not sure we even had any in our house. If I wasn’t outside playing with my brother and his friends, I was helping my uncle in his surgery; he was a great physician you know. Far more interesting than toys! My mother would have preferred me to be more feminine — pah! Who wants that? Certainly not I – give me the sick and injured over girlish games any day.

Cherished memories? Ahh, well that’s a bit difficult. Oh dear, how can I explain this? Okay, here goes – I have a descendant, also called Hannah, whose soul connects to mine. She shares her knowledge of what will happen in order that I can save those I love from disaster (such as the slaughter on Masada, just before the Roman army re-took the fortress). Thing is, the first time our minds collided, almost everything that came before was lost. I experience the occasional flashback, but nothing of any substance. My cherished memories began on Masada. Continue reading “Hannah Valerius (of Hannah’s Heirloom Trilogy by Rosie Chapel)”

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