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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the protagonists of your favourite books

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Historical Fiction

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)”

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Thrasius (of Feast of Sorrow, by Crystal King)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a man, working in a profession we do not normally come across. He’s a former slave, originally bought as a cook.

However, he found himself the cook of none other than the Roman empire’s most notorious gourmand, Apicius. As anyone who have met Felix and me know, we are forever indebted to that great man, for relentlessly documenting the ancient cuisine we all know and love.

This makes this interview one of the most anticipated on our little blog, as the interviewer is a big fan of the interviewee.

Without further ado, let us have Thrasius tell us about his life.


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

My very early childhood was in Greece. I was a twin, born to a slave woman who died in childbirth and whose name I never knew. My sister and I were raised by another slave in a respected house in Pompeii until we were four. When that patrician died, the household slaves were willed to several different relatives and we were separated. I never knew what happened to her. I barely remember anything about her, except her name, Thecla. I was lucky and my master saw that I was smart and had me taught to read and write from a very young age. I think he thought I might eventually become a scribe.

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

One of the slaves in the household where I grew up carved some wooden animals for me. I played with them often and even back then I think my true colors as a cook were showing through. I often would pretend to capture and slaughter the animals, then take them home and roast them over the fire.

What do you do now?

I am a freedman working in the household of Marcus Gavius Apicius, one of the wealthiest men in Rome. I began my time in his household as a cook but eventually have become one of his most trusted advisors. My duties are wide. I do have a secondo, what would you say—a sous chef? But I am generally responsible for every dish in the kitchen, overseeing all the banquets, for managing the extensive guest lists and advising my master who should be invited; and I also am in charge of the Apicius School of Cooking. Continue reading “Thrasius (of Feast of Sorrow, by Crystal King)”

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)”

Niklas, Eighth Son of Jesse (of Tyrants and Traitors by Joshua McHenry Miller)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a fifteen-year-old shepherd, who spent his whole life dreaming of revolt against the hygiene-adverse Philistines. Recently an all-but-impossible mission is thrust upon him, and he started to rethink the whole hero business. What chance does the daring schemer have when lions, the Mad King, and a literal giant stand in his way?

He is here to tell us of his race to uncover the hidden traitor, conspiracies and armies which converge on the nation — with his hometown directly in the crossfire.


What’s the most vivid memory you have as a child?

I’ve been wrongfully identified as the chief mischief maker in our family. While I’d never deny my penchant for a bit mayhem, one of my older brothers, Abin, is the real godfather of all things chaos. Growing up, he was always seeking the next prank to pull off, and he often used me as patient zero for his ideas. Once, he convinced me to try every spice in our mother’s cabinet. It went alright until I chomped into a blackened mustard seed. My eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets, and I spent the next two hours impersonating a waterfall, spewing fluids all over the house. He lovingly referred to it as ‘Abin’s Surprise.’

Tell us a little about where you grew up?

Ancient Israel is a tale of two worlds. On the one side, our countryside is awesome. We’ve got fertile hills, clear rivers, and some of the best wine this side of the mesopotamian peninsula. It’s a dream scenario, except for the tiny fact that every one of our neighboring countries want to wipe us off the map. Every decade or so, another regional war breaks out, and we spend the next five years cleaning up the mess. Plus, my people aren’t exactly known for a surplus in courage. We’re more of the ‘flee in terror’ crowd than the ‘stand up and fight for yourselves’ demographic, which only paints a larger target on our backs. Continue reading “Niklas, Eighth Son of Jesse (of Tyrants and Traitors by Joshua McHenry Miller)”

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

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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)”

Sir Blandford Candy (of The Last Roundhead series by Jemahl Evans)

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Dear readers, tonight with us is an irascible old drunk with a hatred of poets and a love of hats, straight out of the 17th century English Civil War.

He is here to tell us of his adventures, from battlefield to bedroom, unmasking Cavalier plots, earning the enmity of the King’s agents and uncovering an attempt to steal thousand.

 

 

 

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

I was born on the Ides of March 1624 – prophetic, no? My father was a rich cloth merchant who had an estate in Hilperton, near the town of Trowbridge in Wiltshire. Papa gave me the name Blandford after the town where he had just bought a new tannery. ’Twas not the best of starts perhaps, but then my father was ever a drunken old sot. He was likely too soused to think of a proper name.

My mother died when I was but a child from smallpox, and my eldest sister Elizabeth did her best to raise me, and my siblings. I had four: two brothers and two sisters, all dead now, of course. I was the fourth of five, with my little sister Anne the youngest – and most witless; truly she had less intellect than your average sheep. I am the last of the Hilperton Candys, excepting my idiot great nephew. He has just married; he is charmingly naïve.

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

I used to love to play with a whip and top that Mr Figgis carved for me, but my brother James took it, broke the whip over his knee, and threw the bobbin into the River Avon. I had my vengeance: I hid some dead gudgeon under his floorboards until the stink drove him out of his chambers. My eldest brother Henry was a hairy giant – more monkey than man – and another bully, but ’twas ever James that was most cruel. I remember little of my mother – soft white hands and a smile, nought else of worth. ’Tis a tragedy for a son not to remember his mother’s love. Do you see? I am not averse to playing for sympathy if it be to my benefit. Continue reading “Sir Blandford Candy (of The Last Roundhead series by Jemahl Evans)”

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)”

Artorius (of Between Worlds by P.J. Roscoe)

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Dear readers, tonight with us is Artorius – the commander of Roman Britannia at the close of the 6th century CE.

Although the circumstances of how we learned about him, and how we came to know his story, are tied to a gruesome modern day murder and missing persons case, there is no doubt in our minds about the veracity of his story.

He is here to tell us about life in 6th century Britannia, and of his adventures.

 

 

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

My early years were spent in Rome, though I have very little memory of it, except the heat and the smells of unwashed bodies and dirt intermingled with the scent of jasmine and Rose oil. My father was a commander in a faraway place called ‘Britannia’ and my mother missed him so badly; she made the journey to be near him.

The differences were immense. The weather being one of them. Within two years, mother died and I suffered badly, but survive. The other was the people. They hated us, but kept their mouths shut in a Roman’s company, but I learned that their eyes could not hide the truth. Even after all these centuries, the native people regarded anyone of Roman descent to be truly evil. We were warned never to venture far alone and when my father was granted lands further north near an old Roman command known as ‘Hadrian’s Wall’ I went with him. Here the hatred was palpable and I feared those who painted themselves blue and cursed us from their hills. But I also learned to live with them and slowly, over time, many came to accept us and I found myself surrounded by friends from all walks of life.

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

My favourite toy was my pony, named ‘Celsus’ which means ‘tall’ in Latin. She had slightly longer legs which seemed a little out of proportion to the rest of her, but I loved her from the moment my father gave her to me as a foal. I helped train her, fed and watered her, cleaned up her mess and groomed her and when it was time to ride her, I fell off countless times as she bucked and danced around to free herself of this unusual burden. However, I persevered and eventually, Celsus became obedient and trust grew.

My most treasured memory is of our first ride together. Her long legs flew across the vast fields of Britain, faster than any other pony. She was sadly missed when old age took her from me eleven years ago. I had become too big to ride her, after four years together, but she remained within my father’s stables, where I continued to love and care for her. Continue reading “Artorius (of Between Worlds by P.J. Roscoe)”

Characters Speaking Out

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Dear readers, while we are taking a short break due to the holidays, I thought we’d include a recent full post done by our very first guest.

As part of Virtual FantasyCon (that awesome event where Felix and Murder In Absentia received an unprecedented five awards), we did a blog hunt. Readers jumped from blog to blog – and as an introduction to our corner of the blogosphere, Felix got a chance to speak for himself.

Of course, the bastard went ahead and started to curse me for making him work. Apparently he’s not big on doing self-promotions without immediate pay.

This post was originally published on Diane Riggins site. I’ll let you read Felix’s words for yourself.


Salve omnibus. My name is Spurius Vulpius Felix, sometimes known as Felix the Fox, but almost everybody calls me just Felix. It means Fortune’s Favourite in my language, though I’m afraid I am more like Furtuna’s favourite butt for practical jokes.

Actually, you may know my language as Latin. Years ago I visited your world, quite by accident. I came to a city named Rome, which was hauntingly similar to my own home in Egretia. Language, artists, philosophers all seemed familiar – yet there were some glaring differences. It was on a river, not on the seashore for one.

And everybody talked about gods and magic, but no one seemed to know how to properly practice it for another.

Anyway, I was approached by one of your world, one by the strange name of Assaph Mehr, and asked to collaborate on my memoirs. I would tell him my life’s stories, all the interesting mysteries I solved, and he promised to publish them to adoring fans in your world.

So far, the mentula hasn’t paid me a single denarius in royalties.

He says it’s a matter of time, that critical review has been exceptional, and that my memoirs are being sold all across your world. I would be paid, eventually, once he has finished repaying all the scribes and artists that have assisted him in the production of the scrolls. Or codices, as it appears your world prefers to bind sheets together, rather than stitch them in a scroll like civilised people.

So here I am, brought here to promote my own memoirs to increase my “fan base”, whatever that may be.

While I am here, I did check out what Assaph has been writing. Mostly true, just embellished a little. For example, there was this one case of a young woman who was haunted by the most dreadful dreams. It turns out that the cellars of her home were infested by lemurs. These are not, as Assaph says, cute and cuddly little creatures who “like to move it”, but rather than animus of unburied dead. They have the resemblance of what might have once been humans, but are now devoid of life and colour; grey shade of the dead.

As the story goes, I had to lure them away from the house and into the Mundus, the gates to the underworld. I distinctly remember that I told Assaph that I counted 44 of the evil spirits chasing me, but he insisted on making it fifty. He said that writing a story called Fifty Grey Shades would help him sell my memoirs, though I didn’t quite understand why.

So I will be here all week, always happy to answer questions and do everything to help Assaph increase our “fan base”. You can read the story about the Fifty Grey Shades on Assaph’s “website” (I won’t even pretend to understand what that is) here: https://egretia.com/short-stories/, together with a few more other short adventures. My first important case has been published as Murder In Absentia, and is available here: http://amzn.to/1XbfKN1. You can buy it for less than the price of a half-decent glass of wine (Assaph insists that that is the only way to go; you people do not seem to appreciate authors as a respectable profession). And lastly, Assaph has, apparently, been talking to other characters from fellow authors’ scrolls. You can find them on TheProtagonistSpeaks.com.


If you like to read more of Felix, you can read the (free) short stories he appears on at his home of egretia.com. You can also find him on the pages of Murder In Absentia, where his memoirs swept the amazing five awards at Virtual FanatsyCon.

We will resume our regular interviews next week, when we will be hosting a woman whose music moved heaven and earth. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right), via Twitter, or like our Facebook page to be notified when the next interview is posted.

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