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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the protagonists of your favourite books

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Lawrence Choyce Bartholomew (of Tompkin’s School: For The Dearly Departed by Tabi Slick)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a young man who has been forced to go back to school – a century after he originally graduated. It’s not too bad, as he is a creature of the night, and is able to manipulate time.

He is here to tell us about his extraordinary powers, his time travels, and his continuing quest to be reunited with his younger brother.


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

I was born in Missouri in 1893 so you can imagine it was definitely in the country. My father owned a brewery and my mother raised my younger brother and I. Or tried to, anyway. I never could get control over my bloody temper and my younger brother was no better. That’s why we were sent off to Tompkin’s Academy when it opened in the autumn of 1910.

What have you been doing since 1910 and now?

Since my brother and I have been separated, my powers haven’t been progressing like I know they were meant to. So I’ve been using what power I do have to sense other beings like myself in the hopes that I find  the one powerful enough to reunite me with my little brother, Edwin Bartholomew. Continue reading “Lawrence Choyce Bartholomew (of Tompkin’s School: For The Dearly Departed by Tabi Slick)”

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Tynan Selvantyr (of Into the Darkness, by A. M. Rycroft)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a man long departed, contacting us from the other side.

Once the realm’s greatest sell-sword and adventurer, he sealed his sword in a dark cave, and placed a curse upon it. He spent a century in the caves as a ghost, until someone found a way to accesses the deepest reaches of the caverns and trigger the curse.

He’s here to tell us about his adventures as a ghost, mentoring the young woman who retrieved his sword and triggered the curse.


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

I was born in the bustling port city of Acantha. It’s close to the Golden Peaks, south of Cathell itself. My father was a well-known merchant there and our family was quite influential across the region. I found it a stifling environment, however, with too many expectations I had no desire to meet. I made every attempt to leave as soon as I was old enough to set out on my own.

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

No, not really any favorite toys I can recall, other than my stuffed bear Rufall. My father did not believe in a lot of play time for his children. He pushed learning on us more. I had favorite books instead. Histories of the realm and the rise of the Tae’Ahjin Empire. And my magik primers, of course.

What do you do now?

Well, as a ghost, I don’t have many worldly demands on my time anymore. However, I was once Cathell’s greatest adventurer. The bards sang of my exploits across the realm. I genuinely miss being an adventurer — the thrill of exploration and hunting out treasures that farm-hands only dream about. There are few things as exciting as that. And of course, a good clash of swords and trading spells with rival adventurers and mercenaries! I have to admit, when the chance arose for one last adventure, I jumped at it. Perhaps I should have warned Aeryn, before I gave her my sword, but sometimes the path to a good adventure requires a little subterfuge at first. Continue reading “Tynan Selvantyr (of Into the Darkness, by A. M. Rycroft)”

Kaiya (of The Last Faoii, by Tahani Nelson)

Dear readers, tonight with me is the last disciple of a militaristic order, that for generations have protected the empire.

Her monastery was destroyed and all her sisters slain. She now travels the country on a mission to avenge her sisters and preserve what is left of her heritage.

She is here to tell us about a war-ravaged empire, of betrayal and freedom, and of family secrets she has uncovered.


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

I grew up in the Monastery of the Eternal Blade, which I think is the largest of the Illindrian Monasteries. It was an okay place to grow up. Every girl wants to be Faoii, right? The Preoii used to always tell me I should be grateful for the chance to be there. And for the most part I was grateful. I loved learning swordsmanship and war magic, it’s just… do you have any idea how long the Preoii can babble on for during Chapel? I always hated that part. Why should Faoii have to learn about Preoii spells? Or Cleorii? And when am I ever going to use calligraphy? That kind of stuff was just so boring.

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

I remember the wooden fantoii I got one summer. It was full-sized and weighted and everything! Most of the other girls were still in smaller blades then, but I was already the tallest in my class, and the Ascended Faoii decided I was finally worthy. It even had “my blade is my arm” engraved on the side! Can you believe it? Part of the Oath right there! For everyone to see! Mollie was so jealous!

What was the worst thing about living in the Monastery?

Early Morning Chapel. Seriously. If the Goddess is Eternal, why would it matter to Her whether I’m up at Dawn or two hours later? Continue reading “Kaiya (of The Last Faoii, by Tahani Nelson)”

Maggie (of The Chronicle of the Three Trilogy by Tabitha Caplinger)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a young woman helping her best friend to fight demons.

Growing up in a small town, she was not prepared for the world of demons and angels. She now assists her friend Zoe, a girl from a sacred bloodline, to fight the demons.

She is here to tell us about her adventures.


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

I have lived in Torch Creek my entire life. Not that 17 years is a long time but this place is pretty much all I know. I used to think it was the picture perfect American small town. It’s quaint and all but there is a darkness here. About four years ago, after my best friend died, I met that darkness face to face. I didn’t realize it at the time though. It took meeting my new best friend, Zoe, for me to understand that my deep sadness and pain and fear was more than just bad dreams and depression. Something was eating my soul. Let me tell you, being a demon’s dietary supplement is not fun. Things are better now. Well, better for me and on their way to being better for the town, and the whole world… Hopefully.

A demon’s dietary supplement? Really? How did you overcome that?

It started with a weird girl trying to talk to me in the school bathroom. Then we had pie. Zoe was the first person to take the time to care about me in a really long time. She helped me to see that I wasn’t crazy and that I had been letting this thing feed off of me by letting it keep me sad and afraid. She told me to stop giving it food, so I did. It sounds easier than it actually is by the way, but it worked. Faith works. It also helps to have a friend who’s part of a sacred bloodline and fights demons. Continue reading “Maggie (of The Chronicle of the Three Trilogy by Tabitha Caplinger)”

Gabriel Kerr (of Manumission by E.R. Harding)

Dear readers, tonight on the interview couch is a man objecting to immortality.

In a world where a person’s consciousness can be transferred to another bio-frame, the corporation that controls this is king. He believes, like some, that the Metaform is the greatest threat to humanity in its authentic, natural and biological state.

He is here to tell us of his adventures.


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

I grew up on part of Errik’s estate that was always called the Camp, or the Church. My Dad was a militant activist and he started the Soul Defence Force when he was quite young. My mum left when I was still a kid, so I don’t remember her, but dad was pretty mean and belted me a lot. I had a lot of mates growing up, and I was quite happy. Of course it was different when I got older. It was a lot less fun, and much harder work.

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

I didn’t have toys. I mean, I might have done when I was a baby, but I don’t remember them if I did. Life was all about training, and as soon as I was old enough, I was out on raids with the older lads.

What do you do now?

Life’s good now. I have enhanced intelligence, which means I learn stuff instantly and I never forget anything. I also have a really long projected lifespan, potentially unlimited actually, because when this bio-frame wears out I’ll buy another one. The life of a millionaire playboy could get a bit dull though, maybe. Oh yeah, there’s nothing to complain about now. Not really. Continue reading “Gabriel Kerr (of Manumission by E.R. Harding)”

Jazatar Baldrik, aka Jaz (of Trust A Few by EM Swift-Hook)

Dear readers, tonight we have something slightly different. A notorious criminal was recently released back into The City. After 5 years of brutal convict military service, he has to face up to a future with very limited prospects.

We could not get him to appear on the interview couch as a guest, as we lost track of him amongst the stars. Instead, we were able to replicate here the last pre-release report from the Coalition.


Report of interview with Jazatar Baldrik.

Pre-Release assessment final phase. Interview conducted by Specialist Interrogator Kilven, Coalition Security Forces. Interrogation Room 473.

Subject appeared slightly ill at ease, high levels of adrenaline recorded, several emotional peaks noted, none visible externally. Neurocological reports suggest the degree of honesty and self-revelation the interview required will have been a mid-level trauma for the subject.

So Jaz – You prefer I call you Jaz? Good – You have been serving a sentence with the Special Legion for the last  five years – and that means you must have committed a crime that is considered a capital offense. Can you tell me about that? Oh, and do bear in mind we’ll know if you are lying to us and if you do that could prejudice your chances of release.

Yeah. I know that. I’ve been wired to the Lattice long enough to know how it works. But, your question, what’s to tell? It’ll all be in my record and you lot ripped everything I ever knew about anything out of me when I was arrested. So you know I was part of a terrorist attack on a Coalition installation. If it’d worked it’d have screwed up Coalition control of the Varn Sector, but it didn’t – someone must’ve betrayed us because you lot were there and waiting. And you know what? The fact I had zero previous and a solid record as a merc fighting in your inter-corporate resource wars didn’t even get a mention at my trial. And you’ll also know I never liked those fanatics in the Legacy, I’m not going to have anything more to do with them. I only did it for my brother.

Ah yes, your ‘brother’ – not a biological relationship, but you felt a strong emotional bond for Avilon Revid, the leader of that terrorist strike. Do you still feel the same way?

About Avilon? Well now that’s an interesting question, because he’s not ‘Avilon Revid’ anymore is he? After your brain plumbers got through with him he’s a completely different person. He’s not got the faintest idea about what he was like before, only what he’s been told. So no, I don’t feel the same way – I feel it different. But no matter what he’s become he’s still my brother and I’m not going to let him rot if he gets out of this. Continue reading “Jazatar Baldrik, aka Jaz (of Trust A Few by EM Swift-Hook)”

Sultiana Abella (of Starting Chains, Book II of Woven by Nicole Luttrell)

Dear readers, tonight with me is the young heir to the throne, a woman with mystical abilities.

In a society where men are destined to be warriors and women are destined to stay home, life is not easy as the first female heir.

She is here to tell us about life in the palace, the expectations of war, and the public and private reactions to her magical talents.


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

I grew up in the palace of Calistar with my sisters. My mother passed on when my youngest sister, Cala was born. It wasn’t a terribly difficult childhood. I was the oldest princess in a palace that seemed designed only to cater to our wants.

Until I came of age and my power manifested, of course. At first, I didn’t realize that it was magic. I’d picked up a knife to cut a pear for my sister Aini. Before I could, though, Chrissie cried that one of the palace cats was going to fall into the bathing pool. I turned to save it, and found myself running faster than I’d ever seen anyone run. I managed to catch the cat before it even fell.

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

I remember Master Shilom catching me train. I’d snuck into the Citadel, and was practicing a battle dance that I’d seen some of the young warriors do. I might never have known he was there if he hadn’t laughed at my poor performance. Why he agreed to train me I’ll never know. If we’d been caught he would have been executed.

What do you do now?

I am heir to my father’s throne, and only now am I realizing how much work that’s going to entail. Most heirs begin learning Law, Economics and History as soon as they can be trusted to read a book and not rip the pages. So I have much catching up to do. I study, and I sit with my father when he deals with our people. Continue reading “Sultiana Abella (of Starting Chains, Book II of Woven by Nicole Luttrell)”

Nikki Sotolongo (of Cherry Pickers by Bonnie Milani)

Dear readers, with me tonight is a young woman from the planet Sisyphus. As you may recall, Sisyphus is a particularly inhospitable world, and is home to a woman-only penal colony.

At seventeen years of age Nikki is obsessed about getting her gun to impress her mother, the director of the penal colony. For this she needs to be an adult, which – in her opinion – requires losing her virginity. The only way to do this is to lure and kidnap a man from a passing space ship, to ‘pick her cherry’, as it were.

She is here to tell us of her adventures, together with her adopted native brother.


Tell us about how you grew up.

If you ask Mah – that’s my mom – she’ll tell you I’m still not grown up.  And I’m seventeen already!  I mean, I earned my gun!  Hard way, too, not like some other girls I could name.

Okay, but do tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like in the colony?

You mean SisPenOne?  It’s a penal colony.  Same as every other penal colony in the Commonwealth, I guess.  Well, except it’s all women.  And Mah says Sisyphus got its name ‘cause the whole planet really is out to get you.  But never bothered me… well, ‘cept for that time the toilet vacuum failed and a nosher got through and nipped out a chunk’a my butt.  Got a really great scar from it.  Wanna see?  (She turns, loosening her pants)

No, no, that’s all right, we’ll take your word for it. Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

Toys?  Oh, those fakey things you give little kids.  Dolls and stuff, yeah?  Saw some of those things in those social studies vids Mah made Sam and me study.  Never needed any myself.  Sam and me – Continue reading “Nikki Sotolongo (of Cherry Pickers by Bonnie Milani)”

Bart Madison (of Six Minutes Early by Patrick Parker)

Dear readers, tonight with me is an ex special forces officer, trying to detonate a few nuclear devices.

You’ve read that correctly. He’s trying to detonate them, in an act of terror. Once again, we are visited by a novel’s antagonist.

A current member of FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), he is here to tell us of his life as a mercenary, his motives, and of his ISIS connections.


Tell us a little about where you’re from and growing up.

I grew up in a small town in Northeast Oklahoma. Played sports in high school and worked on a farm in the summers much like the other boys. I chased the girls and always had a date on the weekends. Looking back, the jocks got the good-looking girls. I did like to tinker with old cars. Got an old jeep one year. It was all in pieces and I spent a winter putting it back together. It ran like a top when I got it finished. It was indestructible! I always found time to go hunting and fishing.

In school I had a teacher, mentor actually, that was a Green Beret in the US Army Reserves. I looked up to him. He inspired me to be a Green Beret. He was hard on the boys and kept us out of trouble.

After high school, I went on to college in Oklahoma and into the Army as soon as I graduated. I became a Special Forces Officer.

Any cherished memories?

I have several. I will always remember my mentor from school. I did have a very close friend growing up. We had talked about going into the military. He enlisted in the US Marines and I went to college. He was killed in combat about a year or so later and I was devastated.

The proudest day of my life was the day I became a Green Beret. That was years ago and I’m on to other things now.

You’ve given your business title as Military Advisor. How did you get into this line of work?

Yeah, advisor or consultant, your choice. That seems to be a bit more palatable these days and doesn’t raise eyebrows as much as mercenary does.

My Army training is how I got into this line of work. I’m an expert in small unit tactics, guerrilla warfare, explosives, and on and on. When I left the Army, I had all these skills and experience. I knew of several corporations that hired ex-service members for their skills. I did a short stint with one. The money was Ok. I discovered the FARC was looking for an advisor. I had met Franco Trujillo when he was a Panamanian policeman then later, heard he joined the FARC, so I contacted him. He offered me a better deal and I took him up on it. He pays me well and I have a number of perks. Continue reading “Bart Madison (of Six Minutes Early by Patrick Parker)”

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