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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the protagonists of your favourite books

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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)”

Remiel Vesarus (of First Words: Final Lesson by Shakyra Dunn)

Dear readers, tonight with me is the sole heir to the throne of the kingdom of Linmus. However, being the illegitimate son of a mage and a human makes life complicated.

He’s here to tell us about his quest to resume the throne and restore his kingdom to its former glory.


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

I was born in the kingdom of Linmus within the world of Adrylis, sole heir to the throne. Linmus itself is rather unique from the nature-inclined world, as we have more industrial landscapes. The castle? Extravagant on the outside, vibrant and full of life due to those that walk along the polished floors, but no different from a prison, at least for me. But that is particularly because of my lineage, and I’m not referring to the royal title.

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

In addition to being a prince, I am what you would call a Bloodlinch, so growing up wasn’t easy no matter how you swing it. A Bloodlinch is the illegitimate child of a prolific mage and an average human, my mother and father respectively. I didn’t really have any toys or games that I liked to play, and my favorite pastime was probably when I got to leave the castle. I was always running away from the servant that was sent to watch over me, and I would hide in the local pastry shop. I got punished a lot by my mother for it, but it was because of that reckless behavior that I later met my best friend Solus. Continue reading “Remiel Vesarus (of First Words: Final Lesson by Shakyra Dunn)”

Drangar Ralgon (of Shattered Dreams by Ulff Lehmann)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a man fighting men and demons in a world torn apart.

When war engulfs the land and an ancient evil is about to be released, gods and wizards try to intervene. Our guest was raised as a shepherd, until he found himself embroiled in their machinations – after being dead for a few days.

He is here to tell us about his world and his adventures.


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

I was raised by the Sons of Traksor. And before you ask, the cunts fool others into believing they were tasked by Lesganagh to guard the world against a demonic incursion. Another demonic incursion, I mean. What? Never heard of Lesganagh, have you? He’s the ruler of the gods, the Lord of Sun and War, and some say I was blessed by him as well.

Demons? Yeah, the Sons say that a hundred years ago or so, some asshole found some books in an elven ruin, and upon being promised something or other, you know how it is, power-starved bastard promises another bastard more power if they free them. So, story goes something came out the door the idiots opened. In the end the Kalduuhnean prince Tral of House Kassor beat them back. If you buy into that kind of shit.

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

Favorite toy? I liked the blunt sword my… da… gave me on my sixth birthday. At least I thought he was my da, bastard only pretended I was his son. Cherished memories? Amidst all the pain of being shunned by other kids, and mocked by my cousin, Dalgor, and generally being treated as an outsider, at best, yes, there were some. Anya, one of the weapons teachers, she didn’t treat me like a leper or target for whatever the others would throw at me. She took me under her wing. Felt nice not being the pariah for a change, but a student. Continue reading “Drangar Ralgon (of Shattered Dreams by Ulff Lehmann)”

Superior Mother (of Women of the Grey: Starburst, by Carol James Marshall)

Dear readers, tonight with me is the chilling leader of an alien race.

She is the Superior Mother, leader of the secretive Women of the Grey. They live amongst us, unknown to humanity.

She is here with her assistant, to answer a few questions.


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

“It is understood among my kind that we do not question our leaders. Answers, my sweet, are earned. I hardly believe you have bothered to earn such information from me.”

With this Superior Mother sits back. There is a sense of cold in the air, almost like the first hint of autumn.

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

Superior Mother learns in, seeming displeased.

“If I had known you were to ask my questions of such insolence I would have prepared myself to be entertained. Our kind does not play. We plan, we build, we watch, and when humans are busy with these toys you speak of, we strike. I do not understand how humans have thrived for so long, with concepts like toys.”

Superior Mother sits back, slowly shaking her head with the occasional tap of a ring on her index finger to the table. Continue reading “Superior Mother (of Women of the Grey: Starburst, by Carol James Marshall)”

Dana McCarren (of The Hook, by Kathleen Doler)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a globe-trotting journalist making the journey back to her childhood town, a place she has been running away from all her life.

She is there to reconnect with her family, her drug-addicted brother, and the town’s tight-knit surfing community. In the process she runs into a gang war, a violent drug kingpin, the FBI, and a whole new family crisis.

She is here to tell us about facing her ruinous childhood, her inability to sustain relationships, and her struggle to move on with her life. 


Tell us a little about growing up in Half Moon Bay and learning to surf?

When he was a thirteen-year-old grommet, my older brother, Shane, started learning to surf with his buddy, Craig. I was always determined to do anything Shane did. So, I’d ride my bike out of the neighborhood and hunt them down — I had the makings of a journalist even as a tween. I’d pedal as fast as I could…away from that house, away to anywhere. Finally, Craig got tired of seeing me sitting alone on the foggy damp cliffs, watching. For my twelfth birthday, he gave me his old yellowed and dented surfboard, coated with dirt-encrusted surf wax. It was waterlogged, heavy and hideous, but it smelled like coconuts and it was mine. I started trying to ride it, getting drilled into the sand regularly. I was hooked. Surf rushes. It fills my ears and quiets my brain. It washes off the shame.

Do you have any cherished childhood memories?

Cherished? Not a word I’d ever use in the same sentence as “childhood.” I ran away from my fucked-up family (sorry, journalists always have potty mouths) as soon as I’d graduated from high school, when I was just seventeen. I rarely visit my hometown of Half Moon Bay. It can suffocate me worse than a collapsing wave. Craig helped me make my escape to college…at the time, Shane was already self-medicating, escaping in another way.

What do you do now?

Although I’m a business journalist with a well-respected newspaper I like to tell people I’m a professional gossip. Really, what do I do? I get people to tell me things they’re not supposed to say and I’m not supposed to know. If I ask the right question, the person I’m interviewing squirms. That tells me I’m on the right track. I’m a road warrior; I travel frequently for work. It’s a great way to avoid having a real life, one with relationships and commitments. I don’t have pets; hell, I have a hard time keeping house plants alive.

Continue reading “Dana McCarren (of The Hook, by Kathleen Doler)”

Duncan Greyson (of The Arena by Santana Young)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a space-age gladiator. An accidental fighter, he was thrown into the arena when his father sold him into slavery.

He was trained to kill by the worst humankind has to offer. He was promised freedom but only if he can claw his way out from ever-mounting debt.

When a secret his mother took to her grave came to light, he became determined to leave Neo Roma.


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

I spent the first eight years on a quiet farming colony called Janus Colony. Then the aliens called The Source attacked the colony. My mom died saving me and my little sister and I moved with my dad to another farming colony called Gaia Colony. People there liked to keep to themselves. I just tried to stay out from under my dad’s feet since he blamed me for mom’s death.

It didn’t work so well. He ended up selling me. Now I’m doing the rest of my growing up as a gladiatorial slave on Neo Roma where they like to remake whatever parts of Rome is convenient for them.

Do you have any cherished childhood memories?

My mom liked to tell me bedtime stories as a kid in her native Everen tongue. (I’m half human and half Everen, which is kinda like a genetically modified human.) She’d tell me about her homeworld she moved away from just before she met my dad. I liked to envision the horse farm she described or the heroes who helped bring the world out of medievalism and into the stars. Those are my favorite memories. Sometimes they’re all that keep me sane. Continue reading “Duncan Greyson (of The Arena by Santana Young)”

Kira and Jed Jenkins (of The Gaia Effect by Claire Buss)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a young couple, excited to have been selected for procreation by their city’s all-controlling corporation.

They have started to suspect things when their friends started to fall pregnant naturally. How long has Corporation been lying to them?  Is it really toxic outside the wall?

They are here to tell us about their shocking discoveries.


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

Kira: Well, we both grew up here, in City 42. My family lived quite near Archive whereas Jed’s were – are – up in the Northern part of the city. The posh part *laughs*.

Jed: Yeah, I mean we sometimes get visitors from City 15 but I’ve never gone out there. Kira and I met at school, we both worked really hard and it was a busy time but we had fun too, right hon?

Kira: We did. I mean school was school, same old same old, but Jed had all the latest tech at his apartment so there was always something to explore. That’s what encouraged your sister to join Corp Tech wasn’t it?

Jed: murmurs agreement

Kira: I mean our childhoods were the same as everyone else’s really, assigned a family at birth, school, friends and then getting funneled into our professions. I had to fight a little for Junior Historian, they wanted me to go into Corp Medical but you were always going to go to Force weren’t you?

Jed: Yeah, I mean it’s good that we all get this standardized education but I think it’s great we can really stretch ourselves when it comes to career. Continue reading “Kira and Jed Jenkins (of The Gaia Effect by Claire Buss)”

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)”

Maëlcolm (of Ilavani by Kaelan Rhywiol)

Dear readers, tonight with me on the guest couch is a member of the ruling family of Erieria, on the colony planet Ilavani.

He views his status as a prince as unfortunate. Trained in the arts of espionage and BDSM, all he wants to do is remain a companion.

He’s here to tell us about his struggles for self fulfilment.


Your name is Tourmaëline – did I pronounce it correctly?

It’s Mal, name looks funny when you spell it in English, but it’s still a derivative of Malcolm, my Companion name is Tourmaline, we take our Companion names after the house we trained in.

Mal, then.

That’ll work.

We know from your publicity packet that you’re a Prince? A Righ’sa, right? But what does that actually mean on your planet?

What do you think it means? It means loss of everything I ever wanted for myself. I have to give up my calling as a companion to serve the Righ’sea, the monarchy, by doing something I don’t want to do.

What does a companion do?

Anything we’re paid for that doesn’t violate our code of ethics. Sometimes we’re paid to go to dinner with people, sometimes to sing, or talk about art, sometimes to have sex with someone. That writer, Joss Whedon? He came close to what a Companion does on Ilavani in that show he wrote… Firefly.

Your role is more complicated than that, though, isn’t it?

Mine is, I’m the Guild head of the IGC-Interplanetary Guild of Companions. I chair the board that makes our laws. It’s going to be really hard to give all that up. Continue reading “Maëlcolm (of Ilavani by Kaelan Rhywiol)”

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