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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Lexi (of Toxic, by Karina Kantas)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a woman from a faraway planet, craving adventure against her people’s drag existence. She is here to tell us about acid rains, desolate lives, friends, emotional scars, and independence.


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

You can’t have much of a life when you’re stuck living in a mountain, ruled under a Committee of Tyrants. Sorry for sounding bitter. But I was bullied most of my childhood because I had two very pale blue almost white eyes. My best friend, someone I cared deeply for, left our mountain to train in another. He was always there for me and when he left my world fell apart. There’s no rule about not leaving the mountain, but who would dare without the proper equipment to protect themselves from the acid rain, that could melt your body within minutes

Were you close to your family? Do you have a favourite memory as a child?

I wasn’t close to my family. We were taken away at a young age and put to work, everyone had to pull their weight to make the running and life in Mount Elta go smooth.

I was forced to move in with Aron, my boyfriend. Although I never wanted the relationship to move forwards, others did. He was a Ranger and would always brag about his explorations and adventures he’d have whilst protecting the Trackers as they searched for the Terra plant. We could not live without this plant, as scientists created a substance called Dozax. This was then used in agriculture, medicines, recreation, protective clothing and shelter, basically in all parts of our lives. As for childhood memories, the only thing that stands out for me was how Marcus, my BF would always know when I was feeling down. He taught me how to survive outside the mountain. We would go on adventures together whilst trying to track the Terra plant down ourselves. But we never strayed too far from Elta.

I never did get to meet a savage face to face. These were Maloks just like us, who used the plant in another way. Boiling the leaves, they would ingest the juice, which gave them a high. A feeling of euphoria. The Committee soon put a stop to that, and they were cast out of the mountain, with no food, shelter, nothing. They would either have their skin and bones melt to nothing from the acid rain or would meet up with a savage and be killed. Those that were lucky enough to survive and find some form of shelter, turned into the monsters that now hunt for the plant and kill Trackers and Rangers.

What do you do now?

I’m a medic. Some injuries can be horrific, especially if the Ranger or Trackers were attacked. My job is to assess the situation and put the patients in order of who needed to be treated first. Of course, Dozax is used in all treatments I just have to decide in what form, where and how much to use. Dozax in its natural form is potent and too much in ones’ body can cause the opposite effect. That‘s why we can only get a massage once a week and even then, we get tested to how much Dozax is in our body. Too much can be a VERY bad thing. What I want to do and what I’ve been secretly training for is to become a Ranger. But Aron lectures me, every time I leave the safety of the mountain. He knows how much I want this and even though there are females Rangers he’s told me plenty of times that I’m not a good fit. But he’s not going to tell me what to do. I will listen to no man except my commanding officer.  Just a while ago we lost him to a vicious attack. We couldn’t save him so now we’re waiting for another CO to come and take over the Ranger Corp. I have my exam in one week. I’m excited and nervous at the same time. But I know I can do this. Marcus taught me everything. I’m not sure if Aron has been informed about my training, being as everyone knows we are together, and although I’ve asked for it to be kept on the down-low. He asked me to marry him so we can move into the West sector where the Rangers, Trackers and Committee lived with their family. But I refused. In fact, I don’t want him to be here anymore. He’s too controlling, and I feel like he uses me for sex, never giving me any satisfaction as long as he gets his. No this is not the way I thought my life would turn out. I have to speak with Aron and kick him out of my life, for now. If I do pass the exam, then I’ll be working with him and he holds a high rank, so I’ll have to put up with him giving me orders again. And I know he’s not going to go easy, but the sacrifice I have to make if I want to leave this mountain and make something of my life.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Only a few days ago, I was out exploring when the sky turned to a glowing red, the sign that it was about to rain. I knew no matter how fast I ran I wouldn’t make it back to the Elta in time. I was wearing a protective suit made of a rubber material from Dozax. I don’t know how they made the material, but it was certainly acid-proof. This wasn’t the first time I got caught in the rain. I grabbed the tent that was folded into a pocket of my backpack, I threw it out onto the floor, and it sprung up into an oval tent, I dived in just as the first drops started to fall.  I laid down and relaxed while hearing the rain splatter on the roof of the tent, I must have fallen asleep as I was having a very good dream 😉 then I woke to a burning on my hand. I sat up and watched the acid burning into my skin. I wiped the residue off my hand using my clothing and then looked up at the roof of the tent and saw a tiny hole where the rain was coming through. I watch it hit the floor of the tent and be soaked up. I’ve never heard of a leaking tent before so I knew that once the rain stopped, I would have to take it to the scientist in the North sector, after getting treatment on my hand which was still burning and stinging, but it’s happened before so I knew what the pain was like and how bad it could get.

Continue reading “Lexi (of Toxic, by Karina Kantas)”

Montague ‘Monty Hill’ Glupie (of Children of Little Might, by Peter D’Hollander)

Dear readers, tonight we print an interview with a sixteen-year-old boy with autism, who found a book that promised his every wish once he translated it. It took a bit of coaxing and some bickering, but he agreed (so long as it wasn’t face-to-face). He’ll tell us about fantasy kingdoms, princesses and paper girls, and power in adversity.


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

I grew up in Utah (though that’s never mentioned in the book) where I live with both my parents in a small city. Or rather: lived. My father… Well, he’s gone now and I still miss him. But Mom and I still live in our old home. In fact, I even sleep in their old bed – so I can be close to Dad.

I don’t have any brothers or sisters; though my father once said he wanted to have more. They never said so, but I guess my parents didn’t go for more children because I wasn’t always the easiest. You see, when I was eleven – the most horrible year of my life – they discovered I have autism. That same year, Dad… Went away and my best friend betrayed me. But I don’t want to talk about that.

I live in a house with three floors of which the third floor is my bedroom. I also have a game room, there, but I talk about that later. I go to a high-school, but I hope you forgive me when I don’t tell you its name. I’m not one of the popular kids, there, probably because I broke a bully’s arm. Also, the principal has it in for me. He doesn’t understand I had nothing to do with breaking my bully’s arm. I pushed him against a wall, for sure, but is it my fault he has brittle bones?

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

I often sit alone in my room. I don’t have many friends, except for Storm,  but I do speak a lot of different languages. And I love to find the explanations of names. Storm’s real name is Sherwin. It means ‘swift runner’, but since he’s in a wheelchair I don’t think it fits him well. Hence, I called him Storm. He’s like a storm in his wheelchair; fast and hard to keep up; even if I’m on my bike. He’s my only friend, though you should ask him why. Most people find me weird because of my autism. I often think the only reason why he’s with me, is because he can’t run away. I once told him, too, and it made him laugh. Don’t ask me why.

But to answer your question: I love to play computer games. I like Civilization, Humankind  or Minecraft. I love to conquer the world and I am so good at it I even beat Dad at it. When he was still at home… I also like to ride around with my bike. Dad and I did that on my eleventh birthday and that’s how we found the burned down ranch house. I loved it so much, Dad bought it and started to renovate it.

He shouldn’t have. A wall collapsed and since he was alone…

In the ranch house, a week or so later, I found a book that promised to grant me my every wish if and when I translated it. And that’s when I knew it: I wanted to wish my autism away and bring my father back.

My most cherished memory? It’s a Fourth of July – in New York. We watched the fireworks. And we were Mom, Dad and I. Did you know I recreated that memory to help save the Twelve? They are a crack commando and the personal bodyguards of the King of Kalpana – the author of the book I had to translate. But I really didn’t save them at all, I’m afraid. But that Fourth of July? Yes: that’s my fondest memory of Dad and me. Because, you know, he was always there for me.

What do you do now?

Yeah. About that. I don’t want to brag, but when I made my wish, I didn’t ask for my autism to disappear or my father to be alive again. I wished for a girl, a Princess for sure, certain she never came. But she did. And because of that…

Don’t let them tell you anything else. She took me to Kalpana – the world she came from. And that’s a funny word, right there. Did you know Kalpana means Imagination in Hindi? So, today I’m still this glupi boy who believes in wishes. And in case you don’t know, because you’re not as good in languages as I am, glupi is stupid in Polish.

Storm says I shouldn’t tell you that. But everyone knows and it’s okay. I guess that I still have autism. I got the chance to get rid of it, but everyone around me wanted me to still have autism, I guess.

No, of course that isn’t true. They really wanted me to remain me. My one real wish was to have friends, so that’s what I do, I guess. I do my best to evade them because while I like to have friends, they also make me feel awkward. I never know what to say around them. If this wasn’t a written interview, I probably sat there and looked at you. Now… It’s Storm and Princess Aislinn who keep pushing me to write answers down. I hope I don’t bore you to death, though. Because I Want to be your friend, too. Even when you look like a very old dude.

Ah. I forgot. Both Storm and Princess Aislinn want me to tell you I have a girlfriend. Princess Aislinn. It’s funny, because I’m not sure what to do around her, but then, she does most of the doing. Even the things I don’t like, but secretly love. She made me to what I am today.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

If I have to believe Princess Aislinn, I’m the hero of the story. But I don’t agree. The true heroes are my friends. Storm, because he’s always there to defend me – even when everyone else ignores him, without asking anything in return. Can you imagine that, though he sits in a wheelchair, he didn’t even want to be able to walk? He called it overrated. The idea alone.

And then there is Aislinn, who you can’t ignore, no matter how hard you try. She’s… Well, she’s her. She stopped my bully. And my teacher. And she took it upon herself to do stuff I ordinarily wouldn’t do. I guess she could do all that because she’s incredibly beautiful. And it helps she’s able to influence people.

Oh, and there is the King and his hateful twin. And the Queen. I still feel ashamed when I am around her because not only Aislinn, but she, too, witnessed the wish I made about her daughter. I’m surprised she didn’t kick my ass. After all, I asked – wished – her daughter to fall in love with me.

And that takes me to Damon. The king’s twin brother, but also my high-school principal. He wants something of me, but I don’t really understand what. By the time I figure it out, it’s too late.

Continue reading “Montague ‘Monty Hill’ Glupie (of Children of Little Might, by Peter D’Hollander)”

Nabilak (of There was Music, by J.D. Grubb)

Dear readers, tonight we meet a supporting character, right before they met the protagonist at the opening of her book. He’s here to tell us about his war-altered world , and about the prison from city ruins where he met the protagonist.


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

My mother, Fenna, was a prostitute.

I never knew my father, but Fenna said that he was a military man, and some even alleged that he was a noble. Regardless, my life began in Girion, the greatest Illiri city in western Illirium. Fenna and I did not stay in one place for long, however. She sought to change her life by becoming the mistress of Lord Goreb who resided in Tïrmen. At that time, I was still young, but old enough to recognize the dangers of his character. Goreb’s persistent abuse of my mother drove me to rise up on her behalf. She did not want me to, but I could not stand the man. At first, I challenged him with words; yet a disease clung to my throat, reducing my voice to a quiet, raspy sound. Therefore, I learned action is the truest measure of strength. Though we had to ultimately flee from Goreb’s estate, I felt greater liberation from the thought that he would never again be able to walk properly.

Meandering from one terrible relationship to the next, my mother stood tall at first, never letting anyone see how tired and lost she felt. I admired her for that. She was a survivor in spirit. Yet, she also never fought for herself, and for that I nurtured resentment. Dragged from place to place, I tried to learn all I could, such as from the baker who showed me the care and strength necessary to bake bread—the timing, the kneading—or the blacksmith who taught me about the focus and power needed to shape iron.

When Fenna and I eventually found ourselves living on the streets of Girion, I did all I could to provide for us. She came to both rely on and scorn my presence. “It is because of you that we are here,” she would say, acting like the trappings of Lord Goreb were worth all the pain. At other times, she desperately wanted me to hold her close. Her unpredictability taught me patience, while at the same time gnawed at it. When I reached manhood and could tolerate her madness no more, I left. I never saw her again, but suspect that she died on the street.

Continue reading “Nabilak (of There was Music, by J.D. Grubb)”

Kaleo and Nia (of Rising Wind, by Mary Evans)

Dear readers, tonight we listen in on a conversation between the protagonist and his friend. While trained to enforce the rules and maintain the peace in a society with little tolerance for magic-wielding elementals, an encounter with a young boy leads him to make hard choices — and bear the consequences.


“So, where are you from, really?”

Nia and I sat in the shade of a decaying building of unrecognizable historical function on a particularly hot midland afternoon, in a block of abandoned industrial warehouses haunted by the local youths.

Her cold silence was not unexpected and the distance between us, as we sat opposite each other on the stairs, might as well have spanned the continent.

“I’m from Tule myself,” I continued talking, filling in the stifling atmosphere. She kept her eyes forward and pretended that I didn’t exist. “It’s a small town up north by the sea. Not far enough to get much snow in winter, though it’s still cold and the rain never lets up.”

A small huff slipped her lips, telling me she knew exactly where the town was. And that she was listening. So I went on.

“We don’t get as many storms as the west-coast, but fogs develop in a flash in winter and hang around for days, sometimes weeks.” I didn’t know which I preferred less: the gloomy, damp Tule winters or the oppressively hot midland summers. “The summers are beautiful though. It’s warm and clear, and—”

Nia let out a loud, exaggerated groan. “Do you ever just stop talking?”

“I would, if you’d just answer the question.”

She eyed me as if I was lame, with that furrow in her brow and slightly disgusted look that never failed to make me feel inept.

I didn’t let it get to me.

“You could be from the north,” I continued. She had that hint of Elathrian with her coal black hair and the alien sharpness of her features. But there was something of the southern softness too, not to mention the warm tan. Where the steely grey eyes came from was anyone’s guess. “But you don’t strike me as having grown up in the northern crags.” Not just because the borders were closed and true Elathrians rare, but she had the southern farmer dialect down perfectly. Though hints of that high-class capital lingo slipped through whenever she wasn’t paying attention.

“I’d bet on Mithra.” She’d fit right in on the Capital streets with her mixed heritage.

She let out a small snort. Wrong guess then?

“And maybe I didn’t grow up in one place in particular,” she challenged. “Or I come from somewhere you wouldn’t usually think of.”

I didn’t take the bait. Following her line of reasoning always led in endless circles and never got to a straight answer.

“I’m free to come up with my own story then.”

She cocked a brow.

“You grew up on a farm, in the deep south.”

She snorted a laugh.

“Struggling farm probably, family agriculture isn’t as profitable as it used to be.”

She continued eyeing me with that semi-amused, semi-mocking twinkle in her eye.

“It probably got appropriated for the state farm project. You could have stayed, but knowing how much you love conforming, you probably ran. Ended up in the capital somehow, learned to steal—”

Continue reading “Kaleo and Nia (of Rising Wind, by Mary Evans)”

Joe and Carolyn (of Wallflower Pen Pals, by K. L. Estrada)

Dear readers, tonight we are hosting an interview of the famous American couple known as the Wallflower Pen Pals. This couple wrote letters to each other before they fell in love. We are bringing the book’s characters back to life during the time they were first writing to each other.

In tonight’s double interview, we are going to interview them separately, asking similar questions. Please note they cannot see or hear each other’s responses.


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

Joe: Well, I grew up in a small town in New Mexico. I loved it there as I enjoyed the many festivities where everyone knows everybody.

Carolyn: I was born and raised in Belen, New Mexico. Most of my relatives are from there. The people there were all so very friendly. We moved to California because my father landed a job there. If it weren’t for that, I would still be living in my hometown.

What are your happiest childhood memories?

Joe: I had a cat named Buddy that I raised myself. He would ride with me on my bike and go everywhere with me. I also enjoyed old classic cars since I was 16 years old. My brothers and I would cruise around town to show them off to the girls.

Carolyn: My cherished memory as a child was riding my horse, Baby. I really babied him, ha-ha! Anyway, I had to share him with my brother, but I cared for him as I was the oldest. I didn’t mind it because I loved riding him. He took care of me, and I took care of him!

What do you do now, Joe?

Joe: Well, I am currently stationed in the army in New Jersey. I drive a two-and-half-ton truck as I transport missiles and weaponry from one base to another. I also transport troops and perform other military duties, which I cannot disclose for obvious reasons.

Carolyn, we heard you are still in high school. Why are you still there at your age?

Carolyn: Yeah, I’m embarrassed that I am still in high school. But that’s because my father’s job has moved us from place to place and I was absent a lot from school because my mother was so ill all the time. I have many responsibilities as I am the oldest and my mother’s “right-hand” (so to speak). I wish I were working by now to help my father with the bills, but they insist I finish my education as that’s important to my heritage.

Joe, what did you first think when Carolyn wrote the first letter to you?

Joe: Well, it was amazing how she had the courage to send me a letter to someone she didn’t even know. Luckily a friend of hers knew about me and mentioned that I was lonesome for a pen pal. As it turns out, we have a lot in common, so we are still writing to each other. Even though she has a steady boyfriend, I think she is falling for me. I hope so because I am smitten with her.

What was the worst thing that has ever happened in your life?

Joe: Well, the worst thing was when my father never came home. I did not know what happened to my dad until I was older. Then, I learned that he was hit and killed by a train.

Carolyn: The worst thing that happened to me was when I got pneumonia as a child. I thought I was going to die. Somehow, I was cured, but I can’t remember too much, as kids usually block terrible things from the past. 

What is the best thing that ever happened in your life?

Joe: Oh, that’s an easy question to answer as the best thing was receiving a letter from a sweet girl I didn’t even know.

Carolyn: The best thing that has ever happened in my life is happening now! I think I am falling for my current pen pal. He seems to know me better than any man I have ever dated! Although we haven’t seen each other in person yet, I know so many details about him through the letters. I have never had anyone write to me for this long. I think he’s falling for me, too, based on some of the things he writes.

Tell us a little about your friends.

Joe: I have friends from all over the place because I am in the army. But most of my friends are from my hometown of New Mexico. Now I have a lovely friend from California whom I can’t wait to meet.

Carolyn: Well, I have three best friends from high school who are all females. Although, I have a new best male friend that I am writing to right now, and I can’t wait to meet him someday.

What’s your favorite kinds of food to eat?

Joe: I love eggs and sausage for breakfast. And for supper, I love hot chili beans and tortillas.

Carolyn: Well, I mostly love fruit. I know that sounds boring, but I’ve always been a fruit lover since I was really little.

What are your favorite hobbies?

Joe: My favorite hobbies are carpentry and photography. But I have a new hobby which is writing to a pen pal.

Carolyn: I love to sew, cook, read, and write.

Joe, what does the future hold for you?

Joe: As soon as I am discharged from the army, I plan to move to California and find work there.

Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?

Joe: Well, I guess my secret is about to be exposed. But I have fallen in love with my pen pal, Carolyn. She made me promise from the letters not to mention the “L” word until we meet in person. So I secretly write “I love you” under the stamps before mailing my letters to Carolyn.

Carolyn: As far as my secrets go, they stay with me and my diary.


K. L. Estrada‘s writing career began back in 2010 after her first self-published work. Since then, she has explored different writing genres and created an epistolary book of her parents’ letters which just launched! Competing with the sea of bestsellers out there, Katherine hopes to push literary boundaries with a true story romance.

You can find Joe and Carolyn on the pages of Wallflower Pen Pals.

Join us next week to listen in on a conversation between a government agent and the magically-talented boy who changed his life. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.

Silas Dryden (of Rescuing Her Knight, by Rosie Chapel)

Dear readers, tonight we’re hosting the villain of the piece. A shady man, intent on revenge, is prepared to sabotage the happily ever after between a lady and her long-lost knight… permanently.


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

Silas shuffles in his chair: Not sure as anyone’d wanna know. Rookeries is pretty grim. Poverty, overcrowding, nuthin‘s yer own, death, disease, you name it. Was all I knew fer a long time, mind, and as nippers we didn’t much worry.

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

Barks with laughter: Toys? Yer kiddin’ me. Toys is what the gentry has. That said, we knew ’ow ter have fun. Hide ‘n’ seek was a favourite. Rookeries is a great place fer that, so many alleys and hidden corners, abandoned buildings, better still, down the docks. Got ter know it like the back o’ me ’and, I could walk it blindfold. Just ’ad to watch out fer the Runners. Oh yeah, we used ter see who could get the farthest on the back of an ’ackney afore the driver kicked us off. Nickin’ coin pouches… now, that was the best. Them nobles is easy pickin’s. Aye, we ’ad a lot ‘o’ fun. Yer make do, see. 

What do you do now?

Silas puffs up his chest: I am a businessman. I have an office an’ everything. Yer could say I’m in the service industry. I got several… errr… enterprises on the go at the moment, successful they are, I’m raking in a good profit. I have an ’andful employees who know which side of their bread has jam on it. If yer get me drift.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Silas steeples his fingers. Hmmm… now that’s a bit of a tickler. See, I had this partner, one ‘o’ the gentry, a viscount he was, but ’e tried to double cross me. Nobody doubles crosses Silas Dryden and gets away wiv it. Dunno what was goin’ on in ’is noggin (Silas shakes his head in bafflement). Anyhow, I had to deal wiv it. ‘E shan’t be bovverin’ anybody ever again, and that shoulda been an end to it. Regrettably, of late there’s been some unsettling incidents, yer know, them too close for comfort moments, and I reckoned someone had been tattling. I needed ter get ter the bottom of it.

Continue reading “Silas Dryden (of Rescuing Her Knight, by Rosie Chapel)”

Aldeaith Tearshan (of The Outworlder, by Natalie J. Holden)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a young soldier who left his bucolic world to get a taste of the bigger universe. He’s here to tell us about the people of a thousand worlds, of the technomagic that binds them together, and picking sides when the rebels are people he grew up with.


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

I was born in Nes Peridion, one of the newly colonized worlds in Meon Cluster. My parents came from Tarviss—well, they were brought by their lord, but quickly realized that away from Tarviss he had no way to keep them under control and got rid of him. So we lived as free people.

My parents were simple farmers and the first people to settle in Nes Peridion. It took them a lot of work to turn it into the fruitful farming colony it is today. The beginnings were especially hard, our crops and stock needed time to adjust to local soil and climate. I was born a few cycles after they settled and I think that by that time, the worst was already over. Some years were rough, though.

What did you do as a child?

There was always something to do at the farm, and we had to help since we were old enough to stand. Not the hard stuff, just keeping an eye on zeeath birds or working in the herb garden.

‘We’?

I have a sister and two older brothers. Well, had. My brothers died as children, taken by the diseases. I don’t really remember them too well.

My sister’s fine. She lives with our mom in Nes Peridion.

Between dead siblings and constant work, that sounds like a pretty rough childhood.

It’s the one I had. Do you think Dahlsian children have it better? They may get their education and their playtime, but they spend their lives locked in. They never feel the sun on their faces, or the breeze in their hair. They never play with living animals. They don’t even eat real food, only this tubed sludge. And when they go outside, they freak out, they go down with allergies, sunburn, and their immune systems are so compromised, a light cough can kill them.

I was never sick in my life. Drop me in a new world and I can survive, I don’t even need any fancy technomagic. I know how to find shelter, make water safe to drink, find food. I could build my own house if I had to. And I’m strong enough to carry a Dahlsi person through half the world—I already did that once, when my colleague broke her leg. She was as light as a feather.

So was it really that bad for me?

Do you have any cherished memories?

Hm. Maybe the times Aeva and I ran to the river to play. I liked making patterns with colorful stones. Aeva was always better at pretending. She also learned to crochet little dolls—I think in old Tarviss they were used for some rituals, but we just used them to play. Although mom would always undo them to save the yarn. Textiles were hard to come by in Nes Peridion.

Just the two of you?

Yeah. We were never good with other people—well, Aeva was a bit better, she even had friends. But most of the time we preferred each other’s company.

It got harder as I grew older and my brothers died. The amount of work to do remained the same, but there were fewer hands to do it. We were a small community, you know, so we had to do everything by ourselves. Not just grow food, but make houses, make furniture, make tools. Travel to the lake to fish or the nearby mountains for salt and lime. Also, there was no iron anywhere nearby so if a tool broke and no trader came, we had to replace it with a flint one. 

Flint?

It’s not so uncommon. All the metals in Tarviss have been mined ages ago; iron tools have to be brought from off-world and if they break, people have to use what they have on hand.

I became quite good at this. Maybe because I could sit for hours hitting rocks until they produced something I was happy with.

What do you do now?

I left Nes Peridion to work for Mespana. It’s a Dahlsian organization, but they accept outworlders. Our primary job is exploring new worlds within Meon Cluster and assessing their usefulness to the colonists. But we also had other duties. Escorting tax collectors or helping colonists with various problems.

Continue reading “Aldeaith Tearshan (of The Outworlder, by Natalie J. Holden)”

Ral Ranaya (of Draconium Carbide, by Alan Ray Argente)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a man who betrayed his homeland, by giving railguns to dragonkind.


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

They’re not my type and I was such a loner back then. But even then, they saw me as a freak or insane all because I walk alone, and everyone wanted to see and expect me get embarrassed in front of everyone. I had no friends beside me nor anyone who knew me. Besides, even if I did forge a friendship with my fellow humans, they would leave me and turn their backs when I needed them the most.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

It’s an ongoing resistance against the Ardynian Crown with me as being the gunrunner of Javyria. What did you expect? I know what it is like being different among them. Welcome to mob rule where the interest of the collective is more important than the individual.

What did you first think when you gave the dragonkind his railguns and betrayed Ardynia?

What did you expect? I was mistreated every day of my life by my fellow humans and lousy leadership at Ardynia. Believe me, it has always been decadent at the top and seedy at the bottom. I happen to be in the middle of the crossfire. I know what it is like being trampled down, but refused to give in countless times over. You really expect me to have a shred of sympathy to them after what they did to me? They mocked me throughout my entire life and my talents just because I never followed everyone and even the elders who knew. Now their jealousy, hatred and dishonesty runs rampant in the upper echelons and courts as they tried to hunt me down like the traitor to his own blood. Such acts of hypocrisy are what made me do this and betray my own.

I don’t care what will happen to my former homeland. Besides, when was the last time they cared about me?

Continue reading “Ral Ranaya (of Draconium Carbide, by Alan Ray Argente)”

Emily Kostova (of Emily’s Lair, by Cary Grossman)

Dear readers, tonight with us is the owner of a local bookstore. Her knowledge of the Whitechapel murders and of Jack the Ripper bring her to the attention of the police. She is here to tell us about how investigating a current murder brought up a woman accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century.


Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Emily, the proud owner of Emily’s Lair, a private, non-corporate bookshop in New Vernon, Connecticut, with a wonderful variety of books. There’s an entire wall dedicated to classic literature, for example, sections on art, exploration, science, history, ancient civilizations, even true crime. You can get the latest releases, of course, but most of the shop is made up of books that I find interesting and think other people will too. I’m especially proud of the special section in back that’s filled with books on the European witch hunts. It also features more than one biography on the woman responsible for singlehandedly ending the witch hunts, Liesbeth Jansson.

Liesbeth Jansson? Who was she?

She was a woman from Breda, a city in the Netherlands. She got married to a professor from Leiden, a city that became a beacon of the Enlightenment. He died when the Plague swept through Leiden, and because Liesbeth was smart and strong-willed and refused to conform to what citizens at the time considered to be a “proper Christian woman,” she became a target. At that time, women who were different, or, especially, who weren’t submissive to men, were often accused of witchcraft.

Was Liesbeth Jansson accused of witchcraft?

Oh yes. But she fought back. You see, none of the women accused of witchcraft—the accused were almost always women—were actually witches. Many were elderly spinsters, midwives, or rich widows like Liesbeth. If you had money, you were a prime target because a witch’s money was always seized by the state, and witch hunters loved money. But with Liesbeth they had stumbled on someone they never expected to encounter—a woman with real power. She escaped, hunted down each of her accusers, and killed them in a very public and brutal manner. Once people realized there was a chance that they might accuse a woman who could fight back, the witch hunts ended.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

I met Will, a homicide detective. I fell for him right away despite that he was questioning me. You see, I was a person of interest in a murder that Will was investigating because I had once dated the man who was killed. Will came in the shop to ask me some questions; that’s how we met.

Continue reading “Emily Kostova (of Emily’s Lair, by Cary Grossman)”

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