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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Magical Realism

Henry Ainsworth (of How to Seduce a Spy, by Catherine Stein)

Dear readers, tonight with me is an agent of the British crown, with a deceptively simple directive: end the magical potions crisis, by any means necessary. He’s here to tell us about how posing as a bodyguard and joining the beguiling potions expert on her continent-hopping expedition led to danger of both life and heart.


Ah, Ainsworth. Welcome. Please sit down.

Sir? It was my understanding that all reports were to be conducted in private. It appears we have an audience.

Indeed. Given the importance of this mission, Parliament has decreed that the information be made available to this carefully selected committee.

I see.

Now, please introduce yourself to these fine people.

Captain Henry Charles MacAlaster Ainsworth, intelligence officer, retired. My current title is that of Civilian Consultant to Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. You may also know me as Lord Henry, youngest son of George Ainsworth, Marchese di Murlo. Not that my father’s Italian title puts us anywhere but on the fringes of British aristocracy. His money on the other hand… well, I’m certain you understand.

Tell us a bit more of your background. Your childhood? Your family?

I don’t see how this is especially relevant to my report.

*an awkward pause ensues*

Very well. I grew up traveling often between Italy and England for my father’s business dealings, and Scotland where my mother’s family lives. My father stopped traveling when I was a teenager, and my brothers are happy to remain in Italy growing grapes, but I have never stopped craving travel and adventure. I live in London now, but my occupation takes me all over the world.

Ah, yes. About this occupation of yours. What exactly is a “Civilian Consultant?”

You wish me to be blunt? I’m a spy. What I once did in the army, I now do as a direct agent of the Crown. I sneak into places where I’m not supposed to be to gather intelligence. I’m particularly good at drawing maps from memory and I steal things probably more often than necessary. My sister, Emma, calls it a “disgraceful profession,” but I find it rather suits me. Continue reading “Henry Ainsworth (of How to Seduce a Spy, by Catherine Stein)”

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Nyla (of Catgirl Roommate, by Stephanie O’Brien)

Dear readers, tonight on the interview couch is a human-shaped lunatic with the furry ears, tail, and manners of an oversized housecat. A cat who loves stealing boxes and lying on personal belongings, and despises clothing of every kind.

She’s here to tell us about her life with her  prudish, responsible neat freak roommate.


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

I grew up in a lot of places! Mr. Michi, the human who gives me food and a house, moves around a lot – usually after I escape through the front door and visit the houses near us.

He doesn’t like it when I do that, but those other yards have lots of interesting animals to chase, gardens to dig in, and places to sun myself, so I don’t really care what Mr. Michi says.

Humans are too ridiculous to listen to, anyway. They tell me to wear uncomfortable floppy cages made of cloth, and when I don’t, they complain about me being “naked” and they try to keep their kittens away from me. As if I even want to be near humans’ kittens – they’re too noisy, and they pull my ears and tail. I don’t like them.

Do you remember anything from when you were a kitten?

Not really. I almost never try to, anyway; none of that is happening anymore, so it doesn’t matter. I don’t even care about what happened yesterday, never mind when I was a kitten.

You humans have this strange fascination with what happened so long ago that it doesn’t matter, and what isn’t even happening yet.

You say things like “Don’t eat too much or you’ll get fat”, but I’m not fat right now, so why shouldn’t I eat your food as well as mine? Yours is probably better anyway. Actually, even if I was fat right now, I’d still want your food, and I don’t see why you can’t understand that you should give it to me.

What do you do now?

Whatever I feel like doing at any given moment. Take a nap on the human’s laptop, lick myself in front of the window, poke the human to wake him up so he’ll feed me, eat the small animal in the yard beside ours, or splash the water out of my bowl because I’m annoyed. Whatever I want.

The humans complain about it sometimes, but it isn’t my fault that what they want me to do isn’t what I want to do. Continue reading “Nyla (of Catgirl Roommate, by Stephanie O’Brien)”

Maisie Jaser (of the Glass Vault duology, by Candace Robinson)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a girl gone missing inside of a mysterious museum. The old building appeared overnight in their small town, and people started to disappear. What could be inside? Possibly something glass, since it’s known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault.

Why don’t you slip on an eye-patch as this girl does, and enjoy what lies ahead while she tells us about her adventures into the unknown.


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

Well, I grew up in Deer Park, TX. Me and my cousin Perrie don’t understand how a town could be called Deer Park if there are zero deer here. Maybe I should go into the wooded area and search? I mean, there has to be a reason it’s called this, right? I did make a deer craft out of old mulch one time, maybe I could sit one of those out, and it will call to the deer? We could pretend it’s Bambi, and a mama deer might think it’s one of her babies. I’d snap a pictures, and say aha, so Deer Park does have deer!

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

Hansel and Gretel! That was mine and Perrie’s pretty much main daily activity when we were smaller. I was all about the witch, because come on, it’s a witch! So, we would play this make-believe game and role play it. I always did have fun ideas. Not did—DO!

What do you do now?

I’m all about eye patches. My life goal right now is to liven up the eye of those who have to mourn their eye loss. There’s no need to hide that beautiful hollow space—embrace it. So, I make eye patches to show the support—I wear one pretty much all the time myself. I’ve got a whole chest of them at home, right now I have one that resembles a sheep. You know why? Because it’s Leap year, and when I try to fall asleep, I count sheep as they hop over my pretend cloud. Do sheep even hop? I’m going to say, heck yes they do! Also, I do sleep in my eye-patch! Continue reading “Maisie Jaser (of the Glass Vault duology, by Candace Robinson)”

Malcolm Xavier Downing (of Dark of the Moon, New Beginnings by Philipp Kessler)

Dear readers, tonight with me is the heir to a family of old money. A family fortune built on industries, business, and magicks.

He is here to tell us about the fortunes of love and money, of dark pasts and bright futures, and of the gods that rule our lives and power the true magick.


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

I was born and raised in Lincoln, NE. Lincoln’s a quiet place, always has been. Sure, we have excitement from time to time, but that is usually during tornado season. Being smack dab in the middle of the U.S., everything is kind of “middle ground”.

I’m the heir apparent to the Downing family fortune. Father and Uncle are arguing over what will become of me after I had the audacity to fall in love with a woman whose family doesn’t have money or power.

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

The kinds of toys I had as a kid were not what you would expect. I spent my days playing with alchemical sets – much different than chemistry sets – and learning the ABC’s of Enochian and Latin.

In the rare family moments, I remember my mother – may she rest in peace. She was always looking out for me and making sure I had a good and fun childhood. She gave me a teddy bear for my fifth birthday. I remember that. Uncle said I was too old for such things. I still have that bear, hidden away.

What do you do now?

Uncle and Father are training me to take over Downing Industries. My family is one of the richest in America, certainly the richest in Nebraska. Even more so than Warren Buffet, though he’d argue that. Learning the ropes of the company is one thing. Learning how to control the powers behind what we do is something entirely different. The magicks… Well, let’s just say that I am glad Uncle insisted on such heavy study into the arts while I was growing up. Continue reading “Malcolm Xavier Downing (of Dark of the Moon, New Beginnings by Philipp Kessler)”

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)”

Wenn Twyner (of Escape from Neverland by Nils Visser)

wyrde-woods-1-escape-from-neverlandDear readers, remember all the times your mother told you not to stray into the woods? Well, tonight with me is a young girl who didn’t quite listen, and went strolling into the Wyrde Woods. Only a few miles away from the dilapidated council estate where she lives, but worlds apart.

She is here to tell us about what she saw, and how her perceptions were challenged. 

 

 

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

I’ve been mangled in the care system for most of my life. Care homes, institutions, clinics and, erm, sometimes juvenile detention. It wasn’t….it wasn’t safe, that’s all I have to say about it. Some places were worse than others, but none offered any sense of security.

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

My cup of tea was reading. I’ve always been a voracious reader. So I suppose my favourite ‘toy’ was Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series, especially Greenwitch. I literally devoured those books. Reading was an escape from whatever dump I’d been placed in. As for memories…..sometimes I have very vague memories of my mum and dad, a few images, but they’re like blurry photographs, the focus always just out of reach. Then again, I might just be projecting, my imagination playing tricks on me.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

I ended up at the OJCH in Odesby. At first things were alright, in a forlorn hope kind of way, but then…..things took a turn for the worse there. I went for a walk to vent off steam. A long walk which took me to the large woods north of town; the Wyrde Woods. Except they seem like more than just a woods. It’s difficult to explain but just about everything that happens there seems like an adventure to me. Continue reading “Wenn Twyner (of Escape from Neverland by Nils Visser)”

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