The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the protagonists of your favourite books



Tom Islip (of Shadows of the Lost Child by Ellie Stevenson)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a boy from Victorian Curdizan, a fictional version of York, England.

He’s here to tell us about his life, and how it changed when he met Alice. Alice, you see, is from our own time – though she can visit the past, and interact with Tom and his mates.

Read on to find out about Tom’s life and time-crossing adventures.

Tell us a little about where you live. What’s it like?

Curdizan Low? Well, I like it, but I doubt you would. If I say, back street pubs, narrow lanes and open drains, you get the idea? Being just a lad, I’ve never known anything else, of course, but Louise, my mate, she told me once she couldn’t wait to get out of the place. But, then, she lives in Curdizan High, it might sound posh, but it’s definitely not  – she lives in a place called Pearson’s Tenements, five stories high. I once saw a woman jump from the top. She didn’t die, but she never walked the same after that. The rats in the High are the best thing about it. I didn’t even see Louise – she’s vanished from sight.

So what makes Haversham Road in the Low better?

It’s a house not a room, although our house does back onto the mill. That’s why it’s dark, there aren’t any windows at the back and not much light at the front either, the mill’s silo blocks it out. My da, Scotty, works at the mill, or that’s what he calls it, when he’s not drinking, and I go to school, they feed us there! The school’s not far from the tenements. When I can, I bunk off for a bit and visit my mate, Ben Tencell, he’s the man who makes the coffins and buries the dead. It’s a bit creepy in his workshop, with all those coffin lids on the walls. Even Norah, the horse is scared. Ben’s house has a secret tunnel, under the workshop, that leads to the church. That’s how we had our adventure… Continue reading “Tom Islip (of Shadows of the Lost Child by Ellie Stevenson)”


Aemilia (of In Numina, by Assaph Mehr)

Dear readers, with the forthcoming release of In Numina, the second novel by our fearless leaders, we are proud to present an interview with one of the novels’ most charming characters.

This young lady is here to tell us about life in Egretia, that wonderful fantasy city based on Ancient Rome and Alexandria, from a point of view other the Felix’s. The interview is set at a time between the books, and reveals things that might surprise you.

(Note that this interview first appeared on D. Lieber’s blog. Our many thanks for her prompting to write it.

Welcome to Ink & Magick. I’m your friendly neighborhood witch. What kind of spell can I get for you today?

You do incantations? Right here? What branch of magic? Can I watch you do it? Will you show me how you do it? Oh, you want something specific? Anything really, just so long as it’s not permanent and I can see you perform it. Maybe light a fire? It’s rather chilly in this time of year.

Please introduce yourself, and the book you are from.

My name is Aemilia, and my first appearance is in Murder In Absentia.

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

I grew up in the Clivi Ulterior, in my family’s domus. If you’re not familiar with our city, the Clivi Ulterior are the highest reaches still within city limits on mount Vergu. It’s a neighborhood of rich men’s mansions. My father was Tiberius Aemilius Mamercus, a consul and a direct descendant of the T. Aemilius Mamercus.

My life, I know, was better than for the vast majority of people in our city. In matter of fact, I knew little about how most Egretian live their lives. I grew up with friends of the same social circle – sons and daughters of the Senate’s elite. My elder brother died young, but my family kept his tutor. I thus benefited for a scholarly education beyond that of most women.

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

My brother had a couple of wooden toy soldiers, that one of the slaves made for him. One was an Egretian legionary, the other an Arbari barbarian. When Tiberius died from the ague, I kept those soldiers. I hid them under my pillow, and I imagined my brother’s spirit was still in them, that he – and they – were guarding me. I treasured them more than anything else I owned. I still have them.

What do you do now?

Trying to delay the inevitable… I’m nineteen. My mother is busy planning my wedding. I may have some little say in who I marry – or at least absolutely refuse to marry – but the outcome would be the same. Some young scion of a well-respected, old family. Probably a lawyer or a promising career military man, on his way to the senate. Me, I’d just like to experience life a little bit, before I become a show wife, sitting quietly behind the loom. Continue reading “Aemilia (of In Numina, by Assaph Mehr)”

Happy Saturnalia!

From all of us here at The Protagonist, may you have a happy and book-filled new year!

It’s been quite the ride this past year, with many characters getting to speak out (and occasionally, speak out of turn). May your next year be full of great books, and may their characters forever live in your head!(*)

We’ll leave you with this interview with both Assaph and Felix (seen together to prove they’re not the one person), originally published on Jen Winters‘ blog. It’s a classic Felix…


(*) Yes, we know how that sounds. That’s the point ;–)

Dear readers,

My name is Assaph Mehr, and I am the author of Historical Fantasy Mysteries, or – as I like to call them – Stories of Togas, Daggers, and Magic. The stories tell the cases of a hard-boiled detective named Felix, set in a magical world based on ancient Rome. If you like any two of Urban Fantasy, Detective mysteries and Ancient Rome, you’re bound to enjoy them.

With me tonight is Felix, the protagonist of the stories. I met Felix a while ago, in circumstances that we’d both rather keep quiet for now –

Felix: I still don’t understand why…

Assaph: We’ve been over this before. Back to the introduction. I have been writing and publishing Felix’s memoirs these past two years –

Felix: And I’m still to see any royalties from them.

Assaph: Told you, writing and publishing isn’t as lucrative as it used to be. There are costs involved…

Felix: Yeah, yeah, great reviews… [sotto voce] mentula.

Assaph: I heard that! Please keep respectful language. Seeing how you’re so eager to jump in, why don’t you introduce yourself to the readers of this blog? Continue reading “Happy Saturnalia!”


Dai and Julia (of Dying to be Roman, by Jane Jago and EM Swift Hook)

Dear readers, tonight with me are two people from the modern-day Roman province of Britannia. They are here to tell us about life as law-enforcement officers in the empire that never collapsed.

An unlikely pair, Dai is a Briton and a hard-working Investigator trying to solve a brutal string of murders and Julia, a Roman Inquisitor, sent to pour oil on troublesome provincial waters when a Roman citizen joins the body count.

They are here to tell us about their adventures.

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

Julia: I spent the first five years of my life in the slums that gather around the skirts of Rome. Then my mother died and my grandparents took me in. It still wasn’t a good part of town, but I was loved and I had enough to eat.

Dai: For a Briton, I had it pretty good. My family are well known landowners around Viriconium. No Citizen rights, of course, which meant my education was pretty rustic. But it’s a lovely place when you get out into the hinterland away from the city itself. I did well enough at school to get into the academy in Aqua Sulis – yes, we do have one or two academies in Britannia, even if they are not in the top one hundred recommended.

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

Julia: I suppose my favourite thing was my adoptive brother: he’s twenty years older than me and when he was home he would carry me around on his back. And my grandmother had a little dog called Toto. I would spend hours combing his coat

Dai: I loved running and I still pride myself on my physical fitness. As a boy I was a reader and a dreamer, always trying to hide from chores on the family farm. There was a place I used to love going to – a small valley with standing stones. No one ever went there, so I would run there and sit and read with my back to one of the stones. Continue reading “Dai and Julia (of Dying to be Roman, by Jane Jago and EM Swift Hook)”


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)”


Angelica Cross (of The Paranormal Detectives Series by Lily Luchesi)

Dear readers, tonight with me on the interview couch is an unusual woman. A half-vampire, she is employed by law enforcement agencies to hunt down other creatures of the night.

She is here to tell us about 

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

I was born in Leicester, England in 1814. I grew up the daughter of a human Lord, Vincent, and a vampiric Lady, Veronica. My childhood was spent learning how to control my appetite as a half-vampire and learn to be  a ”proper” lady like my mother after me.

In the late 19th century I moved to Chicago Illinois and have remained there all this time. I love the city, and it feels more like home than England ever did.

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

For the first twenty years of my life, I lived relatively normally. Half-vampires can go out in sunlight, so few suspected what I was and I was able to deal normally with humans. I lost my fiance at eighteen, a werewolf who had become possessed by a demon.

As a small girl I preferred books to toys, and I suppose I still do, if you count blessed serrated blades and Glock 9mm guns as “toys”.

My parents were wonderful people, people I tried hard to emulate and make proud of me. Mother was a true Victorian Lady, and Father was a businessman and former vampire hunter before he met Mother. It wasn’t until Mother turned him that things went sour: he killed her right in front of me. Continue reading “Angelica Cross (of The Paranormal Detectives Series by Lily Luchesi)”


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)”


Detective Lisa Paco (of Vital Spark by Leah Devlin)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a young millennial homicide detective.

While it may seem that this small-town, hashtag-speaking, police offer is too young for it, she had the (mis-)fortune of dealing with some scary serial killers.

She is here to tell about what is now known as the Chesapeake Tugboat Murders.



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

The name’s Paco.  Sergeant Lisa Paco.  I’m a detective on the River Glen Police Department, the best PD in the best village in America.   Yeah, yeah, I know I look like a sixteen-year-old, but here, if you don’t believe me, check my police ID.  See, right there.  My DOB.  I’m almost thirty.  I was born and raised here in River Glen on the Chesapeake Bay … on the Maryland part of the bay, not the Virginia part.  So we don’t have those stinging sea nettles like the Virginians in the southern bay.  And if some joker tells you that Virginia blue crabs taste better than Maryland crabs, well, he’s just plain delusional.  Okay, back to River Glen.  We have a population 89.  We have a psychic, Cannabis farmers, burnouts from the 60s, moon-shiners, artists, crabbers, and fishermen … all the usual suspects.  Oh, we also have pyrates.  Yeah, yeah, you’re laughing like you don’t believe me.  But I promise, it’s true.  We have pyrates.  Really!  Real-life modern pyrates.  Yep, River Glen was founded by pyrates from the pyrate ship Raven.  Every summer we have the annual pyrate festival, Giles Blood-hand Day.  It commemorates Giles Hale’s slaughter of the deranged Whitby family who stole gold from the village treasury in 1694.  He’s a local hero for returning the treasure.  The festival’s wilder than a Jimmy Buffett- or Grateful Dead concert.  It’s crazier than Burning Man.

So here’s how we got pyrates.  In the late 1600s the Raven was hiding out in today’s Tampa Bay to avoid a hurricane.  After the storm, a Spanish treasure galleon appeared off the coast.  While the crippled galleon was mending her masts, the Raven attacked.  Guns blazing, the Raven’s crew killed the Spaniards, stole the treasure, and made a runner up the eastern seaboard, but not before abducting women prisoners working on a Virginia tobacco plantation.  The Raven slipped behind colonial defenses at the mouth of the Chesapeake and found a remote river to make repairs.  Her hull was rotten with shipworms; the planks crumbled to the touch.  The pyrates and their ladies were stranded on the upper Chesapeake.  So that’s the origins of the tiny village of River Glen.  But what … I ask you … happened to the Raven’s fathomless treasure? Continue reading “Detective Lisa Paco (of Vital Spark by Leah Devlin)”


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


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)”


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