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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Occult

Hemlock Connal and Morgan Burns (of Another Dead Intern, by Joel Spriggs)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a preternatural investigator (a private investigator specialising in the supernatural), and her latest intern.


Hemlock: Hi, I’m Hemlock Connal, Preternatural Investigator.

Morgan: I’m Morgan Burns, Professional Intern.

Hemlock: We first work together in Another Dead Intern, hopefully no spoilers, but also working together in a short Holiday ditty called Little Drummer Boy.

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

Hemlock: My mother is Queen Fand, of the Sidhe Shadow Court. So I grew up in the castle, training with the court. That is up until I was thirteen, when I played a trick on an Earl of the Summer Court at a party. I put an enchantment on him to make him fall in love with a pine tree. It was funny at first, until he started cramming pine cones up his rectum. They said he got six, but I counted seven!

Anyway, rather than have me executed, the Queen had mercy and I was banished for 13 years, stripped of most powers, and lost my beautiful voice. They basically made sure I was cursed to sound like I’d been gargling acid and broken glass for a lifetime. After that, I lived with dad. Old Man Connal was the private investigator, but he was an independent practitioner of the magical arts, so he dealt with investigations in the magical community. When he died a year or so ago, I took over the family business.

Morgan:  I grew up in an Indiana town, had a good lookin’ mama who never was around. I but I grew up tall, and I grew up right, with them Indiana Girls on them Indiana Nights

Hemlock: Damnit Burns, that’s the lyrics to Mary Jane’s Last Dance by Tom Petty.

Morgan: … it’s mostly accurate.

Hemlock: Fair enough.

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

Hemlock: I had a Curious George doll. Got it from my dad one time when I visited him before I got banished. I kept it with me after, which seemed dumb, but it was a comfort thing. Unfortunately, I had it with me when dad dragged me along on a job. A monastery was having an issue with a yokai that followed some new monks over from Japan. One thing led to another, and he had to trap the spirit in the Curious George doll. I still have it, but now it has a vengeful spirit bound to it. He does help with tasting blood for quick analysis when I need random facts about something.

Morgan: My dad didn’t believe in furthering the capitalist ideals of major toy corporations. So, I had to make the toys I had in his woodshop. I wasn’t really good at making action figures or most things like that, but I did have a knack for furniture. Honestly, the thing I loved most was this one old fashioned wood plane he had in the shop. That thing could take a see through layer of wood off the surface, oh so smooth.

Hemlock: Burns?

Morgan: Yeah?

Hemlock: You are a complete and utter dork.

What do you do now?

Hemlock: We are Preternatural Investigators. Well, I am, Burns is just an intern.

Morgan: C’mon, I’m a bit better than that.

Hemlock: That doesn’t mean we go around killing vampires for people or looking for ghosts in resold haunted houses. It just means we do private investigations for the preternatural community. Which means doing a lot of the same stuff a PI would do, a lot of cheating spouse cases, insurance fraud, white collar crime discovery, that sort of stuff. Just, with, y’know, vampires, witches, warlocks, mages, werewolves, sometimes the Sidhe, and other various species and members of the preternatural community of Boston.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Hemlock: There were stolen memories that led us to the murders, the murders led us to the drugs, and more drugs led us to the nightmares.

Morgan: Ah, don’t forget, it was me taking more drugs that led us to the nightmares.

Hemlock: Semantics, don’t try to be a glory hog, Burns.

Continue reading “Hemlock Connal and Morgan Burns (of Another Dead Intern, by Joel Spriggs)”

Benjamin Salazar, Esq. (of Monster City, by Kevin Wright)

Dear readers, tonight we reprint an interview held at a coffee shop with a homeless, disbarred lawyer, living on the streets of a city filled with monsters. Here’s here to tell us about the problems he faces, from drugs to werewolves.


-I’m here with Benjamin Salazar, Esq.

Mister Salazar, could you please tell us a little about where you grew up. Paint a picture. What was it like there?

Well. I grew up in the old mill city of Colton Falls, Massachusetts during the 1960’s, and what I erroneously believed, at the time, was the Golden Age of recreational drug abuse.

Little did I know my childhood experimentation with heroin and horse tranquilizers would pale in comparison to the shit the kids are pushing up their arms today.

-Ah…?

I know, I know. You see it, too. Jesus.

These kids today. Am I right?

Practically have drugs handed to them. Have everything handed to them. Don’t even have to work for it, that’s the problem. Have it prescribed by their doc or delivered by some kid named Tad who drives an Acura and lives in an old Victorian on Main Street in uptown USA.

The good shit, too. The hard shit. Synthetics straight out of China. Fentanyl. Carfentanyl. Pure. Uncut.

Man oh man…

And when they inevitably OD?

Jesus, everyone’s packing Narcan these days. Everyone. They’re literally giving it away. (Salazar digs into his briefcase and slaps a fistful of blister packs of Narcan on the table.)

See…?

But me? My day?

I had to trudge uphill through sleet and rain to score my overdose. Both ways. Into rough neighborhoods. Lawrence. Lowell. Downtown Colton Falls.

Black kids beat me up. Hispanic. White. Vietnamese. Everyone.

Jesus, even Jewish kids beat me up. My own people. And do you know how many Jews live in the Merrimack Valley?

-Uh … no. (The waitress brings us our coffees.)

About five. Really. Counting me. And they all beat me up.

Every. Single. One.

I mean, they’d take turns. Crazy, right? And one of them was my first cousin.

And … she was a girl.

-Okay, that’s … kind of sad, I guess. Maybe we should just move on. I notice you have esquire appended to your name.

Appended—?!

 Just what the hell are you getting at? (Salazar rips his glasses off.)

-It means ‘attached.’ I think.

Oh. Well. (He fixes his tie and sits back down.) Sorry about that.

Yeah. Yeah. I used to be a lawyer. A trial lawyer. Damn good one, too. That’s why I had the ‘esquire,’ ahem, appended … to my name.

Now though? I just keep it there cause I’m used to it and, truth be told, I’m a bit of a douche bag.

-A what? Oh. Never mind. Uh … so you retired from practicing law?

Retired? With the fat 401k and vacation home in the Berkshires? (Salazar takes a sip of coffee, waves a hand.)

Naw. I wish.

I was disbarred, y’see?

It’s that same old story. Perjury. Kickbacks. Abusing power. Clients. Drugs. Attempted murder.

-Wow. What a … a colorful career.

Career? Hell no, that was just my first trial.

During the opening statements.

Man, I’d gobbled down a fist full of magic mushrooms this dirty old hippy traded me for a ’63 Impala. I thought my hair was on fire!

Continue reading “Benjamin Salazar, Esq. (of Monster City, by Kevin Wright)”

Mikhail (of The Scented Bones, by Angelina Kerner)

40382483Dear readers, tonight with me is a young man working as a detective by day and and as a guide for departed souls by night. Between mafioso godmothers and the cement shoes on non-human skeletons sleeping with the fishes, he’s here to tell us about his uncanny adventures.

Rather unorthodoxly, the interview is recorded from the point of view of the interviewee. Who says mind-reading isn’t fun?


Please introduce yourself –

I raise my hand for a pause and pull out a pack of cigarettes. After going through my motions, I light the cigarette and take my first smoke of the morning.

After exhaling, I say, “Can you repeat that?”

Please introduce yourself, and the book you are from.

“My name is Mikhail, last name private. My first appearance is in the Scented Bones by Angelina Kerner.”

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

“Can’t really. There’s no real place that I can call home. My parents moved a lot when I was a kid. It’s not in our nature to stay in one place. I remember living in the in-between, in the mountains, by the ocean, in a big city. Thanks to my parents travels, I can adapt to anything and I mean anything,” I say and wink.

What do you mean by not in your nature?

“Oh,” I said. “You don’t know.” I laugh before continuing to smoke. “I’m a psychopomp. My day job is being a detective and my underground life is helping paranormals reach an understanding at an end of an argument or accept death. I help spirits enter the otherworld and have similar powers to a witch’s. Lately, I’m stronger than my little sprite. She’s neglected her magickal part of life. I need to spank her for that. Her neglect makes my third job hell.” I laugh again.

Your third job?

I sit back and dab my cigarette on the plate on the table. “I’m only going to answer that because you’re not in the book and therefore can’t screw me or my charge. My third job is my first job. I’m someone called an Associate. I’m not part of an Italian mob, but I have a working relationship that benefits both parties.” Continue reading “Mikhail (of The Scented Bones, by Angelina Kerner)”

Denman Malkuth (of Dance of the Butterfly, by Scott Carruba)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a man from an old European family. He swears that he is protecting humanity from a great threat, but is refusing to divulge details – for our protection, it seems.

So secretive, in fact, that we believe we have an antagonist on our hands.

He is here to tell us of his competitive and clandestine family.


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

I grew up in a small town in Germany, one you’ve likely never heard of. It was very nice, privileged. It is a town that is fairly ensconced by my family.  It’s not exactly an incubation, but we do need more than the usual amount of privacy.  Of course, as you may imagine, we wanted for nothing. Do not mistake this with being spoiled.  We are far from that. Education and training become vitally important at a very young age, very young.

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

I did, but I was thankfully disavailed of such.  Those can be a weakness.  My family is somewhat competitive, and if you want to have a decent place in it, then you must be strong. It’s all for the greater good. I have an enormous amount of cherished memories, and I will keep those so by not sharing them.

What do you do now?

Oh, I do many things.  My most ‘formal’ work, as it were, is as a psychiatrist, consultant, and professor.  As you may note from this, I am interested in protecting and furthering humankind.  We really are a fragile, threatened species, and it will take strength to protect us. Continue reading “Denman Malkuth (of Dance of the Butterfly, by Scott Carruba)”

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)”

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