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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Romance

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)”

Victoria & Friedrich (of Under His Spell, by Luv Lubker)

Dear readers, tonight we are hosting a royal couple, the Princess Royal of UK and the future emperor Prince of Prussia. Known as Vicky and Fritz, they are here to tell us about life and love across 19th century European courts.


In tonight’s double interview we separately ask Fritz and Vicky, who are husband and wife, mostly the same questions — but they can’t see or hear each other’s responses.

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

Vicky: Dear Windsor is the home of my heart, and though Buckingham Palace is where I was born and lived a good deal of my earliest years, Windsor is where my happiest childhood memories live and is where we spent our honeymoon. My memories there of my childhood are among the happiest of my life – but happy in a different way than my life with Fritz – all my dear siblings and Mama and Papa were always there. Buckingham Palace is not a Home – it is a Palace, and is not very welcoming to little people.

Fritz: The Neues Palais was where I was born. It was a huge place, but I only knew a very small portion of it – the nursery – and my parents moved to Babelsberg before I remember very much. Babelsberg is a pretty place – but not… it was my home, but I didn’t love it.

What are your happiest memories of your childhood?

Vicky: My dear parents birthdays were always wonderful affairs in my eyes, with all of us children waiting outside the door with our drawings and things, and Mama in a pretty new dress when she came out, and Papa welcoming us all so lovingly. The Great Exhibition was one of the grandest events and is, of course, one of the dearest memories looking back, when Fritz was there and was always so kind. Papa’s loving advice during our lessons, which I treasured up and remember so well now…

Fritz: Happy memories? *sigh* My least unhappy memory of my early childhood was… perhaps Lotte’s birthday parties. I was always allowed to go to them and she was always kind to me, as was the Queen, Aunt Elise, who’s ward Lotte was. Later, our time in Mainz was not particularly unhappy, but… my childhood was not a happy one, I always wished myself out of the world. *Sighs and looks away.* I… I still have such thoughts, at times, when I am away from home – away from Vicky…

You are the Crown Prince and Crown Princess now. What does that mean for you? How does that change your life?

Vicky: Fritz’s being the Crown Prince means he has more duties, which he fulfills faithfully. We shall be the next King and Queen, some day, and perhaps, Emperor and Empress. We work steadily towards the dream of bringing into existence a peacefully united Germany. But it means we often have less time together, which of course is not particularly pleasing.

Fritz: Since I have become Crown Prince, I am required to be present at the Crown Councils. One might think this is an honor, and it is, but… to be a witness to some of the things which go on is unendurable. And Papa requires me never to speak at the Councils, so I am not a part of it, only a tacit witness they think they can control.

Continue reading “Victoria & Friedrich (of Under His Spell, by Luv Lubker)”

Orion (of The Great Orion, by S.P. Joseph Lyons)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a champion from a series we’ve visited before. He’s here to tell us about dreams, death, destruction, and love.


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

I was born in the underbelly of the Universal arena, a place people go to fight to the death for glory. My mother had been a slave mage and had been killed when I was very young. After surviving in the shadows, and hiding from the guards, I was rescued and taken to Vestas, a place of peace. Malek, my adoptive father, raised me on that paradise world, but it was not without its own dangers. 

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

When I was rescued, I had nothing more than the scraps of clothes on me, and an ornate cloth belt. It was my mother’s, though I remember nothing more than the blurs of colors and voices of her. I now use it to hold my swords at my side. One of my favorite things to do with my friends was race about town, to the waterfalls, then leap off! We would test one another, seeing who could do the most elaborate flips. I always won!  

What do you do now?

Now I am the champion of Vestas, warrior of the people, and protector of the planet I love. I would give my life for these people, as they once gave me my life back.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

I have received some information about my father. Though I’m told he died before I was born, I know little more than that he was a great warrior himself. Legendary among the stars. I’m told he fell making a stand against the terrible Ridran, the monster who owns that cursed arena. I’m going to find out what happened.

Continue reading “Orion (of The Great Orion, by S.P. Joseph Lyons)”

Anna Belko (of Wrong Place, Right Time, by E.B. Roshan)

Dear readers, tonight we listen in while the protagonist – Anna, a young factory worker – is  having tea with her husband’s aunt, Oxsana. All she wanted was a quiet cup of tea, but an unexpected encounter blooms into new-found love that changes her life.


OXSANA: (sitting down opposite Anna and pouring a cup of tea.) Oh, Anna—I’ve been wanting to do this ever since Boris first told me you were the one for him. I feel that I don’t know you at all, really. Could you tell me a little about yourself?

ANNA: (dipping a cookie into her tea) Well, I was born here in Dor. You knew that, right? I wish I could remember it when it was beautiful.

OXSANA: You don’t remember anything from before the war?

ANNA: My very first memory is of Mama making me lie down in the bathtub and pushing a mattress over the top. Because of the rockets. It was dark, and the tub was icy cold. I was so scared—too scared to cry, even. Ilya and Bogdan and Radoslav hid under their beds, but Mama didn’t trust me to stay put!

OXSANA: She wanted you safe.

ANNA: Of course. (Pours herself more tea.) That makes it sound like I had a horrible childhood, but I didn’t. Our house had a big, beautiful back garden, and my brothers and I were always kicking a football around it, or climbing the apple tree and getting onto the roof of the neighbors’ shed.

OXSANA: Well, I’m sure having so many older brothers made things interesting.

ANNA: (laughing) Oh, yes! I was a tomboy growing up—Mama didn’t know what to do with me. I did have a doll , named Ilona after the great-aunt who gave her to me, but as any girl with only brothers can tell you, all the really fun games don’t involve dolls.

Continue reading “Anna Belko (of Wrong Place, Right Time, by E.B. Roshan)”

Elias Wilder (of Half a Soul, by Olivia Atwater)

Dear readers, tonight with me is the Lord Sorcier of Regency England. Most people find him handsome, strange, and utterly uncouth—but gossip says that he regularly performs three impossible things before breakfast. We’re here to find out the truth.


“Lord Sorcier” is a French title, isn’t it? How does one go about becoming the Lord Sorcier of England?

It wasn’t my choice, thank you very much. The Prince Regent suggested it, for some mad reason. He thought it was fitting, given that I supposedly defeated Napoleon’s Lord Sorcier in an epic magical duel.

…Supposedly?

You should really exercise more scepticism in your daily life. The ton also believes that I do three impossible things before breakfast every morning.

Three impossible things! Who has time for that sort of nonsense? I limit myself to two impossible things per day, at best.

You spent at least some of your life in the workhouses. What were they like?

I see you have indeed been listening to idle gossip. I would be happy to answer your inquiry in lengthy detail—in fact, I have described the hideous conditions of the workhouses to the House of Lords on more than one occasion. I am sure you could find a record of it. Would you like to hear about the lice, the influenza, or the boy who had his hand cut off from gangrene? I could go into the rampant abuse, the lack of food, or the constant, awful smell—

Er, how fascinating! We really must move on, I’m afraid, since we haven’t that much time.

I somehow suspected as much.

And what are the duties of the Lord Sorcier of England?

Primarily, I am told, I am supposed to defend King and country against black magic of all sorts. In practice, there is little black magic to be found, and I must say, I grow tired of noble ladies insisting that their larder has been looted by faeries.

Continue reading “Elias Wilder (of Half a Soul, by Olivia Atwater)”

Dorothy Kennedy-Denham (of Behind the Fan, by Caroline Walken)

Dear readers, tonight with me is an ageing heiress to an electronics empire, about to be sent to a nursing home by her family. She reminisces about her time as a burlesque dancer, and of family drama playing over decades of history.


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

Oh my, well that is going back a ways, you know I am nearly a 100. I will tell you, times were quite a bit different than today. My family lived in Newport Kentucky, in a real nice neighborhood; we knew everyone on the street. My fondest memory was sitting in our little backyard in the summertime. My mother used to let my brother and I ‘camp out’ under the stars. My little brother Donny knew all about the stars and the planets when he was just a kid. I can still hear him pointing out the constellations. He was real smart, when he was just a boy he went to a special school created just for kids like him. I wish you could have met him, now he was someone you would want to interview!

Oh, look at me go on! Yes, we had a wonderful childhood, but there were hard times too. My folks took ill and in the end, it was just us kids. I almost lost Donny too, but he rallied. In those days there was no welfare and, had I not been older, Donny and I would have been sent to an orphanage. Of course, everything turned out fine, I took a job to support us and eventually that job is what helped Donny get into the college-prep school. We stayed in that apartment building, the older girls living there helped us, everyone there just loved Donny.

Yes, it was a nice neighborhood, a real community if you know what I mean.

What do you do now?

Well, these days I do a lot of sitting and remembering. I don’t get around much; or very well at times! The girls; my granddaughters and their daughters come to visit but honestly they do more fussing than anything. I guess everyone just looks at me as some old woman, I wasn’t always this way. There was a time when I was strong and I was the one looking after others.

That was a long time ago though. Some days I look at my hands and I’m amazed, how these old hands could be mine? This gold band here, it has never been off my left hand since my wedding day. It had an inscription, but Lord the years wore those words away. Never the love though, my Nicky and I had a strong bond.

I am rambling again, I do that. My Granddaughter Mary calls it my ‘moments.’ Back in the day I knew a man that did this, we called him crazy. I understand it now though, my memories are stronger than my days. Sometimes when I have these ‘moments’, it is just like stepping back in time. I see my Nicky again, my friends are all there, even Donny; he is with us again. It’s nice.

What was it you asked; oh yes; what I do. Well, I am a widow now, dear.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Well, let me tell you, it was quite unexpected. A few weeks back I had a little accident in the kitchen. Everyone made a fuss, somehow a paper towel got into the oven and caught fire. My girls came over and the next thing I know; they are moving me to a nursing home. I know my Granddaughter Mary made sure it was the ‘best’ in the industry. Her sister only agreed because she was concerned for me, she is such a sweet-hearted girl. Still, here I sit watching my life being packed into boxes, my whole existence cover in newspaper and bubble wrap.

Continue reading “Dorothy Kennedy-Denham (of Behind the Fan, by Caroline Walken)”

Talon (of the Catalyst Moon series, by Lauren L. Garcia)

Dear readers, tonight we eavesdrop on an antagonist interview, held in a tavern in a world where magic is real and mages battle priests.


[A tall, solidly-built woman strides into the tavern and approaches your table. Chips of a dark gray stone, hematite, embedded in her leather armor, glint in the lamplight, and her gaze sweeps across the seated man from head to toe. Her brown eyes narrow, but only a fraction, and she lifts her chin, her annoyed expression smoothing into one of forced politeness. She shifts her sword and daggers, and sits across from him.]

Please forgive my lateness. There were pressing matters to attend at the mage bastion, as I’m sure you can understand. But of course, if the Circle clergy want you to interview me in order to gain a greater understanding of my role in the One god’s world, I shall oblige. Shall we begin?

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

Surely you know of the capital city, Lasath? Well, I saw little of it, save on training runs. I was born in the bastion there, but since I have no magic, I was taken to live with the sentinels. I became one of them from an early age.

You were born in a bastion? Were your parents mages?

My parents are gone.

[An uncomfortable silence stretches before the interview continues]

Did you have any cherished memories of your childhood?

[Talon shifts in her seat, her gaze going distant before she catches herself.] Sentinel initiates are not given many chances to be “children,” but we were cared for when no one else would have done so. Food and shelter were enough. They had to be.

What’s it like to live so close to mages?

Mages are human, after all, albeit with…extraordinary abilities. Living near them is unremarkable, most of the time.

Most of the time?

Talon: How do you feel about folks who can turn into crows? Or shoot fire from their fingertips? Or spin sand into glass?

[Another long, uncomfortable silence]

What can you tell me about the other sentinels who serve under you?

[The stiff set of her shoulders eases, as does the stern tone of her voice] They’re a good lot. My second, Captain Cobalt, is a gifted warrior, loyal beyond measure. He’s been offered his own command several times, but has turned it down. I don’t imagine he’ll do so forever, but for now, I’m grateful the gods have kept him near.

Continue reading “Talon (of the Catalyst Moon series, by Lauren L. Garcia)”

Rachael Fasching (of Not a Mourning Person, by Catherine Stein)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a young woman from Book 2 of the Victorian historical-fantasy Potions and Passions series. We’re always happy when our patrons revisit us!

This volume is her first appearance. She is here to tell us about
Ancient curses, poetry, murder, intrigue, magic — and about love.


Welcome, Mrs. Fasching. We are so pleased you have accepted this interview with our newspaper. Please introduce yourself for our readers.

Call me Rachael, please. My married name has a host of unpleasant memories associated with it.

Oh, dear me. Yes. Can you tell us something about your background? Who was your husband and what happened to him?

Well. Anyone who reads the gossip rags knows something of the matter. Mr. Fasching was an American potions importer. He became involved with the wrong people and ended up dead. I can’t say I’m terribly sorry about it. He was rather a villain, as it turns out.

I must say, you wear your widowhood well. That is a marvelous dress.

Isn’t it, though? I’m sure many would tell me that the neckline is too low to be appropriate for a widow, and the red embroidery likewise improper, but I have never been one to conform to restrictive fashion ideals. I prefer to set the new trends. People may gape and whisper if they wish, but no one can say I lack for beauty or elegance.

Your bold personal style does garner attention. Is that your plan, now that you will soon put your mourning period behind you? Attend parties and show off?

Parties and showing off are always in the plan. But I have far more interesting goals for my life at present. As I have indicated, I do not wish to use Fasching’s name. I intend to remarry to remedy the situation. In fact, I fully intend to woo the most passionate, romantic man in all of England until I have earned his undying love.

How strange. Because your name has recently been linked to that of Professor Avery Cantrell, a man noted for being dull and peculiar.

Ah, dear readers, you know so little about him. I don’t expect you to believe me, but Cantrell is so much more than you see on the surface. He hides himself behind his research, but I am uncovering his secrets and I must tell you they are delightfully intriguing. I do not doubt we will have fantastic adventures together.

Speaking of adventures, what can you tell us about yours?

Well. Certain information is not mine to share, but I can tell you that I have recently learned of strange, ancient curses and deadly potions allergies. I’ve encountered murder by poison and discovered vital clues. I’ve scandalized society by driving steam cars fully as well as any man.

Continue reading “Rachael Fasching (of Not a Mourning Person, by Catherine Stein)”

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