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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Romance

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)”

Dylan of Demarn (of In Pain and Blood, by Aldrea Alien)

 Dear readers, tonight with me is a spellster, eschewing the safety of the spellster tower for the freedom to roam the land.

He’s here to tell us about his life in the army, about how his first scouting mission went awry, and the mysterious and flirtatious Tracker.


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

I grew up in Demarn’s spellster tower. It was my whole world for much of my life, actually. It was more of a complex, us spellsters lived in the tower in the centre, surrounded by gardens and a thick wall where the servants lived.

It was peaceful. Really quiet despite the fact there were hundreds of us. Tracker says the spellster population alone was in the thousands, I don’t know if I should believe him but there were a lot of us. We were expected to train our magic, and compete for a chance to join the army if we were strong enough, but we’d a few choices of how we could apply our talents. I kind of miss the monotony. I used to spend whole days in the library, sometimes weeks without stepping outside.

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

No toys, my guardian didn’t really approve of material attachments, not when an errant hiccup of magic could destroy one. We slept in huge dormitories as children anyway and there were always fights over items, they belonged to the tower as it was. I’d a few books I was fond of, but they had to remain in the library. Any game we played needed only yourself, sometimes it involved magic. Especially when it came to bathing where we’d try to make huge waves with very little water, or steal someone else’s right out of their tub.

I’ve plenty of cherished memories, though. Like the times Nestria and I would sneak off into some out of the way place purely to plot the passage of the stars. We were almost caught on a few occasions, there was a curfew we were expected to abide by. Really makes the heart race to think that we could’ve been sent into isolation. When we weren’t doing that, I’d spend long nights trading elaborate stories with Henrie through a crack in the wall.

What do you do now?

It’s oddly reminiscent to what I used to do back home, which was helping the dwarves decipher foreign accounts of their ruins. The only difference really is that where I used to go through my guardian and the overseers, I now work directly with the hedgewitches, which is both terrifying and wonderful. I’m only an apprentice, of course. Not that don’t grant full status to humans, but you’ve got to not have any romantic attachments. Continue reading “Dylan of Demarn (of In Pain and Blood, by Aldrea Alien)”

Tierney J’Arzan (of Dracones Awakening, by Sheri-Lynn Marean)

Dear readers, tonight we reprint an interview from an alternate Earth. The young woman interviewed, an empath, will tell us about life with shape-shifting dragons and fallen angels.


Tierney walks into the room, and I’m stunned speechless. She isn’t really tall, maybe five-foot-five, but she’s slender, and holds herself as if ready to spin into action and put someone flat on their back. Her long wavy black hair reaches her back, but it’s the purple eyes scanning the room, a room that’s been set up just for this interview, that really catch my attention.

“No cameras,” I say, then remember my manners and smile.  “Tierney, it’s good to finally meet you. Will you have a seat?”

“Yes, it’s good to meet you as well,” she says, noting my handheld recorder.

“Would you like some water or coffee?” I ask as she sits down. I notice a bulge under her black leather jacket, telling me she’s carrying. Under the jacket is a black tank top. Then I spot the knife strapped to her jean clad hip and smile. She’d mentioned she would have weapons and that they didn’t trust easily.

“No, I’m good, thank you.”

“Well then, shall we get started?” I ask.

Tierney nods, then grins, and while she is beautiful, there is a presence about her that is just stunning. I tear my eyes from her, and glance at my notes. “So, can you tell me a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?”

“Sure. I was born on Tartaria twenty-one years ago. It’s a beautiful planet filled with color and the most incredible topography I’ve ever seen, though I’ve not been to all the other realms. Oh, and there is an abundance of magic as well. Tartaria has 3 suns and 2 moons. It’s 1 of the 52 realms, and unlike earth, all the different supernatural beings who live there don’t have to hide what they are. Or, actually, that isn’t quite true.”

“What do you mean? I ask, noting the anger on her face.

“What I should have said was that everyone is aware of them. On Tartaria, the population of humans is rather small compared to everyone else, so being a Supe isn’t a big secret like it is on Earth. Unfortunately, everyone still has to be careful because the Ilyium hunt anyone supernatural. Continue reading “Tierney J’Arzan (of Dracones Awakening, by Sheri-Lynn Marean)”

Janet Douglas, Lady Glamis (of Kindred Spirits: Royal Mile, by Jennifer C Wilson)

Dear readers, tonight with me is the ghost of the trusted lady-in-waiting to Mary, Queen of Scots. She is here to tell us of royal life in in sixteenth century Scotland.


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

Ah, Scotland. We were a mobile household, but that’s what life was like in sixteenth century Scotland. I was one of seven, so they were lively times. That’s the thing about a good castle; what’s designed to protect and defend in times of siege and attack is great fun for children, left unsupervised by busy and worried parents. We ran riot. You ask about a favourite toy, but really, I wasn’t that keen on playing with toys; I preferred to lose myself in my thoughts, or play with my brothers and sisters. We practiced our courtly behaviour, making sure we were ready to take our places in society. You grew up fast in those days, especially when your brother was stepfather to the King of Scotland; we were practically royalty.

What do you do now?

It’s ironic, really, now, to be the trusted lady-in-waiting to Mary, Queen of Scots, after what happened between her father and I. Happily, she believes that I never truly tried to kill him, and I was certainly never a witch. Queen Mary, she understands how times were, and is glad to have somebody by her side who can truly support her, with an empathy as to what she went through herself.

My days are largely my own, especially when the Queen is not in town. I don’t accompany her out of town, although I hope if she ever goes on a progress, that I would be able to attend her. When she is in town, I greet her each morning, we agree her itinerary for the day, and whether she needs any support from myself or Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange, her right-hand-man these days. He’s such a good man; we make quite the team.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Her Grace Queen Mary’s latest visit. She comes every year, at least once, usually during August, so she can enjoy what the festival has to offer. This year has been, interesting. She cares about her court, truly, but this year, the problems have been closer to home, what with her father’s mood lowering so badly, and then, well, other matters. We have all had to pull together, the ghosts of the Royal Mile. But then, that’s what we are good at. Whether it’s consoling the poor lad down in the tunnels, or keeping Greyfriar’s Bobby out of trouble, we know our roles, and we carry them out. Even the Covenanters know their place, once they are reminded of it.

And don’t forget the haunting. There’s nothing like a good haunting to lift the mood around here. They make it easy for us, with all the ghost tours; we can have our pick of victims, either the guides or the guided, depending on how we feel. Continue reading “Janet Douglas, Lady Glamis (of Kindred Spirits: Royal Mile, by Jennifer C Wilson)”

Shawn Kleiner (of The Blue Bells Chronicles, by Laura Vosika)

Dear readers, tonight with me is the world famous trombonist, Shawn Kleiner. He is here to tell us of his recent trip to Scotland with his girlfriend Amy – and what happened when she stranded him in a Scottish castle tower overnight.


Tell us about your life—back before this whole story started.

At the time, I had it all. Or I thought I did, anyway. I was rich. Well, I still am. More money than I know what to do with—except of course, provide for James—that’s my son, he’s just over a year old now—and make sure he’s well prepared for what’s coming if I can’t stop it.

But look, I’m already thinking ahead. You’re asking about the past. At least, the recent past, not the past I’m talking about. Yeah, before this whole thing started—it seems like centuries ago. I was the featured soloist in this small Midwestern orchestra, and I made them great. Not bragging, just saying how it is.

So we were playing all over the country and all over the world, you know? I was onstage, girls loved me. And I was throwing these great parties and women were throwing themselves at me, I was having a great time and I had this reputation for incredible luck. Until I gambled my trombone away, just before a major concert on our tour in Scotland. I thought I couldn’t lose. And somehow I did. And Conrad was going to have a fit if I didn’t get it back and it just went downhill from there.

I lied to Amy—that’s my girlfriend—or was, it’s hard to say now—to get the trombone back and cover up and one thing and another, we ended up in the half-ruined tower of Glenmirril. I was going to completely win her over with a midnight picnic and instead, she got all pissed and took off, left me there in all this mist. And I woke up—well, I woke up in the wrong century.

You know most people don’t believe that. They know you have a reputation for making up stories. But if we did believe you—what century?

Yeah, well, God’s got a sense of humor, doesn’t He? One time I ever tell the truth is the one time no one will believe me. I woke up in 1314. June, to be exact, about two weeks before the Battle of Bannockburn. Continue reading “Shawn Kleiner (of The Blue Bells Chronicles, by Laura Vosika)”

Captain Jack Boone and Miss Katherine Ashe (of Captain’s Lady, by Jamaila Brinkley)

Dear readers, tonight with me are two enchanting characters out of the Regency era. Captain Boone would like nothing more than to – legally – plunder the seas. When he finds himself made a viscount, his friends and family insist he needs a wife.

Katherine Ashe wants only to help her sister, who’s caught in an unpleasant predicament. When marriage to Boone seems to be the only solution, she takes the opportunity to have her own household, escaping her overbearing aunt’s house once and for all and helping her sister in the bargain.

But before their convenient marriage can settle in, there’s a flight to Scotland to arrange; a budding sorceress to soothe—and oh, yes—a baby. 

They are here to tell us about their somewhat chaotic lives.


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

Jack: I spent the bulk of my formative years as a ward of the Duke of Edgebourne, a distant relation. His Grace took me in when my parents died at sea, and the entire Edgebourne family welcomed me. The Duke did his best to give me a proper education, but I’m afraid I was far more interested in when I might be able to get my own ship.

Kate: I grew up on my grandfather’s estate. He was the Earl of Ashewell. I helped him manage his estates for years. Unfortunately, my family has had a string of sad occasions, I’m afraid, and so the earldom passed to a distant cousin recently.

What are your fondest memories of your childhood?

Jack: Running rampant over the estate with Lords Westfield and Kilgoran, my two closest friends. I’m afraid we terrorized virtually everybody.

Kate: You still do.

Jack: We’re practically tame now.

Kate: That’s not what I heard after Lady Mountmatten’s ball. Continue reading “Captain Jack Boone and Miss Katherine Ashe (of Captain’s Lady, by Jamaila Brinkley)”

Flintathriël Eliowën (of The Last Dragon Rider by Errin Krystal)

Dear readers, tonight with me is an elven prince raised to rule and trained to fight. He’s here to tell us about his adventures in fighting dead things, the love he found on the way, and – of course – about his magically glowing tattoos.

Please excuse his excitement, but his book will be released tomorrow (August 9th)! You can join him and his author in the fabulous release party on Facebook.

Let him now speak about his background and upbringing, as well as his exciting adventures. And tattoos, of course.


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

Valatha is the most beautiful city in Thril-Garëw. Buildings of moonstone and crystal. I played as a child near the crystal mines, and on the lush lawns of the palace beneath the crystal spires.

When I was fifteen, my twin sister and I began our Nuvian training, to join the elite warriors. I earned my rank of Nuvian at twenty-four, a year early. Faë still thinks I cheated.

But I suppose you meant what it was like growing up in the palace? What do you want to know? That I ditched out on my studies to play pranks on my sister? That I hid scorpions in my uncle’s desk? That I ran naked through the ancestral hall’s to impress a girl?

Because I never did any of those things. (He smirks)

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

According to Faë, anything that was hers. She claims I broke her first bow, but I swear, it threw itself from the top of the quarry…

You mentioned you were a Nuvian Warrior? Being crown prince, you are allowed to fight?

Of course I fight! I am a warrior and we are at war. Yes, I am my father’s heir, which is all the more reason for me to fight. A day will come when I need to be able to lead my armies, not sit on my throne and send others to die for me. It is not the elven way.

Besides, I have siblings, my parents have Faëlwyn and Thalion should I do something stupid like get myself killed. Continue reading “Flintathriël Eliowën (of The Last Dragon Rider by Errin Krystal)”

Alexander Stone (of Stepping Stone by Dakota Willink)

 

dakota-willink-heart-of-stone dakota-willink-stepping-stoneDear readers, tonight with us on the interview couch is the CEO of a real-estate empire. He’s a man who knows how to get what he wants, understanding the value of finesse, and the importance of patience and diligence to achieve the desired result.

He is here to tell about how his world turned upside-down after meeting Krystina – the complete opposite of what he thought he wanted in a woman. His instincts failed him at every turn…

 

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

I grew up living in the Bronx. Specifically, it was a housing project with stereotypical cinderblock buildings, foul odors that never seemed to dissipate, and bars on the windows. The area was riddled with crime and drugs, where gun deaths and overdoses happened almost daily.

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

The people who lived around us had very little in terms of material possessions. That was the norm. My family did not own a car and we couldn’t afford cable. Our phone was without service more often than not because of overdue bills. The few toys that I had as a child were gifts from my grandparents.

It was a struggle just to make ends meet and my mother learned early on how to stretch a dollar so that we could have a decent meal. My father worked, but never in one place for very long. He always had an excuse for his shortcomings as an employee, and someone else was always to blame whenever he got fired from a job. Because of all of this, I began to value the importance of money at a very young age, and it’s the reason why I was determined long ago to be where I am today. Continue reading “Alexander Stone (of Stepping Stone by Dakota Willink)”

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