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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Supernatural

Killandrio Bludd (of The Last Witness, by Richard Dalglish)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a defence lawyer from a fantasy world. He’s here to tell us about trials, gifts, curses, and the supernatural.


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

I grew up in Rynland, one of the two easternmost realms of the known world. It’s on the Great Ocean, so everyone learns to swim and sail a boat. I think I spent half my childhood swimming in the ocean or playing on the beach. Rynland is also prosperous, respectable, peaceful and boasts well-educated citizens—in other words, dull. Yet I always find my way back there—until I get bored and take to the road again.

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

I was especially fond of a pair of hand puppets. I often had them arguing with another about some little matter, usually reflecting a dispute I’d had with my mother, like finishing my turnips before she’d let me have some honey cake. [Laughs] Those puppet battles no doubt foreshadowed my becoming an advocate. My eldest sister tells me I had a loud rattle, which she says I shook with such vigor and persistence that it nearly drove her to infanticide. [Laughs] Now that I think of it, that noisy persistence may also have foreshadowed my work as an advocate. My most cherished memory, though, is from when I was a young student of the law at Rynland Wister School. My loresman took me to see Zauph Rauthen, one of the few virrlings left in the known world, and the three of us talked about law and justice and other matters until dawn. Despite the enormous amount of wine we drank, I gleaned so much wisdom from those two that I’m forever in their debt.

And now you’re a famous defense advocate.

Infamous, more like, at least among the lying sheriffs, bribe-taking constables, corrupt prosecutors, stone-hearted judges, dishonest nobles, and greedy landowners. The common folk don’t think much of me either, at least until they need my services. But in the world of cutpurses, smugglers, burglars, whores, gamblers, brawlers, and sneak thieves, I’m well known. That’s another reason I don’t stay long in Rynland—folks who need an advocate like me are more likely to get in trouble in other realms.

What can you tell us about your current trial?

I’m defending Ansin Semble, a thirteen-year-old boy accused of using his peculiar gift to cause the death of a young man. This gift—or curse, more like it—enables Ansin to send someone on what is called a journey of the mind. The traveler on such a journey experiences vivid dreams and illusions that seem as real as the ground under your feet. Wealthy men are willing to pay in gold for the experience. And though it’s true my client possesses this gift, he’s more victim than criminal. He can’t speak and has little knowledge of the world. I can’t divulge more until the trial concludes, but I can tell you that Ansin has a minder who has profited greatly from the boy’s so-called gift.

Continue reading “Killandrio Bludd (of The Last Witness, by Richard Dalglish)”

Jo Wiley (of the Voices of the Dead series, by Victoria Raschke)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a woman who speaks to the dead and dates gods out of slavic myths. She’s here to tell us about her unique gifts, about saving the world, and about tea.


Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. It’s pretty hard for zines on this side of the Veil to get interviews. You weren’t born in Ljubljana. Where are you from originally and do you go home often?

It was the accent that gave it away wasn’t it? I’ve never been able to banish that little bit of Southern twang. I grew up in Chattanooga in Tennessee in the American South. Chattanooga isn’t a bad place to be from but it wasn’t somewhere I wanted to stay. I took the first opportunity to leave that was presented and eventually I wound up in Slovenia, in Ljubljana. I can’t really imagine being anywhere else now. Chattanooga isn’t really home anymore, so I don’t visit very often if I can help it. Some ghosts are best left to rest.

Any cherished memories from home?

(Laughs softly) Does leaving count? Aside from that, there’s a lot to be said for growing up next to a river. I’ve always felt a connection to water wherever I go. I think that’s what made me stay in Ljubljana, but I didn’t know until much later that you could step into the same river twice. And that they would both share the same snarky river god.

What do you do now?

Well, when I’m not slinging tea and making fancy sandwiches at the punk rock teahouse I own with my two closest friends, I talk to and for the local dead folk. Well, that and try to keep a couple steps ahead of my ex and his grand plans. Never underestimate the trickery of your average ancient dark deity and, trust me, don’t ever date one and definitely don’t have a kid with them.

You said you talk to and for dead people? You did say dead people right?

 It isn’t a very common “gift,” being a Voice of the Dead. The people who like to keep track of those of us who live behind the Veil thought my mother and my aunt were the last ones as all the other lines of Voices had died out. Then—surprise—it didn’t skip me after all. There’s nothing quite like finding out you’re a freaking “dead whisperer” way past your brooding Chosen One sell-by date. It isn’t like a parlor trick or anything though, it’s a job. Or more accurately, a duty.

Continue reading “Jo Wiley (of the Voices of the Dead series, by Victoria Raschke)”

Reeni Dutta (of Klone’s Stronghold, by Joyce Reynolds-Ward)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a teacher, but not a regular school teacher, She specialises in teaching cryptid children. She’s here to tell us about the supernatural world and the mysterious Stronghold in the remote Oregon mountains.


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

I grew up in Tualatin, Oregon. I didn’t do much outside of my home because my parents kept me very isolated. If I wasn’t studying, in church, or in school…I really didn’t have much to do outside of those things. I was a good girl and did what my parents and Pastor Ananda wanted, mainly because I had seen demons and dragons as well as woods elementals and was frightened of them for a while.

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

My parents were second-generation Indian immigrants who converted to Pentecostalism along with my uncle Jayanesh, as part of a splinter church under the direction of Pastor Ananda. Ananda had a ministry converting halfling humans who were part-supernatural to his brand of Christianity and “exorcising” their supernatural abilities to make themselves appear human. My parents were really strict and I didn’t get to date or do much until I went to college. Otherwise, I studied, went to church, and…well, that was it. In high school I was a teacher assistant in a self-contained special education classroom and that got me hooked on working with special needs children.

What do you do now?

Now I teach cryptid construct children in an isolated Eastern Oregon community. It’s a challenge, but it’s fun too, because these kids want to learn. It’s just finding what works to help them learn. I don’t know everything about what it means for them to be cryptid constructs—only that they’re part Sasquatch—but give enough time and I will.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Well, since I now know for sure that my ex-husband Karl isn’t just stalking me, but is a blood elemental, I’m really, really invested in making sure that this position pays off. I mean, 40k for six months’ work, and Karl’s supposed to be leaving me alone! I think that’s great. Now if only my uncle and Pastor Ananda don’t find out where I am….

Continue reading “Reeni Dutta (of Klone’s Stronghold, by Joyce Reynolds-Ward)”

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)”

Herta Tanner (of Der Reizen, by E. Lynn Cormick)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a liaison with a supernatural community, though on occasion she has been referred to as a vampire pimp. She is here to tell us about her Bavarian inheritance and the unusual job that came with it.


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

I grew up in downtown Toronto, Canada. I lived on the border of Little Italy and Chinatown, having friends in both groups. I learned a lot about the cultures from my friends (and a few swear words).  It was a riot living there. My sister, Rae-Lynne, wasn’t too pleased about it, but I loved the diversity. And better food than any restaurant ever served didn’t hurt. I dined out for Italian and Chinese and my friends came to our house for German food. We had a lot of fun. Christmas time was great. We kids would celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, and Epiphany as well as the Chinese New Year. It was great until just after I started university. My parents were killed by a drunk driver when I was about eighteen.

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

I think my best friend growing up had to be my notebook. Mei-Lin, Hannah and Toni were fun to play with, but it was my notebook that received all of my confidences and secrets. I started writing stories when I was about eleven and never seemed to run out of ideas. I hid the notebook from my younger sister in the only safe place I knew – a huge panda bear that my father won at the CNE for me one year. It was, at the time, bigger than I was. Rae was afraid of Panda. I told her once that it came to life every night and ate bad children. She believed me.

What do you do now?

What I do depends on who you talk to. There are those who are convinced I’m a pimp for vampires but it’s more like a liaison between two different countries. I don’t know as I’d call it a fun job, but it most certainly has its moments. I’m not sure which amuses me more, the naivete of the Tiele or the outrageous stories the Germans tell of Tielen. Those are the same two things that irritate me, too, come to think of it. I’ve written a dozen or so travel articles for my editor/sister on hunting Walpertingers in Bavaria, but the Hugelgartens really captured my attention. I wrote a few articles on those for various magazines. Rae-Lynne wasn’t impressed that I would freelance for someone else, but I had a story to write, a tale to tell, that her small newspaper didn’t cover. Right now, I’m working on the boxes of notes that my great-grandfather left me. Some of the information would do well in a book about wartime Germany and the rest of the information would have to be published as fiction in our world. No one would believe that there were Gates between worlds in actual fact. Continue reading “Herta Tanner (of Der Reizen, by E. Lynn Cormick)”

Roach the Demon (of Our Frail Disordered Lives, by Mary M. Schmidt)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a guest of a class we do not normally get – a demon.

He’s here to tell us about heaven and hell, and what lies in between. After working for Satan and trying to sign on new souls, he ended up in a (literally) hellish prison.


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

I’m a demon.  You know that, right?  I was created as angel in Heaven.  I was so gorgeous, I could not stop admiring myself, even for choir practice!  But I knew I could create something much better. I was so great, see?  So, when my boss…he was Lucifer back then, approached me and my buddy (that’s Scorch) and said he was gathering an army to overthrow the Creator, all we could say was, Tell us more! Sheeesh, if only I’d known what a jerk he’d turn out to be!  Do I regret my choice?  Well….no. That’s all I can say about it.

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

I was never a child, so no toys.  As for cherished memories…Hell, no!  Just sad ones.  Like….being stuck in Pandemonium Hall while Satan, that jerk, was setting up the itinerary with those 2 poets.  Dante and Virgil.  And I just knew that whatever they came up with would be a classic of Western civilization.  And I wanted so badly to show them how evil I am.  But, no!  Only the A-list demons were included! I was devastated!

What do you do now?

Not much.  I’m stuck in a high-security prison for making such a mess.  I almost made it big, you know?  That close! Continue reading “Roach the Demon (of Our Frail Disordered Lives, by Mary M. Schmidt)”

Alerich Ashimar (of Ties of Blood and Bone, by A.E. Lowan)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a wizard, a man with the soul of a poet and the heart of a demon.

His family is bound to a demon in a geas of murder and mayhem, or risks losing his father. He is here to tell us about his conflicted love life, his estranged relationships, and about deals one might strike with a demon.


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

I grew up at Ashimar House just outside of Guildford in Surrey in the U.K.. Ashimar House is a respectable old pile, with a great library, but it’s drafty, and Ashimars have been continuously replacing the roofs for centuries. At 13, I boarded at Eton College in Hertfordshire, just west of London. I loved everything about Eton—the sporting fields, rowing, and of course beaks who taught me my mind was more important than my money.

What was your favorite pastime as a child?

My favorite thing about Ashimar House was its library. My favorite days were the ones I could spend with a book in front of the fire. My father was an exacting man, and often found fault with a lot of what I did, but never with my love of books. Stories or knowledge, I love them both.

What have you been up to since University?

I have been living a life of parties, women, and fast cars. My mates and I have become quite the fixtures at wizard parties all over Europe. We spend our time in every part of Europe except home. My father has plans for me to take up the family business, and eventually I’ll have to, but I’ve been steering clear of Ashimar House and its secrets for as long as I can. Continue reading “Alerich Ashimar (of Ties of Blood and Bone, by A.E. Lowan)”

Rhuna (of Keeper of Wisdom, by Barbara Underwood)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a young woman who grew up on the fringes of the empire of Atlantis. 

She is here to tell us about her travels across oceans and ancient worlds (from Atlantis to Ancient Egypt), her inherent mental powers, and her mysterious visions.


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

I grew up on a small island called Chinza.  It’s in the middle of the world’s biggest ocean and far away from any other place.  I didn’t even know that there was anything beyond the big blue horizon until I was about 12 solar cycles in age and met Tozar, who was hiding in my cave and told me he came from a land far away.   Up to that point, I lived outside the village with my mother who was always unhappy and picking on me for everything.  It wasn’t really a nice a place, and everyone thought I was strange because my skin was paler than everyone else’s.  People sort of avoided my mother and me, so I grew up playing by myself in the caves.  Chinza is a volcanic island and has lots of caves, so I used to explore those and play in them.  It was a dull and boring place until some strange people wearing white robes came to Chinza and began making huge stone statues that looked like people.  I spied on them once and saw that they used strange and special powers to make the big stone statues.

What was the most important thing that happened in your life?

Tozar – the man I found hiding in a cave on Chinza – took me away from that depressing place and told me about the Atlan Empire and the beautiful City of Atlán, where he lived.  The Atlan people have advanced knowledge and technology, as well as special abilities that enable them to transform elements such as sand to stone and metal to gold, just with the power of their minds!  They can also summon visions of faraway places and people using the reflection of a still body of water.  But the most exciting thing is that I found out that my father was an Atlan with such powers, and that I inherited those abilities from him!   At first I couldn’t believe that a plain girl like me could learn to summon visions of distant places, transform sand into stone, make heavy stone blocks almost weightless and then build my own small pyramid to harness lunar and cosmic energies!

What do you do now?

When I became an adult, I went to the City of Atlán to be with Tozar, and that’s where I attended a school to learn about healing and herbs.  Besides being a Healer, I also became part of the High Council of Atlán, alongside Tozar, helping to solve people’s problems, big and small.  But the biggest challenge was when the Dark Master started subverting our way of life, causing death and suffering among poor and helpless people.  That’s when we discovered that I had extra special powers of summoning visions, and this helped us stop the Dark Master…at least we thought so at first. Continue reading “Rhuna (of Keeper of Wisdom, by Barbara Underwood)”

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)”

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