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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Young Adult

Kara Tanner (of Glyphbinder, by T. Eric Bakutis)

Dear readers, tonight with me is Kara Tanner, a recent graduate of the Magic Academy of Solyr. What follows is Scribemaster Tarano’s interview with Kara several days before her planned graduation.

The chaos that unfolded on Kara’s graduation day is still unclear to many, but we do know the academy came under attack, a number of students were injured, and that Kara and several of her friends (including an amnesic soldier treated for his wounds at the academy) disappeared. Their current whereabouts are unknown.


To start, Kara, I would like to congratulate you on your nomination as Speaker Supreme. You must have worked very hard to get here.

Thank you. I’m honored to be chosen, and will absolutely not make a wreck of my speech.

I’m certain you’ll do fine. To start, what do you most enjoy about your studies at Solyr?

Everything. Where else can you learn to set someone’s hair on fire and talk to the dead?

You set someone’s hair on fire?

Really? I honestly expected you to be more concerned about the other thing.

Well, you are a Glyphbinder. Soul glyphs are one aspect of your training, are they not?

Oh, right! This is an opportunity to promote Solyr to our patrons in Tarna. Five know I love promoting our academy!

If you could simply answer the questions as you would for someone outside Solyr?

Of course, Scribemaster. Forgive me. I’m practicing. For my speech.

What would you say is the most challenging aspect of your studies at Solyr?

The variety. Every week offers new aspects of glyph magic that either complement or contradict what’s come before, but wielding the power of The Five Who Made the World is inspiring. The Five made literally everything … the world, the sky, us … so channeling their power? Nothing compares.

Now that we’re into advanced glyph combinations, I find the more esoteric mixes fascinating. A week ago we learned the proper Life glyphs to form ice sculptures based on glyphs of idea, and there’s been no shortage of gorgeous and occasionally obscene ice sculptures popping up since.

Occasionally obscene?

Well, you taught us to create ice sculptures … with glyphs of idea. Look, I’m eighteen, and many of my peers are as well, but I imagine girls mature faster than boys. If I come across one more ice peni—

Why don’t you tell us more about your particular school! What’s it like to be a Glyphbinder?

Challenging. We teach Firebrands, Lifewardens, Soulmages and others, but Glyphbinders learn tricks from them all. Every school is scribed differently, and remembering how the lines work is a chore.

I won’t horrify you with what happens when you scribe Rannos the Wolf on a squirrel and accidentally use a Firebrand’s blood lines, but it’s not a mistake anyone makes twice. You never forget the smell.

Continue reading “Kara Tanner (of Glyphbinder, by T. Eric Bakutis)”
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Benji Fisher (of Mermaids Are Real, by Bo Wu)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a young boy who grew up by the sea. Used to surfing with dolphins and some odd things encountered underwater, he’s come here to tell us about how his life changes following a recruitment speech from an octopus the night before his thirteenth birthday.


What was it like growing up in Beech Mill?

I liked the town much more than the growing up part. It’s hard when you stick out and all everyone else is trying to do is conform. I think no matter where you are in the world, that’s a problem for kids.

Having said that, Beech Mill was a great place to grow up. I was in or on the water whenever I wanted for as long as I wanted. My dad had a boat. What else can you ask for, right?

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

I wasn’t a toy kid. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I just gravitated toward the outdoors. A part of me always knew I belonged outdoors and, more specifically, in the water. I just didn’t know how much I really did belong until Octavius showed up and told me about my real home in Sanjowqua.

But, I guess my surfboard could be considered a toy. I had plenty of fun on it. That’s for sure. It was on my surfboard that I had my first run-in with Eeke, Zeeke, and Mai, the dolphins that kept watch over me.

What do you do now?

I’m still thirteen, so no matter what, I get to still be a kid, but now I get to be a merman kid with an ocean full of creatures to play with and unexplored territory, at least for me, that I get to call my home.

I think for the meantime, I’m going to be helping prepare for the next full moon party in a few weeks which, by the way, is the first one Sanjowqua has celebrated in thirteen years. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have my hands full for the foreseeable future.

I’ll spend my free time working on honing my Mystiq powers. I see another visit to my dad’s lair again pretty soon, as well. Continue reading “Benji Fisher (of Mermaids Are Real, by Bo Wu)”

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)”

Matthew Wansford (of The Order of the White Boar, by Alex Marchant)

Dear readers, tonight with me is boy of twelve years, a merchant’s son who always dreamt of being a knight. His chance came in the summer of 1482, when he joined Richard, Duke of Gloucester – the future King Richard III.

He’s here to tell us about his life at court and the deadly games of the Wars of the Roses.


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

I was born, and lived all my life until last summer, in my father’s house on Stonegate, one of the finest streets of my home town of York. My father may not be one of the wealthiest merchants in the city, but to me, it’s a beautiful house. It even has glass-paned casements that you can open in some of the front windows. If you open the one in our second-floor jetty (where I used to share a room with my brother Peter) and lean out as far as possible, you can just see the topmost tips of the towers of our great Minster – the cathedral of our city. Its bells you can hear resounding through the whole house at all hours of the day and night. Perhaps it seems strange, but that’s one of the things I miss most about being away. That and my family, of course, and my friends from the Minster song school.

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

My most precious memories are of my mother – caring for my sister, brothers and me before… before she died. She was always a loving mother, even when our father was stern and seemed unyielding. When we did anything wrong, she would always talk him round so he was less harsh with his punishment. I think he welcomed that. He is quick to anger – and often regretted his swift actions. She would allow him a way out. His grief at her death after the birth of our little sister was painful to witness.

What do you do now?

Since my disgrace last summer, and my expulsion from the choir school, I have been honoured to serve as a page in the household of His Grace, Duke Richard of Gloucester, brother to our sovereign King Edward IV, at Middleham Castle in Wensleydale. As my father says, I have fallen on my feet. Undeservedly perhaps, given the shame I brought upon my family – and I never thought to have such luck.

I have always dreamed of becoming a knight – ever since I first could read the courtly romances and tales of chivalry in the books my father imports from the Low Countries and France. But I thought it would only ever be a dream – that I would live out my days as a clerk in my father’s business, or at best become a cantor at the Minster like my brother John. Yet now I am on the first step to becoming a knight and warrior like my esteemed master. Continue reading “Matthew Wansford (of The Order of the White Boar, by Alex Marchant)”

Oliver Muriel (of Lost Names, by AN Mouse)

Dear readers, joining me on the interview couch tonight is Oliver, ‘captain’ of a mercenary team. He’s here to tell us about his recent escape to Syama, why there are quotes around his title, and what it’s like living with professionals when you aren’t one.

Tell us a little about where you grew up. What’s the Ves like? Are all the stories true?

Depends on who’s telling them. Let me put it this way; there was a shootout in my apartment block. On my floor. I managed to get back to my apartment because I had sold the guy some scrap tech I had dug up a few weeks beforehand and he remembered me. The whole country is dirty. The buildings, the streets, the money. I mean, we’re in Syama now, and like, it’s bad but it’s not as bad. The worst part for me is that I don’t speak the language, but I’m learning.

You don’t have anything good to say about it? No cherished memories?

My cherished memory is the day we left. No, I’m kidding. The day I met the team. That’s kind of a weird thought, because I knew Ame and Rosa for years, we just weren’t close. And I guess the day I met Hastin wasn’t a very good day. All the time we spent together, though, for sure. Those are good memories.

What do you do now in Syama?

Well I’m not hauling scrap, that’s for sure. I’m a ‘co-coordinator’, which sounds hilarious when I say it out loud. They call me ‘captain’, and I don’t mind, but it’s a little more flattering than I deserve. I take care of the team. Make sure we have a place to sleep, things to eat, that we have a plan. I’m our first aid guy and our therapist. Hope of getting Hastin to a real doctor is pretty slim, eh, but we’re doing our best. Continue reading “Oliver Muriel (of Lost Names, by AN Mouse)”

Gairynzvl (of the Dark Fey trilogy, by Cynthia A. Morgan)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a Fey of the Light, captured at a young age and taken to live amongst the Dark Fey – the Reviled.

He’s here to tell us of his adventures.


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

My life has been dichotic.  I spent my first seven years in the village Hwyndarin with my family and the Fey of the Light. It is a place of simple beauty and communal living, where each villager shares life’s responsibilities and burdens.  I was very young, but remember playing with friends and learning to fly amid the forests, streams and meadows bathed in sunlight.

When I reached 7 ½, I was abducted by the Reviled Fey and spent the next 15 years of my life trying to survive the gloom and shadows of their dark realm, the Uunglarda.  No sunlight warms their barren dominion and the skies are choked with soot and poisonous fumes.  I suffered the Integration; five years of neglect designed to turn childfey into monsters and each day was a torment of hunger, thirst, cold, and abuse.

Gosh, that sounds horrible.  How did you manage to hold onto hope?  Was is a cherished memory, a favourite toy you clung to, a friend?

We had no toys in the Uunglarda, and very few friends, but I was determined not to forget the ones I had and to see them again.  I kept the Light alive any way I could, mostly by repeated prophecies I had already learned and secretly studying others.  Although I had to keep it completely hidden, which was not easy in a place where you are forced to do horrible things every day, as time went on, I formed a few secret alliances with Dark Ones who wanted to escape as much as I did and our mutual dream of freedom kept hope alive.

What do you do now?

Even though I have returned to the Light and live in Hwyndarin once again, I spend much of my time training with an exclusive unit of Fey Guards dedicated to the covert operation of returning into the Uunglarda at undisclosed times to rescue younglings and those Dark Fey who wish to escape.  Continue reading “Gairynzvl (of the Dark Fey trilogy, by Cynthia A. Morgan)”

Sweetnettle the Lobli (of The Malevir Series, by Susan B Marcus)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a little sprite, from a faraway fantasy world.

He is here to tell us about the dangers that afflict his world, about the return of dragons, and about the other wonderful and wondrous creatures that inhabit it. 


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

I am a Dragonwolder sprite called a Lobli, about 18 inches high. I see the world from the height of your knee cap. Dragonwolder is my world, a broad and varied land mass surrounded by seas. I was born in dark times, and I don’t mean at night. A destructive force, the Malevir, was burning farms and towns and killing people’s herds. I left my family of house sprites early on to apprentice with the magician giant Rocànonom who was planning to rescue Dragonwolder from the Malevir by reviving its exiled dragons.

Do you have cherished memories from your childhood?

Before I left home, my parents, sister, and I lived in the wall behind a cottage hearth in the village of Anonom. We helped clean, cook, and care for the indwellers. Secretly, of course, but they always left savory porridge and milk out at night. We all liked that very much. I remember those calm and cozy times with pleasure.  I also remember my father’s saying as I parted for Rocánonom’s tower, “Someday, they’ll all be talking about you and how you made peace between the people of Dragonwolder and its long-hidden dragons.” Imagine how my two hearts leaped at the thought.  

What do you do now?

What don’t I do? I am on Rocánonom’s team, helping him restore order and safety to Dragonwolder. I am small, but loyal and adventurous. You should have seen me bite into the Malevir’s shin—ah, I shiver at the thought, how the beast poisoned me the first time. Anyway, I wanted to protect my giant friend and fellow Loblin from the Malevir’s attack after the beast discovered our secret refuge under a town. Everyone thought the poison killed me, but I came back to life in the dragons’ lair.  All that is in our scribe’s account, Malevir: Dragons Return. Continue reading “Sweetnettle the Lobli (of The Malevir Series, by Susan B Marcus)”

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)”

Chance Welfrey (of Dead by Morning by Kayla Krantz)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a young man, often considered the charming golden boy of his school. Yet is he just a pretty face, or does he cynically use his good looks to mask his involvements in the recent disappearance of several schoolgirls? And why does he suddenly haunt the dreams of one particular girl, a girl who seems decidedly uninterested in him?

Read on to find more from Chance.


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

You like trees? You would love where I grew up. I come from a small town in Illinois that’s nothing but trees. The population is so small it’s next to impossible to have friends outside of your family. It was okay though. A bit lonely but that all changed when I moved to Lima. I can say it made me stronger but I’m definitely built for a larger environment. A large fish in a small pond doesn’t thrive for long after all.

So you moved to Ohio by yourself? Didn’t you miss your family?

All things pass with time. I had my eye on the prize and honestly didn’t stop and think about the handful of people I was leaving behind. I’m better off where I’ve ended up.

So what are some things you’ve done using your gift?

Nothing I feel should be spoken out loud.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

As we grow we learn new things and my nightly expeditions are no different. I have dreams that I hope to accomplish in my life…literally. Some of them are pretty cookie cutter boring but others are fantastic and out of this world. Continue reading “Chance Welfrey (of Dead by Morning by Kayla Krantz)”

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