Tag Archives: character interviews

Character Interview: Ardavos

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Here’s an interview with Ardavos, the antagonist (it’s really kind of hard to think of him as a villain) from Source-Breaker:

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?
I am Lord Ardavos, Master of Source Vadaerna and seeker after knowledge. You may simply call me Lord Ardavos, or “my lord.”

2. How old are you?
Age has no relevance to genius. However, I do worry that I don’t have enough decades of life left in which to complete my work.

Well, if you insist, I am 46 years old.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
I have not had contact with them since I left home in my youth to begin my training as a healer, but my parents supported my ambitions and I believe they would be proud of what I have accomplished in my life.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?
*turns red* My lady Sivael is the first woman I ever kissed. Fifteen years later, she is still with me, so that must mean we both found it pleasing.

5. What is your occupation?
As I said, I am a seeker after knowledge. By training I am a sorcerer; my original training was in the field of healing. Since then, I have turned my attention to finding improved ways to store and use Source-power. One of the great limitations on the use of magic is that only one kind of Source-power can be used at a time, and the magic practitioner must either be at a Source in order to draw on its power or carry a limited amount of power with him, either within himself or in a special, magically-prepared container. I seek to take the practice of magic far beyond what is possible under current restrictions and practices.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?
I am dedicated to my work, to improving the practice of magic for the benefit of mankind. I am talented in developing theorems and making precise calculations in order to predict the results of the experiments I will carry out. And I am methodical and orderly in my work.

I have always had difficulty in developing relationships with people. Very few people understand me, though some have suggested that it is I who does not understand them. However, this is an insignificant thing; I have surrounded myself with people who are grateful and loyal to me, and I feel no need for any other company.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?
*turns red again* I had never given any thought to such a thing – it always seemed unimportant compared to my work – until I met my lady Sivael. After I healed her of life-threatening burns, and you can see that she has not so much as a scar from her injuries, I had a sense that she would be the one person who would understand and appreciate both my work and myself. I had a sense that… this is very hard for me to put into words, but I had a sense that if I accomplished nothing else of note, saving her life and healing her injuries would make all my work and sacrifices worthwhile. I knew that even if I never had anyone else I could trust, who could understand me, if I had her, it would be enough.

Sivael has no magical ability, but she is well-educated and does a superb job of keeping the records of my work. And she is unfailingly kind and patient with me. Even when I become excessively absorbed in my work and short-tempered, she reminds me that my work is not the only thing of value in my life.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?
Studying magic. Experimenting with different ways of using Source-power. Learning and expanding our knowledge of what is possible.

9. What is your greatest fear?
That I will not live long enough to be able to make the results of my studies widely known, or that something else will happen to cut my work short.

10. What is your most treasured possession?
My magical abilities, and my lady Sivael.

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Character Interview: Fransisa

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Introducing Fransisa, the formidable Source-priestess from Source-Breaker.

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?
I am Dama Fransisa Cortadella, of the duchy of Cortadella Fira in the Kingdom of Pacetino, one of the Independent Kingdoms. In my capacity as a priestess of Source Chaitrasse, I am known as Sera Fransisa.

2. How old are you?
They say that one should not ask a lady her age. That being said, I am forty years old.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
My father is a duke of the second degree; however, my family is more highly connected, to a ducal family of the first degree, through my sister’s marriage. I also have three brothers. I have seen my relatives less than once a year since I came to Source Chaitrasse, and we are no longer close, if we ever were. Still, I have done my best to do my familial duty and be a credit to them.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?
Now that is definitely not a question one should ask a lady. Anyway, I prefer not to remember it, for various reasons.

5. What is your occupation?
I am the senior priestess, after the High Priestess Sera Valara, at Source Chaitrasse. As Sera Valara is quite elderly and in frail health, I am also the acting managing priestess. I had expected to be the next High Priestess, until a young girl came to Chaitrasse less than a year ago, who is Chosen of the Source and therefore the natural heir to the position of High Priestess. Among my responsibilities are to teach and train her, to prepare her to step into the position.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?
I have an aptitude for organization and administration, which allows me to keep everything running smoothly at Chaitrasse. I’m quite skilled in magic.

I know that many people think of me as a harridan, a battle-axe. I suppose I do have a tendency to be stern, strict, overbearing, and impatient. I do what’s necessary to ensure that the affairs of Source Chaitrasse are conducted in the proper manner.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?
As an avowed servant of Source Chaitrasse, I am under a lifelong vow of celibacy. But were I free to marry and had the opportunity, I would prefer a man of excellent breeding, manners, and education, of intelligence and refinement, who would attend to his duties in a conscientious manner and be a credit to our families.

As long as I’m daydreaming, I suppose I will add that if he were kind and honest and did not trifle with my feelings, I would appreciate that very much.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?
There have been times when I have felt discontent with my lot in life, and using Chaitrasse’s magic is a great source of happiness and comfort.

9. What is your greatest fear?
Being useless and unwanted; having no place where I belong.

10. What is your most treasured possession?
My ability to use magic and my affinity to the magic of Source Chaitrasse.


Guest Character Interview: Walt Starboard

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Continuing our look at the books and authors in the Weird Western StoryBundle, here’s author James Derry interviewing Walt from his western-science fiction novel Idyll. And he’s even brought with him a sketch he made of Walt! Take it away, James:

Walt Starboard is a settler on the planet Idyll. His ancestors travelled there in search of a simpler life, free from the dependence on technology that they believe crippled society—and the human spirit—on Earth.

Unfortunately, a mysterious syndrome of ‘contagious’ sleep has decimated the Idyll settlement, and now Walt has spent the last three years in quarantine with his brother Samuel and his bedridden mother on their lonesome ranch. Desperate to find a cure for their mother—and to find out what happened to their father—Walt and Samuel are finally venturing away from their homestead in search of answers.

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?
Walt Cygnus Starboard. Yes, quite significant. When our forebears left Mother Earth, they gave up their traditional surnames and took on new last names based on the roles or their quarters on the starship Marathon. It was a 600-year trip that required a great deal of sacrifice. Relinquishing their surnames was more symbolic than anything, but it represented a break from the Terran way of doing things—and a new commitment to our cause. I’m just glad my ancestors didn’t live near Marathon’s poop deck! Ha ha. That’s a nautical joke. Marathon didn’t have a poop deck. Sorry, it’s a fairly serious topic.

2. How old are you?
I’m twenty-three.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
My father Josiah is… or was… the best rancher in Glenn County. After the Lullaby hit, he traveled to the heart of the Settlement to find out what was being done about it. But he hasn’t returned yet. That was three years ago. My uncle was a doctor, but he died. My mother was infected with the Lullaby, so I’ve been doing my best to care for her. My brother Samuel… he’s good with the animals.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?
A gentleman doesn’t talk about that. Trust me, I’ve had my share of female… interests… females who… Fine. I’ll level with you. In my youth, I focused on my studies. Then the Lullaby hit, and I’ve been living in quarantine for three years. If it wasn’t for the epidemic, I’m fairly confident I’d be married to a beautiful, charming lady by now.

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image copyright James Derry

5. What is your occupation?
I was training to be a county doctor. When I was young, I wanted to run the ranch. But I suppose that duty will fall to my brother. Or perhaps I could do both. It’s all moot at this point. Right now, we’re struggling to stay clothed and fed.6. What are your best and worst qualities?
I like to think I’m fairly intelligent. And disciplined. And neat. And cool and collected in a bad situation. And keen at shooting and riding. And admired by my peers. My brother says I talk too much, but he hardly talks at all.

7. What is your most treasured possession?
Uncle Warren’s pharm-garden. It grows the pharms that keep Mama alive, despite her coma. I don’t know what we would’ve done without that.

8. What is your greatest fear?
That my mother will die before we can find a cure for her. When my father left, he entrusted me (and Samuel) with caring for the ranch—and that included, in my mind, keeping Mama safe. She was infected on my watch, and now I have to do everything in my power to reverse that one moment of stupidity and neglect—and to make sure she doesn’t die from it.

It’s been three long years, taking care of her… feeding her, bathing her, treating pressure ulcers. Sometimes I wonder if she knows what’s happened to her. If she dreams of us. If she wishes that I’d let her die… Can I level with you again? Sometimes I’m not afraid of Mama dying. Sometimes I think my greatest fear is that my father will return, and he’ll see what we let happen to her.


To find out more, shop for Idyll as part of the Weird Western StoryBundle, available until September 8. Or check out author James Derry’s blog at james-derry.com.

Kyra sez: I’ve just started reading Idyll, and even though I’m only about 10% in so far, I’m hooked. Westerns and the challenges of settling a far distant planet just naturally seem to go together.


Weird Western Spotlight: Gemma Files

Gemma-FilesToday I’m happy to welcome Gemma Files, another of the authors in the Weird Western StoryBundle, here to introduce herself and her character Chess. First, let’s find out a little more about Gemma:

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in England, but have lived almost all of my life in Toronto, Canada (I say “almost” because, as should be obvious, I am currently still alive). My parents are both actors. I have a BAA in Magazine Journalism from Ryerson University, and a few years ago I was amused to note that almost everything technical I learned while getting it is now hopelessly obsolete. I spent roughly nine years working as a film critic, during which period I also taught screenwriting and film history at two different vocational schools. Other jobs I’ve held include security guard, essay-writer for hire and floor attendant at Lovecraft, Toronto’s most upscale sex shop.

2. When did you start writing, and why?
I’ve written throughout my life, but aside from placing a poem with Cricket Magazine when I was eleven, my professional writing career probably began when I was twenty-five—I was covering the publication of a new all-Canadian horror anthology called Northern Frights, let slip to the editor (Don Hutchison) that I also wrote scary stories, then sold him one for Northern Frights 2. That sale led to me writing “The Emperor’s Old Bones” for Northern Frights 4, the story for which I later won a 1999 International Horror Guild Best Short Fiction award, which in turn led to the publication of my first two short story collections (Kissing Carrion and The Worm in Every Heart). It’s been uphill ever since.

3. What drew you to writing weird westerns? What do you enjoy about it?
Okay, so: it’s 2009, and I’ve just spent a year being intensely depressed in the wake of my son’s Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis, which just so happened to coincide with me losing my primary teaching job. During this period, the only thing I’ve been able to write has been fanfiction, specifically for the James Mangold remake of 3:10 to Yuma, which means I’ve already done a lot of research on the post-Civil War era, making me fairly familiar with all the necessary western tropes and jargon. One day, I tally the word-count of everything I’ve written during the previous year and realize it comes to more than 100,000 words—enough for a novel! The next thing I know, I’m using my historical knowledge to hammer out the first seven chapters of what will become A Book of Tongues.  As luck would have it, meanwhile, 2009 is also the same year that Sandra Kasturi and Brett Savory formed ChiZine Publications, and started asking all their friends—me included—if we were working on books. So before I’d even finished writing the book, I already had a publication contract. Three books later, the Hexslinger series was finished, and I’d moved on to a whole new phase of my writing career.

4. What particular flavor of weird western is your book that’s in the Weird Western bundle?
The Hexslinger series takes place in an alternate version of of the wild west where people occasionally randomly “express” as natural magicians—hexes—whose powers often seem to be dictated by their skills, cultural backgrounds and/or personalities. Reverend Rook, for example, can literally preach magic—he quotes applicable Bible verses, which appear in the air around him, then bring about whatever he has in mind. For men this tends to happen during moments of extreme stress or pain, and for women, around adolescence; the reason hexes haven’t taken over the world as yet, however, is that they literally can’t work together, because their constant desire for more power drives them to suck magic out of each other like vampires. During his own expression, which happened while he was being hung for murder, the Rev was touched by a malign entity, Ixchel, who later revealed herself as a hex-ghost/dead goddess from Mictlan-Xibalba, the Mayan-Mexica underworld. She wants to bring back her pantheon, re-instituting a Blood Engine system in which power is paid for by human sacrifice, and what she offers for the Rev’s help in bringing this plan to fruition is to make it possible for hexes to cooperate without being driven to prey on each other…which is something the Rev will do almost anything to bring about, because he knows his lover Chess is a hex just waiting to happen.

5. What do you like about your characters?
Well, frankly…they’re all kind of terrible people: villains, monsters, anti-heroes at best. And those have always been the sort of characters I’ve found myself drawn to, possibly because they lend themselves best to the sort of blood-soaked high drama black magic gay porno horse opera A Book of Tongues and its sequels turned out to be. I guess that ever since I first saw Star Wars, complicated evil with hints of redemption has always been my aesthetic—I’m definitely a Sith, not a Jedi. Which isn’t to say there are no slightly less soiled characters at work here, but part of this project was always trying to turn the most familiar Western tropes inside out, and I like to think I’ve mainly managed to do that.

6. Where can we find out more about you and your books?
My pro site is http://musicatmidnight-gfiles.blogspot.ca/. I’m also on Twitter (@gemmafiles), Facebook and Tumblr.


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And now, Chess:

1. What is your main character’s full name? Is there anything significant about it?
The main character of the Hexslinger series—which starts with A Book of Tongues—is probably Chess Pargeter, around whom most of the action centres. He certainly has the most interesting character arc. As for something significant about his name, well…it turns out he doesn’t actually know his entire name, mainly because his mother never told him it was short for something else. He eventually finds out, but not ’til Book Three.

2. How old is he?
When A Book of Tongues starts, Chess can’t possibly be more than twenty-five years old—I think I had twenty-two somewhere in the back of my mind when I wrote it, probably because of that line from the Bo Diddley song “Who Do You Love?” (I’ve got a tombstone hand and a graveyard mind, I’m just twenty-two and I don’t mind dyin’)—though again, he’s not really sure, because he doesn’t know his own birthday. He’s pretty young, either way.

3. Tell us about his family. What does he like and not like about them?
Chess grew up without any idea of who his father is, mainly because his mother—“English” Oona Pargeter—is a low-rent San Francisco prostitute who’s far more interested in alcohol and opium than she is in her own son, aside from the section of his life where, having figured out he was gay, she tried her best to pimp him out to whoever was interested. Chess stole a gun from a Pinkerton agent and left home to join the Confederate army soon after. Though he says he doesn’t feel anything for her but contempt, I think he’s lying.

4. Who was his first kiss, and what did [he] think of it?
Chess uses sex to get a lot of what he wants and thinks of it mainly as a mode of exchange, since that’s how he was first introduced to the concept; he’s frankly far more embarrassed by emotional intimacy than by anything physical. That being said, I think the first kiss that meant anything to him probably came from Reverend Asher Rook, who he first met when Rook was serving as an army chaplain during the Civil War.

5. What is his occupation?
Chess is a former soldier turned outlaw, enthusiastic and fiercely loyal right-hand man to the Rev, who expressed as a “hex”—a natural magician—at the tail-end of the War, right in the midst of being hung for desertion and the murder of a superior officer, the latter charge being a crime Chess actually committed. Chess was the one who later suggested the Rev start robbing trains and stage-coaches in the first place, so it only makes sense he became the Rev’s lieutenant as well as his lover. He’s blissfully unaware that part of the Rev’s attraction to him comes from Chess also being a potential hex, though as yet unexpressed.

6. What are his best and worst qualities?
Chess is described at various points during A Book of Tongues as a “pocket-sized Satan,” a “wild boy” and an “unrepentant sodomite and murderer,” all of which is absolutely true. His best quality is probably his commitment to the Rev, but his total refusal to feel guilt over his own nature or actions had lead him into a whole lot of trouble over the years, not to mention taking its toll on those around him. He also holds grudges.

7. What is his favourite thing to do?
Clear even split between sex and shooting something, mostly, though he slowly begins to see the value of defending the weak against impossible odds, if only for the pleasure of spitting in some hellaciously more powerful being’s eye. A lot of what Chess does is dictated by sheer contrariness, which can be petty or weirdly admirable, depending on context.

8. What is his greatest fear?
Imprisonment. Being left behind.

9. What is his most treasured possession?
At the time of A Book of Tongues, Chess’s most treasured possessions would probably be either his guns—he wears two at all time, holsters slung cavalry-style for easy cross-drawing—or an ear-bob the Rev bought him, silver inlaid with turquoise, shaped like a Hospitaler cross. He doesn’t care much about anything else he owns, though he favours fast horses and natty clothes, often dressing all in purple just to piss people prejudiced against the “frilly” off with his sheer vicious sense of style.


Kyra sez: I haven’t gotten to Gemma’s book yet, but I’ll be sure to add my thoughts on it when I do. If you want to check it out for yourself along with a bunch of other great weird western books, the Weird Western StoryBundle is available now through Sept. 8.

Guest Character Interview: Tiberius Bogg

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Continuing our closer look at the books and authors in the Weird Western StoryBundle, today I am pleased to welcome Mr. Tiberius Bogg. Mr. Bogg is the main character in the New World series by Steven W. White. New World, Book 1 is available free to subscribers to the StoryBundle newsletter, and Book 2, Hair of the Bear, is part of the bundle.

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?
Name’s Tiberius Bogg.  If there’s anything significant there, I’ve no knowance of it.

I got no title, as those are uncommon things where I come from.  You need not even bother with “Mr. Bogg,” as most folks just call me Bogg… if they know my name at all.

2. How old are you?
I can’t conjure up a precise number.  I judge I’ve seen forty summers, surely. But I can still outrun a bear, given a decent head start. So I reckon I’m not fifty, not yet.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
I ain’t seen my Ma and Pa since I was a pup.  They fell onto hard times in Algolus, and struck out across the sea for Mira, like a lot of folks.  I was born right here in Mira, and ain’t never ventured to the old country.  Don’t plan on going, neither. Algolus is too full of kings and knights, castles and dragons.  Too much history there.  You can’t get free of it.

Mira is the right place for me.  It catches Algolans by surprise, but I fit right in here.

Beyond Ma and Pa, I’ve no knowance of any foreparents.  My onliest brother, Ackerley, lives in Fort Sanctuary, on the coast. He can stand that sort of life, with crowds and streets and noise.  We’re different in that way. I don’t care for people, my own self.  I prefer to play a lone hand.

What do I like about Ackerley? I’ve come to him twice… no, three times in my life, when wilderness living has left me short of needments.  Once, he saved me when I was ailish with winter fever.  He’s never shut me out.

I can’t say there’s anything I dislike about him.  He don’t set his table to city folks’ rules.  Still, he sees hisself as an educated man compared to me, and when I’m about, he’ll strut like a rooster in tall oats.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?
I recollect a pettifogger’s daughter, a long way back.  I can no longer call her by name, but she was pretty as a fence-corner peach.

5. What is your occupation?
Occupation? I’m a weed-bender, a rabbit-twister. Polite folks will call me a mountain man.

That is to say, I cleave to the deep and piney woods and get by with trapping and grazing. I make my own clothes.  Buckskin is easiest to work with, though I’ve got a cloak made of splintercat skin, black as coal at midnight and well nigh invulnerable.  That’s saved me more than once. Mira is full of magical creatures, some of them useful.  If they don’t kill you, that is.

Occupation… that’s a fine way to put it.

 

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6. What are your best and worst qualities?
My best qualities? By jings, where do I start?  I’m resourceful, witty as all get out without being over-educated, hearty as a bull ox, nimble as a polecat, not overly concerned with city foofaraw such as bathing, and devilishly handsome if you don’t mind the beard.My worst qualities?  Alas, I have the misfortune of being far, far too humble.7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?
[Bogg blushes.] Good land! What kind of questions are these?

[Kyra looks down at her clipboard] Oops, we seem to have stumbled into my romance interview. [Tears out a bunch of papers and throws them away.] Sorry about that! Let’s move on, shall we?

8. What is your favorite thing to do?
After having a think on this question, I’d ruther choose those long quiet evenings after supper, the fire not too hot, and the lakeside air not too cool, the belly full, as I stretch out by the water, feeling easy and comfortable.

There are plenty of fine lakes I go back to, depending on the season.  Hottencold Lake, Laundry Lake, Massacre Lake.  Boiling Coffee Springs is not unpleasant in the winter.

Then again, I do enjoy a good fracas, too. There’s nothing quite like feathering into a feller who righteously deserves it… though I’ve learned not to seek out such things.  Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you, Ackerley would say.

9. What is your greatest fear?
Fear?  Lessee, fear.  I am trying to recall the meaning of that word.  Alas, no.  I am not familiar with this term.  I am not an educated man, you see.

All right.  Let me not be too pleased with myself, nor stretch the blanket too much.  My greatest fear, with no varnish on it?

Civilization.

10. What is your most treasured possession?
That’s simple enough.

[Bogg draws a weapon from his rope belt, a large knife. Its handle is carved from the antler of an elk, and its curving white blade is the serrated canine of a sabertooth.]

This fine tool has gotten me out of more scrapes than I can recollect. You know about magical weapons from Algolus?  Enchanted swords and so on?  Well, here in Mira, those old hexes don’t work so well.  Where I live, the magic is in the land, and the trees, and the fearsome critters that roam here. A bite from a sabertooth could cut anything… and sure enough, this blade can cut anything.


Kyra here: I tore through New World and Hair of the Bear in about three days all together. Exciting, scary, funny, fast-moving (and even emotional and thought-provoking) adventures through the frontier of Fantasyland’s New World in the company of the inimitable Tiberius Bogg. Wonderful reading for anyone who wants a taste of the frontier in their fantasy. I would particularly recommend them for teen boys, junior high age and up, who enjoy fantasy and adventure. As the mom of two former teenage boys, I know it can be hard to find books for them, and the New World books fit the bill splendidly.

Once again, you can get New World for free via the StoryBundle newsletter, and Hair of the Bear as part of the Weird Western Storybundle.

About the author:
Steven W. White has written science fiction and fantasy since he was a teenager. Along the way, he’s been a Christmas tree farmer, a rocket scientist, and a snake handler. Lately, he’s earned a Fiction MFA from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts on Whidbey Island, Washington. He writes, teaches, and occasionally plays with fire in the Pacific Northwest.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Character Interview: Elspetya Lorentius

I haven’t done a character interview in a while, so here’s one with Elspetya Lorentius from Daughter of the Wildings. I don’t have a picture of her, so here are Silas and Lainie’s first encounters with her in City of Mages:

“Remarkably effective.” With its sharp air of authority, the voice cut through the fog of noise and confusion. It was dry, throaty, and deep for a woman’s voice, though unmistakeably feminine… The stern face of an elderly woman appeared, hovering over him. Black hair framed her pale face, and eyes the faded blue of the spring sky studied him.

Seated on the platform, as though to oversee everything that was happening in the room, was an elderly woman with pale skin and black-dyed hair, dressed in a gown of rich black fabric. Jewels glittered at her ears, around her neck, and on her fingers.

DoW5-thumbnail1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?
My name is Elspetya Lorentius. I chose that name myself to represent the life I aspired to among the highest levels of mage society. It is modeled after Island names, since mages of Island descent are the elite of the elite among mages.
2. How old are you?
It’s bad manners to ask a woman her age. But I will admit to having achieved a certain maturity of years, and that I am old enough to have adult grandchildren.

 

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
My father was a mage of high standing and considerable power. Unfortunately, my mother was a Plain servant girl, and because of the undesirable circumstances of my birth, I was raised and lived my earlier life as a Plain. I married a Plain man and had five children before my power developed when I was around thirty years old. Of course, I left my Plain life and family behind when I went to be trained as a mage, and ever since then I have taken my proper place in mage society. Shortly after I began training in magic, I entered into a close connection with a gentleman from the highest levels of mage society, a member of the Mage Council. Our connection is highly gratifying to both of us, though, for various reasons, we have never seen the need to marry.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?
That’s really none of your business, as well as being something I don’t care to remember. My life before I was acknowledged as a mage means nothing to me.

5. What is your occupation?
At the moment, I am pursuing certain plans regarding the Wildings, the large, sparsely-settled region west of Granadaia. I am discontent with the Mage Council’s hands-off approach to the Wildings and its resources, and have decided it is necessary to take control of the situation myself.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?
I am highly intelligent, and gifted in magic, and very focused on achieving my goals. I have the ability to organize and lead. I have a large number of men working for me on my current project, and none of them have ever objected to taking commands from a woman.

Some might say I am cold and selfish. But I see those as being merely offshoots of my drive and ambition. One cannot achieve great things if one is easily overcome by emotion and sentimentality.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?
Ah. [smiles] My gentleman companion embodies all those qualities I require. He is intelligent, talented, and ambitious, and willing to place all of those at the service of my plans. As well, he is extremely wealthy and has placed a large portion of his funds at my disposal. He is also handsome, and has the vigor of a man one-third his age. And he is quite devoted to me, although from time to time circumstances have required him to keep his devotion a secret from society.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?
I wish to do everything I can to raise the wealth, status, and influence of mages in the world. I enjoy making plans to do so and carrying them out.

9. What is your greatest fear?
I’ve worked hard to secure my place in mage society. It has not been easy, as the bastard child of a Plain servant girl. My greatest fear is that something, whether it be foreign interference or Plains not keeping to their proper place, or any other catastrophe, will undermine all I’ve worked for, both my own position and the high status that mages enjoy in this world.

10. What is your most treasured possession?
[holds out her right hand to display a gold ring set with a deep purple stone] My mage ring. It represents everything I’ve hoped and worked for, the things I’ve achieved since leaving behind the degraded circumstances of my earlier life.


Character Interview: Brin Coltor

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The wedding of the century (at least until our younger son gets married) is over, and it was lovely, and now I’m back hard at work on the final edits of To the Gap. In the meantime, here’s an interview with Brin Coltor, the wealthy rancher from The Rancher’s Daughter. Coltor is notable in being one of the few secondary characters who appears again later in the series. If you have other questions for him, feel free to ask them in the comments. (Same goes for all my other character interviews!)

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?

The name I’ve chosen to be known by is Brin Coltor.

2. How old are you?
I am 37 years old.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
My family lives in Granadaia. I’ve been out of touch with them for many years. Our values, the things we want out of life, are not the same. I’ve also been estranged from my wife for many years. She was not an easy person to live with. I’m not sure why I’m still married to her; I really ought to man up and resolve the matter one of these days. I think the only reason she hasn’t divorced me by now is because of my family’s money, and because she doesn’t have specific evidence of grounds for divorce. But I’d like my freedom, and I’m sure she would, too.

I do have a young daughter here in the Wildings, but the union that produced her was… unconventional. I don’t want her to be the target of misunderstandings and prejudice, so I keep her existence a secret. Don’t know how long that can last, though.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?
Ah. I believe it was a young lady at my thirteenth birthday party. I’d rather not reveal her name, but she was charming. It’s a fond memory.

5. What is your occupation?
I own and operate the BC Crown Ranch in the Bentwood Valley. It’s one of the largest ranches in the Wildings, if not *the* largest.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?
I’m a good businessman. I deal fairly and generously with my workers and the people in my town. And I love my daughter dearly.

I do have a short temper, and I’m not particularly good at managing my personal life.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?
I want a strong, intelligent woman who can stand beside me as an equal partner in business and in life without trying to henpeck me. I do know a woman who would be my ideal partner, but… Well, I’m afraid I burned that bridge years ago. I couldn’t offer her what she wanted, a respectable marriage, and now, well, I’m afraid it’s too late.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?
I love my work, both managing the business affairs of my ranch and being in the outdoors, working hands-on with the stock. The Bentwood Valley is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I also, well, I do have a bit of a reputation as a skirt-lifter, and I’m afraid it’s well-earned.

9. What is your greatest fear?
My daughter coming to harm.

10. What is your most treasured possession?
My daughter and my ranch.


Couple Interview: Silas and Lainie

With three books out in the Daughter of the Wildings series, I figure it’s time for a couple interview with Silas and Lainie. This is about book 3-ish, and virtually spoiler-free (except that they’re together, which I don’t consider a spoiler because the books are partly romance and because if you know any of my work, you know the hero and heroine always end up together):

Silas and Lainie 1 - Mominur Rahman1. How did you meet?

Silas: I had just arrived in Bitterbush Springs and found myself in the middle of a shootout. During the shootout I sensed a burst of magic close by. At the time, I was on the hunt for the source of some magical power I’d been sensing, so when the gunfight was over I went looking for the person the magic had come from.

Lainie: When the shooting started, I got scared and hid behind a barrel, and put up a magical shield. My brother Blake got killed in a shootout just a few months before, so it really scares me when the bullets start flying. When the shootout was over, Silas came over to where I was and asked me if I was okay, and escorted me on my errands in town in case there was any more trouble.

2. What was the first thing you noticed about the other person?
S:
The first thing I noticed about Lainie, of course, was her power. Bright and strong and clean, with a feel or flavor to it that was different from the Granadaian power I was familiar with. When I first saw her, hunkered down behind that barrel, I took her for a boy, because of her slim build and the men’s clothes she was wearing. As soon as I got a closer look at her pretty face and her figure, though, it was clear she was all woman.

L: He was tall, and so handsome, and looked just a little bit dangerous, but he was so kind and polite to me.

3. Did you know when you met that you would end up together?
S:
No idea at all. I was just passing through on the hunt for a renegade mage. Since she was an untrained mage, my legal duty was to either send her back to Granadaia for training or Strip her of her power. I knew that neither of those options would endear me to her. And anyhow, marriages between mages have to be approved by the Mage Council, and I knew that a Wildings-born mage from a mostly Plain family would not be considered an appropriate match for me.

L: I had no idea, either. I was smitten with him almost right away, but he was just passing through town on business of his own; there was no reason for him to hang around and no reason why he should be especially interested in me.

4. What do you like best about the other person?
S:
Well, she’s smart, strong, brave, pretty, an amazing cook, an even more amazing lover —

L: (blushing) Silas!

S: But more than any of that, she’s just.. her. She’s Lainie. That’s what I like best about her.

L:
(still blushing) Silas is all those things – except handsome, not pretty, and not that much of a cook except for critter on a stick, as he calls it. But he’s so kind to me, and so patient while he teaches me to use my power, and he sacrificed a lot to keep me safe. And also, I’m not sure how to say this, but he lives, you know what I mean? I mean, he’ll think about things before he acts — usually — and see what the lay of the land is, but when he’s ready he jumps right in and does it. He doesn’t spend his life hemming and hawing off to the side. But yeah, mostly, he’s him. And that’s what I like about him.

5. What is something you enjoy doing together? (Besides the obvious!)
S:
What else is there?

L:
(blushing even harder) Silas, really!

S:
We like doing pretty much everything together. Training in magic, traveling, hunting – we’ve taken a few jobs to track down missing family members and the like, shooting practice, bathing —

L:
Oh gods, I’m so embarrassed.

S:
Sorry, darlin’. *smooch*

L:
But you get the idea. We’re a team. We’re partners. I can’t think of anything we don’t like to do together. Even lately, when money’s been tight and we have to be on the lookout for other mages who might know about us and the laws we’ve broken and such, we’d rather be in it together than out of trouble and not together. You know what I mean?

6. How has the other person changed you?
S:
Before I met Lainie, I was already committed to protecting the Plain settlers of the Wildings. But since I met her, it’s become much more personal. Lainie isn’t Plain, of course, but her Pa is, and the people she grew up among, and she’s definitely of the Wildings, not of Granadaia. On the other hand, since the people in her own hometown tried to hang her for being a mage, I’m a little less patient with the Plain settlers’ hatred of mages. I don’t know if that’s affected my commitment to protecting them, but I see them less as the victims in the struggle between mages and Plains than I used to. Mages have done a lot of wicked things, but Plains aren’t entirely innocent, either.

The other way she’s changed me is that I used to not be afraid of much of anything. But now the thought of her being hurt or killed or captured scares me to death. I wouldn’t want to live in a world without her.

L: Silas showed me that not all mages are inhuman monsters with no heart and no soul, which is what I’d always been taught, and he helped me to accept my own power and be proud of who and what I am. He’s teaching me to use my power to help people, not hurt them. My life has changed a lot, living on the run with him, on the wrong side of the mages’ law, instead of still being at home, working on the ranch and marrying the man my Pa meant for me to marry. But I don’t regret any of it.

Silas and Lainie - Mominur Rahman7. What are the biggest differences between you? How important are these differences?

L: Well, he’s from an elite family of Island mages, and I was born to Plain parents who don’t have a lot — I mean, for folks in the Wildings, my Pa does all right with his ranch, but he worked his way up from nothing and compared to a rich mage family in Granadaia, I guess we’re still pretty poor. And Silas is thirteen years older than me and knows way more than me about a lot of things.

S: None of that seems very important, though. The biggest difference that matters is that she always wins at Dragon’s Threes and I never do. She had to ban me from playing for money. Oh, and she can control powers found in the Wildings that I can’t. That doesn’t bother me; I think it’s mighty impressive, and it’s come in handy a time or two.

8. What do the two of you have in common?
S:
Magic. A love for the Wildings, for the beautiful country out here and the freedom. A commitment to protecting Plain folks from mages who want to take away their rights and freedoms. A hope that one day, mages and Plain folk can live peacefully side-by-side in the Wildings. And our love for each other.

L: That pretty much covers it. Well, and we both like horses, and think the same things are funny.

9. What are the greatest challenges you have faced in your relationship?
S:
Well, besides the fact that our marriage is illegal under Granadaian mage law, and I also broke the law by not making her go to school in Granadaia or Stripping her, and she can do a few things with magic that are supposed to be impossible and just in case they aren’t they’re also illegal, and we’ve got renegade mages and Plain folks trying to kill us and mage hunters hunting us, and we’ve spent a good amount of time homeless and broke… nothing, really.

L: I’ve almost lost him a few times, and I’ve almost died a time or two. It’s scary, knowing how much danger we’re in, but it also makes us appreciate each other more. No matter how bad things are, we’re just glad to be together. And there was a time when I was afraid he didn’t really want to be with me, he just got himself stuck with me because my Pa made him marry me. But he’s showed me pretty well that isn’t true and he does want to be with me.

10. What does your family think of your partner, and what do you think of your partner’s family?
S:
My family has not met Lainie, and likely never will, since I’ve pretty much cut myself off from all relations with them. I doubt they would approve of her, a Wildings girl born of Plain parents; her power came from her grandmother, the illegitimate daughter of a married mage and a Plain servant. As for her family, her Pa is a good man. I have a lot of respect for him, and I mean to keep the promise I made him to take good care of his daughter. Her mother and brother are both dead, but I’m sure I would have liked them as well.

L: My Pa didn’t like Silas at first, because he’s a mage. But after he rescued me from Carden and saved my life and put himself on the wrong side of the mages’ law to do what was best for me, I think Pa started to respect him. If they had time to get to know each other better, I think they’d get on pretty well. Silas’s family… I know he don’t think much of them, and from what he’s told me, they sound like the kind of mages I was taught to hate and be afraid of. But if they raised a son like him, I have to think they can’t be all bad.

11. What role does magic play in your relationship?
L:
Magic’s what brought us together. Mages is what we are.

S: I would love her even if she wasn’t a mage —

L: And I would love him if he wasn’t a mage, too.

S:
But working together so closely, and both of us knowing what it’s like to have power and use it, I think that brings us closer together than we would be, otherwise.

12. What are your plans for the future?
S:
Keep our freedom and stay alive.

L: Well, that, and it would be nice if we could find a place to settle down and live in peace, get some land of our own, raise some cattle. And if we could get the fertility block removed from Silas — the Mage Council puts it on all mage children, and it can’t be removed until the Mage Council approves their marriage — if we could find a way to get the block removed and have some kids together, I’d really like that. I’ve always wanted to have children. But even if we can’t, maybe we can find an orphan to adopt — there aren’t many, folks in the Wildings take care of their own, and if a child loses their parents, their other kin or friends and neighbors will step in and care for them. But if we could find one, we could have a family that way.

S: I’d like that, too, but first we have to stay out of the Mage Council’s hands and not get ourselves hanged by any Plain folks.

13. “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” How is this true for the two of you?
L:
Working together, we’ve helped some people, and stopped some powerful and dangerous renegade mages. We’ve done some good.

S: Working together, teaching each other, loving each other, we make each other stronger. Like Lainie said, we’re a team. We’re partners. And together, we can do great things.


Character Interview: Orl Fazar

PictureHere’s an interview with Orl Fazar, the drifter and renegade mage from Bad Hunting (Daughter of the Wildings Book 2):

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?
I’m known as Orl Fazar. Maybe it bears a resemblance to my real name, maybe it doesn’t.

2. How old are you?
I’m 33 years old.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
They’re mages. More powerful than some, maybe not as powerful as others. You might have heard of them. Or maybe not. My parents had ambitions for me, which I like to think I’m carrying out in my own way.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?
It’s been so long, and there’s been so many women since then, I don’t remember. It was probably a girl at school, but I was taken out of school when I was twelve or so, so I was pretty young.

5. What is your occupation?
I’m just a simple, peace-loving mage, looking to make a better life for myself out in the Wildings away from the Mage Council. They call me a rogue mage, but just because I don’t care for authority doesn’t make me a renegade.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?
Like I said, I’m just a simple mage, minding my own business, don’t mean harm to no one. I’m pretty smart; you’ve got to be, living by your wits out here in the Wildings. I’ve beat some of the best gamblers in the Wildings at Dragon’s Threes, using some, let’s say, little tricks of my own. And no filthy blueskin’s been able to get the better of me yet.

My worst qualities? Well, I reckon I’ve got my weaknesses like any man, but I don’t think they do any harm.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?
I’m on the lookout for a nice Wildings gal with mage power. Keep the gift in the family, so to speak. I do like a woman who’s feisty. The harder they fight, the better I like it.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?
Well, heh heh, see my answer to your last question. Other than that, I just enjoy being a peaceful fellow, not bothering anyone and not having anyone bother me.

9. What is your greatest fear?
I don’t really think I’ve got anything to be afraid of, except getting hauled before the Mage Council. I’ll give up everything else before I let some damned hunter take me in.

10. What is your most treasured possession?
My freedom and my power. Material possessions just don’t mean much to a fellow like me, so long as I have those other things.


Character Interview: Arbrey Carden

PictureTime for another character interview! Here’s Arbrey Carden, the man of mystery from Beneath the Canyons, Book 1 of Daughter of the Wildings. I don’t have a picture of Carden to display, so here’s his first appearance in the book, as a bit of introduction:


All at once the shooting stopped. “What’s all this, boys?” a deep, resonant voice called out from nearby.

Now Silas raised his head. Three men lay sprawled in the street. One was writhing in pain, the other two were still. The combatants who were still standing had all lowered their guns and were looking at the Rusty Widow. Silas turned his head to follow their gaze. A tall man with a hearty build, handsome, pale face, and luxuriant black mustache was standing in front of the saloon. He wore a finely-fashioned black suit and black flat-brimmed hat, and had a lace-and-ruffle-bedecked house lady clinging to each arm.

Silas stood up, making sure his hat was still in place, and brushed dust from his long brown coat. He kept close to the wall, in the shadow of the overhang, curious about this man who had the power to stop a gunfight just by appearing.

“Dinsin an’ Winnard threatened me, Mr. Carden, sir,” Gobby said. “Me an’ the fellas was just defending ourselves.”

“Go back inside, my dears,” the black-suited man said to the house ladies. “No need to worry yourselves.” The ladies retreated into the saloon, and Carden stepped down from the wooden walkway into the street. He stopped in front of Gobby, shaking his head. “Don’t tell me you went into the Bootjack again, Gobby,” he said. “You know damn well that’s rancher territory. You’re stupid enough to keep going in there, you deserve whatever you get.” Though the words were harsh, the deep voice was genial. The crispness of a Granadaian accent underlaid his informal Wildings speech.

And now here’s Carden to tell us a little about himself:

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?

My name is Arbrey Carden. It’s a highly respected name among those who are privy to such knowledge.

2. How old are you?

I am 34, in the very prime of my life. I enjoy both the wisdom, experience, and sophistication of years, and the good looks and vigor of youth.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?

They’re quite prominent, of course, and quite respected among certain exclusive circles. I’m sure you probably wouldn’t have heard of them.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?

I believe it was Lorinda… Something. Her family had a townhouse and a seaside estate next to ours while I was growing up. She’s long been married to someone else, but she did give me quite the taste for feminine companionship.

5. What is your occupation?

At present I am involved in overseeing the acquisition of a certain ore of unusual and interesting properties. I’m sure you’ll understand if I say that my employers require the greatest discretion and I am not presently at liberty to reveal their identities.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?

Among other talents, I am a bold and savvy businessman, skilled in the management of money and labor. The fruits of my labors are of great benefit to whatever locale I’m presently working in. I’m also quite good at persuading people to do things that are in their best interests though they may not realize it at the time.My worst qualities, well *fake self-deprecating laughter* I’m afraid I’m an adamantly confirmed bachelor. Although I suppose it’s arguable as to whether that’s bad or good.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?

I like a woman who is elegant in appearance and manners and can pass as well-bred (though she might not be in reality), but who is also free of silly, over-nice inhibitions in matters of pleasure.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?

Well, aside from keeping company with the sort of women I described above, I enjoy making money, whether it’s through an exciting new business venture or a well-played game of Dragon’s Threes.

9. What is your greatest fear?

What could someone in my position, with my abilities and resources, possibly have to be afraid of?

10. What is your most treasured possession?

I value having the money, freedom, and position to make my way in the world independently, as well as belonging to that elevated circle of people who have the means and intelligence to enjoy the more refined and sophisticated pleasures of life.Beneath the Canyons is available in ebook and paperback at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | OmniLit | Smashwords | CreateSpace | DriveThruFiction

Read the first chapter here.