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Interviewing Characters

One of the things I like to do is interview my characters - especially those who aren't the protagonists - the ones who don't get much play. The novel I'm working on now, with a working title of "House Trageri", is new for me for a couple of reasons.

First, it is the only novel I've written from a single perspective. Everything else (5 novels now) I've written from multiple perspectives, so you get to be inside the head of several (or many) people. I chose to do this because I felt that this particular novel would benefit. I also did it somewhat as a challenge to myself - it makes developing other characters more difficult.

Second, although this novel is a science fiction novel (how it fits that is something you learn only quite slowly as you read it), it has a fantasy context (some may definitely liken it to Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novels, although this is quite different.) I'm not a fantasy writer - but I like the fantasy context, and it's been fun to play in that particular kind of sandbox.

Anyway, here is the interview with one of the characters. His name is Master Garliri Serel. He is the teacher and protector of the protagonist. You can get a few hints about the book in reading his answers to the questions. :-)

Here's the interview:

What is your hair color? Eye color? Skin color?

I have dark hair, like most in Trageri. I have dark eyes, and my skin is a light brown - the color of coffee with a lot of cream.

What kind of distinguishing features do you have?

I am tall, broad shouldered, and muscular. I have a scar on my cheek that I got from the war 25 years ago - one of the only injuries I suffered during that war. I came out the better, however - the one who gave me this scar got my sword in his heart.

Who are your friends and family? Who do you surround herself with? Who are the people you are closest to? Who do you wish were closest to?

I am pledged to House Trageri - primarily to teach and protect Daneli, Eldest and Queen. I was raised in House Serel, and go home often, but I am closest to those in House Trageri. I have made some friends, but my work is paramount.

Where do you go when you are angry?

Outside. I take a ride into the fields. It clears my head. Sometimes, I’ll go into the gym and do a hard session of sword practice.

What is your biggest fear? Who have you told this to? Who would you never tell this to? Why?

My biggest fear is that somehow, I will fail House Trageri, and something bad will befall Daneli. I have told no one this fear - they would not understand. But it is a fear I live with each day.

Do you have a secret?

Perhaps that fear is my only secret. Otherwise, I am an open book.

What makes you laugh out loud?

Clowns. For some reason, clowns make me laugh - the way they act and what they do.

When have you been in love? Had a broken heart?

When I was 18, I feel deeply in love with a man from a low-status family in my clan. We had talked about finding a family we both could marry into, but then an Eldest from a high-status family in a different clan proposed to him. He chose that over an offer for us both from another family in clan Serel. I chose, then, to not join a House or family, even though I had several offers. I was too broken hearted to marry after that.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Riding my horse, traveling from one place to another. Protecting Daneli, serving House Trageri.

What is your current state of mind?

I am calm and collected.

What is your most treasured possession?

My sword. It was forged in Warani - Warani has the best swordsmiths. It has a hilt wrapped in the finest suede - comfortable grip, and an edge that will cut paper.

What is it that you most dislike?

Dishonesty and duplicity.

Which living person do you most despise?

King Gasri of Warani. Dishonest, duplicitous, and manipulative.

What is your greatest regret?

That I could not save Queen Raliro’s life - that I didn’t see the assassination attempt coming.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

My fears, and the fact that I get seasick.

What do you most value in your friends?

Their honesty, their willingness to support me, and their senses of humor.

Which living person do you most admire? Why?

Master Wuron. He is strong, but sensitive. Willing to use force when necessary, but is always extremely careful, and considerate of all of the consequences of his actions.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

That I could be braver.

How would you like to die?

I would like to die a quiet death at home, alone, knowing that I did my best, and knowing that there was someone to carry on after me.

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