So my characters are talkative. And I'm going to split my Q&A into two parts. Come back this afternoon for part 2!
I slip my shoes off and walk across the warm sand to where the Time Captives and their friends are waiting for me. Vannie and Kyle are having a rather animated discussion—at least, Vannie is animated and Kyle is listening; Eleanor is clearly still debating whether or not she trusts herself to talk to Grant (a young Grant, despite the time discrepancy); Rae holds tightly to Adriel’s hand as she looks shyly around the group; Havilan looks quite at home with Joseph, Olivia, and Adriana, despite being the only elf.
I tuck my notebook under my arm and wave. “Hello, everyone!” They turn to look at me.
“The author’s here! Everybody hide!” Joey yells out.
I shake my head, but I can’t help smiling. “You know, I saved you from being maimed,” I remind him. “If my family had been in control instead of me…”
He raises his eyebrows. “Are you saying I need to be grateful?”
“Definitely.” I look at the rest of the group. My villains aren’t here yet, so I’d better prepare my characters. “Go ahead and make yourselves comfortable. I have some questions for you from some of my family and friends that we’ll get to in a minute, but first, um…well, they asked a few of the villains questions too.”
“Sir Roland isn’t going to be here, is he?” Vannie narrows her eyes at me. “Because that would not be nice to Kyle.” She pauses, then looks up at Kyle. “Sorry I called your father a villain. But he did try to kill my papa.”
“Vannie, you don’t have to keep apologizing. I know what he did.”
“No, he’s not coming,” I assure her. “Just Captain Herb, Draewin, and Toarna.” I glance at Havilan. He winces, but other than that, no reaction. “I’ll get their part over with as quick as I can.” Ah, there they are, coming up the beach in merfolk custody. Toarna won’t appreciate being treated as a prisoner, but I want to make sure my good guys feel safe.
I seat myself on a towel on the sand and open my notebook in preparation. My characters follow my example, some more reluctantly than others. I smile brightly at my three villain guests. “Hello, and welcome to my first ever character Q&A session.”
They don’t share my good humor, but I can hardly blame them.
“Toarna, you’ve been through an interview with me before. Why don’t you go first?”
“I’m queen of these lands. Why must you treat me as a prisoner?”
I sigh. “I just want everybody to feel safe. You can’t deny you’d like to kill almost everybody here.”
She stares at me, her expression aloof.
“You just have one question, and it’s a fairly easy one. Kendra wants to know how you met and married your husband.”
“Why is that any of her business?”
“Trust me, if you’d been to any of the Q&A sessions my friends have done, you’d know this isn’t too nosy of a question. You’ve told me before, when it was in a private setting. How did you meet?”
If eyes could shoot daggers, I’d be dead by now. “Mudan was a commanding officer in Chalton’s army. He was stationed near my home. We met, we fell in love, we married. And then the Time Captives brutally murdered him. Will you release me?”
“After I talk to Draewin and Jeremy,” I promise.
Draewin looks even more sullen than Toarna. “What do you have for me?”
“Addyson has a string of questions for you. Do you love your brother? Why do you work for Toarna? Are you willing to give your life for her cause? Why or why not? And how does that make you feel?”
Draewin stares for a moment, then answers, “Yes. She promised me a position in her court if I secure her throne. I’d prefer not to. It wouldn’t benefit me to die. And…what?”
“It’s a sort of joke we have. Freaky Friday (2003). Thanks. And quite a few people have questions for Jeremy. My mom wants to know how you could turn Eleanor over to Toarna after she helped out when you were an orphan.”
“She caused my daughter’s death.”
“Not actually,” I contradict. “She was ill and the doctor wouldn’t help because of your piracy. In my book, that was your fault.”
“It was Eleanor’s fault,” he reiterates.
I avoid looking at Eleanor. There’s a reason I want to get the villains done as quickly as possible. “Kendra asked, if you had been offered an honest job that would have paid comparably to what you collect as a pirate, would you have taken it?”
“Considering it was impossible to make as much money as a merchant sailor as I did as a pirate, I believe that’s a moot point. Do I wish I hadn’t become Toarna’s privateer? Absolutely. She’s made my life miserable.”
“I saved your skin. You would have been captured and put to death by now if not for my employ.” Toarna’s certainly grumpy right now.
“All right,” I break in before they really start arguing. “One more question for Jeremy, and then you can all go. Rebekah wanted to know if your crew has ever threatened mutiny.”
“What kind of a question is that? Does she doubt my authority as a sea captain?”
“Well, considering you’re a pirate…” I trail off.
“If they had, I wouldn’t disclose it.”
“Well, that’s a wrap on villain talk.” I gesture for the merfolk to take them away. “Good talking to you three.” They’re muttering as they go, but I can’t catch their words. “Now the fun can start.”
But my characters are eyeing me suspiciously. “Are we going to have to answer personal questions?” Eleanor asks.
“Well…just be glad you’re in a middle grade book. Most of my friends’ Q&As are full of relationship related questions. You guys will only get a few.” They don’t look very comforted.
“Relationship questions?” Eleanor ventures.
“Surprisingly not for you,” I tell her. “But I think I’ll start with Rae’s question.”
“There’s a question for me?”
She’s excited, but I’m afraid she won’t be after I ask. “It’s a question from Kendra. Do you remember your parents?”
“Oh.” She leans her head against Adriel’s shoulder. “Yes. Mummy was only sold a year before I was, and Daddy died after that. I was five. I can remember when I was five. It’s Jaysen and Ariela and Aitan I don’t really remember.”
“I’m sorry you have such a tough life.” I sigh, then continue. “Vannie.”
“Yes?” She bounces on her knees.
“It’s another one from Kendra. If you could do whatever you like when you grow up, what would you do?”
“Not marry Kermit.” She pauses.
“Is that all?”
“Well, I don’t really have a plan. I like going to Court. Maybe I’d still just do political things. Somebody has to.”
“Agreed.” Vannie has my involvement in politics, to be sure. “And Kyle, who is your role model?”
“Not his father,” Vannie pipes up.
Kyle looks pensive. “My tutor, Janson. He’s a Christian and a scholar, and he has taught me well and been a good example. He always respected my father’s wishes as to what I was taught, but he still taught me well.”
“So is he like Doctor Cornelius?” Jonathan asked.
I burst out laughing.
“What’s wrong?” Kyle asks.
“The fandoms collide,” I say. “Doctor Cornelius is a character from Narnia, and Doctor who? is a sort of running joke in Doctor Who.”
They all stare.
“Okay, moving on. Joseph, Olivia, and Adriana, I’ve got a few questions for you from my mom and Kendra. Joseph, my mom wants to know how you knew for sure you couldn’t leave the island. How many of your ancestors were fried before you figured it out?”
“Are character Q&A sessions always this uncomfortable?” Joseph asks.
“Um, often they’re worse.”
“Thanks a lot,” Joey says.
“Oh, you’re getting a fun one,” I tell him. “So, Joseph.”
“The merfolk who enacted the Redona under Mudan’s orders informed us of what would happen,” he explains. “However, some tried to leave anyway, and others, like my parents, were killed when wild beasts chased them over the border.”
I draw in a slow breath. “I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through.” I try to ignore the fact that I’m the one who created the circumstances. “Kendra asked a similar question for both you and Adriana. What happened to any other relatives you might have had?”
Adriana looks at her brother, then speaks. “Our line was not very fruitful. It is a hard life, cooped up on the island with wild animals all around, and few are willing to voluntarily confine themselves to such a life. So we were never very many, and the rest of us succumbed to the conditions.”
“I’m sorry about that. Adriana, Kendra also asked, how did you meet Havilan? And how did you get to know him? After all, you were trapped on an island, and he doesn't live there.”
Adriana sends a shy glance in Havilan’s direction and many of the characters exchange amused smiles, though Joey rolls his eyes. “The elves have been our friends these two hundred years. After Joseph’s and my parents died, they did much to care for us, Havilan among them. He became a close friend.”
“And Olivia, Kendra also wants to know how you met and fell in love with Joseph.”
She smiles up at him. “My father was a merchant sailor, and one of the few who dared set foot on the island. He, along with the elves, would bring them supplies and added company. I occasionally accompanied him, and in the process met and fell in love with Joseph. We married, and I have lived there ever since.”
“Awesome.” I glance at my notebook, then grin widely at Adriel. “In keeping with this sort of topic, Adriel, my mom asked if you have a crush on Jill.”
To Be Continued
Friday, November 11th
· Book Review at Bring Your Own Books
· Author Interview at HOPE Through the Pages
· Character Spotlight at Written Rest ~ Connor
· Character Spotlight at Leah’s Bookshelf ~ Jonathan Hubbard
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