I wrote this while I was writing the first draft of Espionage in an attempt to get to know Kyle separately from Vannie before their stories really intersected. It was a lot of fun. I hope you enjoy it!
I relaxed in my chair, a notebook in my hand, holding my current favorite pencil in my fingers. At last an interview where I didn’t have to feel intimidated by my interviewee. I just needed to interview Kyle so I wouldn’t be constantly letting Vannie walk all over him, and so that he wouldn’t just be a younger version of Felix Walker.
He sat across from me in the well lit room. I definitely agreed with Vannie that he was much better looking than Kermit. Of course, she did have a good reason to think that and . . . I needed to forget about the future for now. The present. When Vannie and Kyle had to uncover Sir Roland’s scheme.
“Hello, Kyle,” I said.
“Hello,” he said quietly.
“You don’t have to be shy, Kyle,” I said. “I’m your author. And besides, I met you in my dream before you ever met Vannie. I’m just not sure that your name was Kyle then.”
He looked confused. “How could my name not be Kyle?”
I shrugged. “I don’t remember what your name was in my dream, so I decided to name you Kyle. It suits you, even though you’re completely different from the Kyle I know in real life.”
“What’s he like?”
“Like a little boy I used to babysit, who was very two when he was two and very three when he was three,” I said. “But that’s beside the point. We’re here to talk about you.”
He squirmed. “I don’t like talking about me. And if you’re my author, don’t you already know everything you need to know about me?”
“That’s just it,” I said. “I only know you through Vannie’s eyes, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but she can be rather self-centered at times.”
“I don’t know her well,” Kyle said. “I only just met her yesterday.”
“You’ll know her much better in the future.”
“I don’t need spoilers,” Kyle reminded me.
“Now you sound like River Song,” I said. “But you’re right. Anyway, I need to get to know you for who you are, not who Vannie thinks you are. Not that she has anywhere near as harsh an opinion of you as she does of Kermit, but she definitely has opinions.”
“I can see her having a harsh opinion of Kermit based on what she told me yesterday.” Kyle chuckled.
“Oh, doesn’t she. But really, Kyle, I’m not here to talk about Vannie. She’s quite the character and I know her well. I just don’t want her to narrate you as a quiet little mouse who is two dimensional and just a means to an end in her story. That’s what she’ll do if we let her. Tell me about yourself. What do you like to do for fun? How do you like growing up by the seaside? What do you wish you could do when you grow up? What flaws do you find yourself struggling with? Everyone has some.”
“Well, I like reading, and I like to be outside and with animals.”
“That wasn’t so hard, was it? And it’s all stuff you have in common with Vannie and she doesn’t with Kermit.”
“But I don’t really get to read what I want to,” Kyle continued. “My father is very strict about it, which wouldn’t be bad if he was really doing it for my own good, but I know he isn’t. Especially now that I’ve met Vannie, I know he’s trying to keep true history from me and real politics and he doesn’t want me to think for myself. But that’s all he does with me: limit my access to truth. Even my tutors never talked to me about the stryte invasion or the Time Captives or what the strytes have done to the elves and kalicans. It really frustrates me.”
He heaved a big sigh.
“Does it help to get it off your chest?” I asked.
“I don’t really know what that’s like,” I said, “but since I’m the author, I can decide it won’t always be that way. I already brought Vannie to you.”
“I wanted her to come,” Kyle said. “My father hates her, and her father. He thinks they’re crazy and ridiculous for being a close family, and he thinks it’s stupid for her to come to Court. I think her father is smart. I mean, how can anyone learn to be a good Vassal Lord if they never go to Court before they are one? Not that Vannie will be one, being a girl, but she understands the political atmosphere more than I can.”
“Do you want to be a Vassal Lord?”
He thought about it for a moment. “Not really. I’d rather live a quiet life, but somebody has to do it, and I just want to be better at it than my father. Really, he doesn’t care about his family, how can he truly care about his people?”
“That’s right,” I agreed. “Honor begins at home.”
“That’s actually a quote from a . . . a story in my world. But it applies to so many things. Like being a gentleman. You are one, a true gentleman. I only know a few in real life, a very select few, but they had parents to bring them up that way. You haven’t. How did that happen?”
“My parents not really caring gave them little influence over me.” Kyle frowned. “I guess they just hired the right nurses and tutors. They didn’t really teach me much about politics and world history, but they did make sure I knew what it was to be a gentleman. My father didn’t ever like my treating the servants with kindness and respect, but honestly, he made it so I don’t really care what he thinks. And I want to be better than him. Being a gentleman is one way of many I can do that.”
“I don’t want to bring up a bad subject, but I really need to know what flaws you struggle with. You really are very good and a perfect gentleman, but everyone has some flaws, and I have to know them to make you a well-rounded character.”
“I do get frustrated with my father a lot,” Kyle admitted. “It’s hard for me not to yell back when he gets onto me for things. And . . . I don’t know if this is really a flaw, but I feel so ignorant. I’m trying to fix that, though I can’t with my father the way he is, but it kind of makes me irritable when I realize how much I don’t know that I should. And, um, well, I don’t lie or steal and I try to be nice to people, even if I’m mean to my father on the inside, I don’t like to be lazy, um, I do covet other people’s lives. I have so much stuff, but I don’t have what counts. I really want a close family. I’m jealous of people who have that, even if they are peasants most of the time. But I’m really kind of quiet, so people don’t really notice my faults. They’re all kind of on the inside. So I guess if Vannie is telling our story, it won’t really show much.”
“No, it probably won’t,” I agreed. “I’d like to meet you in real life, Kyle. It’s too bad you’re just part of my imagination. Well, I think it’s time for me to say goodbye. I may come talk to you again sometime. It’s a lot nicer to interview you than bad guys.”
“Don’t let Vannie walk all over you, okay? She’s pretty stubborn and headstrong at times, but she’s still a little girl and tends to be one. She needs someone strong to take care of her, especially in what’s coming. And she needs someone to get her to stop complaining so much. I’m trusting you to do this. All right, Kyle?”
He smiled and nodded. “I’ll do my best.”
He vanished, and I decided it really was time for me to go eat lunch.
Awesome! I'll remember for future use with my own characters and stories. Also, Minnew's last name is Riversong. Weird, huh?ReplyDelete
These interviews are fun character development exercises. I generally do them with my villains. Bekah told me that. River Song is a Doctor Who character with a very complicated wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey storyline, first introduced in 2008. She meets people out of order all the time, so she's always saying "Spoilers." Quite an interesting character.Delete