Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the fourth day of the DECEIVED blog tour. Today I am
interrogating interviewing the four main characters with questions provided by K.R. Mattson.
I shuffle my papers and risk glancing at my characters. The five of us form a loose circle around a fire pit. A small fire warms the chilly spring air, but it does nothing to warm the cold glare on Rogan’s face. Holder sits to my left, then Ivelle and Therese, with Rogan to my right. The former three don’t look exactly thrilled, but they’ve not put up any fuss. The same can’t be said for Rogan.
“Remember, you all agreed to behave.”
Ivelle shifts, tucking away strands of hair tugged loose by the light breeze. “What is the point of this? Why do people want to know these things about us?”
“Because they’re curious. You should feel honored.”
“But we’re not that interesting.”
Despite her claim, all four squirm.
I settle on the log I’m using for a seat. “If you all behave you won’t need to worry about your secrets being exposed.” Not waiting for a reply, I find the first question.
“Holder, these next few are for you. ‘Do you ever wish you had any siblings? I know that’s a cheesy question, but it’s valid.'”
Holder offers a slight smile. He looks tired, and his hand never strays from the bandage wrapped around his side, but he’s functioning. “It’s not a cheesy question. Yes, I do want siblings. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want them.”
“‘If you had a choice between saving Rogan’s life and saving Anastasia’s, whose would you save?'”
Holder fists his hands as his posture straightens. “It is my job to protect the princess,” he says slowly. “But Rogan is my friend. I would try saving both.”
That doesn’t really answer the question, but I won’t push it. ‘”If you could pick any occupation and any way to relive your life, what and how would you do it?'”
“I’ve been a soldier all my life, so I really don’t have much experience with any other form of occupation. I think I would like to have a horse ranch and raise and train horses. As for reliving my life, I would find a way to make my parents stay and not vanish from the kingdom.”
His voice lowers and, despite the distance, I can see the pain in his eyes. I want to tell him everything will be fine, but I can’t guarantee that.
I clear my throat. Therese and Holder look wary, Ivelle is eyeing me like she doesn’t know what to think, and Rogan is hunched, arms crossed and staring at the fire. “These next two questions are for all four of you to answer. All four. That means you, Rogan.”
Ivelle snorts. “The only person he answers to is the king. Good luck.”
It will be nothing short of a miracle if those two don’t murder each other before Book Two releases.
“‘Do you prefer snow or freezing rain?”‘
All four say snow.
“‘What is your favorite thing to do?'”
Holder smiles. “Read and ride Redwing.”
“And Redwing’s favorite thing to do is bite.” Rogan rubs his upper right arm as though reliving the multiple times the red roan has tried taking a chunk out of him.
“He’s not that bad.”
I motion for Therese to answer as the two continue bickering about the “homicidal equine”, as Rogan calls the horse.
She almost shrinks in on herself before Ivelle nudges her. “I like sewing.”
Unexpected, though I shouldn’t be surprised. “What do you like to sew?”
She shrugs. “I’ve never had the opportunity to explore. All I know is I like sewing clothes for my sisters.”
“And you, Ivelle?”
“I like riding and helping Claudine harass Borros.” A mischievous grin lights her expression. “It’s quite entertaining.”
“I’ll be sure to send Borros my condolences. What about you, Rogan?”
“I like sparring. Practicing with my daggers.”
‘”Do you like sunsets or sunrises?”‘
The tension lining Therese’s face eases. “Sunsets. That means I’ve survived the day.”
Rogan says sunrises.
And, shock my heart because I never thought this could happen, Ivelle concurs.
Still attempting to recover from the almost-heart attack, I turn to a new page of questions. “Ivelle, these are for you. First, ‘what’s it like have the power to kill someone in your very hands, yet continue healing them every day’?”
Ivelle brings her braid over her shoulder and begins playing with the tassel. “I haven’t thought about it, honestly. I wouldn’t kill someone unless it was in self-defense or they were hurting Claudine and Emmi. I rather see people heal than die.”
“That’s a surprise,” Rogan mutters. He ignores Ivelle’s glare, one suggesting while she wouldn’t kill him, she certainly is not opposed to connecting a frying pan to his head.
I roll my eyes. “Remember, everyone promised to behave.”
“I’m behaving.” Ivelle offers a smug smile.
Just barely. “Next question. K.R. wants to know if you would ever strangle Rogan.”
“I’ll admit that is tempting, but no, not unless he was threatening or harming Emmi.”
‘”Do you ever think of marriage? Who would you marry?”‘
“Rarely do I contemplate it and I do not have an answer for the second question. I’m too busy to think about fanciful notions.” She shrugs. “Besides, my career demands secrecy, and that’s rather difficult when trying to get to know someone you might spend the rest of your life with.”
‘”When you read, are you drawn into to the story or do you feel like an outsider?”‘
“That depends on the book. If I read a journal, I’d feel like an outsider because I’m reading someone’s private thoughts. If I’m reading a fictional tale, then I’m drawn into it.”
“‘Are you afraid of death?”‘
Her demeanor cools. “Is this what you call foreshadowing? Does my answer affect how you’ll write my story?”
“No. Nothing of the sort will occur here.”
“Then I would say I am not afraid of death itself. I just don’t like the thought of pain accompanying my departure.”
‘”Do you prefer putting your hair in a bun or in a braid?”‘
“‘Out of all the herbs in the world, if you could only have one at your disposal, which would you choose?'”
She answers without hesitation. “Goldenseal. It’s excellent for infection and is easy to grow and cultivate.”
‘”Can you garden? Do you enjoy it?”‘
“Gardening isn’t my preferred activity, but I have no issue doing it. We don’t have a traditional garden at the Emporium. Claudine has soil in some old barrels and we grow some herbs in those, but that’s the extent of my current gardening experience.”
I wave the paper. “Good answer. Sorry in advance for these next sets of questions. I can’t guarantee they’ll be easy to answer.”
Holder and Therese wince. Rogan shifts even further away from me. Ivelle purses her lips. “That does not sound promising.”
“It’s not. K.R. says, “‘I think we get a pretty clear picture of how you feel about your family’s deaths, but can you tell us what you think of when all of those memories come back to haunt you? Do you try to shove them away? Do you embrace them? Would you rather think of something else?'”
Ivelle slowly exhales. Her face has lost a few shades of color, the contrast stark against her black hair. Her hands tremble. “Do I have to answer?”
“Yes. Sorry. Interview rules.”
Rogan mutters something about cruelty.
Perhaps witnessing Ivelle’s emotional pain will soften him toward her, but I doubt it.
She swallows. “I try to distract myself with work or reading or playing with Emmi. Of course I try to shove them away. It isn’t like I came home to find them dead. I watched it happen. Nothing good would come from embracing the memories. And, yes, I would rather think of something else. But sometimes that’s not always possible.”
I fiddle with the paper. I dislike seeing my characters experience turmoil. “Do you need a break? I understand if you do.”
Ivelle lifts her chin though she still is wan. “I’m fine.”
‘”Are you a workaholic?”‘
“No. If anyone is a workaholic, that’s Claudine.”
‘”Would you be an assassin for a living if C and E’s lives depended on it?”‘
Ivelle frowns. “I suppose this contradicts what I said earlier about killing, but yes. I would do anything for Claudine and Emmi.”
I withdraw a package from my backpack and instruct Rogan to hand it to Ivelle. “These are cookies made by K.R.. I told her if she wanted to put you four through the wringer, she better provide some chocolate chip cookies to make things better.”
“And she willingly made these?”
It would appear Ivelle is the chattiest. Once more, not a surprise. “She said something about me putting you four through the wringer, but that’s irrelevant to this conversation.” I turn the page before Holder can ask the question I sense brewing. No need for them to know what’s coming up in their lives. It’s not like I have total control of the plot, after all.
“Rogan these next two are for you. ‘Why are you so glum, but have to have such a wonderful sense of sarcasm?”‘
Rogan is not amused. Blond hair ruffling in the breeze and his blue eyes narrowed, he looks like he rather deal with Ivelle than answer the question. “Your friend is weird.”
“She’s a delightful individual, and I’ll thank you to keep your opinions about her questions to yourself. Now, answer, please.”
He huffs. For all his usual rigidity and desire to follow the rules, he’s doing everything he can to break mine regarding the interview process.
“One, I’m not glum. I’m just not one of those annoying happy-all-the-time types. Two, I don’t think I have much sarcasm, but I’ve been told otherwise. It’s unintentional.”
Holder leans forward. “You sure about that? You like to rile Svetlana.”
“She needs to be riled, the sour old crone.”
“That is true. You are a ray of sunshine compared to her.”
I snap the paper to regain his attention. ‘”Every horse must be trained and seasoned before it is battle ready and obedient. Why do you hate Holder’s horse so much? He’s simply a poor little animal scared of everything!'”
“That thing Holder rides is not a horse. It is a monster who likes to murder people for fun.”
Holder smirks. “You dislike him because he bit you.”
“Yes, I do. And you can’t tell me he’s not thinking of murdering me whenever I get within a league of him. I’ve seen that glint in his eyes.”
“He’s a horse, Rogan. He has no reason to hate you.”
“He’s a monster, Holder. A verified monster and no one can convince me otherwise.”
They cease their discussion when they see my grin.
“Remember, Rogan, you promised you’d answer the questions.”
Rogan shifts like he’s preparing to jump to his feet and escape.
“K.R. would like to know if you like Ivelle. ‘Don’t just spit out a no. She wants the the truth. Look at all of her virtues–don’t say she doesn’t have any–and protective instincts and ask: would I feel safe putting baby Holder in her care?'”
Dark crimson sweeps up his neck. “What kind of question is that? Of course I don’t like her. She’s a traitor, a smuggler, and a treasonous criminal. It’s my job to arrest her ilk. And she has no virtues I can see unless you call being an expert liar a virtue.” He shakes his head. “No, I wouldn’t entrust her with Holder if he were a baby. I don’t trust her now with him being an adult.”
Ignorance is bliss, as they say, and right now Rogan is quite ignorant of the death glare Ivelle’s bestowing upon him.
“Remember, Ivelle, I need him alive and you won’t kill him because he’s not threatening Claudine and Emmi.”
“There’s always an exception.”
I direct my attention toward Therese. She shrinks back; any further and she’ll fall off the rock she’s perched on. “These last few are for you. Due to certain individuals’ ignorance regarding your employment, this first question is rather vague.”
“K.R. says, ‘Therese, you’re such a broken little thing. What’s it like to be forced to do your job?”‘
Therese shudders. “It’s awful. I can’t imagine anyone purposefully choosing such a profession.”
‘”Why is there such an age difference between you and your sisters? Is there another sibling we don’t know about? One that perished at a young age? Ran away? Was taken?”‘
“I don’t know why there is such a gap. I suppose that’s just how it happened. No, there was no other sibling. There is only me, Nora, and Delli.”
‘”Can you teach me how to fight like those in your profession?”‘
Therese recoils. “I prefer not to.”
I can only imagine the trouble K.R. would get into should she have assassin training. “I’m going to say no too, K.R.. You don’t need that type of knowledge. Time for the final question, Therese. ‘”If your sisters weren’t so dependent on you, what would you do with your life?”‘
“I cannot imagine not being a caregiver for my sisters.” A flash of wistfulness claims her expression for a fleeting second. “If circumstances were different, I don’t know what profession I’d choose. With some training I could possibly be a lower-level seamstress. I’d even be a waitress if that type of job as available in Varway. Both would pay enough to support Nora and Delli.”
Standing, I push the papers in my backpack and dole out the other packages of cookies. Holder will probably be weaseled into giving his to Anastasia and I can guarantee Therese will take hers to her sisters. I can’t fathom what Rogan will do with them.
“Thank you all for coming and, for two of you, being so well behaved. Next time I’ll provide some water bottles and more cookies.”
“Wait, there’s a next time?” Rogan all but jumps to his feet, ready to flee. “Count me out. I have more important things to do than catering to nosy readers.”
“Nosy readers who care about you.” I wave aside his growing list of excuses regarding why he can’t make the next “interrogation”. He will attend. He has no choice in the matter.
After bidding everyone farewell, I gather my things and watch them disappear into the forest. The interview ended just in time, for storm clouds are gathering above the mountaintops and the wind is picking up. Weather befitting Book Two, in my opinion.
“Until next time,” I say, though no one save a gray jay and curious chipmunk are there to hear. Grabbing my backpack, I leave the scene and prepare to begin writing Book Two.
Many thanks to K.R. Mattson, who provided such a delightful slew of questions. (Well, I thought them delightful. My characters, not so much.)
Do you have questions you’d like to ask these minions of mayhem? Drop a comment!
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