Part of the 52 Week Writing Challenge. Click here to view all questions.
6. An interview with your protagonist (See ‘Hot Seating’ for ideas or create your own)
This should be interesting. I will have to conduct this interview from the very beginning of The Mayor to avoid spoilage. My protagonist Melora Winship is spectacularly naïve at the start of her story, so bear this in mind when reading the below. I assure you her life takes an altogether more challenging turn when William Kale arrives…
How old are you?
I’m 15 years old. I’ll be sixteen this coming winter.
Where were you born?
I was born at home in my mother’s birthing bed. My father arranged for the best doctor in New Hardway to attend to the birth, though even he was not able to save my mother the day my brother was stillborn. How I wish I’d known my mother… and my poor baby brother for that matter.
What’s your favourite food?
Oh, I simply love gingernut biscuits! Jaspher keeps a well-stocked jar for me in our office. It’s all I can do to keep myself from munching on them all day.
Are you allergic to anything?
What does it mean to be ‘allergic’ to something? I’m not familiar… No, I don’t think so. Eggs can sometimes make me feel a bit sick if they’re not cooked through, but I will eat them anyway because soft yolks are delicious.
Cats or dogs (preference)?
I have no preference at all.
I love all animals! I wish Papa would let me have a pet, but proximity to fur makes him sneeze.
What has been the best day of your life so far?
Uncle Jeremy’s Winter Solstice party last year was tremendous fun! I got drunk for the very first time, John ‘accidentally’ spilled red wine all over that harpy Maria Swan, and I had my very first kiss — with Jaspher — under the moon.
And the worst?
Probably the day after the party… Goodness, I was sick! And I do regret kissing Jaspher a little bit.
Do you have any habits you’re ashamed of?
I am constantly chewing my bottom lip. I tear little strips off it which makes it sore and dry and chapped. Sometimes I even make it bleed. I wish I knew how to stop. Miss Lillith is always encouraging me to rouge my lips to cover it up which in some ways is even more annoying than the discomfort.
What would make you kill someone?
Oh goodness, I can’t imagine that I would ever do such a thing! I wouldn’t hurt a fly. In fact, I open the windows to let them out the house if they become trapped inside.
Have you ever smoked/taken drugs?
John let me take a smoke of his tobacco pipe once. It was disgusting and caused me to cough. It filled up my lungs and made them feel tight and hot. I don’t know how he stands it.
What would you do if I poked you in the eye right now?
I would be extremely hurt! How could you? I’d likely cry.
Would you ever wear trainers without socks?
I’m not sure what trainers are, though I presume they are a form of footwear if one is supposed to wear them with socks. I imagine Miss Lillith would brain me if I were to go out without the proper footwear on.
Who is your best friend?
Jonathan Carson, of course. I’ve known him for as long as I can remember. His brother Jaspher is also very close to our family and I would count him as my friend, but he’s nowhere near as fun as John. Things have been strange between us since his father’s Solstice party, so I’ve been avoiding him as much as possible.
Where did you and your best friend meet?
I was about 8 months old. Papa said he and Mama put me down on the Carsons’ carpet and I crawled right over to him, babbling away. He babbled right back and we’ve been inseparable ever since.
Will you wear this pink dress?
Pink isn’t really my colour; it makes my skin look splotchy. Does it come in yellow? Or perhaps green instead?
Who is your favourite superhero?
What’s a superhero? John is my superhero. He’s always there for me and manages to brighten up my day. He understands me like no one else does and goes on so many adventures. I don’t know what I’d do without him.
What are you most afraid of?
I’m afraid I’ll be stuck at my father’s shipbuilding firm forever and ever and ever. It’s just so boring.
Are you romantic?
Oh yes, I’d like nothing more than a handsome stranger to come along and sweep me off my feet! Perhaps he’ll whisk me away from Winship and Carson to show me the world, or move me to Hilt to mingle at court. I fantasise about such an occurrence daily; anywhere would be better than here. I’d miss John terribly though. And Papa too, I suppose.
Do you bite Sellotape or cut it with scissors?
Such strange words you are using! What on earth is Sellotape? Jaspher, Papa and Miss Lillith would probably say it’s unladylike for me to bite it, so I’d bite it just to annoy them.
How often do you clean your teeth a day?
Miss Lillith makes me scrub them every morning and night with warm water and a sponge. And also after meals. What a bore.
Do you pick your nose?
*Blushes*. Um. No… [Narrator: pfft, she totally does]
If you could have one job, what would it be?
I’m sure Papa would love for me to say I’d be a Master Shipbuilder like him, but that’s not the case. I want to be a sailor, like John, but women aren’t permitted to sail. I wish I could join John on his adventures; I’d love to travel across the sea.
Would you swim with sharks?
Heavens, no! You must be mad!
Would you go into space?
Is such a thing even possible? How exciting that would be! Although I doubt I’d be given the opportunity to do so, since Papa will barely let me set foot on a sailship let alone a… spaceship, you say?
You sneeze into your hand in public and don’t have a tissue. What do you do?
Tissue? Oh! It’s like a paper handkerchief. How strange! Well, I would use my handkerchief in the absence of a tissue, of course, but if I did not have one on me, I would ask Miss Lillith if I could borrow hers.
Your mother/brother/sister falls over. What do you do?
I haven’t any of those to speak of, but I think if John fell over I’d just about die from laughing. If Papa fell over I’d be more concerned. He’s getting older, so finds it difficult to get back up again without some help.
Do you dunk biscuits in your tea?
Oh, yes! Gingernut biscuits dunked in lemon-infused tea is one of the very best things in the world.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
I don’t think so… but then I’ve never been in love before. Perhaps someone absolutely perfect will come along one day and change my mind!
Have you ever stolen anything?
Never directly, though John often swipes apples from the apple cart and gives them to me as a gift. I then eat them to hide the evidence — or save it for later to give to Jaspher — so I imagine this makes me complicit.
Copyright © S.E. Berrow 2018