Archive for the ‘Character Interviews’ Category

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Character Interview: Catherine

October 11, 2014

A couple of weeks ago we sneaked up on one of my characters from The Kraesinia Trilogy, Kevin, and asked him some questions about himself.  Continuing in a series of character interviews, today I’m going to find and talk to his sister, Catherine…

Catherine concept sketch

An old, rough sketch of Catherine. Argh, I always draw people’s noses too big!

I’ll probably find her at the DMV, since Aunt Mariah drops her off there every week for a driving lesson.  And she drops her off early, so maybe we’ll have a few minutes to talk to her before her instructor gets here!

Sure enough, I see a small, blond-headed figure in denim capris and a pastel pink tee-shirt, sitting at the end of a row of plastic chairs.  She’s looking down, hands busily occupied.  As I approach, the click of knitting needles reaches my ears.  Catherine has her yarn bag tucked between her crossed ankles and her hair is plaited in a soft, wide French braid.  A persistent air of gentle sadness hangs over her.

I see her glance at my feet as I approach.

“Mind if I sit here?” I ask, motioning to the seat beside her.

She finally looks up to my face, with a shy smile.  “That’s okay.”

“Thanks.”  I sink into the chair.  Ah, let the questions begin.  A tiny, half-formed purple sweater flops and dangles from Catherine’s knitting needles – a perfect conversation starter.

“Who’s that for?  A baby?”

“It’s for my cousin.”  Catherine’s lip twitches in a smile and she holds the sweater out to take a broader look at it.  “I mean, it’s for her dolls.  She’s eight.”

“That’s a lot of work for doll clothes!”

Catherine shrugs.  “I guess so.  It’s a Christmas gift.  I know she likes my knitting, and this will match the scarf I made her last year…she loved that.  She lives in New York so I don’t get to see her very often.  I like to send her handmade things.”

“It’s really nice work.  Have you ever thought about selling them, like on Etsy?”

Her face lights up.  “Yes!  I really want to do that, someday, after I build up a stash of things to sell.  That’s something I’m working on.  I keep getting sidetracked by gifts I want to make for people.  But someday I plan to have an Etsy shop and sell my knitting.  My aunt doesn’t think it’s a good idea…she’s trying to discourage me.  She wants me to go to college.”  She sighs.  “I just want to stay at home and make pretty things.”

“Do you have any other hobbies?”

“Pretty much just knitting…but I guess I like to cook too.  I don’t know what my aunt would do if I wasn’t there!” she laughs.  “I do most of the cooking.  She doesn’t enjoy it and tends to buy pre-made food.  Awhile ago she started letting me plan meals and so my brother Kevin drives me to the grocery store every week and we shop together.  I like feeding them…it makes me happy.”

“You’re pretty close, then…you and your brother?”

Catherine’s sweet face smiles so easily, even when her joy seems bittersweet.  “We’re really close.  Our mom and dad died when we were little, so we only have each other…and my aunt.  I don’t know what I’d do without him, really!  He was the only person that made school bearable enough for me to survive all those years.  We were homeschooled as kids,” she said, “so I never got used to public school.  It was torture.  Nobody liked me, and some of the kids were absolutely cruel.”  She pauses, looking down at her knitting to check a loop, and gives a small breath of a laugh.  “I’m not sure why I’m telling you about all that.  Ugh.  I’ve got to backtrack here.”  She starts undoing her most recent work.  “I guess being here reminds me of school.  I hate driver’s ed,” she says with sudden bitter passion.

“Why?”

“There’s just too much pressure.  One wrong move and wham, you could be dead.”  She pushes a stray wisp of her light blond hair back behind her ear and resumes knitting again.  “My instructor’s not very patient with me, either.  Every tiny thing I do wrong is another reason to snap at me.”  She pinches her mouth shut, as if she’s afraid she shouldn’t talk, and glances around the room with large brown eyes.

“Why are you here?  I mean, did you come over here just to talk to me?” she asks after a moment, shooting me an uneasy look.

“You looked sad.  I wanted to know if there was something I could help you with.”

Catherine bites her lower lip and lets her knitting hands hang limp across her knees.  “Not really.  Sorry to disappoint you.  You can’t exactly make my aunt and my brother get along better, or bring my parents back from the dead, so I guess I’m a hopeless case.”

“No!  Of course you’re not a hopeless case!  I’m sure you’ll figure out ways to make peace, and you know, God is using all things for good…so it’s not hopeless at all.”  I have plans for your good too! I add mentally.

She seems bolstered by the mention of God, and smiles at me again, tucking her knitting away in the bag.  “Thanks.  I’m just trying to be faithful with all the things I have to do.  I know I can’t fix everything…and maybe God won’t fix everything either, and I guess I have to be okay with that.”

Suddenly a dark-haired man built like Arnold Shwarzenegger comes through a glass door at the side of the room and raps on a clipboard in his hand, looking around as if he doesn’t even see her there, right across from him.  Maybe he doesn’t.  “Catherine Leansmith?” he yells.

I see all the tension go back into Catherine’s narrow shoulders as she leaps to her feet.  “Nice talking to you,” she whispers sincerely, then scurries in the direction of her teacher.

You better be nice to her today, I think at him as he leads her through the door.  I can plan for some future student to smash your car into a tree or something!

When Catherine comes back and is waiting for Kevin to pick her up after her lesson, I can ask her some more questions!  (I’ll have to high-tail it out of here before he arrives, though.  He wouldn’t be happy to find that strange girl from the bookstore interrogating his sister, too.  I told him I was interviewing Trusted, but she’s not even Trusted…yet…)

Do you have any questions for Catherine?  We can find out if the teacher yelled at her, too, so I can determine his fate…hehe.  😉

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If you haven’t already, read Kevin’s interview here!

An old sketch I drew of Kevin.

An old sketch I drew of Kevin.

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Character Interview: Kevin

September 24, 2014

I’ve had a lot of fun reading the character interviews over at Nadine Brandes’ blog, and this one at RJ Conte’s blog, I am itching to interview one of my own characters.  So I’m here today to talk to Kevin, one of the main characters in The Kraesinia Trilogy.

I’m going to sneak up on him at his job at the bookstore.  Try to act nonchalant!

An old sketch I drew of Kevin.

An old sketch I drew of Kevin when he was a younger teen.  He’s older now, almost 21.

Bringing a notebook with me for a prop, I search the bookstore for a tall, blond head of hair.  There he is, heading into the biography section.  When I creep around the corner into the aisle, I find him shelving things on the bottom shelf.

Kevin’s a lean, athletic guy, wearing cargo shorts and a chocolate brown tee-shirt, and light gleams off a chunky, silver purity ring on his left thumb.  As I enter, he looks up with a friendly smile.  “Can I help you find something?”

I shake off my star-struck mindset – character-struck? – and bumble into my rehearsed lines.  “Um, actually, I wondered if I could ask you a few questions.  I’m doing a…survey.”

“What kind of questions?”  He gets up.

“Uh, personal questions?”

Kevin’s forehead furrows in suspicion.  “Why?  What about?”

“Just general questions about your life.”  Great, I should have known he’d be cautious.  I smile reassuringly.  “You don’t have to answer any you don’t want to.  It’s kind of a social project.”

He leans against the biography shelf with his arms folded, skeptical.  “Okay, shoot.”

Here we go.

“Who is the person who has made the biggest impression on your life, and why?”

Resistance crosses his face, just for a moment, before a small smile takes over.  “That’s easy – my dad.  He and my mom died when we were kids….well, we don’t know for sure they died, but they disappeared suddenly one day without a trace, and we know they’d never abandon us.”  Kevin looks at me as if expecting questions, but I listen quietly, so he goes on.  “My dad said lots of things that stick with me, even after all these years.  I go to make a decision sometimes and check my memory of what Dad might say if he was there to advise me.  It’s almost like he knew he was going to be gone, and had to prepare me by giving me all the advice ahead of time.  It’s weird, but I’m glad he did.”

“What’s the most important thing he taught you, do you think?”

“To protect my sister.  I’m all she has left, now, and she had it rough in school, so I’m glad my dad taught me to stand up for her.  I don’t know what would have happened to her if I hadn’t been there to keep the bullies away.  She’s graduated now and doesn’t have to deal with that crap anymore.”  There’s a fierce glint in his eye even at the mention of it.

I’m pretending to take notes.  “Do you have any hobbies?”

“Reading,” he says right away, and then hesitates.  “And deciphering an old logbook my parents left.  It’s full of codes, and I’ve been trying to figure out what it means for years.  My aunt and sister don’t think it’s important, but I know it’s important.”

“That’s cool.  Who’s your best friend?”

“My sister, for sure.”  As soon as the words leave his mouth, I see pain in his eyes.  “But we’re not as close as we used to be.  I can’t share my whole life with her anymore.  I’ve been getting a lot closer to other friends instead.”

“Friends from college?” I ask innocently.

“No.”  His mouth is set – he’s not giving me any more info on that one.

Good for you, not finding a lie to fill that gap, I praise him inwardly.

“Why did you take this specific job?”

He rolls his eyes a little, good-naturedly.  “I guess because I’m a poor college student who needs the cash.  But I like working with books all day, and they give me a discount, so I can buy more books for myself.”  He grins.

“Is this your first job?”

“No, my second.”

I see he’s not willing to admit to being fired that other time for being controlling and doing things his way instead of following directions…

“But I’m sure you don’t want to stay here forever,” I say.  What are your goals in life?  If everything you hoped for came true, what would that look like?”

I see him wrestle with this for a minute, running over all his goals in his mind with a thoughtful frown.  “Well,” he says at last, “ultimate happiness to me would mean heaven – seeing my parents again and being with the Lord forever, and no one ever being unhappy or afraid again.  But you probably mean my earthly goals.  Hmm.  If all my earthly hopes came true, I’d eventually be a high school English or literature professor, living in my parents’ old house with a wife and a bunch of kids, and hopefully my sister too.”

“Your sister wouldn’t be married, too, by then?”

“I’m just talking about my idea of happiness here.  I know she wants to get married.  But whoever wants to marry her is going to have to go through me first.”  He says it with a good-natured twinkle in his eye.  “I’m not her dad, but I feel responsible.”

“You say you want to get married.  What are you looking for in a wife?”

He’s visibly taken aback, like he’d never considered that before.  “I don’t know.  I’m not actually looking.  I know I want her to love the Lord, but at this point I’m not interested in hunting for a wife.  I feel like if God has a woman for me out there, I’ll know her when I see her, or at least when the time is right, I’ll know who she is.  My sister can be a matchmaker and she’s always pointing out girls from church to me, but I’m not interested in any of them.”

“Why not?”

“I dunno.  They don’t stand out to me.  Most of them are too shy.  There’s nothing about them on the exterior that makes me want to get to know them more, and I don’t want to have to work to figure out a girl’s personality.  I’d rather she be more of an open book, not a complete mystery – otherwise how will I know I even like her?”  He frowns at me.  “Are these questions you’re supposed to ask?  What is this for, anyway?”

I open my mouth, but before I can think up a reply, a sharp, attentive suddenly look comes onto Kevin’s face and he glances down, as if he’s listening to something.

“Sorry, I’ve got to go,” he says.

“Where are you going?”

He gives me a look that clearly reads, That’s none of your business.  “I’ve gotta go take care of something.”  He strides down the aisle and around the corner, headed toward the back of the store.

He doesn’t have to tell me.  I know where he’s going.  He got a call to battle – he’s going in to Kraesinia.

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I’ll stick around and ask him any questions you have after he gets back!…if he gets back at all.  (Haha, just kidding.  I’m his author and I have no plans of killing characters today.)

Maybe I’ll tell him I’m Trusted so I can ask him your questions regarding Kraesinia, too.  😉  Ah, a covert Kraesinion survey of the Trusted!  That should have been my cover story to begin with!  And boy, I never intended to delve into his idea of romance so much.  It just kind of came out…I guess I’ve never asked him about that before.  Very interesting.

Do YOU have any questions for Kevin?