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Jun 30

An interview with Lad!

This is the next in my series where I interview my own characters. Yes, that does mean I’m talking to the invisible people who live in my brain, what of it? When Debris was released I interviewed Tanyana. Now that Suited is out (well out in the US now, and out in the UK on the 5th of July) I’ve had a chat to Lad.

For those who don’t know him, Lad is a member of Tanyana’s debris collecting team. On the surface, he seems like a child in a man’s body, unstable at times, even prone to violence, unable to block out the strange voices he hears in his head. As Debris progressed, Tanyana learned that there was more to Lad than meets the eye, and maybe they should all be listening to these voices of his!

***

Lad creeps into the study. Shoulders hunched, head down and eyes darting as he tiptoes up to the spare office chair. This is particularly odd, because Lad is a large man. Much taller than me, broad shoulders and a bit of a round stomach going on too.

I smile up at him. “It’s okay, Lad.” I nod at the chair. “Sit down, get comfy. You don’t have to be nervous.”

He flashes me a smile, and when Lad smiles it lights up his entire being. With his unruly curls and poorly fitting, second hand clothes, he looks like a giant child. He sits awkwardly, and fiddles with a thread coming loose from the hem of his shirt. “Bro said I should be careful not to bother you. Said you don’t like to be disturbed. Said you got lots of things to do and I shouldn’t go messying that all up.” He hardly even pauses for breath.

Lad’s older brother, Kichlan, is extremely conscious of the trouble Lad has fitting in and tries to guide him. How he should talk, what he should say, how to be careful not to hurt anyone with the strength he doesn’t realise he has. Personally, I think Lad’s more resourceful than Kichlan gives him credit for, he just needs the space and the opportunity to shine.

“That’s very considerate of you, Lad,” I reply. “But I did ask you to come here, so it’s okay. Really. You’re not disturbing me.”

Another sunshine smile.

“Now, do you remember why you’re here?”

A small frown. “You want to interview me?”

I nod, encouraging him.

“Bro said interviewing is when you ask me questions, and I should answer. He said I should tell you the truth about what I think, but not too much, because sometimes not everyone really wants to hear the truth about things even when they ask a question.”

“Um…”

“Also, then he was muttering about why me, why not him? Said, he understands why Tan got to go first, she’s the main character, but shouldn’t he be next? And also, it’s a bit cruel, isn’t it, asking me about the second book, all things considered.” He sucks in a quick breath. “Jo-Jo, what’s a main character?”

It’s too much all at once. Kichlan feels bad because I asked Lad instead of him? Bugger, didn’t mean to do that. And, I guess, it could be a bit cruel, but I don’t think Lad sees it that way. After all, Lad gets the second book a lot more than Kichlan does. Lad understands what really happens at the end.

So I settle for, “Lad, a main character means the person who is the focus of the book. So Tan is the main character, because she tells the story the way she sees it. And don’t call me Jo-Jo.”

“Oh, ok.” He thinks about that for a minute. “But, is she still allowed to be the main character, even if she tells it wrong?” He leans forward, and looks very serious. “I mean, Tan doesn’t always know what’s going on, so how could she tell it right? At the beginning of Debris, she didn’t know that the Keeper was real and that I could talk to him.” He sits back, nods. “But I did.”

“Yes, that’s true.” I’m not going to argue with that. And it’s probably time to try and turn this into an interview now. “So, Lad, thank you for coming.”

His face drops. “Was that the end already?”

“No no!” I jump up and press my hands on his shoulders as he tries to stand up. “No no, just beginning!”

He pauses, half way between sitting and standing. “But you said–?”

“But that’s just what you say at the beginning of the interview. I still have to ask you questions.” He’s not convinced, and I’m not strong enough to keep him in his seat. “Questions like, tell us what happens in Suited in your own words. And, what’s your favourite part?”

“Oh, that’s easy.” He doesn’t sit, just smiles down at me. “Suited is the second book in the Veiled Worlds series. In this one we have to try to help the Keeper, because of what the nasty Puppet Men are doing and the way that puts all of the city of Movoc-under-Keeper in danger. Tan is having troubles because her suit is getting mean and trying to take her over and tell her what to do. There’s these nice old people who work with Eugeny who are trying to have a rev– rev– revolution against the veche. Tan and Bro and I help them a bit, but Bro’s not so sure we should trust them. He thinks they’re kind of crazy.” He looks away. “There’s some scary bits, like the dead woman I found in the middle of the market square. I felt sorry for her. The ending’s scary too, but it’s okay, because Tan is brave and she fights very hard. I am proud of her for doing that.” His smile returns, and he starts to blush, faintly. “But there are nice parts too. Like Tan and Bro being together more and more. And everyone starts listening to me, because I am a Half, because I talk to the Keeper. And I try hard to be the best Half I can be, and I am proud of me too, because I am good at it. Aren’t I?”

Stunned, all I can do is nod at him. “You are, Lad. You are a very good Half.”

“Okay then, I’ll go now. Thanks for the interview, Jo-Jo!” He waves, turns to leave.

“Wait!” I cry after him. “You didn’t answer the second question. What’s your favourite part?”

He pauses, tips his head slightly as he thinks. “Porridge with stewed rhubarb, and sugar!”

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