Friday, 27 January 2012

Interview with a Character: Secrets, Lies, Hidden Love, and Bloodshed

Ave! And welcome to Interview with a Character.

Anne Gallagher interviewed her Lady Olivia the other day, and she's inspired me to seek an audience with one of my characters.

Devran is the hero of Rome, Rhymes and Risk. He's the son of the Grand Vizier, who is the highest official of the Ottoman Court under the Sultan himself. An exalted position, to be sure. Yet Devran's been exiled, for a crime he did not commit, and now he's forced to sail the length of the Mediterranean.

He kinda sorta looks like this:

(snapshot from my Tumblr page)

Devran's also got one secret - but I'll let him explain.

Thank you for joining us, Devran Bey. Please, have some wine.

It is my pleasure. Thank you. [Takes cup]

Many of our readers are not familiar with your story. Can you tell us where you're travelling from and why?

[Frown] I'd rather not discuss the why, actually. I have left the Ottoman Empire and am on my way to Cadíz in the Kingdom of Castile. I'm told the Admiral Columbus will be sailing from there in some months' time, and I propose to join his expedition.

How exciting! This will be the Admiral's second journey, I believe?

So I'm told.

And who are you travelling with?

Ah. [Smile] Some others were exiled along with me, for entirely different reasons. A man named Baha, whom I knew in my childhood. His wife, Rosa, who actually hails from Castile, and her guardian, Brother Arcturus. Her father, Santiago, who is Sailing Master under Admiral Columbus.

Is that all?

Er, no. Rosa has a maid - well, they call her a maid, but she's more of a companion. Her name is Ayten. She has... quite an interesting background.

Is that so? Are you at liberty to tell us about it?

It's not my secret to reveal, exactly. She was kidnapped by slave traders some months ago. I was very pleased to find that Baha and Rosa had rescued her.

And how has the journey been? I hope you've had good weather.

We haven't, as a matter of fact. There was a terrible storm, which cracked the bowsprit, and we've been forced to remain in Rome for many days. They promise to have the ship ready to sail the day after tomorrow.

That doesn't sound so bad! I hear you were guests of the Sultan's brother, Cem.

Hmmph. [Crosses arms]

He is not a gracious host?

Oh, he's gracious, all right. Has a way with the women, that one.

Does he, now?

Yes. He began making love to Ayten almost from the moment we arrived. And I can't say anything because -

Because?

Never mind.

[At this point Devran stands up and makes to leave. In his agitation, he knocks over his cup, which shatters and drives a splinter into his palm. He falls back into his chair, sucking the cut.]

Well? What do you want to know?

Nothing you're not willing to tell us, of course. How's your hand?

I'll do. Listen, Cem is a swindler and a cad. He's flattered Ayten no end, and I guess she's swayed by the opulence of his court. She... She likes fine things, Ayten. Pretty dresses and gilt tableware and all that sort of thing. I had enough of that growing up, myself. I can do without it. Still, she deserves the best. And I guess she thought...

Look. I'll tell you. Before Ayten was kidnapped by those slave traders, her father had arranged a marriage for her. All that fell apart when she was kidnapped. Everyone in town spent weeks searching for her, and it was only much later that the truth of the matter was discovered. But by then it was too late.

How so?

She never saw the face or knew the name of the man she was betrothed to.

Do you mean -

Yes. It was me. Her father had arranged for her to marry me. But she didn't - doesn't - know that. She came on board my ship having heard all the rumours of the terrible deeds I'd been accused of. She thinks me an exile, a penniless rake. How can I blame her for considering the Sultan's brother? How can I tell her that she's betrothed to me? She thinks I'm a liar, a criminal. She'd never believe me.

I cannot force her. I want her to come to me willingly. How can I prove my worth to her?

[There is a silence. A maid comes in and clears up the spilt wine. Devran stares out the window at the bright winter's day outside. The maid leaves.]

Can you give us an idea where you'll be travelling to next?

We're still bound for Cadíz. I hope we leave Rome soon. I hope I can give Ayten reason enough to forget the awful - and untrue! - rumours about me. Her eyes glow when she's pleased, and I - I want that glow turned to me. Anyway, I've gone on long enough. I'm sure you have other interviews to get through today.

Thank you very much, Devran Bey, for answering our questions so patiently. I do apologise about the blood. [Turning to audience] If anyone has any questions for Devran Bey, I'm sure he'll be pleased to answer them. Send them on through the comments page, please.

Sweet Lovin' Man by the Magnetic Fields

12 comments:

Jill W. said...

I love character interviews. [g] Hi, Devran!

The one I did with Sam was really helpful. Much later, I did one with Juna--that was kinda helpful too. But a lot's changed since then. I wonder if I should do another one?

cathandlingwriter said...

Lovely! I've done a few interviews using standard questions of the type you can find on internet and it's worked rather well. Loved this approach, with the "free" questions, however. Maybe I should try it on my characters!

Question for Devran: what are you the most ashamed of in your life (or is there anything in your past that you regret?)? And what are you the most proud of?

Zan Marie said...

Oooh! This is developing nicely. I particularly like the secret that Ayten was to be his all along. I can't wait for this one, Deniz. ; )

Anne Gallagher said...

Wow, great interview. So much more in depth than mine. I love the fact Ayten thinks Devran is a bad bad man. But there's something to be said about bad boys isn't there.

Sarah McCabe said...

Poor guy! I hope he can clear his name someday.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

Great character interview.

The Romantic Scientist said...

Very nice! Looking forward to reading more of his story!

Trisha said...

It's so fun interviewing your own characters! I do believe there's a blogfest to this effect coming up soon!

Deniz Bevan said...

Devran says hi, Jill. And he'd love to see an interview with Sam and Juna.

Thanks, cat. Devran says "I regret everything about the affair of the girl who was killed. I was not at fault, but could have done so much more to save her. But even more than that I regret that I did not tell Ayten the truth from the beginning. I suppose I'm proudest of the fact that I was able to save Ayten from the worst of the troubles we fell into. It's nothing to be proud of, but I... well. I feel such a thrill that her heart is given to me."

Thanks so much Zan Marie and Anne and Michael and Lara. I loved your interview, too, Anne!

Don't worry, Sarah, he will.

Looking forward to that blogfest, Trisha.

Rek said...

Great interview...poor Devran but all is well that ends well...and I liked the fact that he displayed his anger, makes him more vulnerable and human.

Nadja Notariani said...

Devran has interesting secrets...I wonder if there is going to be questions about Ayten's time spent with kidnappers...I wonder that Devran didn't mention rumour that way???>.. ha!
What a great story in which to place these two characters, Deniz.

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks so much Rek and Nadja! It's exciting to see others connecting with my character's story.

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • A River Town by Thomas Keneally
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Ox-Tales anthology
  • Istanbul Noir (Akashic Books anthology)
  • A Woman in Arabia: The Writings of the Queen of the Desert by Gertrude Bell
  • 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!))
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • Free Fall by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Heartburn by Nora Ephron
  • New Europe by Michael Palin
  • Lyddie by Katherine Paterson
  • The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie (possibly a reread)
  • Husli the Dwarf
  • Winter Birds
  • Walkabout by James Vance Marshall (reread)
  • Wish I Might by Kait Nolan (novella)
  • A Walk in the Countryside A B C (National Trust and Nosy Crow Books)
  • My First Touch and Trace 1 2 3
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Weep Not, Child by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
  • A Secret Vice by J. R. R. Tolkien (edited by Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins)
  • A Pocket For Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • The Narrow Corner by Somerset Maugham
  • Cakes and Ale by Somerset Maugham
  • Le gout d'Istanbul (anthology) (skimmed)
  • Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
  • Blue Nowruz by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie
  • secret beta read!
  • The Road Home by Rose Tremain
  • The Mewlips by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem; reread)
  • Just for This Moment by Kait Nolan
  • To Err is Human -- To Float, Divine by Woody Allen (short story)
  • the collected works of Beatrix Potter (Folio Society edition, over 30 books)
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman) (only half read)
  • At Home by Bill Bryson
  • Millions of Cats by W Gag
  • Travels in the Scriptorium by Paul Auster
  • Discovering You by Brenda Novak
  • Notes from a Big Country by Bill Bryson
  • Report from the Interior by Paul Auster
  • Dream Days by Kenneth Grahame
  • Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
  • The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien (reread)
  • They Do It With Mirrors by Agatha Christie
  • The Creatures of Number 37 by John Watts
  • The Inklings by Humphrey Carpenter (reread)
  • A Mother's Confession by Amanda Palmer (lyrics and liner notes)
  • Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean
  • Guide to the Names in the Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, in A Tolkien Compass
  • Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay (poem)
  • For my Wife, Navid by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • An Evening in Tavrobel by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem; reread)
  • The Lonely Isle by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem; reread)
  • Bilbo's Last Song by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem)
  • Ancrene Riwle, preface, by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats by Percy Bysshe Shelley (poem)
  • Absence of Mind by Marilynne Robinson
  • The Peoples of Middle-earth - Book 12 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • The Tale of Mr Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • The Tale of Tom Kitten by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • The Young Magicians edited by Lin Carter (anthology; includes two poems by J. R. R. Tolkien and all of rumble rumble rumble rumble drum belaboured by C. S. Lewis, referred to in The Last Battle)
  • Black and White Ogre Country by Hilary Tolkien
  • The Devil's Coach Horses by J. R. R. Tolkien (essay)
  • Guido's Gondola by Renee Riva and Steve Bjorkman
  • Save Our Public Universities by Marilynne Robinson (essay in Harper's Magazine)
  • Edmund Campion by Evelyn Waugh
  • Arthur and George by Julian Barnes
  • Career by Yevtushenko (poem)
  • Human life in this century by Yevtushenko (poem)
  • Willow by Anna Akhmatova (poem)
  • Sonnet LXVI by Shakespeare
  • Sir Walter Raleigh to His Son (poem)
  • Fair Jenny by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • MacPherson's Farewell by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • World's End, the collected Sandman No. 8 by Neil Gaiman
  • O Wert Thou In The Cauld Blast by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • The War of the Jewels - Book 11 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Rolling English Road by G. K. Chesterton (poem)
  • The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
  • A Tradition of Eighteen Hundred and Four by Thomas Hardy
  • The Hierophant by Lee-Ann Dalton (short story)
  • The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff
  • 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (reread)
  • Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland
  • Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
  • beta read!
  • Ode on Venice by Lord Byron (poem)
  • Little Miss Scatterbrain by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Little Miss Lucky by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Little Miss Trouble by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Homage to Switzerland by Ernest Hemingway (short story; reread but I really don't remember it after 20 years)
  • The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier (reread)
  • Sing a Long Children's Songs
  • Emily's First Christmas
  • Up At the Villa by Somerset Maugham (novella)
  • Telling Stories by Tim Burgess
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Marble Collector by Cecilia Ahern
  • Sophie's Throughway by Jules Smith
  • Baby Animals (Little Golden Books)
  • The House That Jack Built (Little Golden Books)
  • Scuffy the Tugboat (Little Golden Books)
  • The Saggy Baggy Elephant (Little Golden Books)
  • Morgoth's Ring - Book 10 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Who's A Pest by Crosby Bonsall
  • Mine's the Best by Crosby Bonsall (reread)
  • The Case of the Hungry Stranger by Crosby Bonsall (reread)
  • extracts from the diary of John Evelyn (Volume 1 of 2)
  • extracts from Lord Byron's letters about Villa Diodati
  • Pippin the Christmas Pig by Jean Little
  • Ite Missa Est by Anthony Martignetti
  • The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Red Angel by G. K. Chesterton (essay)
  • Emily's Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary
  • The Boy Who Set Out to Learn What Fear Was by the Brothers Grimm
  • The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • secret beta read!
  • Preludes by Wordsworth (extracts read aloud)
  • Little Miss Scatterbrain by Roger Hargreaves
  • Dance Me A Dream by Kait Nolan (ARC)
  • Once Upon A Coffee by Kait Nolan
  • England and Switzerland, 1802 by William Wordsworth (poem)
  • Once Upon A New Year's Eve by Kait Nolan
  • short story by Becky Morgan (http://forums.compuserve.com/discussions/Books_and_Writers_Community/Writers_Exercises/Becky_Morgans_December_X/ws-books/85291.1?nav=messages)
  • Blood In Blood Out by Brenda Novak (short story)
  • That Hell-Bound Train by Robert Bloch (short story)
  • Distraction by J. L. Campbell
  • Humble Bundle Peanuts collection (strips by Charles Schulz)
  • Peanuts Volumes I to VI (bought via Humble Bundle; very disappointing as it's mostly new strips -- how is that even allowed?!)
  • Sandals and Sangria by Talli Roland (short story)
  • Over the Hump by Talli Roland (short story)
  • issues of Journal of Inklings Studies and Amon Hen and Mallorn (Tolkien Society)
  • Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet by Matt Napier
  • Babar and his Family by Laurent de Brunhoff
  • Illusions Lost by Byron A. Maddox (short story)
  • ongoing rereads of most board books listed last year!
  • Lost My Name book for Emily (https://www.lostmy.name/)
  • Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne
  • When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne (reread)
  • Neil Gaiman comics on Sequential app
  • Moranology by Caitlin Moran
  • see the 2015 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2015/12/annual-books-read-statistics.html
  • see the 2014 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2014/12/books-read-in-2014-review.html
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2014/01/toast-to-professor-books-read-in-2013.html
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/12/the-hobbit-review-and-year-end-books.html
  • see the 2011 statistics on http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011-statistics-fourth.html
  • see the 2011 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011.html
  • see the 2010 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2010/12/books-read-in-2010-listed-here.html
  • see the 2009 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-ii.html
  • also in 2009 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-iv.html
  • see the 2008 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-ii.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-vi.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-iv.html