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 -


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


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

  • Be Careful, It's My Heart by Kait Nolan
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (annual reread)
  • The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne (reread)
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Moranology by Caitlin Moran
  • Sauron Defeated - Book 9 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • 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!))
  • Journal of Inklings Studies
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • Mr. Garden by Eleanor Farjeon
  • Untitled by Claire G (poem)
  • Possum Magic by... (read by Claire)
  • The Listeners by Walter de la Mare (poem)
  • Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
  • Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne (reread)
  • Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
  • Dark Sonnet by Neil Gaiman
  • "Birds of Passage" by Peter McArthur (poem)
  • Marilynne Robinson and Barack Obama in the New York Review of Books (conversation)
  • "Fear"by Marilynne Robinson (essay)
  • A Simple Act of Kindness by Carol Drinkwater (short story)
  • An Imperial Affliction by Peter van Houten (short piece) (already added this?)
  • Sparkling Cyanide (Remembered Death) by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • Les dernieres jours de nos peres by Joel Dicker
  • Spun by Catherine McKenzie
  • Jamadu: Pippa et le crocodile (a Coop storybook)
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • Hide and Seek Pig: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson
  • Postman Bear: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson
  • Fox's Socks: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson
  • Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland (short story)
  • Tolkien's Gedling by __ and Andrew Morton
  • A Winter Wedding by Brenda Novak
  • Le livre des Baltimore by Joel Dicker
  • Paddington Bear All Day by Michael Bond
  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Mrs Whippy by Cecelia Ahern
  • The Story of Kullervo by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Going Back by T. L. Watson
  • The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper (abridged, darn it)
  • Emily's House
  • The Hockey Song
  • The End of All Things by John Scalzi
  • A Christmas Story by Richard Burton
  • Histoire de Founex by Josiane Ferrari-Clément (skimmed)
  • Rabbit's Nap: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson
  • Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg
  • La Verite sur l'affair Harry Quebert by Joel Dicker (loving this!)
  • How To Be A Man (and other illusions) by Duff McKagan
  • The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • Pop-up Peekaboo: Farm (DK publishing) (board book) (duh)
  • Paddington Bear Goes to Market by Michael Bond (board book)
  • Emily's Balloon by Komako Sakai
  • Bible stories and puzzles (in French) (board book)
  • The Last Chance Ball (a Word Wenches christmas anthology featuring Jo Bourne, Jo Beverley, etc.)
  • Farmer Giles of Ham by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread but new edition)
  • CassaFire by Alex Cavanaugh
  • First and Second Things by C. S. Lewis
  • Smith of Wootton Major by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread but new edition)
  • So Anyway... by John Cleese
  • The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl
  • Slowly, silently now the moon by Walter de la Mare (poem)
  • I can't work like this by Neil Gaiman (poem)
  • CassaStar by Alex Cavanaugh
  • Death of A Century: A Novel of the Lost Generation by Daniel Robinson
  • The Fly by William Blake (poem, reread)
  • Tyger, Tyger by William Blake (poem, reread)
  • The Christie Notebooks by John Curran
  • The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • secret beta 2!
  • The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak
  • Chu's Day at the Beach by Neil Gaiman (reread, many times)
  • Sacred Inwardness by Marilynne Robinson (essay)
  • New Statesman issue guest edited by Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman (I don't usually include magazines in this list but I read this one cover to cover)
  • The North Star is Nearer by Evelyn Eaton
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King (loved My Pretty Pony)
  • Every Month Was May by Evelyn Eaton
  • Occasional Soulmates by Kevin Brennan
  • secret beta!
  • Smoke by Catherine McKenzie
  • In Two Aeroplanes Over the Sea by Amanda Palmer (poem)
  • Jim at the Corner by Eleanor Farjeon
  • Finding Fraser by kc dyer
  • Mother Tongue -- The Story of the English Language by Bill Bryson
  • The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan
  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  • Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
  • Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie
  • The Lord Fish by Walter de la Mare
  • The Going To Bed Book by S Boynton
  • The Nursery Rhyme Book by Andrew Lang
  • In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck
  • Subterranean Scalzi Super featuring To Sue the World (an original, very short Redshirts story available nowhere else) Muse of Fire Mallet of Loving Correction Lock In, Lost Chapters (available nowhere else) How I Proposed To My Wife: An Alien Sex Story An Election Judge Sn Goes Golfing Questions for a Soldier The Sagan Diary The Tale of the Wicked The God Engines You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop by John Scalzi
  • Emily Goes to Market by William Mayne
  • Many Moons by James Thurber, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (reread)
  • Colours Are Nice (Little Golden Book)
  • Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo by Judy Blume
  • The Wars by Timothy Findley (reread)
  • The Captive Diary of Catherine Logan by Mary Pope Osborne (Dear America)
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (reread)
  • The Poky Puppy (Little Golden Book) (abridged)
  • The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (reread)
  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • secret beta read 2
  • Pre-Fix: A Ciel Halligan Short Story by Linda Grimes
  • Hidden by Catherine Mackenzie
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton
  • But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
  • Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad by M. R. James (short story) (1904)
  • Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman (reread)
  • My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl
  • Usborne board books
  • Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson (so lovely)
  • Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico
  • secret beta read!
  • The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend
  • HELP! Food Allergies Coming To Dinner by Kait Nolan
  • This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak
  • The Owl Service by Alan Garner
  • Two Caravans by Monica Lewycka
  • Aunt Sass by P. L. Travers
  • An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten (actually a few pages of the story, written by John Green for the film of his novel The Fault In Our Stars)
  • January Brings the Snow by Sara Coleridge (poem)
  • Kissing song by Neil Gaiman (poem)
  • The Mother by Nettie Palmer (poem)
  • William Tell Told Again by P. G. Wodehouse
  • Her Ladyship's Companion by Joanna Bourne
  • The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
  • How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
  • Mes P'tits Contes, legends of Swiss cantons
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