I was tagged to do this by Sam Dogra, an awesome author and brilliant artist who also happens to be a medical genius (go check out her blog). She got the questions here. And I've taken it one step further again, reframed the whole thing as an interview, and cut the list of questions by half (because I like to keep my blog posts on the short side). So now you know the history, I give you …
The Uncommon Character Interview
starring Ayla Nightshade, primary protagonist of Darkhaven.*
Hi, Ayla. Great to talk to you.
So let's get started with the questions … First, what position do you sleep in, and why?
Of all the possible questions you could have asked me, you lead with that? I don't think my sleeping habits are any of your concern.
Do you have any noteworthy features? Freckles? Dimples? A scar somewhere unusual?
I look like a Nightshade. Which means I have black hair and dark blue eyes, just like my father and my brother. But my mother was a city girl, so my eyes are ever so slightly greener than theirs.
Oh, and I can turn into a winged horse. Does that count as a noteworthy feature?
Do you have an accent? What does it sound like?
I read in a book once that the Mirrorvalese accent is 'like diamond-tipped steel: without an ounce of warmth and sharp enough to make your ears bleed'. I'll leave it to you to decide if that's accurate.
How do you perceive yourself? Positive? Negative? Neutral?
I … I don't know. It's hard to think well of myself when I've always been a source of shame to my father. But then, so has my brother Myrren, and he's the best person I know. I try to view things through my own eyes instead of my father's blinkers, but sometimes it's hard.
Are you a quick thinker or do you need time to sort through your thoughts?
I think quickly, and react quickly too. I can be quite impulsive. Some would say argumentative.
Describe a night you couldn’t sleep and what you did to occupy your time.
The night after my mother died. And I walked. Just in my own chamber, up and down, up and down, until the sky began to lighten and I realised that life would continue along its relentless path whether I liked it or not.
What do you think of creation? Do you believe in evolution or do you believe in God? What is your religion like?
We Mirrorvalese don't believe in the gods of our neighbouring countries. We celebrate the elements and life in all its forms. I believe that when most people die, they return to the earth and are remade into something else. But, of course, my family are laid to rest beneath Darkhaven when we die, so we never get to become birds or trees or rain. I find that rather sad, but there's tradition for you.
What are your best school subjects? What are your worst?
I never got to go to school, because I'm a Nightshade and my father believes we should keep ourselves apart. Myrren and I had a series of tutors. I like politics and warfare, geography and history, art and literature. I really hate mathematics.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How do you handle big crowds of people?
It's hard to tell. I so rarely get to be around big crowds of people. I'm not shy, though. So maybe I'm an extrovert who's never had the chance to show it.
Are you a leader, do you prefer to follow, or would you rather just stay on the sidelines?
I don't like being told what to do. That's part of why my father and I argue so much. Myrren is far more easygoing than I am. He prefers to keep the peace.
If you were suddenly challenged, would you rather run away or stay and fight?
I'd rather fight. But I wouldn't be much good at it, because my father refuses to let me train alongside Myrren. And that's another part of why we argue so much.
If you were allowed to murder one person without any consequences, who would that person be and why?
A man called Tomas Caraway. He used to be in the Helm – that's Darkhaven's elite fighting force – but he got thrown out after my mother's death. And I swear, if I ever see him again I'll kill him, because it's his fault she died.
You've been granted three wishes. What would you wish for and why?
That my mother was still alive. That my father would accept me for who I am. That Myrren had inherited the family gift and no longer had to bear the burden of unfulfilled expectations.
Do you trust people right off the bat or does it take you some time to warm up to someone?
It takes a lot to earn my trust. I'm not sure I've really trusted anyone since my mother died.
Do you prefer romance or affection? What is the quickest way to your heart?
I … I don't believe in romance. That's not how life works for me. We Nightshades marry to keep the family bloodline pure.
But if I was allowed to fall in love, it would be with someone whom I knew I could rely on. Dependability is underrated.
Do you have any enemies? If so, who and why?
Not enemies, exactly. A lot of the Helm look down on me because of who my mother was. But I can live without their respect.
Are you afraid of death? Do you have any regrets?
I'm terrified of death. I'm afraid I'll die before I've really seen or done anything at all. Sometimes I feel trapped inside my own life.
Finally, do you get restless when things are too quiet, or do you favour solitude and silence?
I live in solitude and silence. I'm used to it, but it would be nice to have a change sometimes.
Thanks for talking to us, Ayla.
Important note: isn't the portrait I used with this interview GORGEOUS? The artist is called Connie and as well as her DeviantArt account, she has a Tumblr where you can find her most recent sketches. So pretty! Do take a look.
* You know I'm going to give you that link EVERY TIME I MENTION MY BOOK, right?