Friday, 18 November 2011

Living Dangerously: Interview with an Assassin

So I haven’t been around much this week, not on Twitter, and not here – in fact this is my first blog since Sunday, which is not normal. I did guest post earlier in the week over at Bump On A Log, courtesy of @amberrisme (thanks Amberr!) about my travels in Cape Tribulation, Far North Queensland, Australia, but I must confess I wrote that months ago and sent it to Amberr a week or more ago now. If you missed it, you can find it here – CapeTribulation: Where the Rainforest Meets the Reef.

Out at the Great Barrier Reef, Cape Tribulation, Queensland, Australia
 The reason for my absence is mostly the workshop on book trailers I’ve been doing for the last fortnight. This week we started assembling our book trailer, so I had to spend a lot of time on the internet looking for pictures and music and then assembling them until I found something I liked. Watch this space for the finished product!

Anyway, today I’m here with Astarl, the protagonist in my novel Deathhawk’s Betrayal.  

Ciara: So, Astarl, you’re an assassin. Would you like to tell us something about that?

Astarl: No

Ciara: Uh...no? What do you mean ‘no’?

Astarl: I thought no had the same meaning in your language as mine.

Ciara: No... uh... yes... Dammit, it means the same thing, but this is an interview, you’re supposed to tell us a bit about you.

Astarl: I don’t talk about myself. You know that.

Ciara: Then why did you agree to this interview?

Astarl: I didn’t. You just kind of sprung it on me. Which I’m not happy about by the way. 

Ciara: Alright, alright, do you mind if I tell them a bit about you?

Astarl: As a matter of fact I do mind.

Ciara: Well I have to tell them something about you. Astarl was a child slave and... hey, put that knife down!

Astarl: Only if you promise not to give away my secrets. 

Ciara: How else can they learn about you? And didn’t I tell you not to bring any knives? 

Astarl: I didn’t take that seriously because you’re not allowed to play with knives. You might cut yourself, foolish girl. And I don’t go anywhere without my knives, you know that, too. If they want to learn about me, they can read the book. 

Ciara: Enough about the knives. The book’s not published yet. And it might not be in the foreseeable future. Can we talk about Jeharv?

Astarl: I thought you had someone ask to see a, what did you call it? A partial? Isn’t that what you told me?

Ciara: Yes, it's with a publisher at the moment, but we all know the almost certain result of that. Everyone gets rejected at least once. Hey, I’m supposed to be asking the questions! Stop avoiding the issue. So can we discuss Jeharv?

Astarl: Maybe...

Ciara: So he’s your father and he’s dying, right? Maybe you could tell us some more about that?

Astarl: Adoptive father, yes. Jeharv is master of the Order of Nizari, originally a professional spy network for hire, but now branching out into assassination. He took me in when I was thirteen after… well, you know. He took me in and trained me up as one of his first assassins. Now he’s dying from a canker in his lung and we need magic to heal it.

The problem is, the outlaw blood magicians destroyed the Confederacy of Magicians maybe a month ago, so magic’s in short supply at the moment. The blood magicians charge too high – even an assassin balks at selling his soul – and the few surviving Confederates we’ve found have been uncooperative.

The last one I tried to persuade killed himself rather than talk to me. That’s a new one even for me. I’ve had people beg for mercy but I’ve never had one kill himself before I could. In this case I had no intention of killing him at all. 

Ciara: Selling of souls? These blood magicians sound nasty! I feel sorry for that poor Confederate… Don’t look at me like that! So, Jeharv is an assassin, but you love him… would you describe him as a good man then? 

Astarl: Not particularly. It’s complicated. 

Ciara: I should hope so.

Astarl: There’s no such thing as a good man, look at what they’ve done to me. All men deserve death even Jeharv. He’s just the only one who ever did anything good for me for no reason except that I asked. 

Ciara: All men deserve death… don’t you think that’s a bit harsh? 

Astarl: Really? After everything I’ve been through? Would you feel any differently?

Ciara: Um, well, OK you might have a point. So basically Jeharv gave you a gift? Not a bunch of flowers, I’m sure. Maybe a knife? You seem well-attached to the ones you’ve got. Dare I ask how many you’re carrying right now?

Astarl: Eleven, including six throwing blades. 

Ciara: My lord, where do you hide them? Never mind, you’re distracting me again, back to Jeharv. 

Astarl: He had the practice of slavery outlawed in my home kingdom, even though it wasn’t necessarily in his own interests. 

Ciara: Well… OK, that is big, kind of says a lot more than a bunch of roses. I can see how that would be important to you, seeing as how you were a child slave and… OK, put away the knife! 

Astarl: Stop trying to tell them about my childhood.

Ciara: But… OK, OK, I get the point… ha ha pun intended. Now please just put it away? Thank you.

Astarl: Only because I like you. 

Ciara: Really? I never would have guessed. 

Astarl: You can’t use a knife to save yourself but you got balls.

Ciara: Gee… thanks, I think. Anyway, so where are you off to now? 

Astarl: The duchy of Abasynia in Elnisya. It’s far north from here, tropical. The dead magician did some work on an item a few years ago that belonged to the duke. Not sure it’s still there, not sure I can find it if it is. We don’t even know what it looks like and the duke’s a bit mad. But it’s the only lead we’ve got. It was made by the caelicolae, you know, the Elder Races, though not sure if it was the Kindara or the Syldam. They sure pack a magical punch though so anything they made ought to do the job. Of course, people also don’t leave that kind of stuff lying around unguarded. Are we about done here? Jeharv’s dying you know. 

Aldenon, healer at Castle Abasynia
 Ciara: OK, one last question. I’ve heard Aldenon, the healer at Castle Abasynia, is pretty hot. 

Astarl: I wouldn’t know and I don’t really care. I try to have as little to do with men as possible.

Ciara: Ouch, shot down in flames… Well I do care, so send me a sketch, yeah? Or even a watercolour. It’s not like the Order of Nizari can’t afford it. Best of luck on your mission and thanks for stopping by

Wow, did I really just wish one assassin luck in healing another assassin? It seemed appropriate to say something convivial before I became more closely acquainted with the blasted woman’s knives than I already was. Did you hear that? Eleven knives. The only one I saw was the one she drew on me! I expect she can probably nail a man with a throwing knife at ten paces, too, or something like that. Whatever a pace is. 
Anyway, that was Astarl, the protagonist of my novel Deathhawk’s Betrayal which sad to say is not currently available. It is, however, under consideration by a publisher here in Australia. I’m sure I’ll update you as soon as I have either good or bad news on that front. Self-publishing is something I might consider in the future but since I have some interest from the traditional publishers I’ll pursue that avenue first. 

I’ve also just found out that I won some character artwork in the Character Competition running on Imran Siddiq’s website Imran Writes, so that might be something else for me to share with you in the future, together with my book trailer!

Don’t forget to stop by and check out my guest post – Cape Tribulation: Where the Rainforest Meets the Reef.

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven't already. If you're finding yourself here often, you might as well join as a member, or sign up through RSS or email! Don't forget to share the love and spread the word of this post on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this. 

Thanks for stopping by and visiting with us!


Jenny said...

awesome post :D I love it!

Goran Zidar said...

Thanks for sharing... I think... she's a little scary :-)

Perhaps an interview with a person who likes to remain anonymous and has no trouble killing you probably wasn't the wisest course of action.

I wonder if she is now going to hunt down anyone who read this in order to destroy the paper trail and cover her tracks? Lets hope she doesn't have an internet connection wherever she is.

Let's hope that she never crosses paths with Keldirk - he sounds a LOT like her ;-)


Ciara Ballintyne said...

Definitely no internet and she's not keen on magic so she won't be using any of that to track you down ;-)

Ciara Ballintyne said...


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