My dear friend Heather has asked me if I would share an interview of one of my characters with you, just to give you a behind-the-scenes peek into how I develop my fictional characters. I decided that, to give a really good example, I would interview the one character out of all I’ve written who I understand the best. So, I’ve asked my character Galvin Maricossa (whom you may know as Agent Maricossa from Falls the Shadow) to join me.
MRP: Thanks so much for joining me for this interview, Maricossa.
GM: You have got to be kidding me. Out of all the characters you’ve written about, you understand me the best?
MRP: Um—well, yes, I think so.
GM: So do you know any of the others’ names?
MRP: What exactly is that supposed to mean?
GM: Very simply, it’s a sarcastic way of saying that you don’t know me nearly as well as you think you do.
MRP: Oh really?
GM: Really. Listen, I have an idea. Since this interview really isn’t about me anyway, why don’t I interview you instead and save everybody a lot of trouble?
MRP: What do you mean, this interview isn’t about you? What do you think I’m interviewing you for, if it’s not about you?
GM: This whole guest-post interview thing is so people can get to you know you, the author, not me. They get to read about me every time a new chapter of Falls the Shadow comes out. So why don’t we just dispense with the nonsense of pretending to interview me—since you don’t know me as well as you think you do, no matter what you say?
GM: Good. So, Mary, let’s start at the beginning. How did you manage to find me and effectively take over my life?
MRP: I gave you life, for starters.
GM: And why do you feel compelled to continuously hold that over my head?
MRP: I have to do something to keep you in line. Anyway, I ‘found’ you while Heather and LoriAnn and I were brainstorming about a collaborative steampunk story we wanted to write. Heather mentioned the fact that secret societies were very much in vogue in the Victorian era, so we decided the governmental system would be run by a secret-society-type organization. They needed trained operatives, and—voila!—there you were.
GM: Surely there must have been other potential characters to choose from. Why me?
MRP: Sure, there were others. Your girlfriend Connie was one. But your personality and backstory worked best with the plot we wanted. And we couldn’t figure out whether you were a good guy or a bad guy, which was also what we wanted.
GM: So have you figured it out?
MRP: Whether you’re a good guy or bad guy? Oh yes.
GM: So which am I?
MRP: Wise guy. You know I can’t say that in public and give it away.
GM: Excellent job covering up the fact that you don’t really know.
MRP: But I do.
GM: So you think. For now.
MRP: Uh… right. We’ll continue this discussion when the public isn’t listening. Just stick with what you’re supposed to be doing.
GM: As you wish.
MRP: I wish you would wipe that devious smirk off your face and get on with it.
GM: Very well. *Ahem* So, Mary, tell us what it’s like having all of us characters running around and living out our little dramas inside your head.
MRP: Hectic, emotional, and over-crowded. Some days I’m convinced my hair will turn gray before I’m twenty-five. But… I’ve gotta be honest, I love you guys. I really don’t know what I’d do without you all to keep me busy. I mean, what does your average, non-writer person think about while they’re cooking dinner or washing dishes or waiting for their doctor’s appointment?
GM: Most people actually think about the dishes they’re doing or the dinner they’re cooking or the doctor they’re about to see, rather than leaving the dinner to cook to charcoal or the sink to overflow—
MRP: Oh, very funny. Seriously, though, I love getting to know my characters and explore your worlds. Most of you are very gracious, letting me barge in and poke around and ask a zillion questions.
GM: So of all the fictional worlds you have access to, which one makes you feel the most at-home?
MRP: I’d have to say Reyem. I’ve practically lived there for the last five years, after all. The characters from Reyem have all been so patient, giving me all the time I need to fully understand them and their world and their stories, and to tell their stories the way they need to be told. I think I could move there for real and not notice the difference for a few days, at least! Which is good, since it looks like I’ll be writing there for some time.
GM: Which of your characters is easiest to work with?
MRP: Probably Lhia, or maybe Ryker. They both tend to do as they’re told without arguing, and although they have some emotional baggage it’s not terribly complex.
GM: How about the most difficult character you have to work with?
MRP: Oh boy, that’s tough. You all have your moments. But I’d probably have to say Sorek. I love him to death, he’s a great character, and he even does what he’s told a fair amount of the time, but he’s been so hard to get to know and understand. He refuses to let me see inside his motivations and desires and thought processes without a fight.
GM: Alright, last question: which character is the most fun to work with?
MRP: Honestly, probably you and Connie. Especially when you’re sparring together. Those scenes are always fun to write.
GM: Oh yes, watching me get pulverized by a little ninja must be delightful.
MRP: It is.
MRP: So, is that it?
GM: Yeah, I guess that wraps it up.
MRP: Great! I’ll get this sent to Heather right away then.
GM: Oh, that reminds me—will you tell Heather to tell Libby that I left The Rise and Fall of Rome on the footstool in the Hub by accident, so she can stop freaking out and turning the place upside down looking for it?
MRP: You know the rules—no author intervention between characters! Besides, you’re the one who left Rome lying around, so you can tell Libby next time you see her.
GM: Just thought I’d ask and try to spare myself the verbal machine gunning.
MRP: No such luck. We’ve got to sign off now and get this interview sent to Heather. And then we’ve got to sit down and have that discussion about you being a bad guy or good guy.
GM: Just dying to know, aren’t you?
MRP: I do know, and I’m going to convince you of that, even if we have to duke it out to the death!
GM: How about ‘to the pain’?
Mary Ruth was raised on her family's cattle ranch in southern Missouri, where she still lives with her family and a host of animals. Living on a farm, she probably should have grown up to write horse stories and prairie romance, but instead she took a turn for the weirder and fell in love with the speculative genres of fiction: fantasy, sci-fi, and steampunk.
Her goal with her writing is to bring glory to her savior, Jesus Christ, whether this comes in the form of sharing the gospel with unbelievers or encouraging believers with godly stories and entertainment.
You can keep track of Mary's life and writing on her blog, The Writer's Lair. You can also read her work at The Lost Scribes and Avenir Eclectia.