August 23, 2016
Hello everyone! I did this interview ages ago—back when KoP first propped itself up on a shelf. A few of you may have seen it, but it’s long been my favorite interview and I thought I’d share it again!
I am J.J. Sherwood, author of the upcoming fantasy series, Steps of Power. The first novel, Kings or Pawns, is about an elven nation riddled with corruption and balanced on the brink of all out war with the enemy warlord Saebellus. It features a wide array of characters—the mute servant girl, Alvena; the naïve king, Hairem; and the arrogant and mysterious foreigner, Sellemar—but today I wanted to do a character interview on General Jikun Taemrin, one of our primary protagonists.
But wait!—this isn’t just your typical interview. I don’t want to interview Jikun himself… Well, ok, I do, but he refused to cooperate. So we’re going to interview some of his roommates and see what they think of our dear General. (All of the interviewees today will debut in future Steps of Power works.)
Me: Hey, thanks for being here today, guys.
Ishmael: Like we had a choice.
Darcarus: (raises hand indignantly*) I’d like to complain about the lack of women present.
Zauviir: Take Evrae. He’s so damn beautiful he could pass as a woman any day.
Evrae: Don’t be jealous.
Sairel: (groans*) Do we have to do this?
Me: Yes, yes, now clamor down, folks. Today I want to talk to you about one of your roommates: General Jikun Taemrin.
Ishmael: Oh great. What a way to spend my Tuesday.
Me: Sh. Now, let’s just go nitty gritty, and start with: What’s it like living with Jikun?
Zauviir: Wait, which one is Jikun again?
Sairel: Jikun is yet another male who increases the population of idiots in this house.
Ephraim: He swears. He brings home cheap women—
Darcarus: Whoa. I’ve gotta step in and defend that point. They are not cheap.
Evrae: He’s an excellent drinking buddy. He loves to gamble—and he cheats to win so if you’re on his team that’s always a bonus—
JA: (gasps*) Whaaaat?? He cheats?!?!
Evrae: And when he gets drunk he stops acting like such a cynical asshole.
Me: Uh… ok, let’s ask his Captain, Navon. Same question.
Navon: Jikun is difficult to understand. He comes off as crass and temperamental, but beneath those barriers he throws up to protect himself from the pains of war, he—
Zauviir: UGHHHHHHH. I was promised no sentiment!
Navon: …Jikun is a good roommate. He keeps things militaristically clean. He’s timely. He does his end of the work.
Me: Thank you. Ok, next question: End the rumors, does Jikun have a love interest?
Sairel: Yes. I have seen him lingering near her during social gatherings and sending her fleeting glances. I believe her name is Kaivervi and she is also a Darivalian from his homeland.
Darcarus: …She just said “end the rumors.” With such little information, you’re probably the one who started them to begin with.
Me: Next question: What would you say is Jikun’s greatest strength?
Zauviir: Is Jikun the blue-haired one?
Evrae: His wit. He could give Ishmael a run for his money.
Ishmael: If I suffered brain damage, maybe.
Sairel: …Can unrivaled cynicism be chosen?
Me: I’d prefer a positive trait.
Navon: His devotion to his soldiers. Jikun treats every male’s life as valuable as the next. He would die for the trench-diggers as swiftly as he’d die for his lieutenants.
Ephraim: His magic. If he learns to hone his gift, he could be a potent mage as well as a respectable fighter.
JA: His cheating! I had no idea I’ve been cheated all these years!
Me: (sigh*) Ok. Let’s just move on. Next question is… Well, this almost seems pointless… Jikun’s greatest flaw…?
Sairel: He’s selfish.
Ishmael: His lack of wit.
Navon: His poetry.
Zauviir: His hair.
Me: Ok, I’m going to cut off this long list and try to salvage the general from a total beat-down. Let’s talk about Jikun’s youth.
Sairel: Well, if I remember the details, Jikun was raised in the tundra of Darival, in Sevrigel’s far north. He was considered by his teachers to be incredibly gifted both in mind and body, and he swiftly rose to the rank of captain in Kaivervale. He did not move south until the capital’s Council of Elves pulled him from his position as a replacement for Saebellus.
Me: And would you say he likes the south?
Navon: No. Without a doubt, he misses his homeland. But his loyalty to his country and his troops is greater than his own personal aspirations.
Me: Ok, and to close things out, Navon, what do you think the future holds for Jikun in The Kings series—without revealing too much?
Navon: Well… I’d like to see those internal wounds healed. I’d like to see him get back to Darival... But I suppose he has to live long enough to see that happen... And therein lies the problem.
Zauviir: (snorts*) He’s as good as dead.
Jikun: (from the distant recesses of the house*) I can hear you assholes down there!—I’d sleep with both eyes open tonight!
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