Interview with protagonist – take #1

on-the-airSubstitute for Silk’s Post # 30 — Interview conducted in National Public Radio studios, KPLU Seattle-Tacoma.

Interviewer:  Good morning and welcome to Book Talk: New Voices, a weekly exploration of emerging writers, and today we’re taking an interesting departure from our usual format. Instead of talking to a new writer, I have with me in the studio a new protagonist. Welcome, Sunny Laine.

Sunny:  Thank you. It’s nice to be here.

Interviewer:  Sunny, you are a creation of new writer Silk Questo, and I understand you haven’t been published as yet, correct?

Sunny:  That’s right. In fact, I haven’t even been finished. I’ve been harassing Silk about that, but there’s only so much I can do. I try to get into her head just as she’s about to drift off to sleep and keep her awake. Sometimes it works.

Interviewer:  And then what happens?

Sunny:  She gets up in the middle of the night and writes some more. It’s not always her best work, though.

Interviewer:  Sunny, it sounds like you have some issues with your author. Can you tell us about that?

Sunny:  Well, don’t get me wrong. Silk and I are close. I’d have to say that no one in my life has really cared about me more than Silk, certainly not Zinnia.

Interviewer:  And Zinnia is …

Sunny:  My mother, the hippy dippy Pottery Queen. Actually, I shouldn’t have said that, it’s not fair. Zinnia’s got her strengths, it’s just that we see the world through different eyes and we had a little set-to last night. Can you edit that out before you air this? I don’t want to hurt her feelings.

Interviewer:  I’ll check with my producer. On another topic, though, I see that you’re a law student at the University of Washington.

Sunny:  That’s right. First year. The killer year.

Interviewer:  Killer?

Sunny:  They keep us super busy. And then, with this book thing on the go, it’s almost too much …

Interviewer:  Speaking of killers, I understand you’re starring in a mystery-suspense story. What can you tell us about the book?

Sunny:  Are you kidding? I can’t tell you anything about the book. You want me to lose my job?

Interviewer:  Perfectly understandable [laughs] but, of course, I had to try. Let’s talk a little about your background, then. How did you get your interesting name – “Sunshine Laine”?

Sunny:  [groans] That’s a bit of a sore point. I mean, “Sunshine Laine”? It makes me sound like something out of a Shirley Temple movie. Lightweight. Feather weight. Believe me, I have enough problems without having to explain my name. The “Sunshine” part is bad enough, but combined with “Laine” … well, it’s just a burden, you know?

Interviewer:  You think it sounds, uh, not like real life?

Sunny:  I’ve had that conversation with Silk and she says real life is boring and that’s why people read books. Hard to argue with that, I guess.

Interviewer:  So this one of the issues you have with your author?

Sunny:   Well, yes and no. It was Zinnia who decided to give us all names “from Mother Nature,” as she puts it. Me, my brother Wolf and my sister Ocean. But I plan to argue the case with Silk. I’m hoping to win on appeal.

Interviewer:  And what about your last name, “Laine”? Do you see this as a literary reference to Lois Lane, perhaps? Something to attract young people to your book?

Sunny:  God, no! See, this is the problem with my name. I’m not a YA character. Actually, “Laine” is quite realistic. It’s Finnish. My great-grandparents immigrated from Finland and settled in Astoria, Oregon. I just wish Silk had picked something else. Why couldn’t she have used one of the great hockey player names? Tikkanen, maybe.

Interviewer:  That’s very interesting. So you grew up in Oregon?

Sunny:  No. I grew up on Whidbey Island, and before that …  [mumbled words].

Interviewer:  Sorry, I didn’t catch that. Where did you live before Whidbey Island?

Sunny:  Northern California. Uh, Humboldt County, actually. It was a bit off the beaten track and … oh, hell, you’re gonna find out anyway so I might as well be frank. I spent my first six years growing up on a commune.

Interviewer:  My goodness! Are there still communes out there?

Sunny:  A few, yeah. On the fringes.

Interviewer:  Is your story … about alternative lifestyles, then?

Sunny:  Nice try, but no. Unless you consider murder an alternative lifestyle.

Interviewer:  So we’ve clarified that this is a murder mystery. And do you solve the mystery all by yourself?

Sunny:  That remains to be seen, doesn’t it? I don’t even know yet whether I’m a victim, see? It’s not easy being a protagonist in an unfinished book. That’s why I’ve been bugging Silk to get writing. For all I know at this point, I might not even end up being the protagonist.

Interviewer:  Really? That is a lot of doubt to have to live with. Are you worried?

Sunny:  Of course I’m worried! I could become a hapless corpse. An inanimate footnote to someone else’s story. Or a frivolous secondary character, some cop’s love interest, maybe. Don’t you understand? At this point I could be written out of existence! No glory. No series. No nothing.

Interviewer:  It sounds to me like you’re fighting back. You’re obviously a determined young woman, Sunny. You could be hard to kill off.

Sunny:  I’m tougher than I look, but I’m at Silk’s mercy at this point. I’m not panicked. Not yet. But right now, my big goal is to keep her at the keyboard. She has a deadline to hit, and if there’s any worse fate than being demoted to a secondary character, it’s being a protagonist in a book that never gets finished.

Interviewer:  Well, that sounds like a challenge that will keep you very busy this spring, and we all wish you the best of luck in fulfilling your heroic role, Sunny.

Sunny:  Thanks. If you want to help, maybe you could put in a good word for me when you talk to Silk.

Interviewer:  Ah, the perfect segue to a preview of what’s coming up. We will bring you our interview with Silk Questo in a future broadcast, but meantime this is NPR’s Book Talk: New Voices, reminding you to read someone new this week!

Sunny:  Yeah, my life depends on it.

4 thoughts on “Interview with protagonist – take #1

  1. Great post, Silk. I have a somewhat similar relationship with my protagonist, though he lives 3,200 years ago and wouldn’t comprehend radio or interviews, and might not respond well to someone trying to get into his business. But this really made me laugh, and I wish you luck bringing up Sunny. 🙂

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