Today I thought I’d post an interview that I did for the character of Rose from the Haven: The Graphic Novel. The character interview is a great technique to use to flesh out a character and make him/her as real to the audience as possible. I did not make up the questions. I simply pulled them from a list of questions to ask characters from various places on the web. If you google these you can find a million of them. It’s a fun technique and one that I highly recommend for your writing.
Rose answers these questions before the events in the graphic novel and are explained in the prose novel which has yet to be released.
Character Interview: Rose Marina Maro
What’s your name?
Rose Marina Maro
How old are you?
It’s very rude of you to ask but I am 72.
What do you look like? If you had to describe yourself as though you were talking about someone else, what would you say?
Green eyes, 5’2” fair skin. I’m afraid that I’ve let my gray hair grow in but I push it back and try to make it at least look somewhat fashionable.
What are your speech patterns like?
Very comforting but still direct.
Can you think of someone on TV or on radio that speaks in a similar way?
Judi Dench. “M” from the James Bond movies.
Do you sometimes lie?
I have in my day.
“White lies” or significant lies?
White if it’s to keep someone safe.
Can people usually tell when you’re lying or are you a really accomplished liar?
Is your whole life a lie?
They have no earthly idea.
What is your usual facial expression?
Very serious but comforting at the same time.
Are people drawn to your warmth d cheerfulness, or are you seen as quiet / dour / grim / humourless / reserved / etc?
People are drawn to my warmth and sense of conviction about things.
Does your face reflect the ‘inner you’ or are looks deceiving?
My face definitely reveals the inner me. You can tell what I’m thinking but not when I’m lying. I’ve lived a long time. So I’m able to give off my feelings when I want to.
How do you handle anger?
I try to hold it in as much as I can but then I get indignant.
Are you slow to anger or easy to annoy?
Very slow on both fronts.
Are people afraid of you, and if so is this justified?
No they are not. Not at all.
How do you react to confrontation?
I present my case kindly to some and indignant to others depending on the level of angst I’m feeling at the time.
Would you give anything for a quiet life or do you enjoy winning an argument or a fight?
I prefer to live the quiet life.
How much power do you wield at home, in the workplace, and in social situations?
I’m the one usually calling the shots as I see them.
Are you the quiet “power behind the throne” type or do you wield obvious power? Or do you feel powerless? If so, why – and what might be the catalyst to make you change?
I don’t present myself this way but I do feel like I have to be the one in charge for the sake of the group because of my experience.
What (in your opinion) would be the first impression most people get when they meet you?
Small and defenseless but I’m not.
In your case, is ‘what you see is what you get’, or do people sometimes make the wrong judgment about you? If so, why would this be?
They make the wrong judgment because of my age. I am also somewhat small and thin so they think that I’m defenseless but I am more than able to speak my mind.
What is your level of education?
I have a doctorate in multi-cultural studies.
Has what you have been obtained by ‘street smarts’ or ‘book smarts’?
Where do you live?
In a monastery on the edge of Charity Vane.
Do you live alone, share a house, or…?
I have my own room.
Are you in a relationship, or part of a family?
Those in the Virgilian Order are my family.
If yes, are you happy or discontented in the relationship / this family? Tell me about it.
We have very different viewpoints and it’s escalating. They denounce violence to the point of someone being hurt and I think that is too extreme. They believe that we are here simply to guide and not interfere but I contend that we are already interfering.
If no, would you like to be in a relationship / part of a different family?
I don’t know.
Who is your best friend? (If you have one). When did this relationship start? What makes you friends?
Right now it’s who we call the Gardener. He shares my views but sometimes thinks I go overboard even though he’s having fun in the midst of it all.
Who do you consider to have the biggest struggle with? / Who do you dislike most? Why? When did this dislike start, and why?
I would say my biggest enemy is myself. I want to do more than what I am presently but I’m constrained by the order so until something changes I have to remain a part.
Who else is in your circle of acquaintances? Who would you turn to in times of trouble?
I have two friends that I can turn to in the order. One is the gardener and the other is the Sovereign Francisco who resides over me and seems to understand how I feel but has been in the order for so long that he does not wish to change anything about it and looks the other way when I get myself in trouble.
If there is anyone in your circle that might betray you, who would it be?
Sovereign Francisco is loyal to the Order so I’m not sure if he would or not.
Is there anyone you would not expect to betray you? How would you feel/react if they did?
I don’t believe that Consul Annucci would every betray me. If he did, I’m not sure what I would do but I would seek out other Consuls who feel as I do about the Order who has abandoned their ancient ways when they employed the Evocati – a group of veteran soldiers contracted by the Ancient Order prior to Mussolini.
How would you describe your personality? What are your best points & assets?
Caring enough to act on behalf of good but staunch in my belief that what I am doing is the right thing. I care a great deal and I’m willing to lie to protect someone.
What are your flaws or weaknesses?
I don’t always see the consequences of my actions but I will take them.
If there was one thing about your LOOKS that you could change, what would it be?
I’d want to look a lot younger!!
If there was one thing about your PERSONALITY that you could change, what would it be?
I tend to take on more than I should.
What makes you likeable? Are you likeable enough for people to want to spend extended periods of time with you?
I care very much for souls that are hurting and not knowing their way. I want to help those less fortunate but not simply in word but in deed as well.
What makes you unlikeable? Is this a chronic problem or can you change?
I tend to feel strongly about things and then act on them.
What type of people would like you, and who might not like you?
I think that people who are reasonable and logical would like me whereas people who don’t agree with me will find me a tad combative and strong-willed.
Would you describe your life to this point as being generally happy, pretty average, or generally unhappy? Can you briefly explain why?
Perhaps a little of both. I feel like the work I have done thus far has been good but I still feel unfulfilled.
What is the most traumatic thing that has ever happened to you?
A friend died because I let her and aided her in doing something that she thought was right. She went above and beyond where she didn’t have to and she ended up being killed for it.
What is the best thing that has ever happened to you?
Still being born into this line has brought me great joy and I take great pride in it although it’s not been easy bearing the responsibility.
How important are material possessions to you? Do you regard them as a symbol of your success, or a trap, or neither?
They are inconsequential but essential if you need to accomplish a task.
How do your surroundings reflect your success (or lack of it) in life so far?
It is a reminder that I’m lacking in something.
What do your surroundings say about you? (Your house, your car, your kitchen, your bathroom, your workplace.)
That I have no needs.
Do you feel that you have achieved all you are capable of in life?
Absolutely not. Not until I am free from being in the Virgilian line of Maro.
Has your life changed in any way recently?
If your life has changed for the worse lately, what can you do to turn things around?
I suppose that I could scale back on how I feel about where I stand on the Order…but I won’t.
Do you INTEND to change your life in the near future? If so, how and why?
I think that I would like to help the poor somehow but I don’t know quite how yet.
What is the most important goal in your life? (What do you really WANT?)
To make a real difference and not just be a bystander.
And how do you plan to achieve it?
I think that I would like to turn my section into a homeless shelter for abused women and train them to become something. My mother was abused by my father.
What are the likely obstacles to your getting what you want?
I’m not sure that the order would approve of outsiders entering the monastery.
How do you plan to overcome these foreseeable obstacles? What might be the likely result of your actions?
I will try to win the support of Sovereign Francisco and hopefully work on the rest at some point.
If something were to happen to deflect you from reaching your goal, how would you get back on track? Who would you call upon to help you?
I would ask the gardener but what shape that would take I am unclear.
What particular talents or traits do you possess that will help you to get what you want?
I love music and love to play the piano. My father was a concert pianist so I was able to learn from him.
How might you influence others to help you?
With time and a lot of patience and being relational.
What is the biggest thing motivating you to achieve / get what you want?
Feeling constrained in this place. To me watching over the affairs of man through a family line and intervening indirectly is not productive.
Name the character trait or personality weakness that is most likely to prevent you from getting what you want.
The Sovereigns of the Virgilian Order.
How might you compensate for this?
Not sure yet.
Who would you die to protect?
Whoever is in my care.
Who would die to protect you?
There is no one left, I’m afraid, who would fill those shoes.
What is the thing you most fear losing in life? (This might be a person, a possession, or an abstract quality like ‘respect’, ‘freedom’ or ‘credibility’.)
What drives you to do things you might regret later?
The sense that others beside me are standing by and doing nothing. I would rather try and fail but then again I don’t like to lose.
What are you about to do right now – today?
Practicing some Mendelssohn perhaps.
Finish these sentences:
“The most important thing in life is…”
“If there’s one thing that makes me mad it’s…”
“I would lose interest in life if…”
I stayed where I am.
“I can usually get myself out of trouble by…”
Accomplishing something in the interests of the Sovereigns.
“If I encounter a problem in life I work through it by…”
Playing the piano
“I don’t like people who…”
Sit on their rump
“I like people who…”
Care and act upon it.
“My most pressing need right now is…”
Tending to my duties at the order
“One thing I’m determined to achieve in the next month is…”
Seeing that the family line in our care is being guided in the right direction.
“One thing I’m determined to achieve in the next year is…”
Win over Sovereign Francisco.
“My motto in life is: …”
Don’t just sit there, do something.
- “Is there anything else you can tell me about yourself that has a bearing on what you might do or say in any given situation?”
- I think that if someone in the Dante family line were killed as a result of no action I would have someone’s head.
End of Interview
Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed putting that together.
Tomorrow I’m having what’s called a lithroscopy (where they blast your kidney stones) tomorrow so if you’re a praying person I’d appreciate it. I’m going to go play with my kid now before she has to spend the night at a friend’s house.
Leonardo Ramirez is an author of prose fiction and graphic novels.