I got some kind responses last week when I posted the character interview on Rose that I thought I should follow it up with one of the main character in the novel, Haven. Before I go into that I want to once again thank my friends and family for the thoughts and prayers that went out during my lithroscopy last week. It’s a minor procedure (where they blast kidney stones) but the anesthesia did wreak some havoc on me and it’s taken a little bit to recover but I am feeling like myself again. Thanks so much.
Also, we’ve got GMX coming up on October 21-23. If you’d like more information on that please visit http://www.geekmediaexpo.com and get your tickets. You won’t be disappointed.
Anyway, on to the interview. Please keep in mind that Haven is answering these questions as she was at the beginning of our story.
Character Interview: Haven Irena Dante
What’s your name?
Haven Irena Dante
How old are you?
What do you look like? If you had to describe yourself as though you were talking about someone else, what would you say?
Brown eyes, olive to fair skin, short (about 5’4”) long hair that I like to leave up in a ponytail.
What are your speech patterns like?
I speak clearly and concisely. Never rude but I say what I mean. Intelligent but relaxed.
Can you think of someone on TV or on radio that speaks in a similar way?
Charlize Theron. She also reminds me of my mom.
Do you sometimes lie?
No, I won’t.
“White lies” or significant lies?
None, I just won’t.
Can people usually tell when you’re lying or are you a really accomplished liar? Is your whole life a lie?
Yes because people assume I’m happy because I have a lot of money.
What is your usual facial expression?
Don’t smile a lot unless I’m with someone that I really like. Pensive when I’m alone and happy when I’m around close people that I enjoy.
Are people drawn to your warmth, cheerfulness, or are you seen as quiet / dour / grim / humorless / reserved / etc?
People think I’m reserved and quiet but it’s just that I’m a one person friend. I’m not much into crowds.
Does your face reflect the ‘inner you’ or are looks deceiving?
I would say that looks are deceiving.
How do you handle anger?
One big burst and then after a while it subsides depending on the subject. If it’s relational then it lingers for a long time.
Are you slow to anger or easy to annoy?
Slow to anger but easy to annoy.
Are people afraid of you, and if so is this justified?
Yes they are despite that I think that I’m very unassuming.
How do you react to confrontation?
I’m usually pretty kind until I see the person is not going to listen and then I call them a jerk.
Would you give anything for a quiet life or do you enjoy winning an argument or a fight?
I’d rather live a quiet life. The only time I’ll fight is when I have to or when someone is being bullied. I hate bullies.
How much power do you wield at home, in the workplace, and in social situations?
I think my mom feels sorry for me because of the way my dad treats me which always works in my favor! At school, my friends are always asking me questions about schoolwork and that’s all they want me for is that and the money. I don’t buy into it and end up making people mad in the end so I don’t bother reaching out.
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 would say I feel powerless but not weak. I feel powerless because there are a lot of things about my circumstances that I can’t change.
What (in your opinion) would be the first impression most people get when they meet you?
Rich girl with no friends and has everything she needs or ever wanted but they’re mistaken. They don’t know me at all.
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? I would say people make the wrong judgment about me until you get to know me and then it’s what you see is what you get.
What is your level of education?
I’m about to graduate from high school.
Has what you have been obtained by ‘street smarts’ or ‘book smarts’? Mostly book smarts but what I’ve learned relationally comes from living in a dysfunctional home with dad mostly gone. Sometimes it’s better when he’s not around. I feel freer.
Where do you live?
With my parents in Charity Vane.
Are you happy or discontented in the relationship / this family?
I’m happy with my mom. I’m glad when dad’s away because when he’s there all he does is make mom sad that he’s so aloof. I’m past feeling frustrated about the whole thing and I’m ready to move on with my life.
If no, would you like to be in a relationship / part of a different family?
I don’t know. I’m very much used to the dysfunction as sad as that sounds.
Who is your best friend? (If you have one). When did this relationship start? What makes you friends? Soledad Alden. We met in the third grade when our dads dropped us off at school and didn’t like each other much. We became friends to spite them.
Who is your enemy / who do you dislike most? Why? When did this dislike start, and why?
I would say my biggest enemy is myself. The stuff that I hold on to and the anger that I have towards my father. I’m hoping that someday I can forgive him.
Who else is in your circle of acquaintances? Who would you turn to in times of trouble? I think that because I hold onto stuff I don’t have a lot of friends outside of Sol and Mom.
If there is anyone in your circle that might betray you, who would it be?
Dad. He already has.
Is there anyone you would not expect to betray you? How would you feel/react if they did?
Sol would never betray me. We grew up together except on opposite sides with her being poor and me being rich.
How would you describe your personality? What are your best points & assets?
I don’t like to get into other people’s business unless someone is hurting and then I can’t help myself. Deeply emotional but don’t always show it. As I said before, powerless but not weak. I’m very loyal to the point of hurting myself in a bad relationship. Deep thinker. Sometimes I think too much.
What are your flaws or weaknesses? Physically I’m really short. Emotionally, I can only handle being a friend to one person at a time which makes me a loyalist but I’ll be kind to others while not necessarily allowing them to get too close. I’m afraid of heights and I have asthma.
If there was one thing about your LOOKS that you could change, what would it be?
I’d probably just be a little taller.
If there was one thing about your PERSONALITY that you could change, what would it be?
I wish I was a little more outgoing and not hold on to stuff so much.
What makes you likeable? Are you likeable enough for people to want to spend extended periods of time with you? I’m a good listener and I’m able to empathize with a person.
What makes you unlikeable? Is this a chronic problem or can you change?
Sometimes I say too much where I should keep my mouth shut. I can be direct at times and hurt people.
What type of people would like you, and who might not like you? People who live a lie would not like me. People who don’t care about money would like me.
Would you describe your life to this point as being generally happy, pretty average, or generally unhappy? Can you briefly explain why? Half and half. My mom makes me happy but my dad irritates the tar out of me.
What is the most traumatic thing that has ever happened to you? My dad didn’t give me anything for Christmas because I didn’t get straight A’s. My mom got me stuff though…with a vengeance. Also, my brother died a little after he was born. My dad drowned himself in his work from that point and my mom is very protective of me as a result.
What is the best thing that has ever happened to you?
My mom bought me a motorcycle just to get back at dad.
How important are material possessions to you? Do you regard them as a symbol of your success, or a trap, or neither? Really don’t care either way but I’ve never had to do without so I can’t say.
How do your surroundings reflect your success (or lack of it) in life so far? I think that I’ve been trapped into being ashamed of my good grades and good behavior only because they are so pleasing to my dad.
What do your surroundings say about you? (Your house, your car, your kitchen, your bathroom, your workplace.) That I have no needs. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Do you feel that you have achieved all you are capable of in life?
I won’t until I’m free of what it means to be a Dante.
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 can’t wait until I graduate so that I can go to college and live my own life.
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 not be identified with my father. I’d like to be an artist or a teacher.
And how do you plan to achieve it?
Going to college and majoring in art.
What are the likely obstacles to your getting what you want?
Dad being pushy about what I want to do. He’s aloof but he’s always talking about me accomplishing great things in life and doing good. I have no idea what he’s talking about.
How do you plan to overcome these foreseeable obstacles? What might be the likely result of your actions? I can see me and dad clashing about what I want to do with my life. Leaving and going to college. I can see dad not wanting to pay for it because of what I might major in (art) but I have no problem with working my way through school.
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 mom for help and I know that she would. She wants me to be happy.
What particular talents or traits do you possess that will help you to get what you want? I love to paint and I’m a good listener. I also explain things very well so I think I would make a good teacher.
How might you influence others to help you? I’m not really worried about that. I’ve always done things on my own anyway with a little help from my mom.
What is the biggest thing motivating you to achieve / get what you want? The biggest thing would be moving away from the family and all of the things that identify me with my last name.
Name the character trait or personality weakness that is most likely to prevent you from getting what you want. I’m a loyalist so I might be afraid of leaving my mom.
How might you compensate for this?
Don’t plan to.
Who would you die to protect?
Who would die to protect you?
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’.) Mom, freedom, and creativity.
What drives you to do things you might regret later? My home life. I don’t want to leave mom but I do want to leave home so I’m pulled in that respect.
What are you about to do right now – today? I was thinking of getting on my bike and going to the art supply store and bringing home some paint supplies.
Finish these sentences:
“The most important thing in life is…”
Family…at least it should be.
“If there’s one thing that makes me mad it’s…”
“I would lose interest in life if…”
I had to go into business. Or if I lost my mom.
“I can usually get myself out of trouble by…”
Sucking up to mom!
“If I encounter a problem in life I work through it by…”
Going to mom or Sol
“I don’t like people who…”
“I like people who…”
“My most pressing need right now is…”
Getting through high school
“One thing I’m determined to achieve in the next month is…”
Applying for art scholarships.
“One thing I’m determined to achieve in the next year is…”
“My motto in life is: …”
Don’t be a jerk.
“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 would fly off the handle if my dad told me that he wanted me to major in business. I’d probably run away if that happened.
End of Interview
Hope you enjoyed that. It really helped me to cement the characters as a whole and to understand how they would react in any given situation so if you’re a writer, I highly recommend the character interview as part of the writing process.
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Leonardo Ramirez is an author of prose fiction and graphic novels. For more information, visit http://www.leonardoverse.com
Thanks for reading!