I once heard that PL Travers, author of the Mary Poppins books became incensed when someone asked her how she thought of Mary Poppins. She replied that she didn’t create Mary Poppins, but that Mary Poppins just found her.
My characters often take charge of the story. It’s all a part of the magic of writing fiction. Interviewing your characters is a great way to get to know them as a writer.
My interview with Helgi below discusses her character’s role in ‘Julu’ below. Helgi is a Nixie water spirit whose initial intentions are less than honorable. In fact, she is sent to kill Lucy. Helgi’s initial encounter at the lighthouse with the magical white wolf, Ban and the child, Lucy doesn’t go as planned, when she makes the surprising discovery that Lucy is also part Nixie. Helgi is a ‘diamond-in-the-rough’ character and one of my favorites. Just don’t tell her I said so.
Jan: Helgi, you’re one of the most intriguing characters I’ve met so far.
Helgi: Well, I am a Nixie. We are rather special.
Jan: Yes, well-
Helgi: Kidding. Although I do have a question for you.
Jan: What’s that?
Helgi: The mutt. Did you really have to have her lick my hand? Ugh. I shudder every time I think about it. I mean, I seriously don’t do dog slobber.
Jan: She’s not a dog.
Helgi: Wolf, dog, all the same to me.
Jan: She loves you.
Helgi: Are you insane? She tried to eat me the first time we met.
Jan: Not exactly.
Helgi: Close enough. By the way, couldn’t you have taught me how to play chess? I mean before I got back to the lighthouse?
Jan: Aw, come on. It wouldn’t have been nearly as fun.
Helgi: You writers have a very unusual definition of fun.
Jan: You’re not the first one to tell me that.
Helgi: No, really? Imagine that.
Jan: We’re getting off track. Let’s see. I know there was something I wanted to ask you.
Helgi: I have a question for you while you figure it out.
Jan: Go for it.
Helgi: When this story is over, will the child escape?
Jan: I can’t tell you that. It isn’t written yet.
Helgi: Drown me in the river.
Jan: You like to say that don’t you? But Nixies can’t drown. You’re water spirits.
Helgi: Duh. That’s what makes it funny. Did you figure out what you wanted to ask me?
Jan: Yes. I never imagined you would become such a major character in the book. It wasn’t my plan for you. Did you always know or was it a surprise to you too?
Helgi: Let’s see now. How can I put this? Nixies have the gift of prophecy and foresight. Of course I knew. Is the sun yellow? Don’t answer that.
Jan: Oh, come on. Just because the sun is a different color in The World Between…
Helgi: Okay, okay. I didn’t exactly know for sure. My role ended up being, uh, well, a lot different than I expected.
Jan: But you like it, right? Funny you should ask me if the child escapes, I mean, with your gift of prophecy and all.
Helgi: Quite the comedian aren’t we? Don’t give up your day job.
Jan: Actually I was kind of hoping to do just that. But hey, you’re the one who grabbed this part of the story and ran with it.
Helgi: I did, didn’t I? I can’t imagine not having my little sidekick, though.
Jan: She’s a sweetheart.
Helgi: She’s beyond amazing. In fact, I can almost forgive you for the wolf slobber considering that.
Helgi: Don’t mention it.
Helgi: I’m serious. Don’t mention it.
Jan: Yes, Ma’am.
Helgi: Now we’re talking. But, hey, I have to get back. It’s my turn to wish for supper tonight.
Jan: You’re still doing that?”
Helgi: We are. It’s the highlight of my week. Actually of my life.
Jan: You gave up a lot. To save Lucy, I mean.
Helgi: I gained a great deal more.
Jan: You’ve changed for the better.
Helgi: Yeah, well, do me a favor. Don’t tell anyone.
Jan: It’s a deal.
*Julu is available on Amazon in hardcover, paperback, audiobook and ebook formats.