(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Tovh was written by P. D. Tovh.)
A blast of wintery wind raked through the medieval village streets, and Kelly hugged her cloak close to her as she made her way across the street to the pub there. She let out a sigh of relief when she felt the warmth of the room, and she lowered her hood, ignoring the looks the men gave her when she stepped in. The keeper caught her gaze, tipped his head in recognize then shifted his eyes to the back corner. Kelly followed his gaze and saw an empty table set aside there. Good, they had made preparations for her.
Kelly nodded her thanks and made her way to the table, walking past the fire in the heath, letting the heat wear off some of the numbness to the cold. She took a seat at the table facing the door and waited for her guest to arrive.
Tovh was running late and she knew it. Even as she sprinted through the snow, she worried about whether or not she was dressed right, what might lie beyond the doors of the pub, whether she would be able to answer everything and not fumble her words. Surprising herself, she actually managed to find the pub without a hitch and stumbled inside, a puff of snow following her in. After giving her name at the desk, and giving everyone who chose to stare at her a solid stare of defiance, she headed over to where she could see Kelly sitting at a corner table. She waved and pulled up a chair, grateful for the solid surface. “Hi, I hope I’m not late I was so worried I’d get lost!” Tovh said it on a laugh and got comfortable.
Kelly smiled at her warmly. “Not at all. Don’t worry about it. Care for something warm to drink? It’s a bit cold.” She motioned for the server to come to them. Once they had both placed an order and the server left, Kelly focused her eyes on Tovh and smiled at her once more. “How are you doing today though? Other than worrying about being late for this interview.”
Tovh shrugged and fiddled with the cuff of her jacket for a moment, suddenly feeling a wave of anxiety. “A little nervous,” she said, looking up at Kelly. “But nothing out of the ordinary for me. And you? Did you find the place okay?”
“Absolutely.” Kelly nodded. She felt bad by how nervous people tended to be when they first arrived for an interview, so she set out to resolve that. She leaned forward, resting her forearms on the table as she regarded Tovh and offered her another kind smile. “So, tell me about yourself. What is it that you do in real life? Are you a full-time writer? Or do you have a job on the side?” She tilted her head curiously.
Tovh took a deep breath and settled herself in her chair, nodding to herself, smiling. She could do this. “Hmmmmm. Where to begin…I just got a job as a retail assistant six months ago after finishing two university degrees. Right now I’m focusing on my work and also on getting through my novels. They take a lot of work and are probably bigger than they need to be.” She shrugged. “I suppose that’s what editing is for.” She smiled. “Besides that I’m a classical pianist.”
“Oh wow, I applaud your piano skills. I play the piano well enough, but nerves got the best of me that I was never able to do anything with it, so good for you.” Kelly bowed her head to Tovh then lifted it with a smile once more. “Okay, so when did you first get interested in writing?”
Tovh laughed a little. “I get terrible stage fright. As for writing…wow. I was about six years old, which was…1999. I’d always wanted to write, my parents and teachers used to encourage me. I never started anything big until 2005 though, when I started playing around with a sci-fi fan fiction series.”
“Why did you wait until 2005?” Kelly furrowed her brows as she leaned back in her chair. “What happened that made you decide to actually write?”
Tovh shrugged. “I guess I had so many ideas floating about that I decided it was time to put them down on paper. Prior to that I never thought anything I wrote was good enough, I convinced myself it wasn’t worth it. Despite getting second place in a school literary contest.”
“Not bad at all.” Kelly smiled at her. “So, tell me about your work. Do you write a specific genre? What’s your story about?” Then she paused and gave Tovh an apologetic look. “Sorry, sometimes I get really curious about someone’s writing that I tend to ask more than one question at a time.” Their drinks finally arrived, and Kelly thanked the server, took her drink and sipped on it while waiting for a response from Tovh.
Tovh grinned as her tea arrived and she sipped on it, finding strength in the warm brew. “Well, I started in sci-fi. I grew up watching things like Star Trek and Doctor Who, and it inspired me to write something in that genre. But after a while, I got into historical fiction and steampunk. Thus, Pirates of Time was born. After I hit a three month writing block with that one I decided to dig up an old high fantasy plot line I’d constructed years ago, and build on it. That’s how Dreamstealer, my current book, came into being. Dreamstealer is about a world which has been ravaged by a beast which lives inside the DreamVerse, a realm where dreams and destinies come from. The beast eats people’s dreams and nightmares, and once it eats enough it can enter the real world—Elari—and wreak havoc there. Except Elari is in the grips of a war fueled by prejudice against the only people who could control the beast, so now there’s only one girl left who can save the planet. Dreamstealer is about her journey.” Tovh sipped on her tea again, inwardly cringing at the info dump.
“Fascinating! Seriously, the ideas writers come up with is just amazing.” Kelly had to grin. “Playing with dreams and nightmares and such…that sounds complicated.” She shook her head but then smiled at Tovh once more. “So you said this was an old story? Do you remember what inspired the idea for this story?”
Tovh smirked and nodded, glancing up at Kelly from her tea for a moment as she composed her words. “I’m having difficulties with the plot at the moment because I only had a rough framework, which has changed a lot from the original. As for the Pirates of Time, I’d been toying with the idea of a steampunk alternate history of Earth. So, after a lot of research, I started writing Jeremiah’s story. He’s an ex British Navy captain who was framed for a murder and kicked out of his post. He turned to piracy in 1712, as a means of vengeance against the State, but was still carrying papers which let him legally carry out piratic moves against the Spanish. Although historically those papers were nullified in 1713, Pirates of Time works on the premise that France somehow got a hold of advanced steam-driven technology. Britain’s King George then decided to re-enact Jeremiah’s papers, so he could be sent to France to investigate the rumours. Of course Jeremiah got embroiled in a conspiracy and things… got very complicated from there on.”
Kelly took a drink of her tea as she listened, and then she smiled as she lowered the mug to the table. “Complicated. I like complicated. What more can you tell me? This is intriguing for sure. Who are other characters of the story?”
Tovh sipped on her tea again, trying to remember the details. “Well there’s Jeremiah’s brother, Adrian, who is the main villain. There’s Vivienne Delcroix, a Belgian barmaid who is trying to stop Jeremiah from finding out the truth about the clockwork on orders from a secret society. There’s Jeremiah’s crew, all of them outlaws and vagabonds. Jeremiah’s best friend, Wallace, a Welsh pirate with sarcasm coming out his ears. The mystic who lives in the Jamaican pirate harbour who bears scars and is blind. Jeremiah also has a tiny clockwork sparrow called Sprocket, who is trying to guide him around Calais, where the story is primarily set. A sidekick I suppose.”
“Sounds like quite a crew. Now you said Jeremiah’s brother is the main villain—what is he after? What’s his goal?” Kelly then paused and lifted her hand to halt Tovh. “If you can tell me without spoiling the story that is.” With another smile, she lowered her and to allow Tovh to continue, curious as to what Adrian’s motives might be.
Tovh laughed a little and shook her head. “That won’t spoil it. Adrian is a wild card right now, but from what I can gather, part of his goal is to stop his brother from succeeding at anything. There’s another part to it too, and I think it has something to do with the secret society behind the clockwork. They’re two sides of one battle, really. Jeremiah wants peace and unity, whereas Adrian wants to obliterate both France and Britain and reshape the planet with… some help. Which I can’t say anything about because /that/ will ruin it.” Tovh winked and sipped on her tea, grinning a little.
“Ah, so basically the traditional sibling rivalry? I like it!” Kelly grinned. “So what would you like your readers to take from your story, or remember most about your story once they’ve read it?” She tilted her head, observing Tovh.
Tovh frowned in thought for a moment at Kelly’s question. “Hmm. That’s a tricky one. I think mostly I’d like readers to take not just enjoyment from Pirates of Time, but also to think outside the box for solutions. Jeremiah has to do a lot of creative thinking in the novel, and sometimes it doesn’t end so well. But other times it works out just right. I suppose it’s also a cautionary tale about politics, and how sometimes its not possible to know the full story behind the words no matter how transparent they are.”
Kelly nodded when she heard this. “Far too true, unfortunately.” She shook her head. Then she lifted her gaze to the clock on the wall and sighed, looking back at Tovh. “Well, Tovh, unfortunately our time is about up, but I’ve quite enjoyed this!” She smiled at her. “Thank you so much for coming and telling me all about your story. I hope you the very best. It sounds quite intriguing. You will keep me posted on developments, right?”
Tovh nodded enthusiastically, grinning. “Of course I will! Thank you for interviewing me it was a great experience.”
“I’m glad you think so! See? Nothing to be nervous about! But of course, that never stops anyone from being nervous.” Kelly chuckled as she rose to her feet. “I can’t wait to see which character you’ll have me meet. It will be fun.”
Tovh stood and nodded graciously. “I don’t even know where to begin! There are so many of them. I look forward to the next interview.”
“Me too. Come, I’ll walk out with you.” Kelly motioned to the door, and they walked out together.
P. D. Tovh’s book ‘Pirates of Time’ is not yet published and does not have a release date set yet. However, follow her on social media for updates!:
FB Author page: https://www.facebook.com/AdmiralCarter/
Blog (Literary Wanderings): https://literarywanderings1.wordpress.com/