8 December 2016

And the Best Suporting Role Is: Lurio

Join a selection of fabulous authors and their
Supporting Role Characters
Twitter #SupportingRole



We all know the protagonist is the hero (or anti-hero!) of a novel. He or she usually has a companion main character, often the ‘love interest’ or maybe the stalwart side-kick, but what about that next rank down: the supporting role guy or gal? You know, the one who doesn’t get Best Actor, but Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars. I thought it time that some of these supporting cast characters had a chance to step from the shadows of novels and have a turn in the limelight.

So, a rousing round of applause please for…Cornelius Lurio
a Supporting Role Character from 
The Roma Nova Series
by Alison Morton



Helen: Hello, I believe you appear in Alison Morton’s novels, INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS and SUCCESSIO.  Would you like to introduce yourself?
So gracious of her to fit me in (snorts). In INCEPTIO I’m an Inspector in the Department of Justice Custodes – police to you. In PERFIDITAS, I’ve been promoted to Commander and in SUCCESSIO, Senior Commander of the Urban Cohorts, Roma Nova. Oh, and as you’re an English speaker, custodes is pronounced cust-oh-days.


Helen: what role do you play in the novels?
Role? Ha! I’m the one who chivvies the so-called super hero Carina Mitela along and clears up the mess she makes. I’m a simple policeman, not like that glamorous Praetorian Guard lot she belongs to. Okay, in INCEPTIO I assist the Justice Minister – damned desk job mostly – then later in SUCCESSIO I run the entire urban police force for my sins.

Helen: No spoilers. But are you a ‘goody’ or a ‘baddie’? (Or maybe you are both!)
What sort of a question is that, for Mercury’s sake? Are you some kind of do-gooder? The custodes (cust-oh-days, remember) keep law and order in Roma Nova. They’re police. End of.


Helen: So you support the lead character? Who is she? Tell tell us a little bit about her.
When I first met Carina Mitela, I thought she was some little rich girl amateur, dabbling in serious matters, a complete nuisance who’d scream and run away if a mouse squeaked at her. Then I saw her in the arena at her gym. Pluto, she managed to down Mossia Antonia, the five times champion gladiatrix. And she turned out to have great instincts for undercover work. She completed a hard assignment well and kept her cover in trying circumstances. Kudos to her. Oh, and she wiggles her arse nicely.

Helen: Now be honest – what do you really think of this lead character!
You take what I’m going to say now out of this room and I’ll throw the whole Lex Custodum at you. Or I might settle for less and have your hide.
She’s hellish irritating, goes off piste all the time but so persistent and dedicated that I usually forgive her. She’s one of the most intelligent and effective undercover operatives I’ve ever had the privilege to work with. Gets a bit emotional at times, though, and has a big mouth on her. She’s pretty nifty in bed as well, but the less spoken of that, the better. I was devastated when she made a different choice, but I’ll sail over the Styx before I show her or anybody else that I cared. Just remember that.

Helen: Do you like being the ‘supporting role’ or do you wish you could have a lead part in a book of your own?
Support? Isn’t that what we scarabs always do. Oh, you didn’t know that’s what the public call us? (Gives interviewer a look as if explaining the obvious to a one day recruit) Scarab is a dung beetle that processes shit. That’s what we police do. A book of my own? What in Hades would readers find of interest in my life?


Helen: What is one of your least favourite scenes?
How much time have you got? The first time I sat down and worked with Mitela, it was at her place and she was so up herself. Okay, I’d been a bit rude to her the day before... I’ll let her tell the story:

Of course, Lurio picked holes in it [the plan] – out of perverseness, I thought at first. But to be fair, he was right about some of his points. When he stopped being so prickly, he was easy to work with and sharp with it. I could see why he was Fulvia’s special assistant. We identified the areas I needed training in, but thankfully they were few, mostly spook stuff.

We reached a natural break when something occurred to me. ‘If this operation is deep-cover then why are you here?’

‘Sorry?’

‘What’s the reason for you coming to see me? I haven’t done anything criminal yet and Aemilia Fulvia isn’t here with my grandmother, so you can’t have tagged along with her.’
He flushed again. Really, it was fascinating watching a tough nut like Lurio doing such a girls’ thing.
‘It doesn’t matter.’

‘Really?’ I raised my eyebrow.

‘Will you stop saying that in such a superior way?’

A few moments passed in silence.

‘The cover story is that I’m seeing you,’ he mumbled.

‘What!’ I burst into laughter.

He looked like thunder. His chin jutted out and deep vertical lines appeared between his brows.

‘You can’t be serious,’ I retorted.

‘I wouldn’t be the first man in uniform you’ve boffed.’

Helen: and your most favourite?
That’s easy! When Mitela was undercover, she used the code name Bruna. She was detained by the Praetorian Guard Special Forces after the operation take-down. I went to recover her at their barracks and had the pleasure of wiping the smile off that Praetorian major’s face when he realised who my undercover agent was. It was so funny I nearly pissed myself. She tells it best:
Lurio.
He didn’t greet me or say anything else. He straightened up and fixed me with an intense stare. A warning. Absolutely no mistake. I stayed silent, but my thoughts were unprintable. He was so lucky my hands weren’t free.
[The Praetorian major] dismissed the guards. He glanced at me then turned a full-strength glare on Lurio. ‘Is this really your agent, Inspector?’
‘It certainly is, Major.’ He smiled at me. ‘Hello, Bruna.’

‘Hello, sir.’

[The major]’s eyes locked on to me. He stared at me as if I were a Martian. His disbelief was obvious. Despite feeling cold, tired and furious, a glimmer of smugness stirred in me.
Lurio beamed an extra-friendly smile at me, his shoulder turned away from [the major].
‘Have you eaten recently?’
His faux concern was overdone, I thought. He was relishing getting one over the oh-so-clever PGSF.

Helen: Thank you – that was really interesting – I look forward to meeting you again in ‘your’ novel!
Pleasure. Now I must get back to work. The duty custos will see you out.


Helen: Now something for the intrepid author to answer. You can invite six fictional characters (not your own!) to Christmas Dinner – who will they be?
(It would be Saturnalia on 17 December rather than Christmas)
Falco and Helena from Lindsey Davis’s Roman detective series
Sally Gilmartin from William Boyd’s Restless
Deb Grantham and Max Ravenscar from Georgette Heyer’s Faro’s Daughter
Gordianus the Finder from Steven Saylor’s Roma Sub Rosa series


Links
Connect with Alison on her Roma Nova site: 
Twitter  @alison-morton

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Buying links (multiple retailers/formats):

INSURRECTIO:

Come back tomorrow to meet the next Supporting Role Character 

Here's the full list of authors and their characters  - links will be added as each character makes his or her entrance

6th     Inge H Borg and Vergil
7th    Matthew Harffy and Coenred
8th     Alison Morton
9th     Regina Jeffers
10th   Anna Belfrage
11th   Christoph Fischer
12th   Pauline Barclay
13th   Antoine Vanner
14th   Annie Whitehead
15th   Derek Birks
16th   Carolyn Hughes
17th   Helen Hollick


7 December 2016

... And the Best Supporting Role is: Coenred

Join a selection of fabulous authors and their
Supporting Role Characters
Twitter #SupportingRole


We all know the protagonist is the hero (or anti-hero!) of a novel. He or she usually has a companion main character, often the ‘love interest’ or maybe the stalwart side-kick, but what about that next rank down: the supporting role guy or gal? You know, the one who doesn’t get Best Actor, but Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars. I thought it time that some of these supporting cast characters had a chance to step from the shadows of novels and have a turn in the limelight.

So, a rousing round of applause please for…Coenred.
a Supporting Role Character from The Serpent Sword
by Matthew Harffy



Helen: Hello, I believe you appear in Matthew Harffy’s Bernicia Chronicles series. Would you like to introduce yourself?
Coenred: Well met. I do indeed play my own part in the tales that begin with The Serpent Sword. But whilst it is fair to say that much of the saga follows the exploits of my warrior friend, Beobrand, I am not a man of war. I now reside on the Holy Island of Lindisfarena, where I do my best to follow the word of our Lord and to obey the orders of Abbot Aidan.


Helen: what role do you play in the novels? 
Coenred: I found Beobrand when he was sorely wounded after a great battle. I nursed him back to health and we have been firm friends ever since. I have saved his life more than once, and he mine. We are very different in temperament, and I often disagree with Beobrand’s quests for vengeance. We are told by Jesu that whosoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. It is not easy for any man to live by this, but Beobrand is a thegn now. A sword warrior, who has killed many men. And he will never turn his cheek to his enemy. I see much sadness in Beobrand, and I wish I could make him see that he could find peace if only he would listen to the words of the Christ. Alas, I fear his ears are deaf to God’s voice.

Helen: No spoilers. But are you a ‘goody’ or a ‘baddie’? (Or maybe you are both!)
Coenred: No man is without sin, but I strive to do good. When surrounded by so much hatred and conflict it is not easy, but I have never lifted a weapon against another of God’s children. I am not proud to speak of this, but I did once strike a man with my fist, but brother Gothfraidh told me I could not be held responsible for my actions then. I was brought before the king himself then. I remember all the eyes of the great men gathered in the hall staring at me. It was terrible… But let us talk of other things.

Helen: So you support the lead character? Who is he and tell us a little bit about him?
Coenred: Beobrand is now sung of by the scops in the mead halls. He came from Cantware far to the south. He was nothing more than a son of a ceorl then; a farm boy. But he is tall and strong and when he took up shield, spear and seax, he found that he was gifted in death-dealing. He has served many lords with honour and his sword is feared by all foemen of Northumbria. He is a thegn now, with land and a warband of his own. He is my friend and I pray for him daily. Sorrow and grief hang over him like a cloud, and he has had more than a normal man’s share of adversity. But Beobrand is no normal man.

Helen: Now be honest – what do you really think of this lead character!
Coenred: I love him like the older brother I never had, and I believe he looks upon me with fondness. But I have seen him wielding his great sword, Hrunting. I have stood by and watched as he has cut down his enemies as a farmer scythes barley. The battle-lust comes upon him at such times and I am not ashamed to say that he frightens me then.

Helen: Do you like being the ‘supporting role’ or do you wish you could have a lead part in a book of your own?
Coenred: What a strange question! We each have our place in the world. Mine is not to be a hero, standing in shieldwalls, feeding the wolves and ravens. But I am of course the lead part in my own tale, and I have done many things in my life and I am still young. I have witnessed a great gift-giving in the hall of Bebbanburg, scribed a treaty between Mercia and Northumbria, attended a royal wedding in Wessex, and visited the Isle of Hii far to the north and west. I have done all these things and more. Perhaps one day I will travel all the way to the Holy city of Roma. Only the Lord can say what life has in store for me.

Helen: What is one of your least favourite scenes?
Coenred: I prefer not to speak of it. I try not to even think of it, but the dark memories sometimes return to me in my dreams. It was shortly after meeting Beobrand. He had yet to recover from his wounds when some Waelisc warriors came to the settlement where I lived. The people fled into the forest. I ran and hid with Beobrand inside a great hollow tree. I can recall the scent of the wood and leaf mould even now. When we returned to the village, we found my sister, Tata, had not run quickly enough…

I loved her so much, and now I can only seem to see her as we found her then…

No, I will speak of this no more.

Helen: and your most favourite?
I remember helping King Oswald hand out gifts to his thegns and warriors after the battle of Hefenfelth. I was terrified to be standing there before so many great men, but it was a happy time. A time of feasting and laughter. Beobrand had helped bring victory to the king and so he was rewarded. I often remember how he smiled then, with his woman, the beautiful Sunniva, at his side.

Helen: Thank you – that was really interesting – I look forward to meeting you again in ‘your’ novel!
Coenred: It has been my pleasure. Now, I do believe I am late for Vespers. Gothfraidh does go on so, if I am not there on time.


Helen: Now something for the intrepid author to answer. You can invite six fictional characters (not your own!) to Christmas Dinner – who will they be? 
Well, if it is for dinner, I suppose I should choose three of each gender, to balance the seating arrangements. I would invite the following characters, who I think would provide us with a great amount of entertainment. For the men I would invite Captain Augustus McCrae from Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, Druss from David Gemmell’s Legend and Sir Richard Francis Burton from Philip Jose Farmer’s To Your Scattered Bodies Go (I know he was a real person, but he is one of the main characters in Farmer’s classic science fiction Riverworld series). As for the ladies, I would invite Hermione Granger from J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter series, Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Arc (hey, you said fictional, you didn’t say from books!) and Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Gus McCrae is an incorrigible flirt and would spend the evening bragging to the ladies. I think he’d end up taking Marion home with him, or they’d both get so drunk they would have to stay in a spare bedroom. Druss and Sir Richard would regale each other with accounts of their adventures – what an amazing conversation that would be, both legends in their lifetimes due to their prowess in battle amongst other things. I’m not sure Druss, the axe-wielding champion of the Drenai Tales would approve of Burton and all of his escapades, but I think he would be open minded enough to find respect for the great swordsman, linguist, translator, explorer and writer.

Hermione and Rey would hit it off, I think. Both are powerful, strong young women who are not afraid to stand up and fight for what is right. And I would love to be able to grill Rey on her past and find out once and for all who her parents might be…although it is very possible that she would not be able to help me there.



Author info:
Matthew Harffy is the author of the Bernicia Chronicles, a series of novels set in seventh century Britain. The first of the series, The Serpent Sword, was published by Aria/Head of Zeus on 1st June 2016. The sequel, The Cross and The Curse was released on 1st August 2016. Book three, Blood and Blade, is due for publication in December 2016.



Book info and links:
The Serpent Sword, The Cross and the Curse and Blood and Blade are available on Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, and all good online bookstores.
Killer of Kings and Kin of Cain are available for pre-order on Amazon and all good online bookstores.
Contact links:



Come back tomorrow to meet the next Supporting Role Character 

Here's the full list of authors and their characters  - links will be added as each character makes his or her entrance

6th     Inge H Borg and Vergil - YESTERDAY'S GUEST
7th    Matthew Harffy and Coenred
8th     Alison Morton
9th     Regina Jeffers
10th   Anna Belfrage
11th   Christoph Fischer
12th   Pauline Barclay
13th   Antoine Vanner
14th   Annie Whitehead
15th   Derek Birks
16th   Carolyn Hughes
17th   Helen Hollick