Ever tried to interview the protagonist of a novel, your own in particular way? Here’s my stab at it.
Let me introduce you to Ally Cervantes as interviewed by a local paper:
A young twenty something young man, Jason Redding, newspaper reporter from The Traverse City Record Eagle, (a larger town near Lake Surrender, Michigan) has showed up at the camp where Ally Cervantes works. He is there to interview the main character of the book, Lake Surrender. Ms. Cervantes greets the writer with a wave of a blue checkered dishtowel in the camp’s kitchen as she finishes drying a pot. She is surrounded by a countertop of dirty cooking dishes that need to be tackled.
“Afternoon, Ms. Cervantes,” says the reporter.
“Oh, hi, just cleaning up from making dinner for 200 campers. Have a seat.” She points to a chair at the table where the staff eats. Looking at Ms. Cervantes in faded jeans and tee shirt, one would never believe she was a high powered editor in San Francisco only months ago.
“I understand this is quite a change from your previous employment,” states Redding.
“You might say that. I thought my life was set, working in San Francisco as an acquisition editor for the top children’s publishing company. Never pictured myself moving.”
“Do you mind telling me how you came to be a cook here?”
“It’s quite a complicated journey. Oh, excuse me, Benjie my son’s wandering off again.” She flies out of the kitchen and down the lodge’s hallway to chase down her son who has autism.
“Sorry,” she pants, out of breath, returning with son in hand. “He’s a bolter. Benjie, say hello to Mr. Redding.”
A small boy with whitish blonde hair slowly raises his head and meets the reporter’s eyes. He says hi and then quickly lowers his head.
“Looking you straight in the eye is quite an accomplishment,” said Ally. “I credit the wonderful camp staff and my aunt with for bringing him this far. They’ve really loved him.” She flips back her red curly hair with one hand to cool off the back of her neck in the hot camp kitchen that needs air conditioning. The kitchen is old with fixtures needing updating.
“Why did you decided to work at a Christian camp? I understand you weren’t very religious when you came here,” said Redding.
“Still not. I’m practical and it always seemed a waste of time. But I’ve learned there’s a spiritual side of life. Learning about God’s character has changed my life and enabled me to be less snarky and more forgiving to others, like my ex-husband.”
“Not to say forgiving myself. You’re talking to the most stubborn person in the world. Forgiveness hasn’t come easy.”
“True, it never does. And moving on to another subject- how has the adjustment been moving from a very sophisticated West Coast urban area to this small northern community?”
“Well there’s a side of me that misses California. But, you’ll never find a more peaceful sweet town anywhere. There’s something special about this lake. Its serenity draws people here.”
The reporter jots down a few more notes and turned the page in his notepad. “Do you think you’ll ever marry again? I mean, someone taking on a teenage daughter and autistic son, well, that’s a lot to handle. I mean, uh I guess that’s a personal question.”
Ally pauses and a tiny smile creeps up her face. “Probably not… but in this place anything’s possible.”