This is the final interview I’ve done with characters from my second novel, In the Enemy’s Service, due out two weeks from tomorrow. Take a look at the first one, the interview with Anya, to read why I’ve been interviewing people from my world and where I got the idea in the first place.
1. Do you like your job? Why or why not?
Dannel chuckles. “I love my job! There’s nothing like the thrill of successful deception. Of course, that’s only a small part of what I do. I’m in the intelligence business, and deception is just one of the means I employ. It’s quite fulfilling, negotiating for the best possible price and then delivering critical information, usually to desperate people. But I offer other services too. If you ever need anyone taken out of the way, for example, I’m sure we could work something out.”
Dannel affects a look of surprise. “You have more than one question? You’ve only paid me for one answer.”
2. Do you have any friends? Significant others?
3. What is your idea of success?
“Infiltrating a target group, finding out exactly what I need to know while making them think they’re the ones I’m helping out, and convincing them to pay me for whatever I tell them I’m doing for them. Then simply disappearing afterward; and – depending on the mission – they might never see me again before they feel my dagger between their shoulder blades. And then returning to my grateful employer and getting paid even more to deliver the information I’ve learned, all the while planning the best time to sell him out to his enemies.”
4. What do you hate?
He doesn’t seem to have heard me, his eyes darting back and forth among the other patrons of the tavern. I resist the urge to glance behind me to see who he’s watching. Finally I realize why he hasn’t answered. Counting the questions remaining on my sheet, I reach into my pocket and hand him eight more coins. He counts them silently before sliding them into his own pocket.
5. What do you do in your spare time?
“Plan out the next job. Design disguises. Keep an eye on people and situations to see how I could use them for profit.”
6. What did you have for breakfast?
“Today? Venison and fried potatoes at the Alasian army camp. They’ve been on short rations since the Invasion, so there wasn’t much of it. I bought some bread and fruit as soon as I got into Almar.”
7. Did you ever have a pet? Describe it.
“No. Pets mean attachment.”
8. Do you believe in luck? Why?
“Of course I do. I make luck. The ingredients are careful preparation and quick thinking.”
9. What is your favorite scent? Why?
He considers this for a moment. “Skin paint.”
10. What is the strangest thing you have ever seen?
11. What is the most frightening thing that has ever happened to you?
Dannel’s eyes grow distant. “It was a long time ago, back near the beginning of my career. I was working for a group of seafaring raiders; you know, the ones who attack coastal towns in those fast little ships, steal what they can, and then disappear among the rocky offshore islands. They were paying me to help identify the best targets. Long story short, the Alasian navy finally caught up with them, and there was a battle off the northwest coast. I was on one of the raiders’ ships at the time; they were outnumbered, and we got boarded. We all jumped overboard and tried to swim for shore, but most of us were caught and hauled on board one of the navy vessels. It was winter, and I was wet and freezing and terrified I’d get killed or stuffed in a prison along with the raiders. I was very young back then,” Dannel explains apologetically. “But I managed to work it out in my favor. I talked the captain into a deal, and ended up trading the location of their base for my freedom, a set of dry clothes, and ten gold coins.” He sighs, remembering. “I still regret not demanding twenty.”