Via GypsyScarlett, I learned of Ralfast’s Writer’s Challenge to do an interview with a character in one of your stories. If you want in on the fun, the deadline has been extended to May 31. I thought this would be a great way to tease a little extra info out of my laconic vampire, Andrej. It seems he’s still better at this game than I am, though. I got a little, but I think we’ll have to do a far more in-depth chat as soon as I can track him down again.
The story, with a working title of “Revenants Abroad” is about a man who became a vampire, and how he copes with life as such. A large part of the story is set in Prague (subject to change without notice).
We met at his favorite café along the Moldau River in Prague, just after the lunch rush when the crowds had thinned out. I knew he didn’t like to talk about himself, but I was hoping I’d be able to tease some information out of him if I let him choose a spot he was comfortable in. I decided to get the ball rolling with the basics.
“Thanks for meeting me here. So, what is your full name? ”
He grinned and lit what would be the first of many cigarettes. “Andrej Lukáš Konstantin Vojacek.”
I smiled back. “I like the sound of that. Have you ever had any nicknames, maybe as a child?”
He thought a moment while he smoked. “You know, I can’t remember. That was a long time ago.”
“But none now?”
“No. I’m not usually around anyone long enough to pick one up. Well, there’s one guy, another vampire I’ve known for a long time, who sometimes calls me a few unprintable names. But I do use aliases from time to time, when I have to move around.”
I nodded. “I imagine it’s safer that way. Would you mind describing yourself for the readers?”
“That might be tricky. I haven’t actually seen myself in a long time. Maybe you could do it more accurately.”
“So that mirror thing is true? I’d be more interested in hearing what you think other people notice about you,” I said, not willing to let him take charge of our little chat.
“Let’s see. I remember my eyes are green, and I’ve been told they have a youthful innocence. That comes in handy.”
“I can imagine.”
“My hair’s kind of light brown if I haven’t gone gray…”
“You haven’t,” I assured him.
“…curlier than I would have liked, but what can you do? I’m about six-foot-two, slender, and very pale,” he finished, with mock seriousness.
“Luckily you come from a land not exactly renowned for sunbathing. You’re Czech, correct?”
“Yes, born and raised in Prague.” He put out one cigarette and immediately lit another.
“Do you have any hobbies?” I couldn’t imagine him building model ships, but he was generally full of surprises.
“Hobbies? They come and go.” He shrugged. “At the moment I’d say drinking coffee, smoking, people watching. When I’m not hunting.”
He looked at me with one eyebrow raised and dragged on his cigarette without saying anything.
“Oh right.” I wanted to smack myself in the forehead. “Ok, can you tell me about your family?”
He frowned a little. “They’re all gone now, of course. I suppose I have some distant relations if I wanted to try to look them up, but I can’t imagine they’d be happy to meet a three-hundred-year-old relative.”
“And a vampire, to boot. Were your parents Czech?”
“Yes. My father’s family was originally from Estonia, or possibly Russia, but that was going back hundreds of years. We were never sure, and I never cared to look into it.”
“Do you have any secrets?”
“You mean apart from being a vampire? Sure, loads.”
“And they would be?”
He leaned towards me, lowered his voice and looked at me conspiratorially, then said, “That’s why they’re called ‘secrets,’ you don’t tell them.” Then he sat back in his chair grinning like the Cheshire cat and lit yet another cigarette.
I should have brought a cattle prod, I thought. “Oh come on, you can give me something.”
“Yes I could but I won’t,” he said starting to laugh.
“Can you ever be serious for more than two minutes?”
“Nah, this is more fun.”
“I should have known.” He can be exasperating if he gets into one of his moods. It seemed I’d caught him in one of those moods. “Ok, fine. Moving right along here, what do you believe in?”
“You mean like religion? I’m not religious, never was. But I believe in being nice to people, like my mother always told me.”
“You still live by your mother’s advice?”
“Of course. She was a very smart woman. And besides, good manners don’t cost anything.”
“What about people who aren’t nice to you?”
He took another drag on his cigarette, then knocked the ash off. When he hesitated to answer I thought maybe I’d asked a dangerous question, but those the ones we really need to ask, aren’t they?
“I do what I must. But only when I must.” He sipped his coffee, which had been refilled while we were talking. This café had the strongest coffee I’d ever had in my life, I don’t know how he could drink so much of it. Evidently caffeine doesn’t affect vampires the way it does humans.
“Come on,” he finally said, standing up and holding out his hand to help me up. “Enough of this. Let’s go for a walk along the river, it’s too fine a day to sit here.” Contrary to popular belief, vampires don’t really mind the sun, at least not in more northern latitudes. He threw money on the table to cover the bill and tucked my hand over his arm, and we wandered off into the city.