Here we go, the first of the character-interviews I conducted with Mark Newton. 🙂 No, I didn’t interview him to get a handle on his character, I interviewed characters from his novels, Nights of Villjamur and City of Ruin, instead. 😉
The first character to get the spotlight was Randur Estevu – the rogue, womanizer, master duelist, and dancer. Randur travelled from the island of Folke to the heart of the Jamur Empire, ostensibly to get aid for his ailing mother, but Randur is pulled into a burgeoning conflict that’ll change the Empire, for good or worse; hope you enjoy it!
Dave: Coming from a small island and now being in the greatest city of the Empire, is it a bit overwhelming or more of the same just on a bigger scale?
Randur: Well, there are plenty more women here, that’s for sure…
But, I can honestly say that no matter where you go, people are still after the same kind of things. People need to put food in their mouths, need to get by, need the attentions of a lover. (That’s where I come in.) I’ve noticed a lot of lonely people getting tempted by shiny trinkets. Life isn’t as wholesome in Villjamur as much as the countryside – and in this city, the problems are swept into the caves, away from public view. People are obsessed with drinking and generally doing what they can to escape the world. And who can blame them, with the ice coming in?
Dave: Ah, yes, the ice! Tell me, was the coming of the ice discussed in Folke, openly, or was it something relegated to gossips? I guess what I’m asking is, coming from such a small corner of the Empire, surely there are those who still don’t believe in what’s coming?
Randur: You can never really trust what the old women gossip about on Folke. Chances are only half of what they say is even close to true, and even then aimed at bringing down someone in the community. And the men are worse – sitting in silence for much of the day and when they do speak all they do is mutter about bad omens.
To be honest, some people need to make a living, and just get on no matter what the elements bring. But bugger was I going to stay there, given half a chance of some sanctuary. In terms of belief? Well when you’d experienced the recent weather before I left, you don’t need much convincing.
Dave: You seem like a pragmatist, one who doesn’t readily believe rumours – not from the women-folk of Folke at least! How would you describe yourself? What terrifies you and exhilirates you?
Randur: In my dance, I am an artist. Actually, same in the bedroom too, given half a chance… Other than that? I’m someone who takes a risk now and then. You might say I’ve blagged my way through life so far, and that’d be fair. You have to – you’ve only go so long and you’ve got to make the most of it. What terrifies me? Not a lot if I’m honest. I tend not to think all that hard about the fears and the likes. I get my kicks out of living close to the edge: getting caught in the act by someone’s husband gets the ol’ heart beating.
Most of all, I enjoy the art of dancing. On my island, it’s a masculine activity. In this damn city, everyone things I’m a bit of a dandy for doing it – but it’s my life, my calling. I lose my sense of self when I’m doing it (which possibly explains why I’m so full of myself when I’m not).
Dave: Should I be glad that I don’t have a wife? Don’t answer that. Although, I might just take up some dancing, come to think of it… 🙂
Anyway, what are your thoughts on influx of refugees? Do you think the Emperor is in a position to handle the situation?
Randur: I’m sure I would treat her with great respect.
As for the refugees? Not much anyone can do about it in this world. It’s a symptom of things – that money gets sucked into Villjamur from islands like mine. We’re poor people, out on Folke, but we had a lot of resources – ores and agriculture. Doesn’t add up, does it? Exactly. So when you take away everything from them, what else are they going to do but come banging on the only door in this world that has a hope in hell of offering… anything. So of course, the institutions in Villjamur are in a position to do many things. They merely choose not to.”
Dave: Well I’m sure that Chancellor Urtika has a plan in motion that will see the refugees taken care of.
Moving onto your impressions of the city, what do you think about Villjamur? I’m not talking about sights and sounds, mind you, but your impressions – when you look at the city, when you breathe it in, how does this city of cities make you feel?
Randur: It makes you feel very humble. There are what, eleven thousand years of history on this site. It’s vast. It’s architecture is a mishmash of designs. It imposes itself on you. It makes you feel very insignificant. You can loose yourself in the mass of people – which is strangely liberating, being a nobody.
Dave: Last question for you: Considering the palpable building of tension in Villjamur, and the kind of people who are in charge, who have known only this city and this life, is there a place for you in Villjamur? And if not, what would it take you make you choose to stay? Hypothetical of course.
Randur: For me to stay, I’d need an endless supply of women to charm and teach to dance… hypothetically, of course.
All I have are my sword skills and dance skills – which aren’t that dissimilar; you can use them anywhere, so my home is also anywhere. But I don’t think I’d like to stay in Villjamur too long though – the corruption, the violence, the sin… I don’t know how people could want to make their lives with all of this crap around them. And besides, people have such bad manners in the city.
There we go, a hint of the Randur you’ll meet in the pages of Nights of Villjamur. 🙂
To order your copies of Nights of Villjamur, click here for the hardcover edition and here for the paperback (available on the 4th of June) at Amazon UK, and if you’re in the US, pre-order your copies here – remember, Nights of Viiljamur goes on sale in the US on the 29th of June. If you’d like a taste of Nights, check out this link – it’ll take you through to Goodreads, where you’ll be able to read the first chapter. 🙂
Come back tomorrow for the next-to-last character interview – Investigator Rumex Jeryd. 🙂