Red Chairs and anti heroes…
In July of last year, I interviewed Finnian, the male protagonist from A Thousand Glass Flowers. (the full interview is here)
As I mentioned in that interview, I never made a secret of the fact that Finnian was inspired by Richard Armitage in a number of his ‘dark’ roles.
I approached Finnian again, not an easy thing to do when one lives where he lives right now (*spoiler, so I won’t be more explicit*) and after a walk together by the water in a misty fog, he agreed to return to be interviewed again… to sit in my Big Red Chair which he tells me is a graceless piece of furniture. He said there is a fine antique store in the middle of the souks in Fahsi that would sell me a far more elegant seat than this abomination. I’d forgotten that when he wants to, he can be forthright and quite damning. Wisely or not, I asked him most of the same questions I have asked other guests in the chair and he was fair, if somewhat reticent.
I welcomed him to the studio floor, taking him to the chair (which we know he hates) and he sat uncomfortably. This was a man given to physical activity and I felt a momentary flash of concern for him in this odd situation. He had grown a slight beard which gave more gravitas to an already grave man.
P: Firstly Finnian, welcome and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed again.
F: I say what I said before which is that it is a pleasure. To a point I owe you my life. I pay my debts.
P: (Obviously he must mean that as the author of A Thousand Glass Flowers, his story came from my fingers)… To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised?
F: I can only reveal so much. A Færan’s life is their own and secret. Suffice to say I was born in Trevallyn, a province of Eirie. My mother died when I was born, my father not long after. I was reared by a grandmother who was… (He bent his head and I watched his hands twist. It surprised me because he has always seemed such a strong individual. When his eyes met mine they were completely dead)… I think we shall leave her there and move on if you don’t mind.
P: Of course. (Such a doom-ridden feeling drifted around us) Then let me ask you what you wanted to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
F: Free at twelve, free at eighteen. At thirty? I think I must leave that unanswered. You will find out.
(I had a feeling this was going to be even more difficult than the previous interview. He had a will of iron and like all Færan was secretive beyond belief. I moved on with haste.)
P: What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen?
F: That the world was a despicable place.
P: You don’t think that now?
F: I didn’t say that. (He frowned and I realized I had disturbed him)
P: What were three big events you can now say had a great effect on you?
(He raised his eyebrows and turned his head to the side as if he were assessing his answers, his life… even me.)
F: Firstly losing my mother and brother. Secondly finding a secret. Thirdly finding my scribe.
P: Could you expand?
(Here we go… just like last time. The unequivocal ‘no’ accompanied by a flash in the midnight eyes that reminds me of lightning.)
P: Do you mind being written about?
F: What would you think if I said yes? (He smiled and I don’t tell a lie when I say it felt as if the sun had come from behind a cloud. But even so, I squirmed in my chair. He laughed aloud at that, obviously enjoying my discomfort.) In truth I do, but that said I have little control over writers and what they might say. All I can do is get on with my life and hope that people out there (He waved an arm as if to indicate a whole world) won’t hate me for what I have done and will see that in essence I tried… it is all one can do.
P: If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?
F: I would allow Others and the Færan in particular, to get on with their lives in private.
P: Whom do you most admire and why?
F: Lalita. She is my… (He looked up quickly at me as he had been leaning forward to take a goblet from the table between us). Enough said.
P: Then may I ask about her? Would she agree to speak with me on The Big Red Chair?
F: Let’s not speak about her. She is not part of today’s exercise. And no, she would not agree and nor would I want her to.
(Ouch again! I swallowed manfully and continued.)
P: What is your guiltiest pleasure that few know about?
F: I write.
P: You do? (I’m excited at this. Another indie perhaps?)
F: But it is essentially private.
(I sighed. I had reached the point where I could sense his interest waning and knew it was literally a matter of seconds before he stood and left.)
P: If music be the food of love, what do you think writing is and please explain your answer?
F: The food of the soul… when I write I am lost in (my) world, I speak with characters (I know), I solve… dilemmas… There is an extraordinary sense of power in the exercise but it is tempered by the fact that I alone must govern the way in which (the) story (shall) run and (preferably) with great empathy. To know that I have moved my characters through an arc of development to a worthy conclusion is heartwarming… soul-warming.
(He stood, towering over me, ready to leave but I wanted the final say.)
P: What you have just said sounds incredibly familiar…
F: Does it? I wonder why that would be. (He moved toward me.) Perhaps it is that great minds think alike. Or perhaps I put words in your mouth, Prue.
(I stood and held out my hand. My heaven but he was an attractive man… my heart beat like a silly schoolgirl’s. He lifted my fingers to his lips and kissed them. I of course was speechless, which is so unprofessional in an interviewer.)
F: Thank you, dear Prudence. It’s always a pleasure but it may be some time till I see you again.
He turned and walked away, a slim tall man with broad shoulders and a powerful gait. He disappeared before my eyes as simply as if he had walked through a wall.
P: (whispering) Thank you, Finnian. As always I am indebted to you. More than you will ever realize.
NB: All images courtesy of http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/ and Project Magazine.