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.
You should have been sitting where I was sitting!!
Wow! Such a presence, yet such an enigma. Heaven and nightmare all rolled into one for the interviewer, I imagine.
Most of what we learn about him is from what he refuses to reveal, rather than the little he chooses to say.
I can’t wait for the full story!
Finnian would make a master spy in a ‘real’ world, wouldn’t he? That ability to reveal nothing. Heaven and nightmare? I’d say so…
What an exasperating interviewee. Why does he agree to be interviewed? To let the world (and his author) know that he’s no puppet? To dare you to try to put words in his mouth?
I think he’s the embodiment of “show, don’t tell”.
Well that must mean that as the author, I’ve done something right. The number of times that writers get rapped on the knuckles for ‘show not tell’ is legendary. And Pat, he’s no puppet, that’s for sure!
Oh Prue, I had missed this interview! :O How could I??? Your Finnian is more and more intriguing. When will I be able to meet him … ehm… properly?
Hopefully by the end of next week, MG. I hope to have the book published by Kindle then. Print will be longer as my cover designer is tied up for a few weeks and its she who handles the sizing etc.
Now that I’ve read his story, Prue, I can appreciate this interview even more! Thank you.
Pleasure, MG, but I look forward to your review with trepidation.