As far as character interviews go, I can now boast a delightful one. I am currently sitting in a comfortable cottage-like farmhouse in Killarney, Ireland with Rhys Byrne, the son of Katerina’s housekeeper, Maera. She’s in the kitchen cleaning up after an incredible meal and although she’s allowing Rhys and I to chat in private, I can hear her rich voice humming a song through the door. Rhys and I are set up by the fireplace, after-dinner tea set up on the table between us, a warm fire crackling and popping in front of us. The fire isn’t only for warmth and comfort in the damp autumn evening; it’s also the subject of Rhys’s sketch as he lazily runs a pencil over his sketchbook to take in the dancing flames. A mop of blond hair falls over green eyes as he stretches out his long legs.
Rhys: [shrugs] I enjoy it, but I don’t think so. I really like computers, networking, that sort of thing.
Me: Do you have any experience with computers?
Rhys: I’ve taken a course or two, but most of what I know has been self taught. Kat only just agreed to get a computer a few years ago, so it’s not something I grew up with. She still refuses to go near the damn thing, but it gives me the chance to play with it.
Me: I’m sure your familiarity with computers helps her out a lot.
Rhys: [laughs] I’m sure it does! Do you have any idea how long it took her to find people before? Ah well, she is who she is. I’ve known her since I was five years old, so I’ve just learned to accept it. I’d like to go to university and get a degree in computer technology or something. Adrian, an old friend of Kat’s, he’s offered to pay for it. It’s just a matter of finding the time.
Me: What keeps you so busy?
Rhys: Mam for one. She doesn’t like the thought of my going anywhere, even to school. To be honest, though, what keeps me here is that I like helping Kat. As great as university would be, I think I’d get more out of helping her do what she does. Mam’d kill me to hear me say it, though.
Me: You’re able to give Katerina information in other ways as well, are you not? I hear you have quite a talent.
Rhys: I want to learn how to fight. There are some crazy things out there in the world and Kat could use the support. That’s what I’d like to do, in one way or another.
[The sound of a pot crashing to the floor interrupts the conversation and Rhys’s face turns a deep red. He clears his throat, shifts again in his chair, and that line of conversation is done.]
Rhys is about as close to a puppy as a human being can get. He’s eager, he’s loyal, and he tends to jump around with too much energy when he sees people heading for the door. Maera worries for him, and with good reason, but he’s tougher than he seems and can usually hold his own. Of all my characters, I look forward to getting to know Rhys the most – even if he can’t, I see some great things in his future!