February 15, 2017

Character Interview: Breaking Glass (Guest post by Jessica Prescott)

Hey, guys!  I’m so excited to be writing this guest post for my awesome friend Natalie, modelled on her “character interviews” that we all love so much.  Today, I bring you an interview between myself and two of the main characters in my World War II/Holocaust novel, tentatively titled Breaking Glass.  It’s set mainly in the Netherlands; and, if I had to describe it briefly, I’d say it’s a coming-of-age story about learning to survive in a world that seems to be your mortal enemy.   

“When life robs you, sometimes you have to . . .”  (AHEM.)

So, without further ado, here it is!  

*Note:  Interview questions borrowed/modified from the Beautiful People meme at Paper Fury.*  

My characters fidget, a bit uncomfortably, on the wooden chairs I’ve set out in my bedroom.  One of them—a tiny slip of a girl with dainty, gold earrings and burning, intense dark eyes—stares suspiciously at the shiny black laptop resting on my quilt.  The other—a big, broad-shouldered man wearing a leather jacket and a cool, guarded expression—stares intently at the girl.   

I’m amused to note that neither of them is looking at me.  
I press the Record button on my tape player and put on my most coaxing smile.  “Thank you both so much for coming.”  The man gives me a polite nod; but the girl just looks at me.  “Could you both start by telling my friends here your names?”    
He folds his arms, his jaw set.  “No.”  
“Oh, come—”
“No disrespect, Miss Jessica.”  He pauses.  “But your friends may not be our friends.”  
The girl nods.  Barely.
I bite my lip in frustration.  This isn’t starting out well, is it.  
“Now, listen to me, both of you.”  I lean forward, speaking in as soothing a tone as I can manage.  “I understand you guys are under a lot of stress, and all that; but there’s nothing to be afraid of here.  This isn’t wartime Holland anymore—get that?”  
“Where is it, then?”  Finally, I’ve at least gotten the girl to speak up.  
“It’s the future.”  
The young man’s face exhibits massive skepticism.  
“No—I promise.  This is the future, and nobody here can possibly hurt you.”  
“Is that true?”  The girl’s deep, dark eyes are scouring my inmost soul—I can feel it.  
The things I put up with from her.  
“It is one-hundred-percent genuinely accurate.”  I do my best to keep the exasperation out of my voice.  “Now, will you please do what I asked and say your names?”  
“Well.”  He studies my face, then seems to make up his mind.  “My name . . . is Dirk van Manen.”  
“My name is Tammi Herschlag.”  The girl won’t look at me.  
“Good, good.  Now we can get on with the interview.”  We’ve wasted at least five minutes, but I know pointing it out will get me exactly nowhere.  “So, first question:  How did you two meet?”  
There’s a pause.  
Dirk is looking at Tammi, and Tammi is looking at the floor.  
Finally, his low, taut voice breaks the silence.  “We met by accident.”   
“He found me.”  Tammi’s fingers are lacing themselves together.  “I was hiding.  And he found me.”  
I make my next question as gentle as I can.  “Hiding from what?”  
“The Germans.”  She jerks her chin up and shoots me a bone-chilling glare.  “Stop it.”
Dirk reaches out a hand to brush her shoulder—his eyes daring me to continue the subject.  I quickly change course.  
“Here’s another question.  How similar are you to each other?”  
Tammi’s eyes still show that tense, hunted look, and she doesn’t answer.  Dirk does, though.  
“We’re not that different.”  He watches her as he speaks, not me.  “We don’t talk much.   Either of us.”  
“So, you like to think instead of talk?”  
“Tammi thinks a lot.  I don’t.  I just . . .”  He breaks off.   
“He just does things.”  The abruptness of Tammi’s voice makes me jump in my seat; even though I should be used to it by now.  “He does things that need to be done.  That’s all.”  
I’m not entirely sure what she means, but I know better than to press for a more articulate statement.  
Instead, I take a deep breath.  “All right, next question.  Who has the strongest personality?” 
They glance at each other, and I see a small, secret grin pass between them.  
At least she’s smiling now.  
I clear my throat and look down at my list.  “The next one’s kind of similar.  Who’s the leader?”  
Tammi’s dark eyes are thoughtful.  “Dirk . . . probably.”  
“I’m not.”  He touches her hand, then grips it.  “You are.”  
She rolls her eyes, but doesn’t pull the hand away.  “Yeah?  So how come you’re always telling me what to do?”
“It’s not like you ever listen.”  His voice is rough with emotion.  
“Okay—okay, then, guys.”  I feel it best to move on before anything else is said.  “Ah, here’s a good one.  What do you do that most annoys each other?”  
“I told you.”  Tammi tosses her head back and brushes the dark, bobbed hair out of her face.  “He tries to tell me what to do.”  
“Because I have to.”  Dirk folded his arms.  
“You do not have to.”  
“You won’t take care of yourself unless somebody makes you.”  The deep, gruff tone can’t mask the tenderness in his gaze.  
I see a blush—a faint one—spreading over Tammi’s cheeks.  
I wait a few moments, then turn to Dirk with an encouraging smile.  “How about you, then?  Anything you find a little annoying?”  
He ducks his head, staring at the floor.  “She . . . won’t tell me anything.”  
Now it’s Tammi’s turn to fold her arms.  “Meaning?”  
“You know.”  His eyes search hers.  “You’ll be crying, or something . . . and I ask you what’s the matter . . . and I get nothing.”  
Another pause. 
“So?”  A dark scowl creases Tammi’s forehead.  “When do you ever tell me how you’re feeling?”   
He frowns.  “That’s different.”  
She tosses her head again.  “Is not.”  
“Next question, you two,” I interrupt gently.  “How long do you see yourselves staying together?”
Tammi hunches her shoulders forward and scowls harder.  “Nobody knows.”  
I look at her.  “What do you mean?”  
“This is war.”  Her voice is hard.  “People die in wars.”  
Dirk shifts in his seat, his eyes fixed on her face.  
“But—you—”  I pause to clear my throat again.  “You’re hoping you’ll live to see peace again?”  
Tammi shrugs.  
Dirk pulls her hand into his lap and doesn’t let it go.  
And then, as an afterthought, he glares at me.  
I cough.  “Last one, I promise.  What would the ‘perfect outing’ look like for you both?”  
“Outing?”  Tammi stares at me.  “Outing?  Are you crazy?”  
She’s a handful and a half.  There’s no getting around it.  “Now, Tammi—”
“I’m in hiding.”  Tammi’s voice is crushingly bitter.  “I don’t go out anywhere.”  
There’s a long pause after that.  
Dirk’s eyes are threatening me with slow torture if I don’t say something to make it better.  
I take in a deep breath, then put on my most diplomatic smile.  “Of course, of course.  I only meant—if you could go anywhere you wanted to, where would you go?”  
“I know where.”  Dirk tosses me a slightly mollified glance, then turns his gaze back to Tammi’s face.  “I’d take you to the beach.”  
She looks at him with big, dark eyes for a moment.  “The beach?”  
“I’ve never been to the beach.”  
“I know.”  I see Dirk swallow a little.  “That’s . . . why I’m going to take you.”  

Whew—that was so much fun to write!!!!  Thank you, dear Natalie, for giving me the opportunity  :-)  So . . . what do you all think of Dirk and Tammi?  Want to read more of them?  Think I should continue working on their story?  

Note from Natalie: Jessica, thank you SO much for guest posting today. Your characters are amazing, and this interview brought a huge smile to my face, Dirk and Tammi are simply precious. <3


  1. Hee. I'm commenting on my own post. :P

    I love how Dirk calls you "Miss Jessica".

    "The girl’s deep, dark eyes are scouring my inmost soul—I can feel it." HAHA. Wow, Tammi is so hostile toward you. I mean, I get it, you have done some pretty horrible things to her in her story....but you're her author! You love her the best of anyone! *shakes head at Tammi*

    AWWW. The little smile between the two of them. <3

    The part where you say Dirk's voice is rough with emotion....gaahhh. THESE TWO ARE SO CUTE.

    "Dirk pulls her hand into his lap and doesn’t let it go.
    And then, as an afterthought, he glares at me."

    *exasperated sigh* Dirk.....

    Okay, I may or may not have laughed aloud when Tammi went all hysterical about the outing question. :D AND THEN DIRK IS ALL SWEET AND WANTS TO TAKE HER TO BEACH.

    These characters. Jessica. YOU ARE SUCH A GOOD WRITER!!!

    Thank you so much for guest posting!! This was just fantastic. :D

  2. THANK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU. Agh, I love knowing that you love them so much!!! It makes me want to write more and more <3

    Haha, yes, Dirk definitely believes in politeness. Up to a certain point, that is. Tammi, on the other hand . . . *rolls eyes*

    She isn't exactly HOSTILE towards me--she's more SUSPICIOUS, I guess I'd say? She doesn't exactly regard me as the person responsible for creating her misfortunes . . . she more regards me as the person who *records* everything that happens to her. But yeah; she still doesn't trust me, because . . . well, she doesn't trust anybody, tbh. Except Dirk ;-)

    Awwwwwwww, I know . . . AREN'T THEY, THOUGH? I ship them very hard. <3

    I love how you put the photos in just the right spots and everything :-) It's so much fun to see the pictures WITH the text, for once, because my draft of the story doesn't have any pictures in it, just words.

    1. Darn it--did I forget to hit "reply"? I mean, did I make a new comment instead of a reply? THAT annoys me. ;-)

    2. YES!!! I do, very much. :)

      Hahahaha. ;)

      Awww, well, still. Tammi, darling, you must learn to trust your creator. She loves you very much.

      I totally ship them very hard, too. Who's Aart? ;)

      Awww, thanks! I'm really glad you approve. :)

      I do that often myself. :P


  4. Finally found time to read this. And it was awesome, Jessica!! The whole interview flows along so seamlessly. And awww, Dirk and Tami sound like two really sweet people. BUT I FEEL BAD FOR THEM! It sounds like they have a really sad story. Please tell me you're going to give them a happy ending!!

    "Dirk reaches out a hand to brush her shoulder—his eyes daring me to continue the subject." Eeek! I love how Dirk is so protective of Tammi! That's just, awwwww.

    "Dirk pulls her hand into his lap and doesn’t let it go. And then, as an afterthought, he glares at me." Haha. I love the way you wrote that. I can so totally see Dirk glaring at you...after he makes sure Tammi's okay. ;) Excellent!

    Another part I really liked: “Yeah? So how come you’re always telling me what to do?”
    “It’s not like you ever listen.” :) Wow. I sense that Dirk has his hands full trying to protect Tammi. Am I right? ;)

    This was really good, Jessica. How far along are you in this story? And yes, I think you really ought to continue working on it. Heehee. (Of course you would!!)

    1. Thank you so much, Miss March!! I'm SO happy to know you enjoyed it, and that you like my characters, too! *beams proudly at the precious cinnamon rolls b/c they are very very precious* ;-)

      I'LL TRY. I CAN'T PROMISE. :-P It's a dark period of history. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . ." But I digress.

      Heehee. The man has his priorities straight, eh? ;-)

      That's an accurate description--his hands are, indeed, very full :-) Tammi's kind of a lot to manage. But he loves her. As do I.

      I'm about halfway through, I think? I have roughly 39000 words written; and I have the rest of the chapters all planned out--I just have to write it down ;-) Haha, thank you! I SHALL.

    2. "He loves her."


      Not that we didn't already gather that. But still. IT'S OFFICIAL. :P

    3. *Jordan Taylor voice* "And if, somehow, y'all hadn't figured that out already . . .?"

      I'M JUST KIDDING. I'm glad you are happy <3

      (Did you ever watch that episode, by the way? The one where Jordan officially confirmed that he and Sarah were dating? IT. WAS. HILARIOUS.)

    4. Hahahaha. Well, you know. Hearing it "officially" is very exciting. ;)

      (YUS. I LOVED that episode so very muchly. I may or may not have squealed when he finally confirmed their relationship. <3)

  5. AAAAAAHHHH. I love this so so much! Natalie, you're super awesome for publishing it. And Jessica, I can't wait to read more!!!!!

    1. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, thank you! <3 (I know right?? Awesome is the word.)

      YOU SHALL. Very soon ;-)

    2. Rosie, Your sister is the awesome one for writing it. :D

  6. Okie okie, Tammi & Dirk -- coming from a complete stranger, this will probably make you seem a bit "threatened", but I kind of love you. Both of you. A lot. I have been fans of you from the first, but reading this has solidified it that much more.

    I know your story is going to be amazing and chilling but warming at the same time because <3, and I look forward to reading it.

    This interview was awesome, and you two are Precious Cinnamon Rolls (I know you've been called that before ;)), and JESSICA PRESCOTT DON'T YOU DARE. Go where A Certain Point in this interview suggested you might go with this story, I mean. DON'T YOU DARE.

    Anyway. Love it :)

    1. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww . . . *melts*

      THANK YOU, OLIVIA. I was really hoping you would love reading this and I'm so happy to know that you did <3

      Hahahaha . . . yeah . . . I'll make sure to tell them that you are a very old and dear and trusted friend of mine; and I think they will accept it ;-) They won't feel TOO threatened, at any rate.

      I'LL TRY TO SATISFY YOU. I MAKE NO PROMISES THOUGH. *slinks away with an evil laugh*

      Joke. I really will try hard. But like I said . . . um, well, y'know.


  7. Aww, this was so special!! And I feel this on another level because I'M writing a story set in WW2, as well. :) (Also, MATT DAMON. BROWNIE POINTS FOR MATT DAMON. <3 <3 <3) Seriously, they're so sweet together, but you can tell that their life is rough and they don't know how to be 'normal' and 'carefree' like most people just yet. Seriously, I loved reading this. :)

    ~Miss Meg


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