A Character Interview with Herschel Kohler from BROTHERS OF THE NIGHT plus a conversation with author Linda Lee Williams!

Today we're bringing something different to Writing in the Modern Age in the form of a character interview.  These character interviews, now and in the future, should prove to be very enlightening for all of us. 

We have the pleasure of meeting Herschel, a character from Brothers of the Night. 
We'll get a chance to talk to the author, Linda Lee Williams, in a bit, but now we have on the stage...Herschel!

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Herschel.  Please have a seat.

Character Herschel Kohler:  Thank you.  It's a pleasure to be here. 
Marie:  We're going to start out with some simple questions, okay? 

Herschel:  All right.
Marie:  So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?
Herschel:  I’m a hotelier—and yes, I’m good at it.  I’ve been at it all my life.  My wife, Trudy, and I own the Grand Bay Hotel—a resort in Traverse City, Michigan.  Despite the amount of work involved, we both enjoy the occupation.
Marie: Okay. What is your family like?   
Herschel:  (Laughs.)  That’s a loaded question.  Up until recently, I had no other family except my mother and my wife.  Now…well, now I’m adjusting to the fact that I’m not as alone in this world as I thought I was.  A good thing, I guess—although I still feel like I don’t belong at times; that I have no right to be part of my family.
Marie:  I see. So, what did your childhood home look like? 
Herschel:  The hotel has been my home forever—many rooms under one big roof.  It’s a Victorian-style resort on the Grand Traverse Bay, complete with built-in swimming pool and other amenities.  While I was growing up, I lived in the third-floor apartment with my mother.  After Trudy and I were married, she gave the apartment to us. 
Marie:  Very nice! 
Do you have any hobbies? What do you enjoy doing?      
Herschel:  Hiking at Sleeping Bear Dunes—which Trudy hates.  It’s about the only activity I can fit into my busy schedule.  Running a resort is a 24/7 job.  Other than that, I like spending quiet time with Trudy.  She’s my oasis in the chaos.  

Marie:  All right. So, what is your greatest dream, Herschel?


Herschel:  I’m rather unimaginative, I guess, because I’ve never had a “greatest dream.”  I used to wish I could have known my father—or at least have met him.  Even now, it makes me sad sometimes, knowing what I know.


Marie:  All right.


What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?  

Herschel: I wish I could be more open—but as a vampire-human hybrid, I spent most of my life hiding from what I was and trying to “fit in.”  I was kind of lonely as a kid, and I read a lot, mostly nonfiction books about the American Indians.  For some reason, I was drawn to history, and that’s what I majored in during college.

Although I’ve opened up more to Trudy, I’m still pretty closed off.  She’s working on me, though!

Marie:  (Laughs.) Sometimes it's even hard to open up to those closest to us. 

So...who was your first love?


Herschel: My first true love is Trudy.  She’s the only person I trusted enough to get closer to—although my being a vampire didn’t go over too big with her.  I made a lot of mistakes with Trudy, ones I will always regret.  She says she’s forgiven me, and I hope she means it.  I never want to hurt her again.


Marie: All right.
So, what's the most terrible thing that ever happened to you, Herschel?

Herschel: Learning the dark secret my mother kept from me until right before she died.  Her revelation shattered everything I believed to be true and forever changed me.  No matter how good your intentions, lies have a way of coming back to haunt you.  I’m worried the lie will come back to haunt me, too, since only a few other people know the truth…



Marie:  I'm so sorry you to hear that, Herschel. 


Let's try something else, shall we? 


What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?


Herschel: Again, I seldom indulged in dreams.  I had short-term goals, which I always met—such as getting good grades and going to college.  The first time I allowed myself to dream was when I met Trudy.  I envisioned a life with her, even though she was a regular woman.  I destroyed any dreams she or I might have held beyond that because I was afraid.  In the long run, fear proved my worst enemy.


Marie:  So, who is your role model?


Herschel: My mother.  Winnie was the bravest, strongest person I ever knew, and she raised me by herself.  I’m sure I disappointed her, especially when it came to how I handled things with Trudy, but she loved me in spite of my faults.  She taught me the hotel business and left me a legacy I’m proud of—that Trudy and I are both proud of.


Marie:  (Smiles.) Let's try another question.

What is your deepest desire?


Herschel: I always wanted Trudy to love me despite what I am.


Marie:  Yes, I think we all want to be loved regardless of our mistakes. One more question...
So, what is your greatest fear?

Herschel: Having to live a single day on this earth without Trudy.


Marie:  I see. 
Well, it looks like we're running out of time, Herschel. Thank you for visiting us today. 

Herschel:  Thank you for letting me visit.

Marie:  Of course! I wish you luck with everything. It was so interesting getting to know you.  (Waves at her guest as he heads off the stage.)

Now, let's shift over and get the author's perspective.  We have Linda Lee Williams on the stage today!  Hi, Linda!  
Author Linda Lee Williams:  Hi, Marie! It's nice to be here!
Marie:  (Smiles.) Welcome back to Writing in the Modern Age, hon.
We just got to talk to the hero of your story, Herschel.  Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?
Linda:  It may seem that Herschel has a “way with words,” but he has trouble expressing himself.  If he hadn’t given me some glimpses into his mind, I never would have been able to write about him or tell his story.
Marie:  So, what are your character's greatest strengths? 
Linda:  His compassion for other people and his capacity to love, despite the fact that he was short-changed during his life.  His ability to forgive and his sense of fairness. 
Marie:  What are his greatest weaknesses? 
Linda:  Herschel is secretive, cynical, and distrustful.  

Marie:  Okay.


So, what are some of her favorite foods?


Linda:  Anything Trudy cooks for him!


Marie:  What's a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?  


Linda: Innate kindness.  


Marie:  Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?


Linda: There will be times when Herschel frustrates readers and times when he redeems himself.  Like most characters, he grows and changes during the course of the story.  In the end, he reveals himself for the person he truly is…the one who cares and tries to do what’s right.


Marie:  I can certainly admire that!
Well, now that we have a real taste of Herschel, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for
Brothers of the Night?

Linda: The book solves a tragic mystery from twenty-five years ago, involving the Slater family, and brings together characters from the previous novels.  Readers can learn more about the Slaters in Old Town Nights, the first book in the Blood & Company Series. Brothers of the Night is the fourth & final book.  Although each novel can be read as a stand-alone book, I recommend reading all of the stories in order.


Marie:  Interesting!

What is your writing style like, Linda?  Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Linda:  I’m a plotter; otherwise, I can’t get from Point A to Point Z and have the story make sense.  It doesn’t mean, however, that surprises don’t happen along the way!

Marie: (Chuckles.) I know what you mean! 

So, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers.  Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Brothers of the Night or getting it published?  What would you do differently the next time?  

I needed six viewpoints to tell the story and finish up the series.  In order to advance the plot, I had to decide carefully the order in which the characters would appear.  I’m not one to “head-hop”; therefore, a new part or a new chapter separates each character’s viewpoint.  I had practice in Sisters of the Night, which is told from four different characters’ perspectives.  Six proved even more challenging!

Next time I write a series, I’ll wait until all the novels are finished before I publish the books.  I think that readers can forget or lose interest when too much time goes by.  It’s also easier to market a series when all of the books are available.

Marie:  Well, judging by your release dates, I think you've done well on the time between them. Some reader anticipation is good. ;)

It was such a pleasure having you here on Writing in the Modern Age, Linda. We hope you can come back sometime!  :) 

Readers, I hope you all get a chance to pick up a copy of this awesome book!  Look for it to be released very soon!
Here is the blurb for Brothers of the Night.
Herschel Kohler harbors a terrible secret…and simmering resentment.  Although he hides the knowledge from his wife, Trudy, she senses the darkness within her vampire husband.

Hundreds of miles away, Stefan Slater receives cryptic notes in the mail.  His brother Ambrose’s daughter experiences strange dreams and ghostly visits.  Can a six-year-old girl, two brothers, and a group of friends solve a tragic mystery dating back twenty-five years?  Will Stefan and Ambrose find closure?  Or will the shocking truth shatter the Slater family?

About Linda Lee Williams:


Linda Lee Williams writes "contemporary romance with a paranormal twist."  Her stories revolve around imperfect characters, their families and friends, and a host of life issues.  Currently, she has four published novels and is part of a short-story anthology.

After moving to Denver from Chicago, Linda taught creative writing classes and formed a writers' group.  An outdoor enthusiast, she enjoys hiking, biking, and birding.  She loves critters of all kinds.  During her journeys she's called Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, Missouri, and Colorado home.  Wherever she roams, she finds inspiration in her surroundings.


Coming Soon:








  1. Thank you for hosting "Herschel" and me today, Marie. Your support means at lot to me...and to my "fictional family."

  2. Loved Hershel's voice and Linda, keeping up with six viewpoints would be so, so hard for me. Great interviews.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Dale!

    2. Thanks for commenting, Dale! Believe me, I'd have chosen fewer viewpoints if I could have, but the story dictated the need for six different perspectives. (Never again!)

  3. I've been waiting patiently for this. Glad it's almost here.

    1. Oh, thank you, Cherime...That's so nice to know!

  4. Great interviews with both Herschel and Linda Lee.

  5. Wonderful interview, Marie, Linda and Herschel. I thoroughly enjoy Linda's elegant writing style, something that is sadly missing in so many books these days. Of course, I am a dedicated fan of her books!

    1. You made me blush, Susan! Thanks for your kinds words and for being a fan...


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