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 Lacey, a character from Lavender Fields. And I have a fondness for lavender so how can I even resist? ;)
We'll get a chance to talk to the author, Raegyn Perry, in a bit, but now we have on the stage...Lacey!
Marie Lavender: Hello, Lacey. Please have a seat.
Character Lacey: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here.
Character Lacey: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here.
Marie: We're going to start out with some simple questions, okay?
Lacey: All right.
Marie: So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?
Lacey: I am a house slave at Hawthorne Plantation, in the home of Master Benjamin Cross and his family. I work hard to please them, especially Ms. Margaret. She doesn’t take kindly to mistakes. I do my best to avoid her. No, I don’t like it.
Marie: All right. What is your family like?
Lacey: I was born here at Hawthorne sixteen years ago. My mama works the tobacco fields. I got my name from the torn, lace-edged blanket one of the house slaves was told to throw out. They wrapped me in it instead. We live with seven other women in the slave quarters behind the main house.
Marie: What did your childhood home look like?
Lacey: Our quarters are too small for all nine of us. Inside, there’s a fire place for cooking, and a table with chairs. Various sized baskets that hold herbs hang from the ceiling, or bigger ones that our clothes and blankets are kept in. We sleep in the only other room, usually three to a bed. I’m fine sleeping on the dirt floor, as it’s my own space.
Marie: Do you have any hobbies? What do you enjoy doing?
Lacey: When I was younger, before coming up to the house, I loved spending time in the tall pretty grass. It smelled so good. It made me happy. I can’t go there anymore now, but I’ll never forget that smell, ever.
Marie: All right. So, what is your greatest dream, Lacey?
Lacey: I want to learn. I see marks on paper sometimes and know it means something. I’m not supposed to learn, but want to. I hear words that I like, but don’t understand. I know a few things, but have to pretend I don’t.
Marie: What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Lacey: The lack of freedom is stopping me from being who I want to be. I don’t even know enough to know what is possible, but know it’s real for some. I see the paid day workers come and go, and wonder what it would be like to just leave when the work is done. I know anything would be better than being a slave.
Marie: All right.
So...who was your first love?
Lacey: I do love someone, but I shouldn’t. It’s too dangerous to love. I’ve seen men and women jump the broom because they’re in love, then one of them gets sold. Sometimes both get sold to different owners. Another slave has to raise any children they may leave behind. Then, even the children get sold. It’s painful to love only to lose, but they do it anyway.
Marie: That is hard...
So, what's the most terrible thing that ever happened to you, Lacey?
Lacey: I saw my mama get beaten by the foreman, who was another slave. I was only seven, but I saw in his eyes he didn’t want to do it. I remember not being able to look away. I don’t know why. Inside I wanted to scream and run to her. I somehow knew to keep it inside. The foreman’s son Isaiah, who is only a year older, was there. He quietly took my hand and led me away.
Marie: I'm so sorry you had to see that, Lacey. At least Isaiah was there for you.
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?
Lacey: My dream growing up was the same dream I have now. To be free. Just to walk to the end of the tree-lined drive to the main road, and turn one way or the other, and keep walking. I used to dream I could rise out of my body and soar high in the sky to anywhere I wanted. Nothing could stop me in my dreams.
Marie: So, who is your role model?
Lacey: If a role model is someone I would want to be like, I’d have to say Miss Amelia Cross. She’s close to my age, and has a quiet kindness about her. When putting away her clothes, I held a dress up to myself and looked in the looking glass. For a moment, I pretended that I looked and felt like a real lady. Miss Amelia walked in and saw me. I froze with fright, but she just smiled and walked back out. She never told a soul, as it would have meant a beating for sure. Miss Amelia’s going to make a fine lady someday.
Marie: Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Lacey: Mistress Margaret Cross. I was scrubbing the floors in the foyer, and she walked by and stomped her foot hard on my hand. She looked at me like it was my fault. Later, I put a bug in the jam for her biscuits. I wanted a spider, but could only find an ant. It was big one though. One of the serving slaves saw it and dug it out. I was put on laundry and cleaning after that.
Marie: (Smiles.) I think she deserved it too.
Let's try another question.
Lacey: To be with the one I love. Live somewhere far from here and be the mistress of my own big house. Have children who never have to know what it’s like to be owned, or afraid. To be beautiful, happy and free.
Marie: (Nods.) I think that's a good dream. One more question...
So, what is your greatest fear?
Lacey: Tricking myself into believing it’ll ever happen.
Marie: I see.
Well, it looks like we're running out of time, Lacey. Thank you for visiting us today.
Lacey: 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 she heads off the stage.)
Now, let's shift over and get the author's perspective. We have Raegyn Perry on the stage today! Hi, Raegyn!
Author Raegyn Perry: Hello, Marie!
Marie: (Smiles.) Welcome to Writing in the Modern Age.
We just got to talk to the heroine of your story, Lacey. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?
Raegyn: What can I say about Lacey? She was born at a time when this country wasn’t at its finest. She is learning how ugly one human can be to another. She is the product of rape from the previous owner from whom her mother belonged. Lacey is lucky she is fair-skinned, and very pretty. This is one of the reasons she works in the main house as opposed to the fields.
Marie: So, what are your character's greatest strengths?
Raegyn: Her greatest strength is her hunger for knowledge, and capacity to love. She is curious and interested in the world around her. Lacey knows there is more to learn beyond the confines of Hawthorne Plantation. She can think fast on her feet, and stands up for herself the best she can.
Marie: What are her greatest weaknesses?
Raegyn: Her greatest weakness is her disregard for consequence. There are rules that shouldn’t be tested, or broken. She may find some trouble because of her choices.
So, what are some of her favorite foods?
Raegyn: One of her favorite foods is boiled rabbit (when they can trap it) with rice, and a treat is always cornbread.
Marie: What's a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
Raegyn: Courage. She knows her life isn’t easy, but doesn’t know the courage she exudes from day to day just to survive.
Marie: Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
Raegyn: Lacey is an easy character to like. She experiences her young life with all of her being. She is also in love, and knows her life isn’t what it should be, but she never stops dreaming.
Marie: I can certainly admire that!
Well, now that we have a real taste of Lacey, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.
What first gave you the idea for Lavender Fields?
What first gave you the idea for Lavender Fields?
Raegyn: I’m definitely a plotter, and an outliner. I have the “bones” for the next two books, and look forward to getting back to book two once edits are done and Lavender Fields gets released.
So, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Lavender Fields or getting it published? What would you do differently the next time?
Raegyn: I was actually unemployed at the time I wrote Lavender Fields, so finding time to write wasn’t as much of an issue then! I have since given myself permission to take a day or two off now and then. No more guilt! In regards to getting published, in hindsight, I should have let go of it again much sooner. Rejection after rejection let fear and self-doubt in me as a writer cost me time I can never get back. It helped when I was reminded that we only get the one time around, and I wasn’t going to just keep wishing and hoping and waiting.
Marie: That's true! We definitely have to put forth the effort to see any rewards. And believe me, I had rejections as well, but eventually I got that book contract. I don't think it's supposed to be easy for anyone.
Well, it was such a pleasure having you here on Writing in the Modern Age, Raegyn. 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 this summer!
Here is the blurb for Lavender Fields.
“All I can tell you is this. When love is right,
When it’s true, it’s forever.”
Torrential rain spikes. A scream pierces the dark night.
Shattered glass, and
a wash of blood.
haunting dream came upon Greye yet again as it had in years past. It was a
nightmare a child could never fully comprehend, and remained as unsettling as
an adult. Always set in a faraway place and time; yet there was something more.
Under its surface hinted at an unknown that should be somehow familiar. It was
like an ending that wasn’t quite finished.
What if love
found the right people at the wrong time?
About Raegyn Perry:
Raegyn Perry is thrilled to soon (fingers crossed this
summer!) share her debut novel, Lavender Fields, with readers.
This is Book One in the Eternal Journey Series. It asks the question, ‘What if
love found the right people at the wrong time?’
As an actor, she’s been in various productions over the
years onstage in Ohio, then Seattle and even Everett. She played a doctor in front of the camera with
Ned the Cactus in a Taco Time commercial, as well as other fun spots. Raegyn
wrote a full length play, which she hopes to one day see brought to life. When not
writing, Raegyn has been known to turn into a T.V. and movie-watching junkie,
and is just as happy going to a movie, happy hour, concert, or theater show.
She can be perfectly content curled up with a good book, or on a fun travel
adventure. Anyone who knows her knows she loves to dance (a lot!) wherever and
whenever possible! In addition to romance, Raegyn proudly claims to be a geek
fan of most Sci-Fi, paranormal, or comic-book related media. She also just
recently wrapped a teaser video for Lavender Fields, which she scripted and
starred in with friends down in Portland, Oregon. She is currently working on
the second book in the Eternal Journey series. Raegyn has called the beautiful
Pacific Northwest home since 2001, and has one son she’s quite proud of.