Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Buccaneers: Meet my Main Character! Thalia Drake
Ahoy, Mateys! Today's Buccaneer installment is an interview with a character from your WIP. You're a writer and you STILL haven't joined us for the blogfest?! Then you must go HERE or HERE and sign up! Or ye can walk the plank!
I thought I'd introduce you to my main character, Thalia Drake. I asked her to share a little bit about her life.
Thalia may very well be the last dragon on Earth. She's hidden her true identity to blend in with the rest of the shapeshifters. Dragons are able to become any animal they choose, and Thalia has spent the last six hundred years living as a werewolf. If anyone knew she was really a dragon, the shifters could lose everything.
The U.S. Government's Non-Human Resources Department employs shifters in special branches of the military, as well as other areas of the government where the work is considered too dangerous or otherwise beyond the capabilities of humans. Since they're all but impossible to kill, shifters gladly trade their expertise for a chance to build a home here. They've been chased out of nearly every other nation they've tried to settle in, and life in the States has been pretty good in comparison.
Even so, there's still a few Americans who think the humans would be better off without so many non-humans in high-ranking military and federal positions. Some of those people are willing to go to some pretty extreme lengths to make their feelings known.
First of all, I have to ask the obvious. What's it like being a dragon?
Well, it's all I know how to be, so I don't really have anything to compare it to. I mean, I know what it's like to shift to all kinds of other animals, but I've been able to do that since birth. I can't imagine not having that ability. It's been the key to my survival. I wouldn't be here today if I couldn't fake being a wolf so well.
Since I've been in hiding, I haven't had many occasions to shift into dragon form. It's hard to avoid being spotted when you're two stories tall and can fly. It gets harder every day to find enough open space, where you're not likely to encounter hikers with cell phone cameras, spy satellites, or even cameras set up in the wilderness to study animal behavior. You wouldn't believe some of the near misses I've had. The last thing I need is for someone to post some video footage of a huge dragon on YouTube.
I can imagine that's probably the hardest part of keeping your identity a secret. How do you deal with the frustration of not being able to assume dragon form?
The best way to get a little revenge on the camera-happy outdoorsman is to shift into a local animal, and then have a little fun with them. It works best on lone hikers. I had one guy convinced he was delusional because he kept seeing a jackrabbit dancing past his campfire late one night. Every time he'd whip the camera out, I sat there like a timid bunny. The next morning he spent fifteen minutes convincing himself it was a dream. By the time he broke camp and moved on, he'd stopped talking to himself.
It sounds like you're a bit of a prankster.
When you're closing in on your 1,900th birthday, you have to keep finding new ways to entertain yourself. Sometimes my friends and I entertain each other with little competitions using our elemental magic, sometimes just inventing new games to play is the entertainment in itself. We can get a little silly, especially when we've been out on a long deployment to an isolated area.
Sounds like a challenge. What can you tell us about shifter magic? How does that work?
Most of our magic is tied to one of the four classical elements: earth, air, water, or fire. Some of us specialize in different areas. For example, I'm not too good with air and water, but all dragons have talents with earth and fire. I can create caverns in solid rock, or search below the ground for something specific, like ground penetrating radar. Some of my abilities with fire are a little unusual. I can do the whole dragon-breathing-fire thing, but I can also sense and manipulate electrical currents. I'm not sure if there is another shifter who can use their fire talents that way.
Some of my friends with better water control are fantastic swimmers, or they can create water out of nothing. Air users often have the ability to move air around, but a few can even magnify sound and change the way air behaves completely. I don't completely understand it, since I can't do it myself, but a friend of mine can use sound to knock planes out of the sky and disrupt radio transmissions. Useful skills for someone who spends most of her time working for the CIA.
Do you ever work for the CIA, too? What kinds of things do shifters do for the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, etc.?
I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.
...Right...Moving on, then...
I'm joking. You know that, right? We fill in on assignments where a human simply could not go. It's handy to be able to send a bird in to spy on terrorists. Or a fox. Or whatever local animal won't be noticed. It's the best disguise possible.
Since shifters are also immune to things like bullets and bombs, there's very little risk we could be hurt or killed, even if we were discovered by the enemy. We can safely take risks that a human wouldn't be able to.
Thanks for answering. I was worried there, for a second.
Don't worry. I'm tame. I'm just messing with you.
And on that note, I think that's enough for today... Thanks for answering a few questions!
If you have any questions for Thalia, please leave them below. I'll do my best to get her to answer them without making any threats, whether humorous or authentic.