Monday, January 3, 2011

Character spotlight with Kyra Morgan

I am Kyra Morgan, PH.D: My story can be found in the Lady Faire series—upcoming. I am a professor of history at a major university and up for tenure soon. I also play lady-in-waiting to my best friend at a Renaissance faire in the summer and help to coordinate and direct the players, this is not as easy as it seems, especially when some people do not take their roles and research seriously! All in all, I like my life scripted and predictable. I do enjoy a bit of whimsy here and there, but who was it that said spontaneity has its time and place? Indeed. Perhaps that is why history is so much nicer than the present—no surprises. Or at least that’s what I thought.

I am close to my best friend, Audrey, but otherwise my relationships tend to be superficial. My parents divorced when I was young, but I was never close to either of them anyway, and we don’t keep in touch. I was engaged once, but that turned out badly--so badly that I was loathe to enter into a real relationship again. Especially not with someone so cocky and brazen as Rafe Harrison. He really can infuriate me. But when one finds oneself stranded and helpless in the middle of a strange place and time, cocky and brazen can be useful.

What makes you special? What differentiates you from your kind? Do you have special abilities?
My kind? I am not sure what you are referring to. I am in the small percentage of people under 30 to have earned my doctorate and am near tenure, so that would distinguish me. As for special abilities, well, let’s just say I prefer to work behind the scenes for the most part. I always know what others should be doing, even if they themselves don’t.

Tell us about your most current adventure.
I couldn’t tell you how it happened exactly, but I ended up in Renaissance England with a man I despised. I ended up traveling across two countries and meeting people I had only read about. I can tell you that nothing was quite as I had expected or went according to plan. It was all very disconcerting for someone like me. But as usual, I was the only one who had a clue as to what was going on as you can see here as I realize exactly where we are and what the consequences could be.

Kyra stood frozen in place, her breath coming fast and hard. She was sure her lungs were going to burst. Placentia. The little known name of Greenwich palace, the birthplace of King Henry VIII and his children, a place no longer standing. She had never heard anyone at the faire mention it. And those men didn’t look or sound like faire workers. The accents were real, almost to the point of being unintelligible. And the forest was no place she had ever seen on or near the faire. How could she have fallen in a tent and woken in such a place?
“Oh no. No.” Kyra felt her legs trembling. It was too great, too implausible, to believe. And yet she had no other explanation.
“What’s wrong?” Rafe asked with concern, “You’re pale. Sit, before you fall down.”
“No, no,” Kyra looked down at her finery—her grab, Audrey’s garb, Queen Katherine’s dress. The rich purple velvets and satins embroidered with the golden pomegranates of Granada, the crystal and pearl trims and decoration covering every inch of it. Without a word, she began furiously tearing off her skirt, tugging desperately at the stays and ribbons fastening her sleeves while Rafe stood gaping at her in amazement. “Don’t just stand there! Get these clothes off me and quickly before anyone else appears!
Rafe raised an eyebrow, “I always knew you would come around, but I hadn’t imagined it quite like this…”
“Yes, you are very funny, now hurry up because we don’t have time. I cannot be seen like this again. I’m breaking every sumptuary law as it is!”
“Whoa. Sumptuary laws? You’re the queen, so they don’t apply to you. Though I bet someone has to remind you from time to time that you aren’t really the queen of anything, baby.” Still, he moved closer to her and expertly unlaced her sleeves and bodice, gently releasing her breasts from their long confinement. He stared admiringly as she bent over to remove her farthingale, and soon she stood before him wearing nothing but a thin gold and purple trimmed chemise and a pair of purple velvet slippers.
“Not how I imagined it at all, but it will do nicely.” Rafe nodded, his gaze following her as she gathered up her garb and pulled off her simulated jewels.
“We have to hide these.”
That was enough. “Kyra,” Rafe took her by the arm, “How hard did you hit your head, honey? As much as I might approve, you can’t just strip in the middle of the faire.”
“Are you daft?” Kyra gasped, staring wide-eyed into his face. “I am asking for more trouble than either of us can handle dressed like this! I will probably receive a quick death for impersonating the queen. Or, worse, a long slow one.”

If you could offer your author advice, what would it be?
Don’t make it seem like I was such a priss! Honestly, I just like doing things correctly. And a certain someone was handled with kid’s gloves despite his obvious faults. I think the author may have had a crush on him. All the women do, and he gets a free pass because if it. Disgusting.

Are you happy with the way people perceive you?
I’m not sure how people perceive me, really, I am a bit oblivious to these things in general, or so I am told. Of course, I don’t want people getting the wrong idea either. I am not a prude or a simpleton. I would offer that people put themselves in my place and ask what they would do in such trying circumstances. I am sure I did better than most. Right?

Tell us a little bit about your world:
I suppose I have two worlds. Maybe three. It is hard to compartmentalize at a certain point—the boundaries bleed--quite heavily at times. There is my life at the university, of course, which is of the utmost importance and requires a certain gravitas. Then there is my summer stint at the Renaissance faire where I play act the people I study and write about—it is campy, sometimes frustrating, often a lot of fun, but of a completely different ilk than university life. Then there is the actual Renaissance, a world which I shall never be able to fully exit for various reasons.

Is humor important? Why or why not?
I would have said no before my time-traveling experience. But now that I look back, I think it was one of the few things that kept me sane, one of the things that I grew to need, to hold on to. So, yes, it is something I now value.

Is expressing love difficult for you? Why?
It is. I don’t trust easily. I had a bad experience with a man once—absolutely damaging to my professional and emotional well being, you see. I do not like being made a fool of and will go to great lengths to keep that from happening again. Having divorced, non-communicative parents probably didn’t help much either. Let’s face it: in the end, the only one going to the mat for you is yourself. Right? Right?

What is the most interesting thing that has happened to you?
I suppose one would say waking up in the Renaissance would be the most interesting thing that could happen to a person, but I think learning to trust a man again was the most unexpected, wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. I don’t think that it would have occurred without the time-travel and the experiences we shared, of course, but it is the thing I value the most now.

If you could pull your author into your world, what do you think would happen to her?
Are you serious? She would go to pieces. And if she managed withstand the deprivation and terror, she would cave right in and give into some of the more lurid advances of certain untrustworthy men and be lost forever. She really isn’t a good judge of character, if you ask me.

What are your opinions on magic?
I would have laughed at such an idea before, but now I think that it is best not to meddle with what one does not understand. I think most of it is, of course, charlatanism. But you can’t be too careful, really.

What are the pros and cons to being a Lady?
Wearing all those skirts and that jewelry is such fun! Well, it is for a couple of hours. Try it on a hot summer day without a breeze to be had though. The admiration of the low-born and the attention of courtiers is lovely, but then the restrictions upon one’s movements and behavior are odious, not to mention being at the mercy of men’s whims. Wait, are we talking about the Renaissance faire or the actual Renaissance?

How does one become a Queen?
I became one by default in the faire, but wouldn’t recommend that, as it involved a terrible accident. Otherwise, one begins as a simple player, learning and honing one’s craft in the lanes, eventually rising in the ranks of the faux nobility, and then simply waiting for the present queen to grow tired of the heat and hassle and vacate her position. The other route is, of course, by marrying a king, and from what I have seen, that hadn’t much to recommend it.

Describe your best kill. Why was it the best?
My what? I haven’t killed anyone. How terrible. I have seen several good people hewn down and would never want to be in such situation again.

What kind of abilities do you get when you are a gypsy?
I don’t think most of them have any special abilities per se, though I met one with a wonderful talent for storytelling and another who mixed potions well. I have to admit that a couple of them were undeniably talented in the magical arts, but I wouldn’t suspect that such applies to most of them.

What makes being with a scholar the best sexual experience?
Attention to detail? Pent up physical energy in need of a timely release? The ability to read between the lines? Goodness, I don’t know. I can’t say that I feel comfortable discussing this with you, really. Not ladylike at all.

Have you ever ended up somewhere you didn’t want to go?
Not at all. I mean, I didn’t intend to go there, it just happened. If I had been asked, however, it was just where I wanted to be. Or I thought I did.
Where you ever stuck in a different timeline?
Quite. Getting back was anything but simple. I didn’t realize how many other factors or people would be involved. It isn’t as straightforward as one would like to believe, and I am not one to allow for the human element in any case, so plans went awry more than once.

Is the butterfly effect, when you change one thing in the past it changes the future, real?
Not that I can see. If anything changed, it certainly hasn’t been documented anyway, but I do worry about the future in some respects.
Does it take a toll on your body to time travel?
That is a current concern of mine. So far so good though.

Have you fallen in love with someone from the past or future and how did you deal with it?
I will admit that I did carry a torch for someone in the past, though I was deceived in his character. Or perhaps I deceived myself. In any case, I got over it pretty quickly.

Finally, is there something you wished we had asked, but didn’t?
You didn’t ask about my current research project or scholarship or how my tenure review went, but then that’s to be expected, I suppose.

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