Shar and I have decided to start a feature on this blog. It will be called a Question of Fiction, and we are going to interview our favourite book characters. We’ll do one of these about twice a month and it will be an awesome way to find out more about our favourite book characters (and, hopefully, make people laugh or read the book in question) We’ll be talking to the characters about their favourites of various things, their interests and their friends.
So, to start, I will be interviewing Sophia FitzOsbourne from the excellent historical fiction series the Montmaray Journals by Michelle Cooper. Some very general spoilers for book 1 only.
To give some background: Sophia is the younger sister of the heir to the Montmaravian throne, Tobias FitzOsbourne. Currently making her Debut in Society in England, she likes reading and spending time with her family. Montmaray is a small sovereign nation, located on a rocky island in the middle of the Bay of Biscay (between Spain and England). It is September 1938.
Interviewer : Hi Sophia, We are so glad to have you an A Question of Fiction today. Can you start off by sharing a favourite childhood memory?
Sophia: I can’t really remember my parents, who died when I was small, so my favourite memories revolve around Toby and Veronica, my two best friends. I remember one day we tricked our governess of the week into going looking for the firewood caves, and we went and had a picnic on the cliffs. Though the wind was howling and the grasses were making me sneeze, the running, laughter and sunshine of that day remains one of my favourite memories of childhood.
Interviewer : How do you feel about leaving Montmaray?
Sophia: Montmaray is my home and I am its princess. In some ways I’m living out my dreams, dances and pretty dresses here in England, but it never feels as real as home. And the horrible way in which it was taken from us leaves me cold and shuddering. I’m really afraid about what might be happening to our home.
Interviewer: What is your opinion on succession? Should it be only for males or should it be equal? Apart from the king, who is the most important person in the government?
Sophia: Well, I’m a princess in exile and I can’t do much. I think that it should be equal, and the King and Queen should make decisions based on a parliament of citizens. Unfortunately, Montmaray doesn’t have enough citizens for a parliament at the moment, and our army consists of my younger sister and her dog. Simon, as Lord Chancellor is certainly very effective, and manages all the nasty paperwork. But you should really ask Veronica about these things, because she has much stronger opinions (and will probably talk your ear off to boot).
Interviewer: Who are your three favourite literary heroes?
Sophia: I admire Jane Eyre a lot. Her story is slightly scary, but she makes decisions with courage and her head, even when her heart tells her otherwise. Apart from that, I really admire Elizabeth Bennets’ forthrightness and willingness to speak out- I could never do those things in public. And of course, I love Viola from Twelfth Night. She is never afraid to do what is necessary (and I may have swooned over her love story several times when we were younger)
Interviewer: Do words have the power to change the world?
Sophia: Oh, yes! It is 1938, and I really hope that people have gotten over this desire to fight each other! It’s so stupid! We need to at least try the League of Nations. That said, I think that sometimes force is necessary. I can hardly bring myself to read the news these days. I shudder just thinking of the atrocities in Abyssinia. And Czechslovakia. Given all the horrible things that the Germans have done to Montmaray, I don’t think that it is possible to ignore.
Interviewer: What is the best thing about being in England?
Sophia: The food. In addition to being crazy, our Montmaravian cook, Rebeckah, was horrible. The supply ship was often late and we had to have fish bone gruel. That first day when we went to the Astleys’ Cake! Butter! Scones! Fresh fruit! It was glorious.
Interviewer: What is one thing that you would like to invent?
Sophia: Well, so many amazing things have been invented already… I would love to find a way to communicate when you’re travelling, like a portable telephone or telegraph. Pigeons aren’t quite as effective as modern communication devices. Rupert tells me that pigeons can…
Interviewer: *raises eyebrows* Rupert?
Sophia: Not you, too. Rupert is my brothers best friend.
Interviewer: Finally, what is your favourite thing to drink in the morning?
Sophia: It’s my English mothers’ genes: tea. There is nothing like a steaming cup of Lady Grey in my hand, as I wake in the morning and write in my journal.
Interviewer: Thanks for talking, Sophia!
Sophia: You’re welcome.