I’m a diehard fan of Tamora Pierce (yes, I know it’s hard to tell) so I was delighted when Beka Cooper agreed to appear on a Question of Fiction. To find out more about her, click to read my review for book 1, book 2 and book 3 of her chronicles. (warning: these reviews are mostly fangirling and I was so happy when I wrote them that consequently there are a LOT of mistakes) -Shanti
Interviewer: Hi there Beka! Welcome to a Question of Fiction. Could you start us off with sharing a favourite childhood memory?
Beka: I , I um, had a rr-ough childhood in the slums. But there was one time when my mother had enough money to buy a cake for my little brothers birthday. We savoured, ee-every bite of that cake. And we were all o happy that day. This was before we left the slums and got tt-aken in by my lord Provost.
Interviewer: Don’t be shy, Beka. You’re among friends.
Beka: I know. I jj-just get nervous. *breathes deeply*
Interviewer: Why did you want to become a Dog? And work at one of the hardest stations, no less?
Beka: Well, I’m good at being a Dog. And all the times when I was young and I couldn’t protect my siblings from hunger or the dirt and misery around them- I want to be able to protect someone, you know. I-I can deal with the fear. I want the children of the Lower City to be safe. I’m going to get hurt, but it’s something worth getting hurt for.
Interviewer: What is one of your proudest moments?
Beka: Graduating and becoming a full Dog.
Interviewer: When you feel afraid or nervous or unsure, who do you turn to?
Beka: Either Tunstall or Goodwin, my partners, because they know me better than I know myself, or Rosto and Aniki, who are some of my best friends. We may be from different sides of the law, but that doesn’t stop our relationship from being an anchor to me.
Interviewer: Where do you feel safest?
Beka: I’m a Dog. I’m never fully safe. I might be attacked doing my nightly rounds, but more than that I could be knocked unconscious outside my door. I always have to be aware. Good for the Dog sensors.
Interviewer: Constant Vigilance! I see. You’ve got some animal friends as well. Do they help or hinder you in your Dog duties?
Beka: Well, Achoo is always a help. She’s the best scent hound ever. She does need a lot of food and when she’s around I spend more time in ss-sewers and with dirty underpants than I’d like- but she always will find whoever we need to find. Pounce though- Pounce is esoteric. He walks by himself. But he is very comforting and at least I don’t really need to feed him. *sigh* I can put up with the pigeons. And I liked the dust eddies, they always have some interesting gossip to pass on, but I don’t think I’d call them animals…
Interviewer: Whirlwinds belong in a category of their own. So, what is the best thing about being a Dog?
Beka: Well, we get a lot of hate sometimes. But when we’re in favour I have to say that stopping at the bakery and getting free samples is excellent. And I love my days off, when I can stride around the city with the confidence of a Dog, b-but no responsibilities. It is hard living in the Lower City, and it means that I don’t really know my siblings, sadly. But me and Farmer…
Interviewer: Who’s Farmer?
Beka: *blushes* Oh, j-just my mage friend.
Interviewer: Would you like to be nobility? You’ve had to deal with them quite a bit on various missions, what do you think?
Beka: I do honest work. I wear ordinary clothes. I’m happy like that. There are advantages to being nobility- if you have something to say, you will be heard- but I like who I am. And it’s the important people who make important decisions. I’m nn-not sure that I could deal with that kind of pressure. So I’m quite happy as I am. And being a noble would probably mean that I had to deal with even more bigoted nobles than I already do.
Interviewer: What is one thing that you would change about Tortall if you could?
Beka: Slavery. There are children stolen and peoples lives are destroyed. Surely a country like Tortall can pay for peoples wages and not their lives? We can’t own other people. Th-That’s just wrong.
Interviewer: absolutely. So, to finish off, could you tell me what your favourite time of day is?
Beka: Midmorning. I spend it in the city I love talking to my friends- whether bird or whirlwind or human or dog, and there is sunshine and occasionally excitement. It is that feeling of a day doing what you love. It makes me so happy.
Interviewer: Thanks so much for appearing on A Question of Fiction, Beka. We’ve loved having you here!