Here at Forever YA Fiction we love getting to know the characters in the books we love. What better way to get to know them than interviewing them. We are so excited to bring you an interview with Deborah from The Dark Citadel.
Thank you, Deborah for coming to chat with us today. Why do you think Jane Dougherty chose you to represent her?
Since Jane started to tell this story, I’ve taken a bit of a back seat; let the other characters tell it from their point of view. But the first part of the story that Jane has called ‘The Dark Citadel’ is more about me than anybody else.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Me now? Or me as I was then? I changed so much in the course of this story that I’d better start at the beginning. To be honest, I was not exactly the most popular girl in the school. In fact I’m ashamed to say I was a self-opinionated brat. I had good reason to be pissed off with life though. I defy anyone to live with the nickname ‘Serpentspawn’ and keep a cheery smile on her face! My parents were branded criminal subversives; my father was locked in a dungeon but my mother escaped. I was put into foster care. Care! They hated me. All I ever wanted was to have my parents back; I never asked to be special. But somebody had to pick up my mother’s burden and put Abaddon back in his rightful place. Sometimes doing your duty is hard, though.
What is your birth date?
Birth date? I suppose it’s in my records. (Shrugs) Nobody celebrated anything in Providence. Why would my date of birth be of any interest?
This place where do you lived, Providence, describe it for us.
(Grimaces) Grey. Providence was grey. Our clothes were grey, the sky was grey, the crumbling buildings were grey. Nobody laughed, nobody cried. There was no music, no books, nothing that wasn’t completely functional. We learned nothing, made nothing, dreamed of nothing.
Tell us about Jonah what drew you to him?
(Shakes her head) Sorry. I’d like to, but if there’s one thing I can’t talk about it’s Jonah.
What about Zachariah?
(Smiles) Lets just say that we got off to a bad start, but Zachariah’s the kind of boy who always gets forgiven in the end. Maybe if he didn’t have those big brown eyes and that little boy lost look it would be easier to stay angry with him. But if you really want to know what he’s like, there are other girls who could answer your questions much better than I can.
Where have we seen you before?
The only place you could have seen me was on my way to or from school. But you wouldn’t have recognized me, not with that god-awful headscarf covering most of my face!
What’s your perfect day? Why?
(Smiles wistfully) Every day when I wake up, I hope that this one is going to be perfect. It never is; there’s always something missing. (Sighs) But after Providence, just to be able to wake up in my own bed, open the door and walk wherever I want, to see trees and grass, people smiling is pretty close to perfection. Even being able to hear people cursing one another without some Thought Police creep hauling them away for blasphemy!
Do you believe in ghosts?
Ghosts? Of course there are ghosts! The air is full of them. Just sit down here, under this apple tree and you can hear them whispering.
Will we be seeing more of you or are you stepping out of the limelight?
(Looks grim) With The Dark Citadel the story’s only just begun. It gets a lot worse before it gets better. The next book in Jane’s trilogy tells the story from the viewpoint of the people in Providence. I had no idea what happened after I…left. If I’d known, I’d probably have insisted we all get back there to fight before things—my mother, the Garden, all her work—were ready. And that would have been catastrophic! Let’s just say things happened that still give me nightmares. I knew some of those people after all, and what’s worse, I didn’t value their friendship enough at the time. (Wipes away a tear) But it’s too late to do anything to change it now. I just have to live with it.
So, what do you most regret?
Too many things. (Hesitates) Most of all I regret not having been able to recognize a shape-shifter when I met one.
Is there anything you wish Jane Dougherty had kept quiet about?
No. It all had to be said.
Do you feel you were portrayed fairly?
Yes. (Smiles) Unfortunately.
What is your biggest fear?
That what we have built here, what we have learnt from the mistakes of Providence won’t be enough. That someday, someone with the same stunted ideas will turn up and people will listen again. People have short memories, you know.
What impression would you like readers to keep of you?
I would just like the readers of ‘The Dark Citadel’ to know that I did learn from…the things that happened to me. I did learn about love and friendship. (Gives a weak smile) It has made me stronger, a better person, I hope. Even though there are some things I can never get over.
Why should the readers be interested in your story?
(Eyes flash) Because it hasn’t happened yet! If you read, listen, and understand what made the regime of the Elders so appalling, maybe you won’t fall into the trap of letting it happen. The story of ‘The Dark Citadel’ unfolds in your future. If you listen to your own hearts, and the heartbeat of the Earth, it won’t unfold, ever.
This is author, Jane Dougherty speaking now. I just wanted to say that it was a privilege to be allowed to set down the story of Deborah, Jonah, Zachariah and all the other small heroes. Deborah doesn’t do herself justice. She showed great courage all the way through, especially in the dark days after…after the tragedy. Like Zachariah she changed, and grew, and that’s what’s important, to open your eyes and heart to injustice and do your small part in fighting it.