C. E. Clayton was born and raised in Southern California where she worked in the advertising industry for several years on accounts that ranged from fast food, to cars, and video games (her personal favorite). This was before she packed up her life, husband, two displeased cats, and one very confused dog and moved to New Orleans. Now, she is a full time writer, her cats are no longer as displeased, and her dog no longer confused. More about C.E. Clayton, including her blog, book reviews, and poetry, can be found on her website and Facebook page:
The following interview is with, Rosslyn, the protagonist of the The Monster of Selkirk, book one of The Duality of Nature series:
- Donald: Hi readers! Today we’re talking to Rosslyn, best friend to Tallis, who is one of the main characters in “The Monster of Selkirk”! Rosslyn, if you wouldn’t mind, can you introduce yourself to people who don’t know you?
Rosslyn: That’s a bit weird, isn’t it? Introducing myself… Well, I’m Rosslyn, or Roz, or Rozy to my friends. I live in Kincardine with my mum and pop and my little brother. My mum cooks in the baron’s big house, and my pop’s a proper laborer, and occasional muscle for the taverns when they want a big bloke outside to scare away the no-good piss-artists. Sometimes I go with my pop to work, but most the time I’m with Tallis, getting into trouble.
- Donald: Sounds like Kincardine’s a lively place—
Rosslyn: Oi now, I wouldn’t call it lively. Not like I’d visit the place if I didn’t live there. Kincardine’s a little village beholden to a bigger city. It’s a place for poor sods with barely more than two coppers to rub together. You don’t have that, well, then things can turn from bad to worse right quick. It’s why things like the Bride Block are so popular. You sell a daughter to the highest bidder and get a bit of coin in order to survive.
No, lively isn’t how I’d describe Kincardine. But it’s a decent place if you want to be left alone, forgotten, or ignored by the king and queen. But it’s a muddy piss-hole if you’re hoping to build a life for yourself. That’s why Tallis hates it so much.
- Donald: I see… Ok, well, in that case, tell us more about your friends.
Rosslyn: Well, there’s really just Tallis. I have acquaintances that’re good for one of two things: a good drink or good lay. But Tallis is different. She’s a right proper friend. Always up to try and scam a couple coppers out of the nobs that have too much to begin with, or the sods who won’t know it’s gone. Tallis is always there for you in a pinch, no questions asked.Funny thing is, first time we met I tried to rob her. Didn’t turn out all that well. Now we’re inseparable. I’m sure that cousin of hers, Donovan, would wish it were otherwise, and Tomas wishes he were as close to Tallis as I am, but that’s tough shite for those two. Donovan is a bit too righteous for my tastes, but he’s grand if you need a big man to wield a big sword on your behalf. And Tomas, well, Tomas is too good for the likes of us, but don’t tell him I said that. He’s too smart and kind for a poor place like Kincardine. Reckon he’s too good for most places in Selkirk, but that boy won’t go anywhere without Tallis, so there’s that.
- Donald: Well, Tallis sounds like a true friend, if nothing else. Where do you two like to spend time together, and why?
Rosslyn: Oi, that’s easy: The Lonely Tavern. Selene has this potent ale she makes there out back. It’ll knock you flat on your arse if you’re not careful. Tallis can’t hold her liquor, so it’s always a sight when she’s had a spot too much. Which usually happens once she’s done dancing for the blokes who stop by. Plus, Selene’s a great lady. She does all she can to help the poor girls in town with no better—or other—options, and you’ve got to respect that. She gave Tallis a job when no one else would, after all.
- Donald: You mentioned you were here with your family. Care to tell us more about them?
Rosslyn: Well, there’s my mum, Akira, and my pop, Tyree, and my little brother Loren. We all live together. My brother Munro is back with our old clan and his… sweetheart. But it’s fine! I can take care of Loren fine by myself. He needs a lot of tending to. It’s why my pop isn’t as steadily employed as my mum, someone needs to stay with Loren at all times. When they’re both busy, I look after him. I’ll always be there to protect him.
- Donald: You care about Loren a great deal, which is sweet, but what happened to him?
Rosslyn: He, uh, he had an accident. We had this run in with a tremp—I mean, one of them feral elves. Anyway, physically, he’s fine. Cutest little boy you ever did see. But his mind… his mind’s just not there. He can’t feed himself or wash himself properly. Doesn’t speak, either. But he remembers faces. He knows his family. He’s glad to have us around.
- Donald: A feral elf? How scary! What did you do?
Rosslyn: Yes, well, I didn’t really do anything. You never need to do anything when those nasty beasts are involved. We were out in the forest and the vile creature surprised us, tried to snatch Loren up and do Wodan knows what to him…. Oi, does it matter? The tremp didn’t take him and the damage’s been done and can’t be undone. Leave it at that.
- Donald: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you. But feral elves… it must be tricky living with a threat like that. Especially as you came from the clans, without the protection of even a poor town like Kincardine. What was that like?
Rosslyn: The tremps are bloody awful! What were you expecting? Some noble being who plays a lute with a pair of big ears? Ha! They do have the pointy ears, though. Our elves…. Well, those plonkers like to steal children, and they eat whomever they can get their grubby talons on. I reckon it’s better in the cities, they at least have proper walls.Places like Kincardine have to use the Clearing every four years to drive the monsters back, and it don’t always work. The clans have no such precautions. We just keep moving and hope for the best. The tremps have been acting strangely lately, though. Well, stranger than usual according to Munro. Like you can feel them getting ready for something.
It’s downright spooky…. But nothing’s worked to get rid of the blighted creatures completely. Not yet, anyway. Oi! Can we talk about something a bit more pleasant? No one likes talking about the evil elves.
- Donald: Of course! You mentioned your older brother was back with your clan? Is that why you and your parents aren’t back with him? Loren’s accident?
Rosslyn: Guess you can say that, but that’s putting it nicely. You see, the Sipsi clans live out in the woods surrounding the towns and cities of Selkirk. Keeps us free of the king, duke, and baron’s pesky laws and the brothers in the monastery who insist we live by no code but Wodan’s—our god. But it makes us vulnerable to the feral elves. We’ve got to keep moving to avoid the monsters or they could wipe out a whole clan.
After Loren’s… accident, we didn’t know the damage that’d been inflicted, not immediately anyway. But when it was clear he wasn’t going to recover, our clan leaders said my mum and pop would need to, well, end his misery. He’d endanger the whole clan’s safety if he couldn’t keep up or know when to keep quiet if danger was about. Instead of killing their baby, my parents decided to leave the clan life and take Loren to a town where proper healers could help us. I could’ve stayed with the clan, but after what happened to Loren on my watch…. I couldn’t leave him again, you understand?
- Donald: I do, Rosslyn. So, why didn’t your older brother come with you guys?
Rosslyn: A girl. Simple as that. Munro fell in love and his lass wouldn’t leave the clan life. So he stayed behind with her. Next question.
- Donald: Another sore point I see, but ok. What do you miss most about the clans?
Rosslyn: That’s easy, too: the freedom. Sipsi clans live by no one’s laws but our own. Sure, our leader’s word must be obeyed when it comes to clan safety, but otherwise you can do as you like. Live as you like, love who you like, marry them or just have a tumble without judgement. You’re completely free to live the life you want, and do what makes you happy. In towns like Kincardine that’s not how people live. It’s awful.
- Donald: Will you ever go back?
Rosslyn: Probably not. Not unless they let Loren come back and they wouldn’t do that. Especially not while the elves are feral and like to eat people. My chances of going back are as good as the tremps getting their minds back. Just won’t happen.
- Donald: So, what’s next for you and Tallis?
Rosslyn: Well, Tallis is hitting a bit of a rough patch. Her pop is a proper bastard and has it in his mind to sell her on the Bride Block. So I’ve been helping her earn coin to avoid that, and her cousin, Donovan, he’s been helping in his own way, too. Reckon we’ll have to get out of Kincardine soon to keep her from being sold like chattel. If that happens, I’ll ask my parents to come with us so we can all start over somewhere else. Donovan seems to want to take his sweetheart away from Kincardine, too, and who knows? Maybe that Tomas lad will decide to give up monastery life and come with us. Either way, we’re aiming to have a proper adventure! If the elves don’t get in the way, that is.
- Donald: Well, that’s it! Thanks, Rosslyn, for your time! If you want to see what adventures await Rosslyn and her friends—Tallis, Donovan, and Tomas—be sure to pick up “The Monster of Selkirk Book I: The Duality of Nature”.