In His Own Words – Sailfish of the River People

If you’ve read Indian Summer, you know Sailfish. He is Manuel’s best friend who helps Gabriella when she is pursued by the spy. While I was writing Indian Summer, Sailfish kept trying to do more and be more than I could allow him to be in that novel, so I gave him his own book. It’s not quite finished, but I’m having a great time writing Savage Heart.

Below is an interview with Sailfish. It incorporates some of the elements from Savage Heart.

What is your name?
You may call me Sailfish as my own language is hard for you to pronounce.

What do you want most?
I want to find love and gain the acceptance of my people.

Why is this so important to you?
Why does anyone want love? As to the acceptance, if I am to be chief after my uncle, I must have their approval.

What makes you happy or sad?
The death of my beautiful wife and son—that made me very sad. That Gabriella loves me for nothing but a dear friend, also saddens me. But finding Meli, that makes me happy.

How do you treat the people in your life? 

I hope that I treat them well. I do my best, but often I disappoint them somehow. Or perhaps I disappoint myself?

Can people count on you?
My friends and family can always count on me for help.

What makes you angry?
The British general, Oglethorpe, makes me angry, as does the Spanish king. The fighting between these two nations has torn my country apart.

Do you stand up for your beliefs?
With everything that I am, and all that makes me a man, I stand for what I believe.

What excites you?
The thrill of the hunt, the beauty of a perfect sunrise, joy in the eyes of the woman I love.

What do you do for a living?
I am a warrior and scout.

What kind of books do you like?
I don’t have access to books, although my Blood Brother taught me to read. I don’t have time to sit and read a book. I never really saw the point.

What kind of music?
I like the music of the wind in branches, the pounding of the waves on the shore, the songs of birds and call of animals. All these are music to me.

What’s the one thing you’d most like to do before you die?
I want to find true love again. I thought I’d found it with Gabriella, but that was not to be. Perhaps with Meli? Who can say?

If you could, what’s one thing you’d change about yourself?
A soulful look settles on his noble features and he hangs his head in silence.  I think I would not fall in love with Gabriella.

In Her Own Words – Gabriella Deza of Indian Summer

Who are you?

I am Gabriella Deza, youngest daughter of Governor Ferdinand Deza.

What is your story?

I haven’t much of one yet, I’m only just 15, but what there is of it is told in Indian Summer.

Where and when do you live?

I live in the village of St. Augustine, Florida territory. The year is 1739.

Are you the hero of your own story?

Me a hero? Heavens, no! That would be Manuel Enriques, my father’s aid du camp and the love of my life.

What is your problem in the story?

Quite by chance, I found out a terrible secret. A British spy is trying to overthrow my father, capture the fort and take over the town!

How does the author see you?

Headstrong, demure, capable, passionate, honest, loving. I am these things and ever so much more.

What do you think of yourself?

I think I am all those things and more. For one so young, my life suddenly became rather complicated.

Do you have a hero?

My father, Manuel and Sailfish are my heroes. They are all so brave and noble. Though, in their own way, all men are heroes, don’t you think?

Do you have any special strengths?

My faith in God is my greatest strength. My faith has seen me through very trying times. I would not be the woman I am without it.

Do you have any special weaknesses?

My passion for Manuel is nearly my undoing. All he need do is look at me and I go weak in the knees.

What do you believe?

I believe in God and I believe in the love of Manuel and my family. I also believe in my own abilities to cope with any situation life presents.

What makes you happy?

Many things make me happy, but when Manuel kisses me, I can’t think of anything but how happy I am. There is only one thing which would make me happier, and that would be to marry him.

What do you regret?

That I with all my education, I never learned how to shoot a pistol.

Has anyone ever betrayed you?

Yes, the man who spies on us, using our friendship against us. He betrays me, my family and my home. I hope I have a hand in bringing him to justice.

What was your childhood like?

Delightful in so many ways, but also sad because we lost Mama when I was five and Grandmama not long after. However, Papa and his new wife, Clara, have provided a loving home for the four of us. My older sisters, little brother and I have lived in relative comfort our entire lives.

Who was your first love?

My first and only love is Manuel. I never realized how much he loves me nor I him, until he declared his love for me on my birthday. He is the most magnificent man alive and I love him more than my own life.

What is your most prized possession? Why?

My peso necklace, because Manuel gave it to me. Though my parents gave me pearls for my birthday, the peso shows Manuel’s love for me. He can’t ask me to marry him, it wouldn’t be proper, but that shows each of us our promise to wed.

What is your favorite color? Why?

Apple green, because it was Mama’s favorite as well, and I am most like her of all three of us girls.

If you were stranded on a desert island, would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?

Do not think badly of me of saying this, but I would want to be stranded only with Manuel. I can think of no one else with whom I have enough in common to spend any period of time. Only if we were married, of course. Anything else would be scandalous!

How do you envision your future?

I see my future happily married to Manuel, having his children and loving him for the rest of my life.

© Dellani Oakes

Indian Summer – Excerpt

indian summer scanned cover 500 x 750Indian Summer is an historical romance set in 1739, St. Augustine, Florida during the Spanish Era. Although I took a few liberties for literary purposes, I tried to capture the spirit of the times.

Gabriella Deza is the youngest daughter of the Spanish Governor, Ferdinand Deza. Her  mother, who was English, died when she was five. Her father remarried a French woman a few years later and Clara gave him his first and only son, Marcos. In this scene, Marcos runs away from the house during a thunderstorm because his mother and father are on a ship that is probably going to crash.

The rain was so heavy, I soon lost track of Marcos in the storm. I knew he’d be heading to the wharf, so I found my way there as best I could. Once I reached the shore I began to call him. My voice was drowned by the sound of the wind.

“Please,” I begged of the men that I knew. “Will you help me find my brother?”

But all were too busy to listen to a young lady who was too foolish to stay out of the storm. I could see Papa’s ship in the ocean heading toward the wharf, as the waves pounded it on all sides. It looked ready to break apart! I began to pray as I ran looking for my little brother.

“Oh Lord, protect them and help me find my brother!” I repeated over and over as I ran through the crowd, pushing my way in the press of men.

It was then I saw Marcos. He was trying to help deploy ropes. The men on the shore tied off stout hemp lines to the pier and were roping themselves in to wade out into the storm. They formed a life line should the ship break apart. Other men were standing and holding the ropes to bring in the others if they foundered in the waves. No one was watching my brother. They were all too busy with their appointed tasks.

I saw the approaching wave before he did, for he was not looking at the sea. He had turned briefly to implore the men once more to let him help, but none gave him their ear.

“Marcos!” I called, though he couldn’t possibly hear me. “Marcos, behind you!”

The wave moved faster than I could, with all my damp skirts around my legs. I knew I couldn’t reach him and he was going to die. Despite his faults, I realized I dearly loved my little brother. I didn’t want to lose him. I couldn’t even think what his death would do to Papa.

As I ran, I watched the wave build higher. It rose until I could hardly see the top. The ship rode the crest. The men on shore saw the swell approaching. They dropped the ropes, running inland as fast as they could in the wet sand. Several fell and were swept away by the waters. The ropes held them and they were able to pull
themselves out of the waves.

Marcos was calling to them. “Where are you going? My mamá is on that ship!”

He hadn’t turned around, distracted by their flight. The ship loomed nearer and the wave grew. I couldn’t reach him through the wet sand and the press of men running against me.

“God, I beg you please save him! I swear I’ll be good to him all my days! Oh, Mother of God, protect him! I promised Papa!”

Lightning flashed across the sky illuminating the beach, lighting Marco’s face like a ghost! It was then he turned and saw the ship as the wave approached him. He froze.

“Marcos!” I screamed, “Marcos run!”

He heard my voice, but he was paralyzed with fear. I ran, screaming for him to move. There was no way he could escape. The water was too deep, its pull stronger than he. The darkness and rain enveloped him, obscuring my view. In the next flash of lightning, I saw the ship looming ever closer and screamed for all I was worth!

Suddenly, another figure appeared on the beach. A man, large and strong, was running toward my brother, a rope around his waist. He came upon Marcos just as the wave broke on the shore, grabbing him securely. He dropped to the ground, tucking the little head against his massive chest, holding my brother with an inhuman strength. He turned his body, taking the brunt of the wave on his back and powerful shoulders. Marcos grasped his waist just before the wave’s surge covered them.

The ship swerved hard to starboard, hitting the corner of the pier not far away, shuddering to a halt. The water rushed around the ship, up the beach, over my brother and the man. I couldn’t see what happened next, for I had to retreat out of the wave’s reach. The greedy fingers of water clutched my dress, determined to drag me into the fray. Were it not for the aid of the men on shore, who held me fast, I would have been spirited away and surely drowned.

I babbled every prayer I knew, calling on God to help them. Little by little the waves receded and I could move closer, looking for them. I saw the rope tied to the pier, taut with weight, and began to pull. Men from the shore saw me and raced to my side. Together we hauled them in. I feared both were surely drowned. Finally, their sodden forms broke the surface of the waves. I rushed forward, but the men held me back, for the currents were wild and treacherous.

For more about Dellani and her books:

Dellani Oakes glasses in hand

http://TheNinjaTattoo.wordpress.com

http://dellanioakes.wordpress.com

http://dulcetbydellanioakes.wordpress.com

http://LoneWolfbyDellaniOakes.wordpress.com

http://writersanctuary.blogspot.com

© Dellani Oakes

In His Own Words – Manuel Enriques Talks About Indian Summer

castillo vistaSet in St. Augustine, Florida in 1739, Indian Summer is an historical romantic adventure with spies, intrigue and romance. The dashing hero, Manuel Enriques, is the aide-de-campe for Governor Ferdinand Deza. He falls desperately in love with the governor’s daughter, Gabriella. Fate seems determined to keep them apart, but Manuel and Gabriella are just as determined that they will be together.

Manuel Enriques Talks About Himself

What is your story?

My story is still being written, but a portion of it is chronicled in Indian Summer by Dellani Oakes.

Who are you?

My name is Manuel Enriques and I am confidential aid to Governor Ferdinand Deza.

Where do you live?

I live in the beautiful town of St. Augustine in the Florida Territory.

Are you the hero of your own story?

What is a hero? A man who does what he must to protect that which he holds dear. I am such a man. If that makes me a hero, then I accept this role gladly.

What is your problem in the story?

The problem is that there is a pesky British spy wandering around causing trouble. The beast is wily and sly, but I’ll catch him, have no doubt.

Do you embrace conflict?

Conflict is in many forms. If it is in the form of a beautiful woman, I embrace and make love to it. If it is in the form of this annoying little fly speck of a spy, then I spit on it and grind it to dust beneath my heel.

Do you run from conflict?

Never! Face conflict proudly and fight it to the death.

How do you see yourself?

In my life, I have done many bad things. However, I am trying to change to be worthy of my darling Gabriella.

How do your friends see you?

I haven’t many friends, but those are very close. They see me as strong, intelligent, passionate with women, stubborn and capable. How do you see me, cariña?

How do your enemies see you?

My enemies never see me. They are dead long before that. If by chance they do catch a glimpse, it is as of the face of death.

How does the author see you?

Ah, my beautiful Dellani. If it were not for Gabriella, such stories we would write together! She sees me as romantic, passionate, handsome, slightly dangerous, and very well appointed.

Well appointed?

You will have to read my tale to find out what I mean by that.

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

As accurately as any woman may know a man’s heart, yes.

What do you think of yourself?

I am not a modest man, but even I do not like to brag. I am all that is said of me and more.

Do you have a hero?

Yes, my blood brother, Sailfish of the River People. He is the greatest warrior I know and even more brave than I.

Do you have a goal?

Indeed I do! I want to catch the spy so that I can marry my beloved Gabriella.

Do you keep your achievements to yourself?

Many of them, yes.As I said, I am not one to brag. What I have achieved is a matter of history. There are things I have done that I would rather forget.

But why? Surely your accomplishments are wide ranging and very nearly stuff of legend.

Not all legends have a happy ending. Some things are better left unsaid.

Do you have any special strengths?

I am swift, strong, I speak many languages fluently. I can track prey like an Indian and shoot a bow as well as a gun.

What do you want most in life?

I want to marry Gabriella more than anything in the world. Well, there is perhaps one thing I want more than that, but it’s not polite to discuss.

What makes you happy?

Would you like to me say something poetic like a beautiful sunset or the seagulls above the water? I am not poetic man. What makes me happy is very simple, my love for Gabriella. It drives me, moves me to be the best I may be.

What, if anything, haunts you?

In a soldiers life, are there not many things to haunt him? What haunts me, cariña, is better left forgotten.

Have you ever failed at anything?

So many things, how can I even count them?

Are you honorable?

As much as I am able to be given circumstances.

That sounds like a very cagey answer.

And it is the only one you shall get.

Do you have any distinguishing marks?

Oh, yes. I am very well appointed.

You would love for me to ask what that means, wouldn’t you?

I would like you to read the book and find out.

Have you ever killed anyone?

I was a soldier, of course I have killed. And nearly been killed more than once.

What is your most prized possession? Why?

My most prized possession? Must I have just one? Perhaps my pistol. Or my best pair of boots? No, not really, although I am rather fond of these pants.

Oh? Why is that?

(All I get is a sly grin and a slow, wicked wink.)

Thank you to Pat Bertram for her list of character interview questions that she kindly shared with me several years ago.

Dellani Oakes glasses in hand

For more about Dellani and her books, check out her blogs!

http://LoneWolfbyDellaniOakes.wordpress.com

http://TheNinjaTattoo.wordpress.com

http://dellanioakes.wordpress.com

http://dulcetbydellanioakes.wordpress.com

http://dellanischoice.wordpress.com

http://writersanctuary.blogspot.com

© Dellani Oakes