She’s a waitress in Manhattan, earns just enough to hand some cash to her landlord and feed herself and her cat. Keeps her head down and tries to blend in with the crowds. At the end of the day, if she hasn’t ended up an experiment, it’s a good day.
If you’ve read my blog recently, especially on a Sunday, you may have read about Justine in my Six Sentence Sunday posts.
Today I’m going to introduce you more fully to Justine Bernard. She’s the main character in my novel, STOPPING BULLETS. And yes, she can—stop bullets, that is. And move things around a bit. With the help of her brother, she learned to control her ability. But that was a long time ago. These days she tries not to use it much. Instead, her days are filled with staying off the grid so whoever’s hunting her can’t pick up her trail.
While developing my characters, I cobbled together questions from the many”character interviews” out there on the inter-tubes. These interviews helped me to flesh out my characters and get to know them better. This is a useful exercise for a writer, as you put yourself into the character’s mind, and if you’re lucky you’ll learn some unexpected things about your character. If it happens that your characters aren’t speaking to you this week, try interviewing them with questions like these. May get them to open up.
My interview with Justine Bernard:
What is your current state of mind?
I’m tired, on alert, perhaps on edge.
It’s Saturday, noon: what are you doing?
Feeding Cheetah—my cat. Or getting ready for work. Maybe running in the park if there’s a good crowd.
What’s in your fridge? On your bedroom floor? Your nightstand? Garbage can?
In my fridge, leftovers from the diner. On the floor, shoes, cat hair, a worn throw rug. On my nightstand, a book. In the garbage, cat food tins.
Do you wear dress shoes, gym shoes, or none at all?
Usually rubber-soled, comfortable shoes or sneakers, especially for work.
You’re spring cleaning. What’s easy to throw out? Difficult to part with? Why?
Easy would be clothes, furniture… I don’t have much, but I could get rid of it in a heartbeat if I had to leave suddenly.
Difficult would be the… keepsakes of my parents and brother. They’re all I have left of them.
What is one strong memory that has stuck with you from childhood?
The day we left our home, without my dad. We began house hopping then, eventually ended up in Chicago.
What smell do you associate with your childhood kitchen? Why?
Propane. After dad was gone, we had to cook on a propane stove a lot.
Who would you bring back to life for a whole day and why?
My father. I have so many questions that will never be answered.
If you won $3 million in the lottery, what would you do with the money?
Find a place no one could find, and then buy it.
How would you react if a tearjerker is on TV and you’re alone? What about with others?
I wouldn’t watch for long. Probably start thinking of people long gone. Then get angry and shut it off. If there were others around, I suppose I’d suffer through it.
You’re getting ready for a night out. Where are you going? With who? What do you wear?
I don’t go out. If I take a stroll with Buggy, we walk deserted streets. On my own, I’d walk in a crowd. Always dressed in black, with a hoodie I can pull over my hair.
What is your favorite journey?
Taking the bus downtown, around Manhattan, then uptown again.
Which living person do you most despise?
Whoever killed my father.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Loss of freedom.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? In others?
My fear. In others, betrayal.
What do you most value in your friends?
Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Favorite books or movies?
Jean Grey, from the X-men. Hate that Carrie movie.
Who are your heroes in real life?
Which living person do you most admire?
Don’t know many living people. Buggy, I suppose.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Honesty. Sometimes you’ve got to lie.
On what occasions do you lie?
To keep my secret, for my safety, to remain anonymous.
How would you like to die?
If you died and came back as a person or thing, what would it be?
Myself with better, stronger abilities. And I’d be born sooner, so I could save my father.
What is your motto?
Never an experiment.
Have questions or comments about Justine? Post them in the comments!