11 October 2014

Proust Your Protagonist with Rachel Robins

Meet Ava, the protagonist of Rachel Robin's
military urban fantasy, Ex Nihilo.


Ava Raine

As some of you are aware, I'm an adjunct professor, so seeing various career reps and military recruiters on campus is pretty much the norm since ideally, students are in college to prepare for their future careers.

After the latest job fair, I heard this rumor about a new division in the Army, and then the word "monster" thrown around...I had try and figure out what was up with this. I don't really have answers for you, but I have Ava.

Ava has just too great of a personality to pass up for an interview, and although I couldn't get her to really talk about the "monster division" she's been drafted into, she was game for a good old-fashioned Proust questionnaire.


What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Whatever the problem may be—having no way out. That trapped feeling, where there’s no hope for a better outcome and no way to fix whatever’s broken.

Where would you like to live?
If I were allowed, I think it'd be nice to be back in Phoenix. In a neighborhood not too far from my mom and my siblings. Maybe one of the nicer areas of Glendale or—if I’m dreaming big here—Verado.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
A thick slice of moist chocolate cake.

The quality you most admire in a man?
Sassy banter.

The quality you most admire in a woman?

Your favorite virtue?
Prudence. But I wish I was braver.

Your favorite occupation?
I remember a time when I used to dance...

Your most marked characteristic?
My scars. Or maybe my walk. It’s hard to say. Either way, you could easily pick me out in a crowd of 50, no problem.

What do you most value in your friends?
I don’t have many. In the few I do have, however, their kindness and consideration. Their willingness to help when I’m in need, like it’s a matter of course. Nothing big.

What is your principle defect?
In body, my right hip. In mind...I'm a coward.

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
Having your arms and legs hacked off, then being trapped alone in a black abyss and what untouched skin you have is plagued by the sensation of spiders crawling. Where time and space is meaningless, your stomach never gets hungry, and there’s no need to breathe. Where the occasional whisper hovers just beyond the edge of comprehension. Where it’s impossible to sleep, no matter how much you want to. Where there’s no end, no beginning, and no way out. Where you go mad from the silence of it all.

Granted, shit like this doesn't happen often. But you never know. It could. And it would really suck.

What would you like to be?

Who are your heroes in real life?
My mom is. It takes guts to finish raising your best friend’s children, but to have one of those kids end up like one of the freaks? And to still love it anyway—when keeping it means heavy taxation, threatened job security, and the hatred of all your friends and neighbors? I’ve never met a woman more selfless. I hope to be as strong as she is one day.

Who are your favorite heroines?
I dislike the implied sexism in this and the above question.

What is it you most dislike?

Dislike? Not hate? Or Fear? Well, I most dislike sweaty feet. There’s just a whole world of grossness associated with them.

What natural gift would you most like to possess?
It embarrasses me to say it, but...I wish I were prettier. Life would just be easier if I were.

How would you like to die?
I should think that we all hope for a quick, painless death. I’m no different.

What is your present state of mind?
Spent—it’s been a rough couple of months.

What is your motto?
Mottoes are hard.


About the Book: When Ava Raine, a handicapped girl, is drafted to join the monster division in the US Army, she decides can’t handle it. But when her denial of her burgeoning abilities and her lack of control are responsible for almost killing two people the way she did to her boyfriend five years earlier, she now must accept the idea that she might not be entirely human and train alongside the monsters around her. Between honing her newfound abilities and Ava’s loosening grip on reality as the result of them, not to mention the sudden appearance of an unintentional victim from her past who wants her dead, she may not make it out alive.

Image (c) Rachel Robins
About the Author: 
Rachel Robins is a crafty one. She writes. She reads. She often meditates upon the many practical applications of unicorn byproducts in her daily life and diet. After all, they are an excellent source of sparkles. Rachel often uses her frequent crafting sessions as fodder for her writing, which comes in a variety of flavors such as urban fantasy, noir, horror, steampunk, dieselpunk, and of course, comedy. Robin Rachels is her sworn nemesis.

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