19 April 2015

Proust Your Protagonist with Nicole Taft

Meet Prince Gaius Astrauckas, one of  the major
players in Nicole Taft's Terpischore's Daughter.

His Royal Highness, Prince Gaius Astrauckas

Kristina: Well. I thought I was meeting with a pr--uh... Readers, it seems I goofed somehow with today's schedule...

Prince Gaius: My apologies. You expected Sergius, my brother, did you not? I am Gaius Astrauckas. Sergius is…engaged elsewhere. [grins] It seems you'll have to deal with me instead. I am the eldest son of the Astrauckas royal line. My family has ruled the land of Suthfold for five generations and I am to be the next king.

Kristina: The next king?! Oh! Thank you for gracing me with an interview. I hope your responses will bring you further adoration from your subjects. Did that sound awkward? I get really nervous around royalty. And there's something about you I can't quite put my finger on...

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
When one has given up. Men who are in the lowest of dungeons and who have no hopes of seeing the light of day again. And they have long since given up that hope.

Where would you like to live?
I enjoy castle Strax here in Suthfold, but I must admit that I would very much like to stay for a time in castle Corioli in the eastern lands of Isonice. I've entreated King Byrose for such a chance, but he’s not taken my messages thus far.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Comfort. It’s a very simple concept. Comfort means that you are secure, that worry is at a minimum. That you want for little or nothing at all. 

The quality you most admire in a man?
Those unafraid to do what needs to be done. Even if those things are unpleasant. How can one truly know one’s depth if they are unwilling to go all the way?

The quality you most admire in a woman?
That she is confident. That she doesn't bend to the will of others. That even love doesn't break her. I find that to be impressive – though I have yet to see it.

Your favorite virtue?
Hmm. [laughs] You know, I can't really say that I have a favorite. Perhaps this will seem strange to you, but I find “virtues” to be delusory. Men are men. If they are good, then they are good. If not… Virtues are just trophy awards for those who suppress their darker natures.

Your favorite occupation?
King. I am still a Prince of Suthfold, though with my father unwell I am acting in his stead. But I look forward to when I wear the crown. Don't misunderstand me, I don't wish ill upon my father, I will just be proud to finally be recognized as king.

Your most marked characteristic?
Confidence. I bow before no man – even if he is a king himself.

What do you most value in your friends?
Friends are a dangerous commodity for a king. I have those that serve me and I have those I keep in confidence, but friends are not what I need, nor do I want any.

What is your principle defect?
[laughs] Perhaps I want too much. But what man isn’t always seeking more for his life?

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
Failing in all that I have worked to accomplish. And trust that I have worked hard to place myself in my current position.

What would you like to be?
King, of course. I would like to travel to Isonice and see their lands for myself. I also know that there are lands overseas that I have yet to visit. As king, I would like to see them and perhaps start up new trade agreements – if not more.

Who are your heroes in real life?
There are kings of old that have done what I am now trying to do. I would hope to someday become like them.

Who are your favorite heroines?
I can't yet say that I've met the woman that’s impressed me with her…heroic skills.

What is it you most dislike?
Weakness. You can't live a good life, or even an effective one, if you are continuously weak. It serves no purpose. Stand up and take charge of your life or die.

What natural gift would you most like to possess?
[smiles] Flight. That would be something. Could you imagine? The Winged King. I feel rather certain that would solve a lot of my problems. [laughs]

How would you like to die?
I have no qualms about dying in battle. But I would like to live to a strong, old age. Though I admit, I don't think I would mind if my son decided to challenge me for the throne – as long as I was old enough, of course, to the point that it wouldn't matter.

What is your present state of mind?
I'm well, thank you.

What is your motto?
Power above all. Clichéd, I suppose, but truly, what would you put above power?


"Corona1" by Gravelinas1
(pd) Wikimedia Commons  
About the book: Running away is Liana Byrose’s only option. The death of her father, King of Isonice, is the fault of the secret she and her mother shared. A power that can inspire men to greatness or drive them to ruin. In the hopes of saving her people, she escapes to the neighboring kingdom with the intention of living out the rest of her life as a simple servant girl. All she has in her possession is a fur mantle and three beautiful dresses. However, she hadn't planned on meeting one of the princes of Suthfold, much less losing her heart to him—however dangerous that may be. 

Prince Sergius Astrauckas has renounced his claim on the throne in hope of keeping his life. Although he doesn't have proof that his brother Gaius is guilty of fratricide, he isn't taking any chances. Instead he’s set his sights upon getting married and settling down far from the palace, yet the lovely servant girl Liana seems intent upon rebuffing his advances. But when Gaius announces a masquerade ball and a stunning woman in a magical gown arrives, he worries that he may have fallen for not one, but two women—both of which seem to be just out of his reach.

Terpischore's Daughter is one of two books thus far in the Figments Fable lineup, which breathes new life into the mythic themes from your favorite fairytales. Terpischore's Daughter is available in ebook and paperback from Amazon.

About the author: Nicole Taft was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, but poker isn't exactly for babies. She has since lived in Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and currently resides in Missouri. She writes fantasy, science fiction, and enjoys tossing a bit of romance in when she can. At Illinois State University she earned a Bachelor's in English with an accidental minor in Japanese, and then discovered Seton Hill's Creative Writing Program and received her M.A. When she's not wreaking havoc on the page, she's eating chocolate and dreaming of moving back to Colorado.

Be sure to support the author on Facebook and keep track of her works on Amazon's Author Central.

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