Wednesday, September 07, 2011
 

Today's featured continuing character is Amir, the prince/detective of the Prince Amir Mystery Series by Nathalie Mallet.

Continuing Characters: A series of interviews featuring continuing characters and the authors who know them best.


The Prince Amir Mystery Series by Nathalie Mallet consists of: Princes of the Golden Cage, The King's Daughters, and Death in the Traveling City.

Links for Death in the Traveling City:

Prince Amir Ban is a loner with a penchant for alchemy, who's never as happy as when his head is buried in one of his beloved science books. He is brooding, pessimistic and afflicted by sudden bouts of melancholy. His only wish is to be free. His sole ambition is to remain anonymous. He's flawed, what can I say, I love flawed characters. They seem more real and more human to me. Amir also has great qualities. He is intelligent, brave, when need be, and capable of inner growth and acts of kindness. But I must admit that it is his weaknesses I love the most: his suspicious, sometime sarcastic, nature; the way his emotions overwhelm him when he falls in love with Eva, even how he keeps a festering grudge against his brother Darius.

"I think there's more curse in a bad piece of mutton than in magic." --From The Princes of the Golden Cage

Questions for Amir

Q. Magic seems to work yet you prefer science. Why is that and how do you reconcile the two?

I think science and magic have and always can coexist without problem. One is based on concrete proof while the other draws its power from faith. It's a fact; it just took me awhile to accept it. But I've seen too much magic at work recently to deny its existence any longer. Therefore I am now a believer. It feels odd to admit this, though. Still, I prefer science because it more predictable and far less temperamental than magic. Moreover, with science one has to use logic and reason while with magic far less reliable senses such as intuition and other sorts of feelings are needed. But the main reason I prefer science to magic is that to do successful magic one has to forgo all control, and I hate losing control.

Q. How do you feel about women? What do you look for in a lover?

To be honest, women mystify me. I don't know what they want, and I don't understand them, especially foreign women. They're not behaving in ways I'm accustomed to. It's very confusing. I'm not looking for love at the moment. I must admit, I feel somewhat scolded by Eva's refusal to marry me. She prioritized her country and duty over me. I would be wise to choose someone different next time: someone who would put me first, someone intelligent and loyal, but more importantly someone with whom I have something in common. In short, someone who is more like me. I'm done with the exotic and "opposites attract". It's a recipe for misery.

Nathalie Mallet is a Canadian mystery and science fiction/fantasy writer. She grew up in Shippagan, New Brunswick, but now resides in Prince George, British Columbia with her husband and two Scottish terriers. She is the author of the Prince Amir Mystery series. Visit her website at http://www.nathaliemallet.com/ or her blog at http://nathaliemallet.blogspot.com/.

Questions for Nathalie

Q. What works best for you, about Amir, as an on-going protagonist?

Definitively, his capacity for growth and lack of worldly experience. He has a lot to learn about life in general. Don’t forget, until recently everything Amir knew about the outside world came from books. So everything is new to him and, of course, nothing is has he expects, which makes for a lot of fun. I really enjoy putting him in uncomfortable situations— the dicier the better— and watching him wiggle out of it. I know it seems cruel, but hey the boy has to learn somehow. (Just so you know I never pulled wings off of bugs when I was a kid.)

Q. How does each book Amir appears in match up with his development as a character, so far?

Amir is growing with each book. He started as a spoiled pretentious prince so he has a long way to go. But his attitude toward people of lower status, like commoners, has improved quite a bit. His distrust of servants has diminished as well, thanks to Milo. It’s a slow and sometime painful process, but to me it is a far more natural progression than if he had a sudden change of heart. So from time to time, Amir is still going to behave like the pompous know-it-all that he is. It would be boring if he did not. But by the end of Death in the Traveling City he is a much-changed man.

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Comments:
Pleased to have Amir on Reality Skimming! Enjoyed Death in the Traveling City. Looking forward to the next one. He's such a delightfully clueless guy where the women in his life are concerned. :-)
 
Thank you, Lynda. Amir and I really enjoyed answering your questions. You know how to make these pieces insightful and entertaining at the same time…always a winning combination. :)
 
The most important quality of a continuing character must surely be a balance between growth and consistency! If the character never learns from the books before, then what was the point? But at the same time a fan will want a character they love to maintain those qualities that attracted them in the first place!
 
Which is why, I think, characters that never started out as intended for more than one book can flag when extended too long. Tarzan, for example. Although I read dozens of the books as kid without realizing he'd ceased to evolve what I remember are the first couple. As a reader, I think the most important part is not betraying the characterization in later books. It's like a friend changing personality.
 
Glad you brought this up, Michelle. I read a couple of series where the main character grew into someone I disliked. Needless to say, that ended my love affair with those series. Clearly, the changes cannot be so drastic that you don’t recognize the character anymore. It’s not fair for the readers and the characters as well.
 
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i really enjoyed this article,because this was me many years ago,and to a certain degree,this is who i am today
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