Sticking with the theme (check out yesterday’s post about the Steampunk world I’m creating!), the character whom I’m interviewing for this month’s Beautiful People link up – hosted by Cait @ Notebook Sisters and Sky @ Further Up and Further In – is Miss Cathleen ‘Cathy’ , MC of my CampWriMo novel, Horology. Cathy is a very respectable young lady in both senses of the word, but her parents happened to be untitled scientists more interested in entomology in the rainforests than watching their little girl grow up, and therefore she has never known the fancier life. On the other hand, rarely seeing her parents made Cathy into a modest woman – if one who might rely on a man’s help a little too much.
“Haven’t you ever thought of how succinct some of The Passings are, but how some are more…fragile? I suppose that would be the word.”
1. What’s their favourite food? (Bonus: favourite flavour of chocolate!)
Cathy definitely has a sweet tooth. She adds honey to her porridge and rarely takes black (bitter) tea. As to her favourite food, I say it would be sweet, yet delicate pastries. She has a weakness for late breakfast croissants.
2. What do they absolutely hate?
So as to not clash with #5, I’m not going to answer this in my first interpretation, which was hate as in fear. Instead, what Cathy despises the most is the way Lords and Ladys use their money to manipulate society and the outcome of wills. One character with whom Cathy has a terse breakfast is more than willing to let his younger brother disappear because it means not having to share the house with him.
3. What do they enjoy learning about?
Neither music nor science become Cathy, and she was never taught to draw or to count. However, when asked whether she wanted to pursue a profession, sixteen-year-old Cathy jumped at the chance to learn the languages. Her strongest are French and Latin, but she has conversational German, too. Whilst Cathy never went to an institute of education to learn, her governess, Miriam, taught her all she knew, and when that supply was exhausted, Cathy’s parents employed an external tutor.
4. Who is the most influential person in their life?
Being smitten with a scientist has its upsides. It’s clear that a lot of what Cathy does and where she goes has been in habit of putting herself in Alexander’s path. As the story progresses, too, we see that she is desperate to understand what his theories have got him into – and to relate to the Theoretical Maths he’s created.
5. What is their childhood fear?
Ghosts. Cathy is unusual that, where most of the population accept and revere The Passing of ghosts every dusk in the world’s cold spots, Cathy has a deep-seated fear of their presence, which would, in modern psychiatry, be called a phobia. The other characters are, of course, utterly puzzled by this—and Cathy will have to face her face if she wants to save Alexander.
(I say ‘will’. I haven’t written those chapters yet.)
6. What is something they have always secretly dreamed of doing, but thought impossible?
In true Victorian fashion, Cathy’s desire for a relationship with Alexander has relied less on passion and more on logical assessment. Call me cliché, but she’d love to get married and raise a household like her mother failed to do. However, her analysis of Alexander – his blank stares and aloof mannerisms – led her to believe he had no interest in her beyond their friendship. How wrong she was. I guess that’s what my characters get for dating men ten years older.
7. Are they a night owl or morning person?
A morning person, by far. If she’s in London or New York, Cathy already gets jittery by evening by the mere thought of The Passing.
8. Do they say everything that pops into their head, or leave a lot unsaid?
Cathy can have a temper when she wants, but she generally curbs her tongue, out of polite habit more than anything. In a recent chapter, Cathy goes so far as to slap another woman, but, by this point, one can tell that she is really upset enough to do so.
9. What are their nervous habits?
Cathy sometimes pulls on strands of her hair when she is nervous.