This week, a member of Elli’s team (Topher) sat down with Milo Kasateno and began the first of a series of interviews with characters from The Royal Rogue. Below is the first installment of Milo’s interview. The second installment will continue next Wednesday.
TOPHER: You first appeared in The Royal Rogue, Elizabeth Carlton’s debut novel. This being your first public debut, how did you feel?
MILO KASATENO: Public debut, huh? Ain’t never thought about it that way. I’m just a commoner; a farmer. Prince Connor’s the hero. (He rubs the black fuzz beneath his chin, a self-depreciating chuckle escaping his lips) I’m just the background guy. No one writes books on the background guy. Besides, he’s got the whole jaded prince thing goin’ for him. Maidens fawn over it.
T: You mentioned Prince Connor.
M: Aye, the Royal Lush.
T: What was he like off the pages?
M: (Milo scratches his chin as he contemplates the question.)
T: You know what? Pause that question for a second. I’m just realizing that like me, some of our audience may not know you well at all. So let’s take it back to before I said “you mentioned” and replace that with some easy ones that i think would be nice to have.
T: Milo… May I call you Milo?
M: (grins) Sure. It’s my name, after all.
T: You grew up in Sarrokye. What was that like?
M: Beautiful. (His voice softens) A little rough around the edges, but I’ve never seen a city that didn’t have it’s share of shadows. I grew up in a district called Hikayah. Poor folk, pirates, and a fair share of thieves’ guilds. But it was right along the port, so I could see the shoreline from my window. I used to watch the sunsets from my rooftop. The water would reflect the colors like nothin’ you’ve ever seen.
T: When you were only 14 something tragic happened as you stood watching those sunsets you so beautifully described…
M: (Milo loses his trademark smile) My Pa was a pirate hunter. His ship gained a reputation for its success, but in Sarrokye fame puts a high bounty on ya. One day his ship didn’t return. I didn’t need proof to piece together what happened.
T: That must have been difficult. Being so young and an only child. What was it like for you and your mother after that?
M: (shrugs) Losin’ parents ain’t a rare thing for poor folk like us. Tough jobs, tough streets. My Ma decided Sarrokye wasn’t the place to give her baby boy a fair shake. So she packed our things and dragged me north to Nevaharday. Farm country.
T: Did you find it difficult being so different, with your dark hair and thick accent, to fit into Nevaharday’s farm culture?
M: (raises a humored brow) Wouldn’t you?
T: How did you cope?
M: I didn’t at first. I viewed New Haven as a punishment. None of the boys my age liked me ’cause I was from the south, and southern rahee had a reputation for bein’ bad news. They picked on me. Hid their stuff and then told their parents I stole it. So I picked back. I wooed their girls and gave ’em a reason to hate me. Until Levee showed up. A lot changed when that happened.
T: And how did Levee appear?
M: (removes his cowpoke hat and runs a hand through his black curls) She just… showed up. Her pony practically rode straight up to our door with Lev on her back, unconscious and half dead. Took weeks to nurse her back t’ health. That’s when we learned she was a gypsy. Her band got ransacked by a bunch of superstitious humans spooked by horse magic. She was the only one to survive, so we took her in.
T: You mentioned Prince Connor earlier. What was he to you?
M: (snorts) A royal pain the ass.
T: How’d you two meet?
M: I was granted an audience with him when my village petitioned to change the ruling on a trade route that would cut through our livestock and crops. The appeal nearly ended in a brawl. From that day on, we always found ourselves on opposite sides of the fence.
T: Many of our viewers know of Prince Connor, but what was he like off of the pages?
M: Drunk. (shakes his head) Nah, I’d be lyin’ if I said there wasn’t more to him than that. The prince is a complicated fella. A lot goes on in that noggin of his, most of which he doesn’t talk about. Not to me or anyone really. Except Lev, but she’s special like that. Ain’t met a soul that didn’t feel like they could spill their guts to her. She’s so genuine, most can’t help themselves.
T: Tell us more about Levee. What is she to you?
M: (his amber eyes dip toward his boots and his voice lowers as if the question stirs a wealth of emotion) Everythin’.
Have a question for Milo? Submit it below so we can include it as we continue his interview next Wednesday!