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Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Character Interview – Owena from The Commodore’s Gift

July 19, 2022
mandyevebarnett


This is a character interview with Owena from my steampunk novel, The Commodore’s Gift.

1. Tell me a little about yourself (where you live, who you are, what you look like.) Currently, I am living within a rebel stronghold, deep in a cave complex in a forest in England. I am the daughter of a widowed landowner and sister to an older brother, Benjamin. My mother died when I was young, and so being brought up in a male dominated household, I was able to pursue more exciting and physical pursuits. I am boyish in my interests, but as my body developed these pursuits became more difficult and frowned upon. I have a strong yet feminine body, long auburn hair and brown eyes. I am told I have a determined and fierce look. This reflects my true inner personality, I am not happy to play the ‘little woman’.

2. What do you like to do in your spare time?  There is no spare time for any of us fighting the usurper King, but if I did have time to enjoy, I would be horse riding through the hills and valleys of my home. The freedom from conventional clothing, the wind in my loose hair and to control a strong, capable beast is truly magnificent.

3. Is there something more you would like to do? To find a way to pursue my ideal way of life, which is the opposite of what society expects. I do not want to be shackled to a man, his home, his rules and restricted by societal conventions. I want a man, who is my equal, to stand side by side, and right wrongs and protect those unable to protect themselves. I dream of traveling a life of adventure and experiences.

4. When did you first ride a horse? I was much younger than probably was acceptable. I was brought up by my father and brother and lacking a female role model, I initially rode with my father at five years of age and then quickly gained enough confidence to ride a pony at six years old. I did not ride sidesaddle, but astride, which was frowned upon, of course.

5. How did it feel to discard your female clothes in favor of more manly attire? Today’s fashion, in itself, constricts and limits a woman to the detriment of her health. Without the restriction of a corset and layers of petticoats, I felt free to move. No more stifled and moderated movements. With such agility I could certainly weld a sword more easily, as well as move more freely, it is liberating.

7. What would you say is your biggest quirk? I do not accept I have a quirk at all! However, my strength of character and ability to fight with a sword are viewed as unladylike to say the least, within our Victorian society. I do not bow down to such demeaning rules and conventions. I forge against the ill conceived view of women in society – this makes me ‘odd’ to many people.

8. Who are your enemies? I, and my fellow resistance fighters, have two common enemies. King Buldrick – the self-proclaimed king, whose revolt against the rightful king had the royal family flee for their lives, and Commodore Gripe-Rudhall. A man of such sadist cruelty, even to hear of his exploits can make a grown man vomit. He is without an ounce of compassion in his body. He welds such control, as the false king’s right hand man, that many have given up all hope. He is the one I aim to defeat.

9. What or who means the most to you in your life? What, if anything, would you do to keep them in your life? I would say my dear father and brother, and my friend and longtime companion Josephine are those souls I would protect with my life. However, there is another more recent acquaintance, who has become very important to me. But, I cannot reveal that relationship quite yet. (Read the book to find out!)

10. Are you fearless? No, far from it, but I found out that most people are not either. A man, however, can appear fearless, as he learns to control that fear, use it to his advantage and I am learning that lesson too. Fear can incapacitate or bring rage – it is up to the individual to use it best.

Do you have a question you would like to ask Owena? Put it in the comments.

Book link:

Irk – Not What you Think..?

April 11, 2013
mandyevebarnett


256

256 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Irk – definition: to make weary, irritated, or bored : annoy – and it’s  an English river!

Every day is an opportunity to learn something new -eh?

 River Irk

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The River Irk is a river in North West England that flows through the northern suburbs of Manchester before merging with the River Irwell in the city centre. Wikipedia
Source : Royton
Mouth :River Irwell
Cities : Manchester, Chadderton, Oldham, Middleton, Royton.
The river is known as Irk but has also been known as Iwrck or the Irke. These names are thought to have been derived from the Roebuck, which suggests that the Irk may at one time have been a swift-running river.
In medieval times a mill was sited by the Irk, where tenants of the manor could grind their corn. The fisheries of the river were controlled by the lord of the manor. In the 16th century throwing carrion and other offensive matter into the Irk was forbidden. Water for the city of Manchester was drawn from the river before the Industrial Revolution. The first bridge over the Irk was recorded in 1381 but as the river was noted for destructive floods there may have been previous ones . In a 1480 description by the burgesses’ of Manchester in reference to the highway between Manchester and Collyhurst, it states  “the water of Irk had worn out”. In 1816, of the seven bridges over the Irk, six were liable to be flooded after heavy rain but the seventh, the Ducie Bridge completed in 1814 was the first one above flood levels.
According to The New Gazetteer of Lancashire (1830) the Irk had more mill seats upon it than any other stream of its length in the Kingdom.” and that “the eels in this river were formerly remarkable for their fatness, which was attributed to the grease and oils expressed by the mills from the woollen cloths and mixed with the waters.” However, by the start of the 20th century the Irk Valley between Crumpsall and Blackley had been left a neglected river, “not only the blackest but the most sluggish of all rivers”. A project has been set up to rejuvenate the river and remove the pollution.
As for the definition of irk shown above …I’m sure we could all  make a fairly long list without too much trouble. It can be something simple such as a partner’s annoying habit or more serious news related items or a local dispute of some sort. Unfortunately we all have our ‘triggers’ that make us grind our teeth – or not! I suppose if we were not irked about some things we would not be human or totally oblivious of the world around us. Something I would guess writers are not – we ‘feed” off our environments utilizing sights, smells, tastes and touch.
I hope you have few irks in your life but if you do overcome them in your writing – anything goes there.
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