All this week I'm interviewing potential new recruits for my imaginary company. I've invited several authors to send along some suitable candidates, chosen from among their fictional characters.
Today's interviewee is Gwenna, from the Empire's Legacy Series, nominated by Marian Thorpe:
AW: Firstly, I'd like you, please, by way of introduction, to bring an object for Show and Tell, let us know what the item is and why it is special/important.
Hello, everyone. I’m Gwenna. I have a book to show you, but please be careful with it. It’s my mother’s most treasured possession. It’s a history of our country, begun by my great-uncle Colm, and added to by my mother over these last twenty years. Colm was my father’s uncle, but he gave the book to my mother long before she met my father; long before my grandfather, the Emperor Callan, even knew he had a son. I can’t tell you the whole story. It’s far too complex, but it is written down, if you wish to know. Everything gets written down in my family, either by my father or mother or Sorley, or me, now.
AW: [Might be a useful person to have in the archive office?] Secondly, I'm going to place four items in front of you. Could you please rank them in order of usefulness/value, with a few words about your evaluation?
These items are: a leather-bound notebook, a horse, a bag of coins, a sharp pointy weapon.
G: How do I judge these? I’ve carried a knife since I was a child, and, yes, I have killed with it, in self-defence. A horse is necessary to travel around the country, as I must, for my work as a trade envoy. A notebook I use almost daily, recording taxes and tariffs paid, and discrepancies in mine records, and all the details of trade for which I am responsible. Coins are of the least use to me day to day – my expenses are paid by the administrators of Ésparias – but for my country, for its prosperity, they’re important. If I answer as just me, Gwenna, then I will say the knife: it has kept me safe. But if I answer as Gwenna, Heir to Ésparias, one day in the far future its Principe…I choose the notebook, for the same reason my mother’s book is so important. A country – and its leader – must know its history. We were here before the Eastern Empire came, and we will be here after they leave us once more to our own defences.
AW: [Aha, there is more to this young woman that first meets the eye...] I have several vacancies in my global corporation. Would you be best suited to the role of CEO, Finance Officer, Head of Human Resources, or Chief Medical Officer? Why?
G: I am best suited to the position of Finance Officer: I understand balance sheets, profits, taxes, and investment; it’s what I was trained to do. You might ask why not CEO, if I’m destined to be the leader of my country? Not yet. I’m too young. I need to learn so much more. (May I suggest that if you have another vacancy for Chief Medical Officer in the future, you might consider my brother?)
AW: [Excellent answer. And offering me another interview candidate too! Let's find out some more general stuff.] You're going on a first date. Who has chosen the venue - you, or your date? How are you feeling - nervous, tongue-tied, or have you totally got this? Who's your 'wingman'?
G: Well. That will depend on where we are. If we’re at Wall’s End, or the Eastern Fort, then likely we’re going to the junior commons to throw dice and drink. In one of the villages, we’re more likely to go riding, or sailing. I like riding, so I’d suggest that. Am I nervous? Not usually. Diplomatic training has its uses, and usually it’s my date who has trouble forgetting who I am. My ‘wingman’, inevitably, is my bodyguard. Being a princess is awkward in these situations.
AW: [I'm impressed. How does she handle frustration though?] You've been building something - a Lego model, a battleship made of matchsticks, a ship in a bottle, or something similar. Someone you don't get on with smashes it deliberately. How do you react?
G: My father taught me anger is a tool to be used judiciously. So I am not likely to let my anger show, because that’s likely what this person wants – to make me lose my temper. There are far more subtle ways of exacting retribution: a withheld position, an unsent invitation, or an assignment to the worst job they are appropriate for. Not immediately, of course. I would wait, and make sure the person is aware I have begun again, not discouraged by their actions. Let them believe there will be no repercussions, even that I dislike confrontation – and then act.