This month Georgie and Sky, the organizers of Beautiful People, are doing something a little different in preparation for NaNo. Unfortunately I am not participating in NaNo this year, so I took up the other part of the challenge: answering all of the questions to date for one of my characters. I had planned to do Darkwood from The White Sail's Shaking this month, but doing all the questions would have given too much away about him; so instead I'm focusing on the character who has given me the most trouble in this story, Tip not excepted...
What is her full name?
Marta Clara Kilpatrick, but she goes by Mara Rais (her mother’s maiden name) or by Roy Martin.
Does her name have a special meaning?
Does your character have a methodical or disorganized personality?
Marta is very methodical.
Does she think inside herself more than she talks out loud to her friends? (more importantly, does she actually have friends?)
Marta has always lived a secluded life with her mother; she spent her childhood playing with rocks, makeshift dolls, and petals from the rose bushes outside her Syracusan home rather than spending time with children her age. Perhaps as a result of this, she is very private and does not confide easily in others; she also has a tendency toward snobbishness.
Is there something she is afraid of?
Seamen. Rats. Ghosts.
Does she write, dream, dance, sing, or photograph?
None of the above, though her mother was an excellent singer.
What is her favorite book? (or genre of books)
Marta likes to read, but she has not had enough access to books while growing up to have a favorite.
Who is her favorite author and/or someone that inspires her?
See number 7.
Favorite flavor of ice cream?
Marta has never had ice cream. If she did, I think she would like black raspberry (gross!).
What type of laugh does she have?
In her current situation she does not have much reason to be amused, but when is she has a very soft, shy laugh.
Who is her best friend?
The only friend she has at present is Tip Brighton.
What is her family like?
Marta’s mother was an actress, but she left the theater to marry Kilpatrick, a British officer, and to raise Marta. Both mother and father are now deceased and Marta is on her own. Her father’s family lives in England, but she knows nothing of them.
Is she a Christian, or will she eventually find Jesus?
Difficult to say…
Does she believe in fairies?
I think not.
Does she like hedgehogs?
Marta has never met one herself, but she has heard about them and finds them far enough away from rats to be acceptable.
Favorite kind of weather?
She likes stormy days when she is safe inside by a fire. Also springtime. Her impressions of each season is formed by her mother’s rosebushes.
Does she have a good sense of humor? If so, what kind? (Slapstick, wit, sarcasm, etc.?)
She does not have a very well developed sense of humor. Tip’s love of irony and his strange laugh confuse her.
How did she do in school, or any kind of education she might have had?
Marta’s mother taught her the basics—reading, writing, and basic arithmetic—as well as how to keep house. She has a studious personality and did well.
Any strange hobbies?
Favorite season of the year?
Winter, until she goes to sea and finds that winter equals storms.
How old is she?
Eighteen and nineteen over the course of the novel.
What does she do with her spare time?
Plays the spy, a very unlikeable pastime.
Does she see the big picture or live in the moment?
Somewhere in the middle, I believe. She is not one of those people who can take something in with a glance, but neither does she fixate on what is happening now.
Is she a perfectionist?
Not wholly, but she is much more concerned with neatness and accuracy than Tip.
What does her handwriting look like? (round, slanted, curly, skinny, sloppy, neat, decorative, etc.)
Marta prides herself on her neat penmanship.
Does she have any pets?
No, she has never had a real pet. As a child she used to put out crumbs for the birds to eat, and she liked to pretend they were her pets.
Does she have any siblings? How many? Where does she fit in?
Marta is an only child.
Does she have a 'life verse' and if so what is it?
Psalm 4:8 is the best I can come up with on the spur of the moment: “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
Favorite writing utensil?
A pencil stub, but she rarely manages to procure one.
What kind of music does she like?
Marta doesn’t listen to much music, but she has enjoyed the snatches of operatic pieces she has heard.
Does she like to go outside?
Yes, but she likes to know that she can go home whenever she likes.
Is she naturally curious?
No, but she becomes curious by necessity. She would rather keep herself to herself.
Right or left handed?
Where is she from?
She considers everyone to be a potential enemy. And for the most part that isn’t paranoia: just common sense.
What are her quirks?
She is bitter because her father loved the sea (and his family’s good opinion) more than he loved his wife and child and thus thinks of all seamen with contempt, yet she is also proud of the British and looks down on the Americans. Above all, she is fiercely Sicilian.
What kinds of things get on her nerves?
Tip’s laugh, although she becomes used to it, and Charlie Bent’s snobbery. Also, half-answers, seamen, and being called British.
Is she independent, or does she need others to help out?
Marta likes to think of herself as independent, but she really isn't.
What is her biggest secret?
She has two: the first is that she is a girl, a fact only Tip knows, and the second I can’t say.
Has she ever been in love?
No, never. She has never had anyone to be in love with.
What is her comfort food?
Anything but hard tack with worms in it.
Does she play a musical instrument? If so, what?
Marta can play the piano forte, although she has not had a chance to practice in some time.
What colour are her eyes? Hair?
Marta has light brown eyes and very dark brown hair.
What is her favorite place to be?
In her home in Syracuse by the fire.
What are some of her dreams or goals?
Her goal is to get to England and find her father’s family; her dream is for them to accept her.
Does she enjoy sports?
What is her favorite flower or plant?
The red rose.
What is her biggest accomplishment?
She does not consider herself to have accomplished anything yet. Making it as far as Gibraltar was something, but that didn’t end well.
What is one of her strongest childhood memories?
Sitting in her mother’s lap in a big rocking chair on Christmas Eve, listening to the rain outside and her mother’s singing. Also, playing dress-up with trunk-loads of her mother’s old dresses.
Does she believe in love at first sight?
No. Marta regards the idea with scorn.
What kind of home does she live in?
Currently she is living on board the schooner Enterprize, but she has no permanent home.
What does she like to wear?
Playing the part of a seaman means that she is forced to wear uncomfortable, baggy, ugly clothes; her only article that she likes at all is her black cap which she wears all day every day (which gets a little old for her). She likes to think about all the beautiful dresses and hats she will buy in England, and all of her mother’s jewelry and clothing that she might have owned.
What would she do if she discovered she was dying?
She would break down in tears and want someone to hold her as if she were a child again.
What kind of holidays or traditions does she celebrate?
What do your other characters have to say about her?
Lewis would say she is a nuisance, with a few other words thrown in. Charlie says she is pretty much worthless as a seaman and distrusts her instinctively. Tip alternately thinks that she is horribly Mediterranean, a redhead at her core, and rather pretty in her own way.
If she could change one thing in her world, what would it be?
Beneath her bitterness, Marta has too much faith in Providence to truly desire to change anything; but she does sometimes wish that her mother were still alive.
Does she have any habits, annoying or otherwise?
She tends to pull her cap down over her eyebrows, which Tip, who likes to look people in the face while he talks to them (and thinks Marta’s eyes are lovely), finds irksome.
What is her backstory and how does it affect her now?
Marta has always been very close to her mother, a Syracusan beauty, and though she did not inherit Clara’s looks, she does have her Mediterranean blood and her love of Sicily. Her mother’s death has left her withdrawn, for she no longer has anyone with whom to talk freely. Her father’s neglect bred in her a distrust of seamen; she is convinced that when a man falls in love with the sea, it becomes his one obsession.
How does she show love?
Marta’s love is difficult to win, but once it is won she will stand by that person until the day she dies. She isn’t shy or stand-offish, so she doesn’t mind giving or receiving kisses.
How competitive is she?
Marta is quite competitive, somewhat irrationally so at times.
What does she think about when nothing else is going on?
The “ghost” that haunts the Enterprize. What she will do when she is discharged and how her father’s family will receive her. How very irritating Tip Brighton’s laugh can be. And what kind of a name is “Tip,” anyway?
Does she have an accent?
Marta has a very smooth voice and her English is impeccable. If it weren’t for her looks (and her temper) you might not know she was Mediterranean.
What is her station in life?
Neither she nor her family has any pretensions to greatness, although her father’s side is wealthy. She is nothing more than a common seaman on the Enterprize.
What do others expect from her?
Her superiors expect her to do her work and not to desert. Tip expects her to be unexpected, although what he hopes about her is another matter. Lewis expects her to keep her mouth shut, and Charlie expects nothing from her because he rarely thinks about her.
Where was she born and when?
Syracuse, Sicily, October 23, 1785.
How does she feel about people in general?
She considers Americans to be arrogant and crude; she thinks the British are arrogant and refined. Otherwise, she deals with people as they come into her sphere and not in generalizations.