One of the many things I enjoy about being an author is the prep work that goes into a book. Part of that prep work includes “interviewing” all my main characters.
This interview process has become a vital part of my writing ritual. During the interviews, some characters chatter away while others are brief and to the point. Typically these interviews are pages and pages long, but I thought I’d share part of the interviews with Zac Hennings and Emma Sinclair, the hero and heroine from The Prosecutor.
I hope you enjoy!
Emma Sinclair from The Prosecutor
Adrienne: Emma, would you please tell me about yourself?
Emma: My birthday is May 24, so I’m a Gemini. My father died when I was sixteen. My mother is still alive. I have one younger brother, Brian. He’s 24 and currently in prison, but I know he’s innocent. I moved in with my mother after my brother went to jail because I couldn’t stand the idea of her being alone.
Adrienne: What do you look like?
Emma: I’m 26 years old. I’m 5’5” and weigh about 125. Not skinny, but not heavy. Just average. I’m average all around. I have brown hair and brown eyes. If I try, I can be downright pretty. Sometimes, I’m just a jeans and T-shirt girl.
Adrienne: What is your personality like?
Emma: I change my mind quickly. I’m fickle and get bored easily. I can jump from assignment to assignment with no problem, and I probably shouldn’t admit this but I get really frustrated with indecisive people. I can also get an enormous amount of work done in an hour. Oh, and I’m a speed reader. I’m also good at persuading people to do things. People tell me it’s hard to say no to me and that I could sell a dog off a meat truck. I need a ton of sleep because my active brain exhausts me. I’m always looking for ways to improve things and that takes a lot of energy. After all we’ve been through as a family, I can pretty much adjust to any environment.
Adrienne: You sound really smart.
Emma: I am smart. My brain moves really fast. I went to U of Illinois for undergrad as a Liberal Arts major. After college, I got a job at a PR and lobbying firm as an administrative assistant. I learned how to deal with politicians there. I’d been working there for two years when my brother was convicted of murder. While trying to prove his innocence, I decided since I was spending so much time studying his case, I might as well go to law school so I could better understand the system. I'm now a law student at Northwestern Law.
Adrienne: Okay, what are some of your failings?
Emma: Sometimes I feel like there are so many. Right now, I’m failing at getting my innocent brother out of prison.
Adrienne: How do you feel about men?
Emma: Yes, please. Kidding! I like having men around, but between work and school, I don’t have time. It’s been months since I went on a date. I definitely haven’t found the right guy yet. I always think I have and then it falls apart. I guess I find something perfect in every guy I meet but then another one comes along and he has something else perfect. If I could add up all the perfects I find, I’d have the guy for me. Until then, I’ll just wait.
Adrienne: What are some of your goals?
Emma: My only goal right now is to make my family whole again. As whole as it can be without my dad. That means bringing my brother home. When I achieve that goal, I’ll focus on my own life.
Adrienne: What’s at stake for you in this book?
Emma: If Brian stays in jail, my family will be torn apart for the next 25 years. I don’t know if my mother could survive that.
Adrienne: What is your biggest fear?
Emma: That my brother will die in prison.
Adrienne: What do you like about Zac?
Emma: He’s so steady and sure. Unemotional. He puts his head down and pushes through problems. I also love his sense of focus. He sees a target and goes straight for it. I meander on the way to the target.
Adrienne: Why do you think you’ll be good together?
Emma: We balance each other. Maybe he can teach me to slow down and not be in such a hurry to move on to the next thing or phase or whatever. That’s what I would enjoy.
Adrienne: When you die, what do you want people to say about you?
Emma: That’s a good one. I guess I want people to say I figured it out. That I got my brother exonerated and put my family back together. That would make me proud.
Adrienne: Thank you, Emma.
Emma: Sure. I’m going back to studying now. Bye.
Zac Hennings from The Prosecutor
Adrienne: Tell me about yourself and your family.
Zac: My father is a defense lawyer. So is my older brother and younger sister. They can’t figure out what happened with me because I graduated from Loyola and went to work as an ASA. The new state’s attorney came wheeling in about four months ago and kept me, along with two other attorneys. The rest are gone. For some reason, the woman likes me.
Adrienne: What is your personality like?
Zac: I’m competitive and like to win. I don’t see it as a bad thing. People say I’m fiercely ambitious, but I don’t think it’s about ambition. I think I want justice done and if I believe someone is guilty, I’ll fight hard to put that person away. And, yeah, I don’t mind being a hero. I’m disciplined and come across as all business, but I know I can be funny when people don’t expect it.
Adrienne: What do you think your failings are?
Zac: I don’t have failings. I have opportunities to improve.
Adrienne: How do you feel about women?
Zac (grinning): I love women.
Adrienne: Are you being a pig?
Zac: Maybe a little. But, sure, I like having a woman in my life. I’ve only been in love once and it didn’t work out. She needed a lot of attention and I log 60 hours a week. It’s not good for relationships. But if I say I love someone, I do. Somehow I always wind up with a woman who needs me to shower her with endearments and that’s not me. I’m not against trying to do better and Emma might be the one I want to try harder for.
Adrienne: So, let’s talk about your emotional needs.
Zac (gagging): Seriously?
Adrienne: Yes, Mr. Prosecutor, seriously.
Zac: Well, I need someone who understands I’m not romantic on the outside. I need them to take the time to realize that underneath, I can be gooey, but on the outside, I don’t show it. I want a family. I want a wife to come home to and to love. And kids. I need the woman in my life to understand that I like adulation, but I’m not necessarily comfortable with it. I need her to have the confidence to recognize that I love her and will stand by her through anything—and I mean anything. I’m loyal that way. And protective. I take care of my loved ones, but I’m not comfortable screaming how much I love them from rooftops.
Adrienne: What are some of your disappointments?
Zac: I don’t have a ton of disappointments. I just put my head down and work through them. I like my job, the pay pretty much sucks considering the emotional toll and the hours, but the work is important. I guess if I had one disappointment it would be that this job can suck the life out of a person and I need to come to terms with the burnout factor. I’m afraid of it.
Adrienne: Okay, last question, what are some of your goals?
Zac: I’d like to be more open about my feelings. I realize I’m not easy in that department, but I want to settle down so I need to try a little harder in the wooing department. In terms of my job, every time a new state’s attorney comes in, I run the risk of being fired because the new SA will bring in his or her crew. This new SA kept me on. I want to prove that I appreciate that and will work hard on the cases assigned to me. I want to show her my loyalty.
Adrienne: I know I said the last one was the last question, but I have one more.
Zac: Of course you do. Fire away.
Adrienne: When it comes to the story I’m putting you in, what could you lose?
Zac: Yeah, let’s talk about that. You’re asking me to go against the establishment and risk aggravating cops and the public defender’s office. For a prosecutor, that’s tough. I could screw up this big case and look bad to my new boss. So, you’re asking me to put everything on the line. And I’ll do it because it’s the right thing to do. If Emma Sinclair’s brother is innocent, he shouldn’t be in prison. Simple as that.