Friday, October 24, 2014

War of Loyalties Character Interviews--Ben Dorroll

Folkestone, England

 From a medical perspective, Jaeryn Graham found his new assistant quite satisfactory. He kept to himself and didn't talk much to put patients at their ease, but he seemed to take a genuine interest in each one that had a soothing effect without many words. The desire to relieve pain was there in the gentle touch, and not only that, but to relieve the distress of mind that pain often brought.
  From an agent's perspective, Ben Dorroll left a little to be desired. 

It seems fitting to start off character interviews with the main character, Ben. Actually he's not fond of being interviewed--he prefers watching from a corner and going about his business and never getting questioned while he does it. He's a 24-year-old young man very kind, very private, and is never happier than when he's helping out a patient at Jaeryn's clinic. I have always felt about him how Thorin Oakenshield described his company of dwarves in the Hobbit movie: "Courage. Honor. A willing heart. I can ask no more than that." 

From an author's perspective I have asked a lot more than that. But he's given it in full measure, and signed up for book 2, so that's a relief. ;) 

He's not what you would call easy-going. There's a lot of mental processing going on underneath, and if you interfere with what he thinks is honorable and just, then he'll be angry with you. He's slow to make friends, but once he's agreed to be friends, he'll never change his mind. 

This interview is in first person from his perspective, selected from a list of over 100 questions that he very nicely answered for me in January. Side comments in parentheses are mine. 

Probably the only thing worse for the poor man than being interviewed is having his interview posted in public.

What's your real birth date?
June 17, 1892
(Friday. Because it was random, but Ben's my favorite character, and Friday's my favorite day. The year Ellis Island opened!)

What about you is heroic?
I'm not heroic. Never have been. Some people might say I'm heroic for taking care of my family I suppose, or putting my life in danger, or giving up the idea of a medical practice so I can do secret intelligence work during the war. But those aren't heroic, really. Just what I'm supposed to do.

Of what benefit could you be to the current group?
I have keen powers of observation and notice details that even Jaeryn doesn't catch. I also am fairly unnoticeable, so people don't have me in the forefront of their minds. I'm a doctor, and my medical skills come in handy. Fellow secret agents that dislike Jaeryn don't have that same dislike for me, so I can go places he can't. I'm good at photography, doggedly committed until the job is successfully completed, and not likely to draw back from something just because it will cause personal inconvenience or sorrow.

Why would you choose to join the current group?
Because my father asked me to, and I do what people ask of me. I also expected to get paid better, and that was a factor to consider when I'm supporting a family. 

Do you own a car? Describe it.
No. Nor do I know how to drive. I've driven with horses many times before, and ridden them (when I must) but I mostly get around on a bicycle.

What is your most prized mundane possession? Why do you value it so much?
My certificate of practice from medical school. It's only a framed piece of paper, but it expresses all the hard work I put in to get here, both with completing school and earning the money for tuition. And I think it was the first dream I had that came true, so it gives me hope that perhaps the dream of a practice will come true someday, too.

How old were you when you went on your first date?
Nineteen, almost twenty. Charlotte and I met up at the school library and I bought her a soda afterwards, because that was all I could afford, and neither of us drank coffee then. We walked to the park and talked mostly about classes and studies; nothing personal. But she seemed to like it, and I kept the glass bottles even though I could have gotten money from returning them, because I liked her so well. They're all packed away in my mother's attic somewhere with the rest of our things. I hope.

What one word best describes you?
Committed. Dutiful. Introverted. Heart-hungry. Inexperienced. (That was one word, everybody.)

What is something you had to learn that you hated?
How to lie. How to enter a room and take things and look things over without anybody knowing. How to keep secrets from people I want to trust, and who I want to trust me. 

Do you tend to save or spend your money? Why?
If I have any money to save I save it, but I'm generally short a few days in between paychecks, so that opportunity doesn't come often. When I saved for school I saved every penny, and didn't buy anything I couldn't absolutely get on without.

What song is "your song?" Why?
"May it Be" by Enya.

What time of day is your favorite?
Just at dusk, because that's often the time when I'm getting home from a hard day's work. Probably around 7:00pm. The perfect time for thinking over everything that has happened, and trying to figure out solutions to problems with no one to notice or interrupt. Generally it's also when most of the solutions to my problems come to me. My favorite moment of the day is when I'm just a few feet from my front door, and the lights in the sitting room are on, and I have the prospect of supper and an evening at home with Charlotte.

What is your favorite drink? (Coffee, Coke, Juice, Beer, Wine, etc.)
Root beer. We drank this at my wedding reception, and it brings back good memories. Charlotte and I would buy it when I was going through my residency year in Richmond, but I haven't had any since coming to England.

What do you feel most strongly about?
Home. Honor. Duty. Family.

What is your religious view of things? What religion, if any, do you call your own?
Protestant Christianity. When I get to church, which is a bit off and on.

How private of a person are you? Why?
Extremely private. I don't tell what I'm thinking or how I grew up if I can help it. For one, I prefer not to give out unnecessary details about myself. For another, I can't imagine why people would be interested, and for a third, I've worked for years to feel at peace with my situation but it's a rather precarious contentment, and I'd rather not have it disturbed by living the past over again. Best to leave old memories where they belong.

What trait do you find most admirable, and how often do you find it?
Integrity. I haven't found it in every one of my acquaintances, but I'm finding it in unlikely places, and learning what it really means, and trying to develop it in myself. I most admire it when a man holds to integrity no matter what the cost, even if he must sacrifice himself.

  Jaeryn watched to make sure Ben filled the order correctly, and gave a quick nod of approval before returning to his own work. "What else should I know about you?"
   Ben tried to keep his tone pleasant, though he wished Jaeryn would take the hint and leave off. "I'm not sure. Nothing that would interest you, or have bearing on our work here, I think."
  "A politely worded invitation for me to mind my own business." Jaeryn chuckled. "Fair enough."

All snippets from War of Loyalties, by Schuyler M. 

Lady Bibliophile 


  1. I loved this! It was most noble of Ben (being so attached to his privacy) to allow you to conduct the interview, let alone post it online for the world to see. :)

    Ben ought to learn to drive. I would feel safer riding with him than with other characters.

    That's so sweet that he kept the bottles, frugal as he is.

    Why "May it Be", may I ask?

    My favorite part of this post: the quote from Dr. Graham. "A politely worded invitation for me to mind my own business." Jaeryn chuckled. "Fair enough."

    Can't wait to read more of these!

    ~the Philologist

    1. Most noble of him, indeed. I think I was more nervous than he was. :)

      Oh, driving. I should tell you about that sometime. I have plans along that line. (Just don't get in the car with Starlin. It would lead to disastrous results. XD)

      Why "May it Be"? Well, actually that's not his song as in him picking it. It's one of his theme songs from my perspective, but if he heard it I doubt he'd pay much attention to it. I think it expresses his plot-line and life to perfection, rather like Frodo. Walking a lonely road, in the darkness, far from home, and up in the sky there's an evening star like a pinprick of light to give hope.

      Jaeryn's next month!


  2. Three cheers for Ben!! I'm surprised you got him on here. ;) But it's good you did, and I'm glad he's finally out in public. You definitely won't regret doing it, I'm sure. :)

    That's so fun that they had root beer at their wedding reception. :) And that he saved the bottles from their first date.

    I've always loved the fact that he is so observant. It's cool what facts he finds sometimes. ;) And I also love how he interacts at dinner parties and he acts like he has them all the time.

    Excellent post! ;)


    1. He is so sweet like that! As soon as he told me I was like "Aww." And that inspired me to keep the cream soda bottle, because it felt like I had one of his.

      I love him at dinner parties. He's awesome. :)

      Thank-you, darling!


  3. Love it! I didn't realize at first that it was WWI. Rather, I thought it was the second, but it being the first makes it better. I adore that era.
    One of your fans.
    -- Lydia

    1. Why, thank-you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it, and that you popped in to say hello! :)

      WWI is such a fun era to write in, and one that not many people seem to use. I love the era too, (fashions, food, cultural thought, way of life) and some of the German and English ideals then make excellent fodder for suspense and drama.

      Have a lovely day!

  4. I am so glad your character, Ben, has featured on your blog, Schuyler, as a private and introverted a person as he is. I love his character so much already, from this interview. He's just so steady, quiet, dutiful and loyal. These are wonderful traits in such a character! I don't know if this is a true similarity, but he reminds me of James Herriot a little - just for that more shy, quiet, steady "family-type" man, maybe? Also Jaeryn 's comment: "A politely worded invitation for me to mind my own business." Jaeryn chuckled. "Fair enough." made me smile.

    As Carrie-Grace mentioned, it is sweet that he kept those soda bottles from his first date. Something I have learnt from such authors as Sutcliff is that those little things matter, definitely, in showing the heart and personality of a character!
    This is a fun interview :). I am really loving what I am hearing of "War of Loyalties", Schuyler, and my suspense and excitement is rising in looking forward to your finishing, and publishing this wonderful novel. I keep you in my prayers regarding your writing. Keep it up and press on, dear friend! It is well worth it - you have a wonderful epic story within your heart and hands!

    1. I'm so glad you are fond of Ben! I am very fond of him, and look forward to sharing him with others--but those introvert types are sometimes hard to capture, and in this round of editing I've been working very hard on making him relatable.

      Oh, yes, there are definitely similarities between him and James Herriot, and especially between James and Helen and Ben and Charlotte.

      Though James sometimes does stuff that Ben wouldn't. :X

      Thank-you so much for your prayers and continued encouragement! It means the world to me, and I can't wait for you to read the whole story sometime. :) Publishing has some tricky waters to navigate, but all in the Lord's good time!



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