The character reveal is a feature on my website. Characters from my books (in print or works-in-progress) answer questions from a standard personality assessment test. Today’s character reveal: Beryl Lucille Clarke Mitchell. Beryl is Miranda’s aunt and mentor, and a protagonist of the My Soul to Keep series.
Beryl had just turned fifty-two when she appeared in the first book, My Soul to Keep. Younger sister to the Fellowship’s premier preacher-politician, Counselor Donald Clarke, Beryl learned to hate him when he betrayed her. She and Miranda escape Redemption in My Soul to Keep. Now, fifty-four at the beginning of If I Should Die, she is the First Mate aboard the Lady Angelfish. She’s sworn to protect her niece, Miranda. And she will, even if she never learns to love the water like Miranda.
1. Who is your role model?
As a kid, I read everything I could find about Annie Oakley. I was thirteen years old when my father took my older brother, Donald, and I to a shooting contest in Pinehurst, North Carolina. I saw Annie Oakley shoot 100 clay targets in a row at sixteen yards. Man, I wanted to shoot like her, to be like her. She was one sharp-eyed sixty-two-year-old. But Pop started going to the Fellowship rallies. By the next spring, he’d become a member. Mrs. Oakley was anti-Fellowship, so Pop forbade me from reading anymore about her. I didn’t even know when she died just four years later.
2. Who knows you the best?
Long ago, I would have answered, my husband. Now, there’s no one.
3. What would your friends say about you?
Friends? I don’t have friends. What about Miranda? She’s my niece. My student. My responsibility.
4. What is the question people ask you most often?
Did you have to shoot him?
5. What is the thing you’d never say to another person?
I never betray a secret. Other than that, I say what’s on my mind.
6. What is your greatest achievement?
That I survived ten years of isolation and torture in the hell-hole they call Redemption and never revealed my secrets.
7. What is your greatest failure?
My daughter, Anna.
8. What did you learn from your greatest failure?
What did I learn? Never to trust anyone who says “trust me.”
9. What is the thing you are most proud of?
You mean some thing I’ve done?I don’t know. Proud is something you feel when you’re a kid and you make straight A’s.
10. What would you like to change about yourself?
I’d like to forget some things I had to do.
11. If something in your house breaks, what is the first thing you do?
My house? I haven’t had a house—a home—in almost fifteen years. Being on the run you don’t stop to fix things, you just keep moving. What about the boat? It’s not a house.
12. What is the greatest obstacle you’re facing right now?
Disbelief. No one can believe the Azrael have somehow survived the destruction of the island. I’m not sure I believe it. But I’m going to find out if they have.
13. How do you like to “waste” your time?
Sitting in the sun, not thinking.
14. What is the ritual that helps you calm down?
Cleaning my guns.
15. What is your favorite place in town?
I don’t go to town unless I must for a mission. Someone would recognize me. They won’t arrest me if they catch me again. They’ll shoot-to-kill on sight.
16. What do you prefer–a book, a movie or a theater play?
It has been a long time since I’ve done any of those. I used to enjoy going to the theater—but that was another lifetime. I can’t imagine doing any of those soon.
17. What was the happiest period of your life?
When we brought my daughter home from the hospital. We were in love with her and each other. But we were willfully ignorant of the terrible things the Fellowship did.
18. What is your most treasured memory from childhood?
Watching Annie Oakley.
19. What was your favorite game when you were a child?
Anything with shooting—preferably with my BB gun, but most often it was my finger or a toy gun (as long as Mother didn’t catch me.)
20. What is the greatest injustice you’ve lived through?
Being accused of murdering my daughter. But Weldon murdered her first—he manipulated and warped her mind and sent her to kill her own parents. And she almost did.
Are you an artist or doodler? Have you drawn an image of Beryl or any other character in one of my books? Please, send me a digital copy. With your permission, I’ll post it on the character’s page on this website and share it on social media.
Did you enjoy Character Reveal: Beryl Clarke? Based on Beryl’s answers above, what additional question would you ask? Is there a character from My Soul to Keep or Fellowship you’d like to see answer these questions in the next character reveal?