Jezell Campo from Running Out of Space – to be released Summer 2015


My pal Sara Letourneau had blogged these answers for her character and mentioned they were part of the Beautiful People section of the Further Up and Further In blog, designed to help writers get to know their characters better. This is the July crop of answers and given that Jezell is going to see the light of day sometime this summer, I figured I’d give it a whirl… Thanks to Sky and Cait for taking the trouble to draft these monthly questions.

beautiful-people-11. What’s their favourite ice cream flavour?
Jezell likes the red wine and blueberry flavour as the alcoholic content helps to mask the blueberry, as she isn’t all that fond of fruit. Not that she often gets to taste this particular ice cream flavour at home – anything remotely tasting of wine disappears down her mother’s throat well before she gets so much as a sniff at it. So now she’s away on her father’s spaceship, she makes a point of ordering it. Because she can.

2. Your character is getting ready for a night out. Where are they going? What are they wearing? Who will they be with?
She’ll be out with her amigas – Donice, Alita and Efra. Left to herself, she’d probably set off wearing ship’s overalls, but the chicas won’t let that happen. They’ll take her in hand – she and Donice are more or less the same size, although Donice is more generously proportioned, so she’ll borrow one of Donice’s off the shoulder blouses and flared skirts. She will also wear a wig to hide her shaved head, part of ship’s regs for all serving crew. Wherever the ship docks, she and her amigas will end up at a bar or dancing venue previously approved by the shipboard chaperones and fiercely protected by the hombres from the ship.

3. Look at your character’s feet. Describe what you see there. Do they wear dress shoes, gym shoes, or none at all? Are they in socks that are ratty and full of holes? What do they consider comfortable and what do they consider agony?
When on duty, Jezell has to wear military grade boots. The Captain, who is her father, used to serve in a mercenary force and has a penchant for all things military, especially as surplus gear can be bought for a generous discount – something that appeals to his merchanting, cred-hugging instincts. When she is off duty she would wander around  barefoot if she could get away with it, but it’s against ship’s regs, so she wears non-slips. They are often odd colours as she tends to lose one of a pair, which has Alita rolling her eyes over her untidiness.

4. Do they have any birthmark or scars? Where are they and how did they get them?
She has a small mark on the pad of her left palm and a small star-shaped scar behind her ear which she only got to know about when undergoing the extensive physical before joining the merchanting space ship, Estrella Fugaz some 9 months earlier. She doesn’t know it, but both scars were inflicted by her brother Duardo when he was an 18-month-old infant, a long time ago, now. These days, any wounds going to be inflicted, it’ll be Jezell doing the deed, that’s for sure – especially where Duardo’s concerned…

5. What kind of music do they listen to? Does it change depending on their mood or is it always consistent? (Feel free to share samples!)
She loves music, particularly the Old World stuff from pre-Diasporan times. The modern multi-tonal bot-compositions leave her cold – apart from anything else, they are next to impossible to sing unless you have your voice artificially aug’d and she’s no intention of letting some bot-brain tinker with her voice, muchas gracias for asking…

6. Do they have any musical talent? Play an instrument? How’s their singing voice?
She sings a lot. Often at the end of an evening, when the wine is flowing and people want to hear the old songs from Homespace, she is asked to sing, which she enjoys doing. Although she gets very fed up when fast-talking hem-huggers overpraise her performance, just to get on her shiny side because she is The Cap’s daughter.

7. What kind of book would you catch them reading?
Ha! As if she’d ever be given any slack time to prone around with a book. Back home, she was always pressed into service to help out with her baby brothers, particularly when Mamá retreated to her room in a drink-sodden haze. And now on the ship, she is vaguely aware of the library but is more interested in delving into the musical archive.

8. How would they spend their summers (or their holidays)?
The Cap generally books them a hotel suite at his favourite tourist resort in the whole of Sector Two, Costa del Iberia, where there are sandy beaches and warm seas for a couple of weeks. Not that Jezell gets a whole lot of time to laze around on the sand – she’s too busy keeping tabs on her baby brothers. Though the last time, baby Orly was only a couple of months old, so she stayed at home with Mamá, who was still recovering from her confinement and helped with the night feeds, while The Cap took the boys away. It wasn’t a success. They came home early with The Cap tight-lipped and a face darker than a black hole, muttering about having to do something about the boy’s discipline – so Jezell figured it was probably Duardo messing things up. Again.

9. It’s Saturday at noon. What is your character doing? Give details. Ex. If they’re eating breakfast, what’s on the menu? Are they hiking, shopping, lazing around?
Now she’s on the ship, it majorly depends on which watch she’s on, given Estrella works a three-section dogged watch system. Being on Shift Segundo, she’s either still on the changeover and very much looking forward to brunch in the mess with her amigas in another hour, or standing by to take over. Or if she’s off-duty, she’ll have spent a morning lazing in her cribicle – if Donice will let her – and then have a big meal before getting ready to go on duty. If on shore leave, it’s all a question of when the chaperones feel inclined to escort the chicas to the approved shopping or trading areas.

10. Is there anything your character wants to be free of?
She is exasperated by the constant chaperoning because she is a fertile señorita. She wishes that she was one of the infertile chicas on board the ship who have a whole lot more freedom to spend time with whom they want. Apart from anything else, there are a bunch of hombres on the ship who have decided that paying court to her would be a zesting career move, so she is always having to flick away unwanted attention. Which gets to be sooo boring…

6 responses »

  1. Interesting post, and Jezell seems interesting too. I picture her as someone who has quite a positive attitude and is full of energy. Which got me thinking of my main character and well, she’s “no fun” – but then, even her friend keeps telling her that, so there are no surprises here.
    Will you do more posts like this about other characters too?

    • Thank you! Yes, Jezell is full of energy and positive a lot of the time, though she has her wobbles as I tend to pile an awful lot of grief on her shoulders. I certainly don’t think characters have to be fun… there’s a lot of really brilliant characters who were anything but fun. As for more posts about other characters in the book – I may well do. It depends if the questions strike a chord. Have you been across to the site and had a look? It really is a nifty idea and forces you to look at your character in quite a different way. It’s a good way to discover if you know your character well enough – I found I just bounced through the answers without too much effort. But then, Jezell has featured in 3 books I’ve written and I’ve written rough outlines for 4 other books, so I jolly well ought to know her.

      • I vaguely rememembered I’ve never replied to this one, so here I am, nearly 2 weeks late. 😉
        I think my main character will be fun to read, she’s just not someone you want to organize your Friday night… oh wait. Actually you two would just probably sit and read books. Sorted. 😉
        I had a look at the site, but the questions seem more geared toward the contemporary fiction, and some of them make no sense in fantasy (like the question about ice cream 😉 ). But I might have a look every once a while, as you said, some questions might strike a chord.

      • That’s fine – there’s no sell-by date on this site:)). I’m very much looking forward to reading your work – and anyone who is happy to stay in reading gets my vote! I take your point about the character questions, however as you say, it’s worth keeping an eye on the monthly changes, as you may find a set that ticks your boxes.

  2. Hmmmm. Somehow, in the past week or so, I stopped receiving email notifications when you posted new articles. I was starting to wonder if you were on holiday / vacation, since nothing had been coming through… *scratches her head*

    I digress, though. Because Yay for Beautiful People! 😀 This sounds a lot like the Jezell I came to know through beta-reading ROoS. Feisty, independent, yet with her heart in the right place. It doesn’t surprise me that she’d prefer a strong-tasting ice cream – though I’ve never heard of Red Wine Blueberry before! Is it a flavor you created for Jezell’s world? Or have you been to a place that serves it?

    • I haven’t got that organised yet! I need to get myself better sorted out as I tend to go through my followers manually to keep up with their posts, which takes a long time. I loved the questions over at Beautiful People and thought it would be really fun to bring Jezell to the table:). I’m glad you think I essentially captured her character – and yes, she does have some odd tastes. And no… I’ve never tasted Red Wine & Blueberry ice cream – that’s the joy of writing spec fic, you can make up your own flavours – but I’ll bet it tastes yummy if Rum and Raisin is anything to go by:)

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