Familiarise Friday is so lucky to have a sneak-peek interview for you today.
We're going to meet The Reverend Pontius from Kathy Sharp's novel -The Isle of Larus- due to be published next Friday 26th July.
Let's find out what he's like (Personally? I find him a wee bit snippy but I'll let you make up your own mind about that!)
Good morning Reverend Pontius. Can you give a brief description of yourself using only 6 words.
Six words? Quite impossible, dear madam. Oh. Now I have wasted my six words… Perhaps I should have said, ‘Western guardian of the Isle of Larus.’ But that is seven words. Oh dear…
Where are you from?
Originally? Before Larus, do you mean? Oh, that is back in the very long ago. I left my old home on the mainland, and crossed the sea in a very uncomfortable boat as a much younger man, full, as the saying goes, of missionary zeal. I don’t think much about my old life, not these days. Of course, the islanders will tell you I was sent to them by the Spirit of the Sea since they were in need of a guardian. Absolute nonsense, needless to say. I came here entirely of my own free will, of course I did.
Where are you currently living?
On the blessed Isle of Larus, the finest place in all the world. Well, it would be, were it not for that pestilential hermit sitting on a cliff top telling everyone he has the ear of the Spirit of the Sea. The unmitigated cheek of it. And under the very nose of my good self, official representative of the Spirit of the Sky. And the islanders will cling to the old ways, you know. They come to my chapel, oh yes. But then they sneak off afterwards with offerings for that grubby hermit. It’s insufferable.
What’s your main occupation just now?
It’s a little hard to say. I suppose my main job is to act as western guardian of the isle. More a spiritual post than a practical one these days. Though I flatter myself I would make an excellent magistrate – that is if anyone ever committed any crimes here, which they don’t, sadly. Not that it’s sad there’s no crime, I should add. It’s just that I would enjoy sorting it all out if there were.
Do you know something strange? A voice in my ear just said, ‘Be very careful what you wish for, Pontius.’ But there’s nobody there. Very odd.
What makes you happy?
That’s a very impertinent question. I’m a guardian of the isle and have no business being happy. Oh, well, since you press me for an answer: a full chapel on a Sunday would make me very happy. But it’s a rare thing, I fear. Some people have the effrontery to suggest my sermons are over-wordy and the pews are over-woody. Too clever for their own good, I’d say. They are demanding short sermons, and cushions, forsooth!
What’s that? Something more personal? I had thought this was to be a serious interview. Well, if you must, and in strict confidence, I do enjoy a little sip of brandy. I am not advocating drunkenness, of course, perish the thought. Purely medicinal. It helps keep the cold out of my bones on this draughty isle. A considerable comfort for a person of my years, yes indeed.
You have been granted a whole week where you can choose every single thing you want to do. What would that be?
I could crave a little excitement. Just a little, you understand. I couldn’t cope with anything too taxing at my time of life, and what with the state of my knees… but perhaps a nice little mystery to solve, an opportunity to be bold, show a bit of initiative. That would be very gratifying. I can’t help feeling my talents are a little, well, underemployed.
Blow me down if there isn’t that little voice in my ear again saying, ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ And there’s still nobody there. I can’t fathom it out at all.
Oh, and I would wave my arm and find that pesky hermit has vanished in a puff of smoke. That’s a little uncharitable, I know, but you did ask.
What’s your favourite reading material?
I have a few volumes on varied subjects, brought with me when I came here, and a few more acquired from trading ships. All a little stained – the salt water does seem to get into everything. Not a very impressive library, I concede, but I have read them all from cover to cover and (I flatter myself again), understood many useful and learned things. Did you know, for instance, that the best way to protect yourself from sea snakes is to turn around three times and whistle Bobby Shafto? I should have pooh-poohed the idea if I hadn’t read it in a leather-bound book, but there it is, in black and white, in my copy of The Olde Salt’s Guide to the Worlde. A well-thumbed volume, as you can imagine.
I think you should begin a new hobby. What would you choose?
Strange you should ask that, dear madam. I have felt for some time that a learned person such as myself would be well employed in writing a volume or two for the benefit and enlightenment of all. Or does that sound too pompous? No – I would very much like to become a writer, perhaps an historian. That’s a very proper hobby for a man of the cloth, you know.
Who, or what, is the love of your life?
The love of my life? I don’t think… that is to say… well, there was a young woman I admired, a very well brought up and modest young lady. But that was many years ago. She must have grandchildren by now. It would not be proper to speak of her as the love of my life, even if… well, never mind about all that. I am a man of the cloth, as I say. The love of my life, if I must have one, is my ministry; bringing the blessings of the Spirit of the Sky to the good people of the Isle of Larus. Even if they do continue to worship the Spirit of the Sea. These things are sent to test and try us, are they not?
What is your biggest goal for 2013?
I have no idea what these numbers signify. They certainly have no particular meaning to us here on the Isle of Larus. Is it some sort of a riddle? Please don’t try my patience by talking nonsense, or I shall end this interview here and now. I have enough silly whimsies to put up with from the hermit.
What were you like at school?
Well, one more question, then, if you insist. I was the very model of a perfect schoolboy, naturally. And all the unpleasant things that schoolmaster said about me are scurrilous lies. Is that sufficient? Excellent. Then I bid you good-day.
Thank you for such a frank interview, Reverend Pontius.You have my best wishes for success in your newest ventures.
Kathy Sharp’s debut novel, Isle of Larus, will be published by Crooked Cat Publishing on 26 July 2013.
A little about Kathy Sharp:
Growing up by the sea in Kent, back in the 1960s, it was Kathy’s ambition to become a writer. Time passed. She married, moved to west London, and had a daughter. She continued to write, and had a small book or two on countryside and nature subjects published. She worked for many years as a desktop publisher for Surrey County Council, and as a tutor in adult education.
And then, one day, she visited a friend who had just moved to the Isle of Portland, Dorset, and fell in love with the place. She has now lived in the Weymouth and Portland area for eight years, and still loves it. The wonderful Jurassic Coast, and Portland in particular, were the inspiration for her first novel, Isle of Larus.
Kathy also sings with, and writes lyrics for, the Island Voices Choir on Portland, and is a keen member of local writing groups, as well as enjoying studying the local flora.
Watch out for buy details for this exciting new novel!