Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Character Feature: Daniel from On the Fringe

I'm doing things a little differently this time around, and instead of sending in interview questions, this character is doing his own narrative and introduction. So with that, I bring you guys Daniel Holland from On the Fringe by Courtney King Walker!

You can say I’m an expert at recalling memories now, that I’m a lot like a computer but more intuitive. For instance, you ask me for a specific moment, and—bam!—you get it on demand. Pretty cool, huh? You want me to show you the day I first met Claire? Or better yet, when I first started liking her? Well, you’ll have to check out the book for that. But since you bothered to read this interview and all, here’s a little bonus (This memory is from a few years back, when Claire and I were too young to notice each other, but old enough not to not notice each other, either. You could say we were in a state of limbo back them, sort-of stuck on the fence and completely content to stay there until our acne toned down a little and my voice got much deeper):

Moonlight fell across the lake, the heavy summer heat reluctant to leave. We floated together side by side, my arms stretched outwards as my legs kicked through the soothing water. I could have stayed out there all night, the cool water and quiet air a welcome refuge. Claire wasn’t bad company, either. There was always something calming and peaceful about her—such a refreshing break from my sister.

Sailing by Claire, I reached for the canoe and untied it, then hauled myself overboard and stretched out in it like a bed. I tried not to laugh as she splashed around for a while, struggling to pull herself up inside, too. Finally she succeeded, and immediately settled in beside me, staring up at the star-speckled sky. I secretly watched her, wondering what she was thinking.

“I love this time of night,” she said, her wet eyelashes fluttering up and down.

I turned away from her and to the stars again. “Yeah, it’s pretty cool.”

Other than an occasional cricket or frog noise, we drifted in silence for almost an hour, letting the canoe carry us wherever it wanted to go. I think I was almost asleep when Matthew started calling from his front porch, telling Claire to come home.

She sat up abruptly while I jumped overboard and taxied us back to the dock. There, between the slippery rope and my fumbling fingers, it appeared I couldn’t manage a knot to save my life. Just when I was about to throw out a couple of choice words and give up, Claire was right behind me. Without saying a word, she finished off the perfect knot, and then smiled, like she was waiting for a compliment.

“Thanks, Claire,” I said, pushing the hair out of my eyes, feeling a little weird about being so polite. Then, for the first time probably ever, I looked right in her eyes; I guess they were brown. They caught mine for a second, and then she looked down at her feet.

“You’re welcome,” she said.

Before I realized what I was doing, my hand was already extended outward, aiming to take down a wet leaf still clinging to her arm. For some reason, I wanted to touch her—to make one final connection before the night vanished.

But I chickened out, of course. I was only fourteen, you know.

Just as my hand reached her arm, I lost all courage, and flicked her on the back of the head before darting away into the dark.

Just one of a thousand or more memories…

I’m glad I have them with me now to keep me company. They keep me alive, somehow.

So there you guys have it, a little look at both Daniel and Claire! On the Fringe is out now, so be sure to check it out!

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