Today I’d like to introduce you to Regan and Evelyn, two of the characters from RoAnna Sylver’s queer, hopeful dystopia. I have had this book on my TBR pile for months, and this has moved it up even farther.
Hello, Regan and Evelyn! It’s a pleasure to talk with you both today! What do you like best about yourself, and each other?
Evelyn: Well, my first thought is my sonic abilities, but really? Superpowers don’t mean a thing about someone’s character, and they’re not the most important thing about them, not at all. Powers are tool, and they can be used for good, evil, chaos. So I guess I like the fact that I always try my best to use them for the right reasons, and for the greatest good. God knows I’m not perfect, ‘superheroes’ mess up just as much as everyone else. But I try. Also I do have amazing hair.
Regan: Uh… I can… go invisible. That’s pretty cool, I guess. But not as cool as—um, I… I don’t…
Evelyn: It’s okay, hon. Take a deep breath—there you go. You don’t have to answer anything you don’t want.
Regan: Okay, I’m good now. Uh, what you were saying, Ev, about always trying to do your best for the right reasons. I dunno if I’ve always done that, but I’m trying too.
Evelyn: I know. Everyone should be able to see that… even if they can’t see you. You try harder than almost anyone I know. I think that’s my favorite thing about you, Regan. How you put everything you have into everything you do. You fought so hard to get your life back, and you deserve the good things in it.
Regan: Thanks—thank you. Anyway, the thing I like best about you is, I think… you didn’t give up on me. You could have a lot of times but you didn’t. So, thank you for that.
Evelyn: Any time. I mean that.
What do you like the least about yourself, and each other?
Evelyn: How I am around my family—not Rose or Danae or Jack. The rest of my family. How they can still get to me after all these years. I think a lot of people are like that, though, no matter how tough or well-adjusted they look. Sometimes just being in a place or being reminded of old… unpleasantness. It sets you right on edge, you say things you don’t mean, everything gets worse. We really bring out the worst in each other.
Regan: *slowly starting to fade invisible throughout* I know that feeling. Not family so much, but places, people can really remind—uh, the question though, what I don’t like about myself? That’s… uh, a lot. Just, a lot? I don’t really not-like anything about you, but I’m just—
Evelyn: Oh no, no, you—
Regan: Sorry, that’s not a very—what I meant to say is, I don’t, um, like, the whole way, I get scared and freeze up and can’t do anything and forget how to talk, like right now I think if I quit talking I’ll forget how, so I’m just… *shuts his mouth, but re-appears* …and some of your dresses give me a headache. I’m sorry. No offense.
Evelyn: None taken! They’re not for everyone, I know.
Regan: I just don’t like bright lights, and some of them are so…shiny. They look good on you though! They totally work. I don’t think I could ever—never mind.
Evelyn: I dunno, you’re pretty shiny too.
Regan: *Starts to go invisible again, but smiling a little this time*
What part of your life are you willing to spend more money on for quality?
Evelyn: Hair chalk. Real shampoo, which only helps if you actually have water, and you have to spend water to get any of that—do you know how hard it is to take care of your hair in Parole?
Evelyn: Was that a joke?
Regan: Kind of. Yeah.
Evelyn: Good! See, you’re getting the hang of this!
Regan: Thanks. Uh, I really like… pillows.
Regan: And blankets and stuff. Lots of blankets. They’re good to put in your bed and get under. It feels safe and warm and dark. And. Stuff. I dunno, I just like them, they’re nice.
Do you ever struggle with your anger?
Evelyn: Not so much. I try to keep it under control—because if I start yelling at someone, walls might fall down. Fortunately, the only things that get me actually screaming mad tend to be people who deserve that anyway. Regan?
Regan: I don’t think so. I don’t remember the last time I got really mad…
Regan: Oh yeah, definitely Hans.
Evelyn: Yeah, mine was Hans too.
Where would you live, if you could live anywhere in the world?
Evelyn: Honestly? Here. Parole’s home. And we’re not done here yet. It’s not always going to be a prison, and it won’t always be on fire. But it will if we give up on it.
Regan: I don’t really care, I just want to be warm. And have everyone I love around. I wouldn’t mind some cleaner air, though. Sometimes it kind of… hurts.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Why?
Evelyn: Regan, you were saying loved sleep? I kind of hate it. Sleeping means I have to drop whatever I’m doing, and do nothing for hours, and who knows what kind of things could happen while you’re out? I almost wish I didn’t need to sleep, or get tired, because then I could do everything I wanted or needed to do, and not have to… I just realized while I’m talking that’s not the healthiest thought. Well then, I wish I could do more while I’m awake, so that I can sleep and not worry about not being there when someone needs me.
Regan: It’s okay to sleep, though. You do good work.
Evelyn: Thanks, hon. It’s just a brain hurdle. Like, I know it, but getting past it is harder.
Regan: I know what that’s like.
Evelyn: I know you do. So… how about—?
Regan: *has been slowly fading throughout; is completely invisible now* Um, I’d… just a lot of… It’s really… can we go on to another question?
Evelyn: Please. The next one looks better.
What has been the happiest day of your life?
Evelyn: Oh wow. Toss-up between marrying Rose and Danae—sometimes I still can’t believe I’m married to two of the most amazing women I’ve ever met—and when Jack was born. Meeting Garrett, taking Chrysedrine, getting my voice, for real. Opening night at the Emerald Bar, hearing the applause, it felt like a sign. That I really could make my own life on my own terms, and do some good for Parole too. Might sound strange, but even after everything, I’ve had a lot of good days.
Regan: *re-visible and starting to smile* Yeah. Me too.
Evelyn: What were some of yours?
Regan: Getting away from Skeye. And especially Zilch staying with me after we were free, and telling me they’d always be with me as long as I wanted them around. And I—I really, really did. I do.
Evelyn: That’s wonderful. I’m so glad you still have each other.
Regan: Me too… then, it’s not really a day in particular, but when it sunk in that we actually had a home at the library. And we could trust the people in it, and we weren’t just guests there. It was ours too. My first Runtime with Jay—it felt different than anything I’d felt before, because I wasn’t running away from something, you know? And we were running together. It’s just the best feeling. Um, the last one’s kind of…
Evelyn: It’s okay. You still don’t have to say anything you don’t want.
Regan: Nah, it’s okay. It was when Rowan and I—see, we were kind of, um… We always got each other really well. Like, I didn’t even have to say anything, and they’d just know, and I’d know what they needed too. And then one night, I thought we weren’t…
Evelyn: On the same page?
Regan: Yeah. We almost—I just thought I messed up really bad, and ruined everything, and was gonna— *deep breath* But I didn’t. And they still understood me. And I still got them, and everything was just… okay. Even better than it was before. Anyway, that was important.
Evelyn: Sounds like it. I’m glad whatever it was worked itself out.
Regan: It just takes a while to figure yourself out sometimes.
Evelyn: I’m still not done learning about myself. If you ever find the secret, you gotta let me know.
How do you measure success for yourself?
Evelyn: Lives saved. Even if that’s only mine—some nights go really bad, and the best you can do is walk away alive. That’s probably the hardest part to accept about being a… trying to do anything good, really. It’s not always going to work. People are going to get hurt, even if you do your very best. So at the end of the day, if all you have is yourself, that’s worth something.
Regan: Same. Just staying alive. If somebody’s trying to hurt you and you get away from them, that’s a win. Getting to come home and be with your family. Having more time with them.
Evelyn: I second that, hard. Nothing’s more important.
What unusual hobbies or interests do you have?
Evelyn: Rose has the most amazing garden—which makes sense! But she’ll grow actual fruits and vegetables in it, and sometimes we all make our own feasts. Rose does incredible things with strawberries, and I’m pretty good with cakes, believe it or not.
Regan: *smiling* What about Danae?
Evelyn: …Danae does her best. Your turn!
Regan: Unusual interests… is sleeping an interest? I just really love sleep. Shutting the lights off and being all warm and just forgetting about everything. The only thing I don’t like are the bad dreams, but if someone you love is there, they don’t seem to happen so much. So yeah, I like sleeping, and being held, and. Good dreams.
What would be the perfect gift for you? Why?
Evelyn: I got some amazing stuff for my last birthday—a grappling-hook-microphone—
Regan: Grappling… hook…?
Evelyn: Yeah! Super useful, no pun intended. Oh, and a key-tar, you know the thing, you wear like a guitar but it’s a keyboard? I dunno how to play it yet, but I think I’ll have fun figuring it out. How about you?
Regan: I like fuzzy sweaters and scarves and stuff… Rowan makes nice ones. They’re really warm. Even in Parole, I get cold, and it’s nice.
Evelyn: Yeah, I bet. Weird question—Do they use their own fur?
Regan: Mm-hmm. *happy nodding* So when I wear it, it kind of feels like they’re here, and that’s just… really nice. They make stuff for Zilch, too. But all in black.
Evelyn: It looks nice, that’s all.
Regan: I’ll tell Zilch you said that. They’ll be happy. Rowan too.
If you could spend a day with someone you admire (alive, dead or fictional) who would it be?
Evelyn: Garrett Cole. The fact that he’s dead and the rest of us are alive… some things make you think there really is no justice in the world.
Regan: *holds absolutely still except for a few tongue-flicks every couple seconds*
Evelyn: And… assuming they’re alive? I’ve got family outside Parole. No idea if they know what really happened to this place. Or even remember—no, they wouldn’t know my name, would they? I don’t know how the day would go, especially considering what I said before about my family here. Well, it’s nice to think about. In a way. Regan?
Regan: …What was the question?
Evelyn: Who’d you want to spend a day with if you could pick anyone in the world, like your hero?
Regan: Um… I’m kind of happy just being here.
Evelyn: In Parole?
Regan: No. Here. This is… fun.
Evelyn: I thought you hated interviews?
Regan: I do. But you’re here. So… this is good. With you.
Evelyn: Really? Me? You’d want to—oh my God I’m going to cry.
Regan: *slowly smiling* …Try not to knock down any buildings.
Evelyn: *MUFFLED LAUGH*
What do you most want readers to know about you?
Evelyn: If nobody’s told you this today, I’m proud of you. You’re not alone. Not ever. And you deserve to be here.
Regan: Uh, yeah, what she said. And… it’s okay if you get scared sometimes. Or a lot of the time. Or all the—it’s just okay. I know it’s hard. But it’s important. It’ll—everything’s going to be…
Regan: And if it isn’t, it just means we’re not done yet.
Evelyn: That’s right. Thank you so much having us here! Thank you, everyone! Good night! Stay safe!