Welcome to the Hotseat of Truth, a device in which your protagonist is trapped. The only way to escape is to answer five searching questions completely honestly or the Hotseat will consume them to ashes!
Today’s Victim is Dai Llewellyn, one half of the husband and wife team who solve the Dai and Julia Mysteries in a modern-day Britain where the Roman Empire still rules, written by Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook.
1. How did the son of such a well-to-do family find himself in the vigiles?
It was something I wanted to do. I was the younger son and not going to inherit the family lands and business anyway and I had no desire to be any kind of farmer, which was the expectation my family had – well, my older brother. He wanted me to stick around to help run things and ideally marry a local landed heiress.
He didn’t like me joining the vigiles. It wasn’t the kind of job someone like me was supposed to do, in his opinion. And when I was assigned to a post in Londinium, that was the final straw. We fell out badly and only really patched that up around the time I met Julia.
2. Sometimes justice and the law are uneasy bedfellows. Given a choice between the two where do you go?
I’ve never had any problem making this choice. Justice always comes first. But in my working life I often find that justice has to take a back seat to the law – or to other factors like the way the Vigiles are financed. That is something that always frustrates me.
The Roman establishment has an odd view of justice. In their view, justice is only justice if it serves their ends. I’ve never been comfortable with that. Sometimes it literally makes me see red. I lose my temper so badly I am not really aware of what I’m doing. Thank the gods for Bryn Cartival or I might have murdered some smirking arrogant Roman long ago.
3. Your lady wife has a reputation for feistiness. How do you manage this side of her character without rows?
I don’t. We row. One time so badly Julia left me for a time. I think that scared both of us a bit and since then we have been torn apart by circumstances neither of us could control on more than one occasion. I think that has made us both more careful – it certainly has done so for me. Sometimes it’s only when you have lost – or come so close to losing – someone, that you see things in proportion.
4. Your wife’s bodyguard is a mountain of man, and also her best friend. Have you ever felt jealousy?
Of Edbert? **laughs** Well maybe a little in the very early days, but then it was more that he knew her so much better than me. Nowadays I think of him as nearly as much my friend as Julia’s.
5. How do you feel fatherhood has changed you?
Where to begin? It has changed all my priorities in life. It has given me a much longer view of all I am trying to achieve. It’s no longer enough to try to change things for the better in an abstract ‘for the people’ sort of way, it has suddenly taken on a very personal and immediate form.
I want Aelwyn and Rhodri to grow up in a world where being Roman and being British are both things they can take real pride in – and in a world where they don’t ever have to choose between the two.