In this series, I’m imagining I am able to interview a person or a group of people in a particular deck’s card. I’m not sure whether I’ll keep this feature or not; I suppose it depends on if I ask (and answer) the right questions. Let me know what you think in the comments!
[Just so we're clear, this isn't about any actual person I know in real life!]
Me: Good evening, and welcome to The Tarot Sessions. I’m your host, Mia LeStrade, and with me tonight is a very special guest; please give a warm welcome to Her Royal Highness, the Queen of Cups.
[audience applauds as the queen enters the stage, waving to people as she finds her seat]
QoC: Hello, Mia. How have you been? Thank you for having me on this program.
Me: I can assure, you, the pleasure’s all mine. [pause] So how are you? How’ve you been?
QoC: Well [laughs] I’m doing well, for the moment. I’m wrapping up my book tour—
Me: Oh my, yes. You’re almost done. And your book! It’s called The Inner Sea, and I’ve read it, just smashing work. Truly—you’re very gifted. I couldn’t put it down.
QoC: Oh! Well thank you. Yes, the tour has been a bit grueling, if I do say so myself. I don’t know if I’m ever going to do this again.
Me: …write, you mean? Surely—
QoC: Oh, heavens! No! No, I’ve got to write. I’ve got to… I could never… well you know how it is when you’ve got a story in your head. It’s like my fingers itch and then I have to get it all on paper. Or a computer as it were. And believe me when I say that it—wait, I shouldn’t say that!
Me: Well now you’ve got no choice but to tell us! You can’t keep us in suspense. [laughs]
QoC: [laughing] Fine, fine fine. Well I was going to say that—I’m ashamed of this, I mean. I wrote The Inner Sea in just four weeks.
Me: …four weeks?
QoC: [giggling, nodding]
Me: Could I hire you to write the next Song of Ice and Fire novel? Martin would really appreciate—
Me: I’m just teasing! Well I’ve read the book,it’s brilliant. For those people in our audience who haven’t had a chance, could you describe it?
QoC: Sure! It’s about a young girl from the middle of the African savannah. She’s never seen the ocean. But then one summer, her older sister and brother decide they’re going to go to Sierra Leone, to Freetown, so they can buy new parts for a water purification system their whole small town has been using. They’ve mostly stayed away from large cities, but she is secretly very excited to go, finally see the ocean.
Me: —and I love this part. What happens when she finally reaches Freetown?
QoC: Can I say that? That’s not a spoiler, is it?
Me: Well, you’re asking the wrong person, I’m afraid.
[audience briefly laughs]
QoC: Well then I don’t see why not. Um, when she gets to Freetown—and I’d say the journey takes about a third of the book—she sees the ocean for the first time and something just awakens in her. She has these feelings she’s never had in her entire life up to this point. All kinds of conflicting feelings.
Me: And what I really thought was brilliant was how you described those emotions. It’s like in reading this, I was having the main character—how’s that pronounced? Is it “Ee-yay-duh? Am I close?
QoC: Close. “Ee-ay-da.”
Me: Thank you. In reading the book, it was like I was there, right along with Ieeda, having those feelings too for the first time. Which is no small feat, let me tell you. What made you want to write this?
QoC: Well, I grew up in Nairobi, I don’t remember very much of it, but water was always something very important to me. I relished whenever we would go over bridges with rivers underneath. And my father took me over the Tana river once, that was… I knew that when I grew up, I had to live near water, near the ocean. I hadn’t ever seen the ocean, but I knew I had to visit it, and I would plant it there. The feeling in me was so strong, I knew it couldn’t be any other way. I would move to the ocean and start a family, I’d think to myself. And it felt so right.
Me: Interesting. So you moved to Denmark… the weather must have been quite an adjustment for you!
QoC: It was! I remember that for the first month straight I was… well so I was there to go to university, and so I was, um, adjusting to many things on many levels. But—and I’ll never forget this—I would wake up at around the same godforsaken hour every night, at nearly three-thirty in the morning, completely freezing. And this was in April! I really had no idea what I was doing. After I figured out that cold could wake a person up, I slept in my parka and some flatmates finally told me that I should probably buy heavier blankets instead! [laughs] But yes, I wanted to capture the feeling I had when I first saw the ocean. [shakes head] It was—it was—nothing has been or will ever be like it.
Me: Astounding. Well that’s all the time we have tonight! Again, the Queen of Cups [extends hands to shake] has joined me tonight. Her new book, The Inner Sea, is out in paperback and hardcover, you should really read it! Good night!
[audience cheers, applause]
See you next time, tarot fans!