In this second interview we meet our protagonist, the complex and potent Cecilia “Ace” Carroway. We are joined once again by our stalwart fictitious interviewer, Mr. Bigg Faquir. Good day, FAQ.
FAQ: Greetings. Is that a jelly stain on your shirt?
GW: I don’t know. Maybe. But ask me about Ace Carroway.
FAQ: If I can stop staring at that stain. Go ahead. Who is Ace Carroway?
GW: Born at sea in 1901, mixed-race Cecilia Carroway is everywoman, transcending boundaries of nation and class. Growing up, her natural intelligence blossomed under a veritable army of tutors. She also developed physical strength and skill, testing the boundaries of human potential.
FAQ: All right, but can she cook?
GW: I find that question offensive. I utterly reject stereotypical gender roles.
FAQ: So, she can’t.
FAQ: Stop turning pink and just answer the question.
GW: No, she can’t cook. But she can fix your car or unclog your sink.
FAQ: What else can she do?
GW: She can fly a plane. That’s how we meet her in ACE CARROWAY AND THE GREAT WAR. She is sixteen but tells the air force she is eighteen, and flies a SPAD biplane in France.
FAQ: Are you a pilot?
GW: Not so far, no.
FAQ: How did you think of this character?
GW: Now, that really is my most frequently asked question. The answer, alas, is that I’m not sure. As I remember it, I went to bed one night wondering what Doc Savage would be like if he were female. When I woke up, Ace was in my head, pretty much as she is in the books. Well, she’s a few inches shorter in the books.
FAQ: What does she look like?
GW: Here’s artist Mikey Brooks’s take.
FAQ: Nice. Is that mis-applied makeup on her cheek?
GW: No, those are scars that she got between ACE CARROWAY AROUND THE WORLD and ACE CARROWAY AND THE HANDSOME DEVIL. She’s too busy for makeup and other time-wasting mating rituals. She exercises every day and whacks off her hair when it grows too long.
FAQ: Time-wasting mating rituals? I think you just offended every reader of romance novels.
GW: I doubt that, but one insider tip on the Ace books is this: Somehow, in some way, a character falls in love with Ace, with “falls in love” in heavy quotes.
FAQ: Wait, there is romance?
GW: I didn’t say that. There are stirrings of chemistry, there are pretenses, there are unhealthy desires, there are lots of things, including genuine love. But Ace has wrongs to right and mysteries to solve. She doesn’t have time to waste on mush.
FAQ: Does she have super powers?
GW: She might come off that way at first because of her skills, but no. She is merely the result of natural talent combined with excellent education.
FAQ: Is it time for a limerick?
GW: Almost. Some quotes from the book come first.
A few Ace quotes:
- On being imprisoned: “Looks like Ace is in a hole.”
- On being tortured: “They questioned me.”
- On performing sabotage: “Why escape with a whisper when you can escape with a bang?”
- On monologs by the evil villain: “If there is a point, please get to it.”
- On a certain medical matter: “That bullet’s got to come out.”
- On her associates: “You fellas are terrific.”
- At least a minute after the bullets have started flying: “I’m starting to think they’re onto us.”
- On airship design: “Why are there eight separate throttles? That’s ghastly engineering.”
- When doom is certain: “I’m starting to get irritated.”
- Protesting her exit from the Great War: “I wanted to help the war end. People killing people isn’t right.”
- A signature line: “There’s nothing like flying.”
And a limerick to end with:
Ace Carroway says, “I am the cat.”
A corollary: “I’m no doormat.”
By land, sea, or air
She shows savoir faire
Ace ain’t the ball – she’s the bat.
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