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Character Questionnaire – Gabriella Deza “Indian Summer”

Second Wind:  Today, we have a special guest.  Gabriella Deza is here to talk about the novel “Indian Summer” by Dellani Oakes.  Gabriella, thank you for speaking to me today and welcome to Second Wind.  To begin, what is your story?

Gabriella: I haven’t much of one yet, I’m only just 15, but what there is of it is told in “Indian Summer.” 

SW: Who are you?

G: I am Gabriella Deza, youngest daughter of Governor Ferdinand Deza.

SW: Where and when do you live?

G: I live in the village of St. Augustine, Florida territory. The year is 1739.

SW: Are you the hero of your own story?

G: Me a hero? Heavens, no! That would be Manuel Enriques, my father’s aid du camp and the love of my life.

SW: What is your problem in the story?

G:Quite by chance, I found out a terrible secret. A British spy is trying to overthrow my father, capture the fort and take over the town!

SW: Do you embrace conflict or do you run from it?

G: I’ve never wanted to embrace conflict, but one must face it bravely. Troubles are sent by God to test us. Am I going to argue with Him? I never run when I can fight.

SW: How does the author see you?

G: Headstrong, demure, capable, passionate, honest, loving.

SW: Do you have a hero?

G: My father, Manuel and Sailfish are my heroes. They are all so brave and noble. Though, in their own way, all men are heroes, don’t you think?

SW: Do you have a goal and why that particular one?

G: My goal is to marry Manuel as soon as possible. I love him more than I can possibly express. I want to be with him forever. He is my own, true love.

SW: Do you have any special strengths?

G: My faith in God is my greatest strength. My faith has seen me through very trying times. I would not be the woman I am without it.

SW: What are you afraid of?

G: I’m terrified of losing Manuel. If he were to die, what would become of us? Papa says only he can save us in this troubled time. If I lost him, I would have no reason to live.

SW: Has anyone ever betrayed you?

G: Yes, the man who spies on us, using our friendship against us. He betrays me, my family and my home. I hope I have a hand in bringing him to justice.

SW: Have you ever failed anyone?

G: I hope not. I will only have failed them if I do not find the spy and send him to God early for judgement.

SW: What is your most prized possession? Why?

G: My peso necklace, because Manuel gave it to me. Though my parents gave me pearls for my birthday, the peso shows Manuel’s love for me. He can’t ask me to marry him yet, it wouldn’t be proper, but that shows each of us our promise to wed.

SW: What is your favorite scent? Why?

G: Sandalwood., because that is the scent of Manuel’s soap.

SW: What is your favorite color? Why?

G: Apple green, because it was Mama’s favorite as well, and I am most like her of all three of us girls.

SW: If you had the power to change one thing in the world that didn’t affect you personally, what would it be?

G: I think I’d like the Spanish and the English not to hate one another so much.

SW: What makes you think that change would be for the better?

G: There would be less fighting and conflict in the world.

SW: If you were stranded on a desert island, would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?

G: Do not think badly of me of saying this, but I would want to be stranded only with Manuel. I can think of no one else with whom I have enough in common to spend any period of time. Only if we were married, of course. Anything else would be scandalous!

 

You can read more of Gabriella’s story in “Indian Summer” by Dellani Oakes, available at Second Wind Publishing.

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Second Wind Interview with Dellani Oakes

Second Wind: I am joined today by Dellani Oakes, author of the historical romance novel, “Indian Summer” available through Second Wind Publishing.  Hello, Dellani, and welcome.

 

Dellani: Thank you.  I am delighted to be here.

 

SW: What inspired you to write this novel?

 

D: When I moved the Florida twenty years ago, I was overwhelmed by the wealth of history.  St. Augustine, as the oldest established city on the east coast, holds an extra special fascination for me.  I wanted to bring a bit of that history alive.

 

SW: Why the time period, 1739?  I’m guessing that’s significant.

 

D: Yes, it is.  There was a great deal of enmity between the Spanish and British in Europe and Florida gave them another venue in which to fight.  The British were constantly trying to take over the fort in St. Augustine, the Castillo de San Marcos.  In 1740, they very nearly succeeded. 

 

SW: Why all this fuss over Florida?  Grant you, it’s pretty country, but with the climate and the diseases

the mosquitoes carried, why would anyone want such an untamed place?

 

D: I asked that very question too.  What I found during my research was that St. Augustine was a strategic military position.  The Spanish were shipping their treasures from Mexico and Central America.  They used the trade routes along the Florida coast.  Those waters were full of pirates as well

as British warships.  Imagine what the British could have done to the Spanish trade routes if they controlled those waters instead?

 

SW: An interesting historical twist.

 

D: Yes, I think I just gave myself an idea for a new novel.

 

SW: Now that we’ve established a bit of the history, tell us about the story itself.  Was there really a Gabriella Deza daughter of the Spanish governor?

 

D: No, there wasn’t.  I tried very hard not to pattern her after a real person and did hours of research to find a name not common to the area.  If Gabriella resembles any historical person, it’s purely coincidental.

 

SW: Give us a brief synopsis of your story.

 

D: The story opens in the spring of 1739 and Gabriella is almost fifteen.  After an accident injures both Manuel, her father’s confidential aid, and Governor Deza, Gabriella is staying at the hospital to help care for them.  She overhears a conversation between two British spies.  They are talking about an attack on St. Augustine.

 

SW: What does she do?

 

D: She runs to tell her father, but he’s unconscious.  Instead, she goes to Manuel.  However, after a brief and very embarrassing conversation with him, it slips her mind.

 

SW: How could talking to Manuel make her forget something that important?

 

D: He is nearly naked, very handsome, well built and charming.  Keep in mind, she’s only fourteen and he is an older man. She’s so flattered that he has shown interest in her, she simply forgets.

 

SW: How much older is he?D: Manuel is twenty-one. 

 

SW: Isn’t that a little old for her?  She’s just a child.

 

D: Perhaps by today’s standards, but back then girls married young and their husbands were often even older than Manuel.  It wasn’t unusual for a girl her age to marry a man in his thirties.

 

SW: Does she ever remember the conversation she overheard?

 

D: No, but when she is sick with a fever, she reveals everything to Manuel and her father.  Armed with this information, they set a trap for the spy, but by mischance, Gabriella is caught in it.  She is kidnapped by the spy, escapes and is rescued by a band of friendly Indians.  Now Manuel must find her and get her back.  Then he has to bring the spy to justice so they can be married.

 

SW: I trust it all works out?

 

D: You’ll have to read “Indian Summer” to find out.  But I will say I do like happy endings.

 

SW: Dellani, thank you so much for talking with me today.

 

D: I’m delighted to.  Thank you for inviting me. 

Dellani Oakes’ book, “Indian Summer” is available at http://www.secondwindpublishing.com  It is also available at Amazon.com

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