Name and age?
Rafael Butler, aged 30.
Nickname – given by whom, and how?
He doesn't really have any, apart from the occasional shortening of his name to 'Rafe' by his friends and brothers.
What is most noticeable about your character’s appearance/physical presence? How does he or she feel about it?
I'd say Rafael's about middle height, more to the lean side. Some would find him attractive, some not. He wouldn't stand out in a crowd, to put it like that. I don't go for too detailed descriptions of a character's physical appearance. I also tend to skip that in the books I read - I find it uninteresting and of little importance, unless it is something that might have a significant impact on their personality and fate, like for instance some sort of disfigurement.
I have stated, though, that his hair is black and already starting to grey, which frequently happens to people with that hair colour, and that his eyes are a light, 'electric' blue. This plays a certain role in the plot, as a kind of clue. But it's neither very important nor too clever, so could have dropped this, too, I guess...
Describe his or her voice, verbal ticks, pet phrases etc.
This is how I described his voice when he first appears in the story: "He had a deep, masculine voice that sounded like voices do when their owners are not used to being ignored." He has no verbal ticks or pet phrases.
Describe a gesture your character makes.
He doesn't have any special mannerisms and doesn't gesture much when he speaks. More the 'silent, stoic' type, if not entirely stone-faced.
Where does he or she now live? Describe the city, town or village, the house itself. Be very specific. It doesn’t have to be in Canada. Any feelings about this place?
It doesn't have to be in Canada? That's a relief!
The city is somewhat generic - let's say it's a Western European city of some size with a river running through it. Which goes for the majority of them, of course. Could be Manchester, England, could be Köln, Germany, could be Oslo, Norway for that matter. Probably has a British feel to it, though. Yes, this is done intentionally. The goings-on aren't all that realistic, I need some scope, particularly when it comes to the city's history, and the readers may choose to let it happen in their own neighbourhood, if they wish...
The house where he currently lives is his childhood home, that he has recently inherited. The family estate that he hates with a vengeance, for good reason as it turns out. He is forced to live there, though, so does his best to create a home for himself and his little son in a small, brick building in the back yard. (The site is full of empty, half derelict outbuildings who used to house the Butler family's abandoned enterprises - they were once a wealthy family, engaged in all kinds of business and commerce. These days, it's a ghost site.)
Has s/he lived elsewhere? What does s/he remember of these places?
He left home at 14. Lived for a while on the street - and that was not romantic! It was bleak and hard and lonely, boring, too. Maybe violent, but certainly not vibrant and definitely repetitive. He is glad he managed to escape and has no happy, idealised memories from that time. He may have a certain, inarticulate pride that he managed to survive and escape, but he prefers not to dwell on it and would certainly not brag about it. For a period he lived on a sheep farm in the north with friends and the love of his life, Lelya. Although they were in hiding, he was very happy there. But it ended with a violent attack where Lelya was killed and his newborn son abducted, so this, too, may be something he doesn't like to dwell on. After that, he spent all his time and energy to find his son, constantly on the move. Under these conditions, it made no difference to him where he stayed and what the place was like.
What part of her home is her favourite? Least favourite? Why. Describe, using specific details.
He hates the fact that he has to live on the family estate so much that it would be wrong to say he has any favorite place. But the place where he finds the most peace would probably be the river landing, outside the borders of the old Master Contract of the house. There the conditions of the death contract that binds him to the estate is not in effect. The air is freer and the shadows younger, and nothing seems to lurk at the edge of his senses. The least favorite part would have to be a certain bunker-like room on the grounds, where his father once forced him to take part in some homemade, insane rituals to try and wake up the spirits of the dead. It is not clear yet in the story what actually took place in that room, or what the long term effects might be. But it was obviously very traumatic for Rafael, who was only a young teen at the time, and was one of the main reasons why he had to run away at 14.
What does your character’s bedroom/sleeping place look like? (lots of detail please)
Sorry, no details here - not important! Rafael has no interest whatsoever in home decoration - he wants a bed, a wardrobe and/or dresser, possibly a nightstand. So that's what he'll have. The room is small and narrow, the walls made of brick and the floorboards worn and narrow. That's it.
What does he or she wear to sleep in?
He used to sleep naked. But now that he has found his little son, who may wake up from nightmares and come to his bedside in the night, he has started to sleep in his underwear and might get a pyjamas.
What does your character dream of at night?
As a rule, he doesn't remember his dreams. He may have real visions and premonitions, also nightmares from all his bad memories and earlier traumas. But more often than not, his visions are disturbing and confusing - or too obvious and therefore abrasive. He tends to want to block them out. Some nights he wakes up confused: believing he is still in the hospital after the first attack on his family, when they told him his son was kidnapped and Lelya dead. Then he steals into his son's room to watch him sleep, just to convince himself it is true; I have found him again; he is safe here with me.
Who are/were her parents? Rest of family? What does she feel for them?
He still struggles with hatred for his dead father. His relationship with his mother is too much of a plot point to give away here. Let's just say it's complicated, and that's putting it mildly... He is the elder of seven brothers, and he does care for them. But he hasn't seen them for 16 years, and it's not that easy to just pick up where he left off. He may find it difficult to take a true interest in their adult lives. In his mind they are still boys, little brothers in need of defense. They have all chosen different ways of coping, different routes of escape from a dysfunctional family background, and Rafael may sometimes find it difficult to relate. He kept in touch with the second oldest brother, Mikael, over the years (yes, they all have angel names spelled in strange ways, one result of their father's mad vanity), but only by phone or letter. When they first meet again in the flesh, Rafael thinks his brother looks so grown up, too grown up. It feels like looking at some unknown uncle, not his Mike, his first ally. Also, the childhood dynamics between the brothers will surface again when they all meet together at last, with all their strains and conflicts. With the youngest brother, Kafiel, jealousy and bitterness will soon escalate into a real problem.
Class, ethnic group, religious background?
Class would be upper middle class on the way down, but clinging to past glory (that's the parents, not Rafael!) Ethnic group, Caucasian. Religious background not important - religion proper never played a part in this family's life.
Who does s/he love, or has s/he loved? Or what. Detail.
Lelya, the mother of his son, is the love of his life. No detail here, the most important parts of this love story won't be revealed till much later, possibly in sequels to this story. His son Marvin (named by the kidnappers, but Rafael has seen no need to change it), who is now the most important person in his life and his chief motivation. He loves his little brothers as well, all of them, even Kafiel, and he has a best friend, Bonner, who is very important to him.
Who loves him or her?
His son, Marvin, grows to love him as they are finally allowed to bond as father and son. It does take its time, though - Rafael has to earn his son's love. His friend Bonner cares deeply about him, too, but none of them would call that' love'. His brothers used to look up to him and love him when they were little, but were sometimes afraid of him. Sometimes he was moody, prickly, angry - and sometimes he hit them. For being too noisy or out of bed when they shouldn't. Getting themselves into trouble, putting them all at risk, attracting their father's attention. Getting Rafael into trouble when he tried to shield them - lie for them, take the strap or worse for them. Hitting them when he couldn't take it anymore. Whatever it was. Whining. Fighting. Getting on his nerves. He was a scary big brother.
Now they would all say they love him, but it is a question whether they really know him at this point in their lives. Let's say that they want to love him (except Kaffy, unfortunately) as their long lost big brother, the hero of their childhood. That's not worthless, of course, but may be complicated. There may be an expectation, especially on Mike's part, that now that their cruel, oppressive father is dead, Rafael will come back and help them repair everything. Put everything right, make them all into the big happy family they never were. But Rafael can't deliver this, obviously.
Married/ in relationship/single? Give names and specifics.
Although he and Lelya were never married, Rafael thinks of himself as widowed.
How does your character feel about sex/intimacy? What sexual relationship(s) is he or she involved in?
Since Lelya died, he has not been open to any new committed, long term romantic relationship. Now that he has found Marvin, he is committed to fatherhood and has no wish to give his son a 'new mother'. In his mind, this would be like he cheated on Lelya. He is determined to let his son know about his mother, how wonderful she was in every respect. No one can take her place.
But yes, Rafael is a passionate person. I suppose he could have one-night stands, possibly also some form of long-term 'erotic friendships'. I don't write about his sex life, though, it's not that kind of story, so it would be up to the reader to decide what they think about this. No matter what, he would keep his affairs, such as they were, far away from his son. Love affairs they would not be, I think.
Exactly what does your character do to make a living (or in the case of a child, what do his/ her parents do; or in the case of independent wealth, how does he or she pass the time?)? How much does s/he earn? Feelings about work? What is the best part of the job, the worst?
He has had all kinds of odd jobs; the focus has been on earning the money he needs, not the job itself. For the time being, he lives off what his father has left him. It's not something that makes him happy, but it's convenient. He needs to devote all his energies to exposing the kidnappers that are still out there, threatening his son. Later, he and Bonner will set up a small business down at the river landing, offering repair and maintenance to the many leisure boats on the river. Bonner is good with motors. He will want to include the repair of motor bikes in their service as well. Rafael is going to like this.
Who or what does/he fear?
That something bad might happen to his son. The kidnappers, who are still at large and active. The pressing negative energies of his father's house that might bring out the worst in him. To fail as a father. His own anger, that may make him do things he will regret.
What about his or her life would he or she change if s/he could?
Take out of it the enemies that killed Lelya and kidnapped his son and are still plotting new attacks. Undo the acts that got him into the death contract, where he must live on his father's estate as the Master. He was tricked into it by his dead father's manipulations. In hindsight, he knows exactly what he should not have said and done, but now it's too late... This is a bitter regret.
Does the character have a hobby? Secret passion? (Can be something ordinary like soccer playing or yoga classes or mountain biking or sewing or fixing up old trucks - or an unusual interest like some Greek poet from the third century, or collecting spiders, or walking the tightrope…
Not really. He is energetic and rather 'physical', so would have enjoyed outdoor things like horseback riding or hunting. He's good around animals. But his life didn't turn out that way - leisure activities has not been his chief priority!
What would be his or her favourite smell ( why)?
Have no idea. I don't even know my own favourite smell! I guess I could say Lelya's hair or skin or something, or a special dish she used to make (no idea what that would be) - but that would be a bit cheesy, don't you think?
What kind of shoes does he or she wear, (e.g. furry slippers or gumboot or trainers… new or old, style, what colour, fitting properly or too tight or too loose, nice and clean or old and smelly)? Describe exactly.
Functional ones. (Why would any writer want to describe their character's shoes in exact detail?!)
Favourite meal? Attitude to food?
Eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full, that's his basic attitude. I guess his tastes are kind of traditional: a good steak and a hairy whiskey. I think he may appreciate good, slow food from all the world's traditions, though, all sorts of 'ethnic' cuisine, provided it's well made. He's not traditional by principle. I don't think he cares much for too fancy or sophisticated food, though.
None. Rafael has no interest in clothes or fashion. He dresses according to weather and occasion, that's it. But he's not without a sense of style, although it's mostly unconscious, so he will end up with clothes that suits him and looks reasonably 'cool'. Again - he will not stick out in a crowd. No one will turn their heads.
What is the worst thing that could happen to him or her right now?
Losing his son - to the kidnappers, an accident, a disease. That would destroy him.
What vehicles does your character use/own? (for example: bike, skateboard, truck, yacht, stroller, canoe, spaceship, battered pickup, etc.. please be as exact as possible). What are his/her feelings towards it/them. What kind of journeys does he or she make?
Why exact? Why is a vehicle essential to every character that doesn't own/want a Batmobile? Rafael now owns a car - he needs that with a small child to drive around. So Bonner sold Rafael's old motorbike for him and bought him a car for the money. Or made it. Or made parts of it. Or took different parts from other cars to fit them into the this one. Or all of this; it's never quite clear what.
What is his or her most treasured possession?
Due to his very nomadic former life, Rafael doesn't have very many possessions. He used to own a book Lelya made, with a picture in it of her and a newborn Marvin. That used to be his only treasured possession. But his enemies burnt it. No he owns nothing he couldn't change or sell or leave behind.
What illnesses has he or she suffered, if any?
He suffers from migraine-like headaches from time to time. That's mostly from trying to block out the negative influence of his father's house, or his traumatic memories. He is aware of this, but this knowledge does not ease the pain.
What’s his/her philosophy of life? For example’ You’ve got to look after Number 1’ or ‘Never say die’ or ‘Don’t ask for reasons.” What are his or her most strongly held beliefs?
When he was younger: 'Never surrender, conquer or die.' 'Don't let them push you around.' This has softened a little with age. He has learned to choose his battles, step back from anger and walk away from unnecessary fights. He may still make a stand, though. 'Stand up for the ones you love' is still important to him. He values honesty, loyalty and compassion in other people, and tries to offer the same. But he may be impatient and/or judgmental when he thinks people are idiots or too pathetic, and may still lash out when angered. He might lie for what he deems a good cause, and there is very little he wouldn't do to protect his son. Theft, lies and murder not excluded.
What does he or she feel guilty about?
Leaving his little brothers in the care of their cruel father. He still feels he should have stayed to protect them, even though he was only fourteen, couldn't do much for them, and was driven from the home by what has turned out to be his parents' manipulations. His brothers, who knows their history, do not blame him, though. At least, not all of them. The youngest, Kaffy, might...
Biggest mistake ever made?
Some of the things he does in order to protect his son goes awfully wrong - he plays directly into the hands of his enemies. Won't go into the details here, though - too much plot given away! ;)
Best thing he/she ever did?
In his mind: attract a woman like Lelya and have a son with her. Be able to care for his little brothers when he was young, such as it were, in spite of the abuse he suffered himself. Pull himself out of the dreary life on the streets, that could have gone very wrong (and maybe did for a while). Find the courage to live on his father's premises without succumbing to his evil manipulations, and focus on his son's welfare instead of his own.
What, right now, does your character want most of all? His or her deepest desire – a glass of water, to get out of her marriage, a new pair of shoes, peace and quiet…
His enemies exposed and brought to justice, so he and his son can live in peace.