Hello, everyone! Today, I have the joy of “interviewing” Ari and Hinoki from Madi’s novel Loyalty. She interviewed my characters, Kamri and Erin, on her blog, so be sure to check that out!
Here’s her excerpt and synopsis, in case you were wondering what Loyalty is about (hint: it’s awesome).
My heart sank. What? I was grateful to be able to live, but swear loyalty to no one but the government? What about my loyalty to Sensei Kira? And the dead serious oath I had taken?
I had to face the toughest decision of my entire life. With whom would my allegiance reside? Would I die loyal to Sensei Kira, who saved me from the streets as a mere orphan girl and offered me a chance at a better life? Or live under the rule of the advisors who had done nothing but offer rewards for my dead-or-alive capture?
“What will it be, Xiang-Su?” Masatoshi demanded. “Take a mere oath and live, or die a criminal?”
My eyes swept from Hinoki to Masatoshi. I had to make a decision, and I had to make it fast. Who would I be loyal to?
Ari Xiang-Su, an intensively trained ninja living during the time of the Tokugawa shogunate in Japan, has to make some life-or-death decisions regarding her allegiance. It doesn’t help that her arch nemesis, a samurai warrior by the name of Hinoki Ajinomoto, continually surprises her with his questioning actions all the while she undertakes the most potentially fatal missions of her life. When allegations are made and trust is lost, Ari must once again prove her loyalty not to a single human being, but to her very faith.
What is the story behind your name?
Ari: Typically a male name, my name means “lion” “brave” and “eagle” across different languages.
Hinoki: My name is actually the one of a tree here in Japan. I’m sure that’s supposed to mean I’m reliable and stable, like a tree…?
How would you describe each other?
Ari: Oh my. Annoying — but faithful, fearless, honorable, kind…
Hinoki: Brave, strong, cunning, and loyal.
Do you keep any secrets from the other people in your life?
Ari: Yes — that’s definitely part of my job.
Hinoki: That depends on the secret and the person whom I might entrust with it. I have some untold secrets, yes.
What kind of education have you had?
Ari: I was tutored until orphaned. Then I received the basics from my academy with more focus on assassination and ninjutsu.
Hinoki: I was also tutored until orphaned. After coming to my academy, I received very high-quality education along with bushido (samurai qualities and morals).
Do you have any living relatives? What is/was your relationship with them like?
Ari: I do; one long-lost older brother. Though I’ve only known him for a month or so now, we are pretty casual albeit slightly hard on each other. And we both disagree strongly about murder…
Hinoki: No; but before my mother passed away, I had a close relationship with her. She was a very courageous woman who instilled lasting morals in me. And before my little brother died, I was protective of him. I hope I was a good big brother and role model to him as well, though I was only eight when he passed.
How do other people see you vs. how you see yourself?
Ari: Other people mistakenly see me as a notorious assassin, but since I don’t actually do any assassinating, I suppose I see myself as a notorious warrior — though I’m not a very good one.
Hinoki: I’m sure other people see me just as I am; a samurai. And I see myself as someone who wants to do what is right according to a higher standard. I
If you were given one wish to be granted, what would it be?
Hinoki: I’d wish that “I will not marry” was never in the Warrior Code.
Ari: Probably that I could have children.
You can check out Madi’s post here! I’m bad at closing out posts, especially collab ones… I hope you enjoyed this post!
Do you like collabing? What do you think about character interviews?