3 days until Cartography For Beginners

Something new for me: the character interview. I meant to do one yesterday and one today, but yesterday was so busy that every time I thought, “I need to do that interview thing” I’d get distracted by something else, and suddenly it was midnight. So you get an interview with Leo and Stuart together, which was a lot of fun. I’ve tried to keep it was spoiler-free as possible, but if you don’t want any hints about how the story goes, I’d avoid it until after you’ve read the novel.

If anyone has any questions they’d like to ask Stuart and Leo, please leave them in the comments and I’ll collect and answer them on Release Day.

1. What is your full name and its origins? What about any nicknames?
Stuart: Stuart Andrew Huntsman. I don’t do nicknames.
Leo: Leo Christopher Bellamy. My parents gave it to me. My son calls me Daddy-daddy sometimes, and his boyfriend calls me “favorite Leo.” That’s as close to nicknames as I have.

2. Have you any claims to fame?
Stuart: If I’m famous it’s more a second-hand sort of thing, for artists I’ve discovered.
Leo: I’m often recognized in the San Francisco area for my voice. I’ve been on the radio for nearly twenty years.

3. How would you introduce yourself? If you are famous in your world, how would you introduce yourself to someone who had never heard of you?
Stuart: I generally just say “I’m Stuart Huntsman.” I don’t expect people to have heard of me.
Leo: I mention the radio station sometimes. I’m with Stuart, I’m not preoccupied with people recognizing me.

4. Which of your culture’s achievements do you hold in highest regard?
Stuart: We gave the world Shakespeare, the Beatles and afternoon tea.
Leo: We gave the world the Grateful Dead.
Stuart: And the hippie movement, don’t forget that.
Leo: Strangely, as sacred as I hold peace to be, I’m not completely convinced flowers and not bathing was the way to go about it.

5. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Stuart: I always knew I’d end up at my family’s vineyard one way or another.
Leo: I wanted to be an actor from the day I understood what acting was. I was a dramatic child.

6. What was your most prized possession as a child? Do you still have it?
Stuart: I had one of those Paddington Bear toys from an early age that I was quite fond of. He had a rain slicker and Wellingtons. I think he’s in a box somewhere. I should get him out and see if he’s worth passing on to the next generation.
Leo: Not a possession, exactly–I had a treehouse that had a platform that I used as a stage when we’d do plays. We called them plays, anyway–they were more like make-believe with an audience.
Stuart: Now I’m picturing you with a wooden sword and a towel around your neck for a cape.
Leo: You’re not far wrong.

7. What would you change about yourself, if you could?
Stuart: Nothing. I’m happy with where and who I am.
Leo: Sometimes I find myself wishing I’d been brave enough to leave a bad situation earlier than when I did, but if I’d taken that path, would I be where I am now? And I like where I am now.

8. What are you obsessed with?
Stuart: I spend a great deal of time looking for new artists to represent, but I hardly think it’s something so unhealthy as an obsession.
Leo: For a while I suppose I was obsessed with getting an old lover back, but I’m over that. It’s left me obsession-free.

9. What is your greatest achievement so far, or the high point of your career?
Stuart: Discovering Jamie–James Makepeace.
Leo: Raising a son.

10. When/where were you happiest?
Stuart: Right now.
Leo: Me too.

11. And the lowest point in your life thus far?
Stuart: Ah, pass.
Leo: I think we have the same answer.
Stuart: Best to leave it in the past.

12. What was the best decision you ever made?
[They smile at each other.]

13. If you have any body modifications, which was most painful, or which do you regret the most? If you haven’t got any, do you have any planned, or would you ever consider getting any?
Stuart: No. The very idea.
Leo: You’ve got an ear pierced. That counts.
Stuart: Ah. I was thinking tattoos or the like. No, it wasn’t painful and I don’t regret it.

14. What is the most idiotic thing you have ever done while intoxicated?
Stuart: I never drink that much. I don’t like the idea of losing control.
Leo: Forgot the condom.

15. What is your favourite joke?
Stuart: Here we go…
Leo: Platypuses. What? They’re hilarious. And monkeys in human clothes. That’s never not funny.

16. What is the coolest/most impressive thing you own?
Stuart: A vineyard in France.
Leo: That is pretty cool. I don’t think I own anything impressive.
Stuart: I’m impressed you still own albums on vinyl.
Leo: I think that makes me a hipster, not impressive.
Stuart: I don’t think you can be a hipster if you’re over forty.
Leo: Thank God. I’ll just be a music nerd, then.

17. When did you last cry, and why?
Stuart: It was due to a family matter, but in a good way.
Leo: If we’re talking happy tears, because of him.
Stuart: You’re very sweet.
Leo: [leans his head on Stuart’s shoulder]

18. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever had?
Leo: When I had to chose between being an actor and being a better father, my mentor told me no one ever regretted spending more time with their kids. I decided he was right.
Stuart: Love is worth fighting for. And worth surrendering to.

19. Similarly, what’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for you?
Stuart: Defended me from ogres.
Leo: He’s kidding. We don’t know any ogres.

20. Have you any vices?
Leo: Many.
Stuart: No, you don’t. You’re Saint Leo.
Leo: Aw, sweetheart. Isn’t he adorable?
Stuart: All right, that’s one. I’m not adorable and haven’t been for a good forty years.

21. Do you regret anything?
Stuart: Yes.
Leo: Yes, but again, it’s one of those things where you have to ask yourself if changing your past actions would have brought you to the same place. It’s hard to regret things that ultimately lead you to place of joy.
Stuart: See what I mean about him being Saint Leo?

22. What is the best invention ever?
Stuart: I’m in a long-distance relationship. I’m grateful for anything that closes that distance.
Leo: The mp3 and its collalary, the iPod mini.
Stuart: I have a good dozen of these now, just from him. He makes me playlists.
Leo: You love them.
Stuart: Yes, I do.

23. How would you describe your relationship with your family?
Stuart: Cautiously improving.
Leo: Loving. Fulfilling. Hiliarious. Joyful. Boisterous.

24. Who is your biggest inspiration?
Stuart: My children, Leo’s son, and Leo.
Leo: There he goes, being adorable again.

25. What are you going to do when you’ve finished this interview?
Stuart: Have a cup of tea.
Leo: Make Stuart a cup of tea.

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