Character Interview: Mikhail Koryavin, from the upcoming novel: Red Sounding

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Character Interview Questions Mikhail Koryavin

Thanks for joining us! Have a seat, and tell us a little more about yourself. Have you always lived in Petropavlovsk?

                I am Mikhail Koryavin, a lieutenant in the Pacific Red Banner Fleet of the Soviet Union. For me it is the year 1983. I serve aboard the K-389, a Yankee class ballistic missile submarine. I grew up near Donetsk in a farming community. The sea beckoned in my teens, anything to get far from the farm.

What was growing up like? Did you have any brothers and sisters?

                I was born in a Ukrainian collective farm in 1960. There were several families living in a Soviet Commune alongside fields and fields of wheat. We worked together, played together. The families celebrated birthdays and May Day together.

The youngest of three boys, they were rough and tumble brothers. They taught me early on to work hard and play hard. I watched them others move away, the first in 1966 and the second in 1968. They joined the army.

I watched my father die of emphysema. My mother remarried when I was twelve, in 1972. Everything changed afterward.

Have you changed much since you were a kid? Do you still have some of the same fears?

                I used to know how to have fun. I used to play with others. All my fears grew out of my relationship with my stepfather.

What’s one quirk even your best friend or significant other doesn’t know about?

                I puke at the slightest intimacy with anyone but my mother.

What about your current family? Do you have any kids of your own?

                The navy is my family, the submarine K-389 my home.

What is the one thing about yourself you are most proud of?

                I am an officer in the Soviet navy and ready, eager even, to die serving my country.

What about the thing you are least proud of?

                My stepfather sexually abused me. What’s worse, I lacked the courage to kill him then and he haunts my every relationship now.

Your most embarrassing moment?

                My eldest brother came home once. He found me and my stepfather together. He cried out in disgust and ran away before I could explain that I was not consenting to this. I fear what he thinks of me, of what I do to my mother with this.

What is your favorite thing to do with your free time?

                I cannot survive free time. Though Lieutenant Pudovkin shared some contraband music from America. I enjoy Van Halen.

What is your favorite season?

                Fall. I love the colors and the promise of rest after the harvest.

Favorite color?

                Blue, a deep dark blue.

Do you get stage fright?

                I feared public speaking until the naval academy cured me. My roommate, Zhora Ivankov, helped me find courage.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

                I may have found it in an odd place. I’ve fallen for a whore in the town of Komsomolsk. It so happens we share a similar dark past. She’s opened the shutters and allowed the bright light of love to burn away the cobwebs in my heart.

What about ghosts?

                No. Life is life, death is nothing.

If you had to choose between immortality alone and mortality with family, would it be a difficult choice?

                Mortality with my friend Nika, that’s all I need.

And for the future… Where do you see yourself in ten years?

                Captain of my own ship. Buried in my own secrets.

If you could have one wish granted right now, what would it be?

                I would go back in time and kill that man and save the young wonderful boy I was.

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