Second Wind: What is your story?
Manuel: My story is still being written, but a portion of it is chronicled in “Indian Summer” by Dellani Oakes.
SW: Who are you?
M: My name is Manuel Hermida Enriques Orejan Sanchez and I am confidential aid to Governor Ferdinand Deza.
SW: Where do you live?
M: I live in the beautiful town of St. Augustine in the Florida territory.
SW: Are you the hero of your own story?
M: What is a hero? A man who does what he must to protect that which he holds dear. I am such a man. If that makes me a hero, then I accept this role gladly.
SW: What is your problem in the story?
M: The problem is that there is a pesky British spy wandering around causing trouble. The beast is wily and sly, but I’ll catch him, have no doubt.
SW: Do you embrace conflict?
M: Conflict is in many forms. If it is in the form of a beautiful woman, I embrace and make love to it. If it is in the form of this annoying little fly speck of a spy, then I spit on it and grind it to dust beneath my heel.
SW: Do you run from conflict?
M: Never! Face conflict proudly and fight it to the death.
SW: How do you see yourself?
M: In my life, I have done many bad things. However, I am trying to change to be worthy of my darling Gabriella.
SW: How do your friends see you?
M: I haven’t many friends, but those are very close. They see me as strong, intelligent, passionate with women, stubborn and capable. How do you see me, cariña?
SW: How do your enemies see you?
M: My enemies never see me. They are dead long before that. If by chance they do catch a glimpse, it is as of the face of death.
SW: How does the author see you?
M: Ah, my beautiful Dellani. If it were not for Gabriella, such stories we would write together! She sees me as romantic, passionate, handsome, slightly dangerous, and very well appointed.
SW: Well appointed?
M: You will have to read my tale to find out what I mean by that.
SW: Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?
M: As accurately as any woman may know a man’s heart, yes.
SW: What do you think of yourself?
M: I am not a modest man, but even I do not like to brag. I am all that is said of me and more.
SW: Do you have a hero?
M: Yes, my blood brother, Sailfish of the River People. He is the greatest warrior I know and even more brave than I.
SW: Do you have a goal?
M: Indeed I do! I want to catch the spy so that I can marry my beloved Gabriella.
SW: What are your achievements?
M: That is perhaps not a question I should answer here, eh, cariña?
SW: Do you talk about your achievements?
M: As I said, I am not one to brag. What I have achieved is a matter of history. There are things I have done that I would rather forget.
SW: Do you keep your achievements to yourself?
M: Many of them, yes.
SW: But why? Surely your accomplishments are wide ranging and very nearly stuff of
M: Not all legends have a happy ending. Some things are better left unsaid.
SW: Do you have any special strengths?
M: I am swift, strong, I speak many languages fluently. I can track prey like an Indian and shoot a bow as well as a gun.
SW: Do you have any special weaknesses?
M: Only my love of Gabriella. She makes me weak.
SW: Do you have money troubles?
M: No. Although I like to gamble, I rarely lose. Besides, my parents and aunt left me a great deal of money.
SW: What do you want?
M: I want to marry Gabriella more than anything in the world. Well, there is perhaps one thing I want more than that, but it’s not polite to discuss.
SW: What do you need?
M: I need to catch that wretched spy!
SW: What do you want to be?
M: I am what I want to be. An honorable man who loves a beautiful woman. One day I shall also be a father, that is my greatest ambition.
SW: What do you believe?
M: I believe in God and my strength and abilities.
SW: What makes you happy?
M: Would you like to me say something poetic like a beautiful sunset or the seagulls above the water? I am not poetic man. What makes me happy is very simple, my love for Gabriella. It drives me, moves me to be the best I may be.
SW: What are you afraid of?
M: I am afraid that what I am capable of will one day consume me. And I am terrified that I will lose Gabriella.
SW: What makes you angry?
M: The snake of a spy.
SW: What makes you sad?
M: The loss of my sweet aunt. May she rest in God’s peace.
SW: What do you regret?
M: I regret how I have behaved in my past. That is behind me now.
SW: What is your biggest disappointment?
M: I am most disappointed that I cannot wed Gabriella right away.
SW: What, if anything, haunts you?
M: In a soldiers life, are there not many things to haunt him? What haunts me, cariña, is better left forgotten.
SW: You look sad, have I touched on a painful subject?
M: Among the most painful. I am not proud of many things I had to do. It is between me, God and the dead.
SW: Have you ever failed at anything?
M: So many things, how can I even count them?
SW: Have you ever failed anyone?
M: Not something I wish to discuss. But yes.
SW: Have you ever betrayed anyone?
M: Never on purpose, but accidents happen.
SW: Do you keep your promises?
M: Always. It is a point of honor.
SW: Are you honorable?
M: As much as I am able to be given circumstances.
SW: That sounds like a very cagey answer.
M: And it is the only one you shall get.
SW: Do you have any distinguishing marks?
M: Oh, yes. I am very well appointed.
SW: You would love for me to ask what that means, wouldn’t you?
M: No, I would like you to read the book and find out.
SW: Have you ever killed anyone?
M: I was a soldier, of course I have killed. And nearly been killed more than once.
SW: Who was your first love?
M: My first love was a girl whose father was a garrison soldier. We ran away together, but I deserted her soon after.
SW: Why did you do that?
M: Because I was headstrong and stubborn and scared to death of her father.
SW: Who is your true love?
M: Ah, my beautiful Gabriella is my own true love.
SW: What is the most important thing that ever happened to you? Why?
M: Getting this job with the Governor is the most important. It got me out of my old life and onto a straight path to redemption. It also brought me Gabriella.
SW: Was there a major turning point in your life?
M: The day I realized how much I love Gabriella.
SW: Was there ever a defining moment of your life?
M: The day that Gabriella said she loved me. It was the most important day of my life.
SW: What is your most prized possession? Why?
M: My most prized possession? Must I have just one? Perhaps my pistol. Or my best pair of boots? No, not really, although I am rather fond of these pants.
SW: Oh? Why is that?
(All I get is a sly grin and a slow, wicked wink.)
SW: What is your favorite color? Why?
M: Sapphire blue, because it is the exact shade of Gabriella’s eyes.
SW: If you had the power to change one thing in the world that didn’t affect you personally, what would it be?
M: I would change how much we hate and distrust the British. It would be great for us and the rest of the world to trust one another.
SW: What makes you think that change would be for the better?
M: There would be no wars or conflicts. I would never have to leave Gabriella’s side again.
SW: If you were stranded on a desert island, would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?
M: Can you really see me stranded with a man? I’ll only go if Gabriella does.
SW: How do you envision your future?
M: Happily married to my beloved.