Character Interview with Caroline Wilkins
This interview first appeared on A Baker’s Perspective.
Good day to you. Kelly has asked me to share a bit about myself here . This is a challenge for me as I’m unaccustomed to talking about myself. You see, I’ve been raised to be seen and not heard, always valued for my outward appearance and my father’s purse. I’d never really thought to
Fast Five Favorites or Not OR Five Fast Facts
- I am twenty years old.
- I attended Miss Lilian’s School for Young Ladies where I excelled at music and languages.
- Besides English, I’m fluent in—Latin, French, and German. I’m currently studying Italian.
- I’ve grown rather fond of Mrs. Köhler’s potato pancakes.
- I have a gold necklace handed down to me from my Aunt Josephine.
Tell us about your childhood. Who is your closest family member? Who would you like to disown? Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Philadelphia as the only daughter of a wealthy businessman. My mother died when I was a child and I attended boarding schools from the age of seven. I’m not on particularly good terms with my what remains of my family. Before I got stranded in Baltimore, I’d planned to purchase a ticket on a steamer headed to England to find my Aunt Josephine as I had no intention of returning to my father’s home again.
What is your greatest fear? What keeps you up at night?
Memories plague my thoughts and dreams of the night my betrothed attempted to…this is such a delicate matter to discuss…but it’s important for your readers to understand that I never wanted…Charles and I were alone in the library. I thought I was safe because in only a few months Charles would pledge to love and cherish me. But I was quite naïve according to father. Thanks to a burning stick I yanked from the fire in desperation, I managed to thwart his wicked intentions, though both of us shall bear the scars of that night the remainder of our lives. I should mention that all of this detestableness with Charles happens before Kelly begins telling my story, however, the repercussions play a role in the novel and make it difficult to trust Franz at first.
What is your biggest secret?
My biggest secret is what lies hidden beneath my veil. After the fateful night in the library, I fled my father’s house and shrouded my face in black lace. I’m determined not to remove the head covering for anyone. If I am every to remarry, the gentleman will have to take me sight unseen. That is the only way I can be certain he loves me.
What is your most treasured possession?
Well, this is a much easier question. Without a doubt, the necklace my Aunt Josephine sent me on my 16th birthday because it is the only link I have to my extended family. Aunt Josephine’s husband, Daniel Jardine, had a gold nugget he discovered in the Australian gold mines fashioned into a cross. He inscribed it with a verse that has become my favorite, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Tell us about your romantic interest?
Franz is quite unlike any of the men of my former acquaintance. He is a man of honor with the heart and soul of a gentleman. But none of these things would impress father for Franz is an immigrant who works in the rail yards. However, as I get to know him, these things do not matter to me. For the first time, I feel seen for who I am apart from my appearance or my father’s wealth. Franz is not haughty or possessive, rather he treats me like a treasure to cherish. In fact, his term of endearment for me is Schatzi, German for treasure. I am so excited for your readers to meet him. I know they will come to love him as much as I do.
What is your favorite scene in the novel? Least favorite?
Let’s begin with my least favorite scene, shall we? I would have to say when I’m forced to deboard the train a few blocks from Camden Station in Baltimore because the ruffians are blocking the rails. Before long, I’m swept up in an angry mob that is protesting wage cuts. If Franz hadn’t rescued me, I may have been trampled.
Enough of such distressing memories. Let’s speak of more pleasant things like my favorite scene. There are so many to choose from—when Franz teaches me to polka, when Opa, Franz’s grandfather, teaches me to make the Gugelhupf, or when Franz’s Mutter altars a lovely dress for me to wear to the basket social. But if I can only pick one, I would choose when Franz kisses me for the first time. It was both tender and passionate, very different from Charles’s lustier variety. Oh, my, I shouldn’t have shared any of this. What would father say if he knew I spoke of such things, especially to strangers?
What do you hope readers will take away from your story?
I should like it very much if after your readers finished The Veil, they were more inclined to value a person based on their character rather than outward measures like beauty, size, wealth, or occupation.