Q. We're here with Henry the Rat, one of the protagonists of Ted Mendelssohn's The Wrong Sword. So, Henry, why do you think Ted chose you to represent him?
A. Just lazy, I guess. I do the work while he takes the credit. Writers! Oh. You mean, why did he choose me instead of another character?
Q. Um, yes. For instance, why not the Princess Mathilde? We understand she was very eager to do this interview.
A. I’ll bet. She never met an audience she didn’t like.
Q. That’s an odd statement. We thought that you and she-
A. Shutupshutupshutup! Listen, she's a princess, I'm three steps below serf. So just… be cool. We're on the sub infra.
Q. Okay. So, the other woman in your life-
A. Is a sword. Yes.
Q. Excalibur, in fact.
A. Yeah, yeah, sword-of-kings-from-the-dawn-of-time.
Q. You don’t sound very excited. Most warriors would kill to get their hands on a weapon like that.
A. Do I look like a warrior?
Q. Frankly, no.
A. If you saw me in a dark alley, what would you do?
Q. Check our wallet to make sure it was still there.
A. Exactly. Did you know the sword talks to me?
A. Stop edging away like that. I’m not crazy. It’s a magic sword. And it never lets me forget it. Do you know what was carved into the stone where I found it?
Q. “Whosoever Pulleth the Sword From out the Stone Is Rightwise Born King of all England”?
A. No. “Hic gladio facit magna dolor in natibus.” You do the Latin.
Q. This interview seems to have gotten a little off-track. Why don’t we move back to the prepared questions?
A. It’s your farthing.
Q. When you were born?
A. Six years before Young King Harry of England burned my village to the ground.
A. I don’t like knights much.
Q. Okay, moving on, why should readers be interested in your story?
A. Evil princes, killer monks, hair-raising escapes, and the medieval version of three-card monte. Plus automatic shepherds.
Q. Sounds fun.
A. Well, from my end of things, it's scary as hell. But if you're just reading it while you're safe and cozy at home, you'll have a great time.