Swirls (The Outsiders #1) - Character interview: Introducing Halola Ena
F. A. Hershey: Halola has graciously agreed to have a chat with me today about her life at The Lodge, and give us a bit of an insight into her more recent encounters in the Amazon forest. Halola Ena is a very unusual name. Can you tell us a bit about its meaning and who chose your name in the first place?
Halola: I was named after a great great great - and a few more “greats” - grandmother who was well known as a soldier, kind of, from the Kanuayed tribe. She was really tough and brave, and I’m sure she wore the pants in her tent... (laughs)... For some unfathomable reason, my mother decided to name me after her. She claims I was very impatient to be born and I trashed and turned in her belly so much it reminded her of the original Halola and her “God given strength”, she used to say - according to my dad. Ena is the name of my clan, so to speak, which is the same as my tough ancestor and it means “take it down” in the more literal sense of the word.
F. A. Hershey: And do you live up to the name given to you?
Halola: I was afraid you’d ask that. Unfortunately, I do not. I do have an aptitude for medicinal herbs though, and no injury or wound will scare me, but I’m not much of a fighter.
F. A. Hershey: Were you born in the Amazon forest?
Halola: Yes. I was born and raised in the Kanuayed’s tradition, though I have never lived in the tribe’s community. I grew up in my father’s lodge by the river and saw hundreds of people coming and going ever since I could make sense of things around me. From the age of five I was making beds and washing clothes by the river. My mother died of malaria when I was very little, but my father and grandpa were always there for me. Grandpa - bless him – taught me everything he knew about the forest and the stories Kanuayeds grew up listening to. I’ve always been fascinated by the place I was born in, and I am eternally grateful for all that the forest provide us with. I do like surfing the net, though – I’m not completely shunned from the pleasures of the “outside world”. I just wished my Internet connection stayed on for more than thirty minutes at a time.
F. A. Hershey: What can you tell us about your friendship with Julia?
Halola: (She sighs heavily and shakes her head) From the moment Julia stepped inside my reception room, I knew there would be trouble ahead. I also knew we’d stick together from day one, no matter what. She is very stubborn, but then so am I. Miraculously, we manage not to fight. Julia is a Londoner disguised as a native descendant. Well, in the beginning, that is. She loosened up a little when she stashed away that awful pair of converse shoes... so impractical.
F. A. Hershey: (Clears her throat)
Halola: Anyway, Julia and I are inseparable. There are strange things going on in The Lodge lately and I think it has something to do with Julia’s family. Her moving out here has clearly messed her up, but I’m holding her together. She is my sister, and I protect her. That’s how I feel towards her.
F. A. Hershey: What would you change in your life if you could?
Halola: If I had control over these things, I would bring my mother back. I have so little memory of her, but then I knew how great she was, and being the only girl in the family sometimes sucks. And oh, I would make my hair curly if I could. They say straight hair is the easiest to manage, but I like a challenge.
F. A. Hershey: Thanks for our little chat Lola. Can I call you Lola?
Halola: Sure, everyone calls me Lola. And you’re welcome. I’m off to meet Julia now and spy on a certain mysterious new - and gorgeous - guest that has clearly shaken up Julia’s world... But we have yet to see the outcome of that love triangle! (wink).
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