Gabriella Deza, from “Indian Summer” written by Dellani Oakes.

Bertram: To get us started, tell us a little about yourself.

Gabriella: I am Gabriella Deza, youngest daughter of Governor Ferdinand Deza. I live in the village of St. Augustine, Florida territory. The year is 1739.

Bertram: What is your story?

Gabriella: I haven’t much of one yet, I’m only just 15, but what there is of it is told by Dellani Oakes in Indian Summer.

Bertram: Are you the hero of your own story?

Gabriella: Me a hero? Heavens, no! That would be Manuel Enriques, my father’s aid du camp and the love of my life.

 Bertram:What is your problem in the story?

Gabriella: Quite by chance, I found out a terrible secret. British spy is trying to capture the fort and take over the town.

Bertram: What did you do? Did you embrace the conflict or did you run from it?

Gabriella: I’ve never wanted to embrace conflict, but one must face it bravely. Troubles are sent by God to test us. Am I going to argue with Him? I never run when I can fight.

Bertram: How does the author see you?

Gabriella: Headstrong, demure, capable, passionate, honest, loving. I am these things and ever so much more.

Bertram: Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

Gabriella: Oh, yes, Dellani Oakes portrayed me very accurately. She seems to have seen into my heart with great alacrity.

Bertram: What do you think of yourself?

Gabriella: I think I am all those things and more. For one so young, my life suddenly became rather complicated.

Bertram: Do you have a hero?

Gabriella: My father, Manuel, and Sailfish are my heroes. They are all so brave and noble. Though, in their own way, all men are heroes, don’t you think?

Bertram: I suppose they can be. But I’d rather talk about you. Do you have a goal?

Gabriella: My goal is to marry Manuel as soon as possible. I love him more than I can possibly express. I want to be with him forever. He is my own, true love.

Bertram: What are your achievements?

Gabriella: I’m too young to really have many of those. Although I have made Manuel love me and I have done everything I can to help him and my father keep their secrets and save the town.

Bertram: Those sound like achievements to me. Do you talk about what you did, or do you keep it to yourself?

Gabriella: What need have I to brag? God sees what I have done. If He deems it worthy, than others will hear of it in time. Manual and Papa know what I have achieved. For now, that is all that is important.

Bertram: Do you have any special strengths?

Gabriella: My faith in God is my greatest strength. My faith has seen me through very trying times. I would not be the woman I am without it.

Bertram: Do you have any special weaknesses?

Gabriella: My passion for Manuel is nearly my undoing. All he need do is look at me and I go weak in the knees.

Bertram: Do you have any skills?

Gabriella: I speak English and French in addition to my native Spanish. I ride a horse very well and drive a buggy as well as any man.

Bertram: What do you need most in life?

Gabriella: I need the wretched spy disposed of so that  our town will be saved and I may marry the man I love.

Bertram: What do you want to be?

Gabriella: I want to be a wife and mother, what greater purpose is there for a woman save to go into holy orders?

Bertram: What do you believe?

Gabriella: I believe in God and I believe in the love of Manuel and my family. I also believe in my own abilities to cope with any situation life presents.

Bertram: What makes you happy?

Gabriella: Many things make me happy, but when Manuel kisses me, I can’t think of anything but how happy I am. There is only one thing which would make me happier, and that would be to marry him.

Bertram: What are you afraid of?

Gabriella: I’m terrified of losing Manuel. If he were to die, what would become of us? Papa says only he can save us in this troubled time. If I lost him, I would have no reason to live.

Bertram: What makes you angry?

Gabriella: The fact that wretched spy is trying to kill us all! He is someone we know, a person who pretends to be our friend. He has all but ruined my life. If I had the skills, I would find and slay him myself.

Bertram: What makes you sad?

Gabriella: The loss of my mother makes me sad, as does the death of Manuel’s beloved aunt. Though they are in a better place, I miss them both very much.

Bertram: What do you regret?

Gabriella: That I with all my education, I never learned how to shoot a pistol.

Bertram: Has anyone ever betrayed you?

Gabriella: Yes, the man who spies on us, using our friendship against us. He betrays me, my family, and my home. I hope I have a hand in bringing him to justice.

Bertram: Have you ever failed anyone?

Gabriella: I hope not. I will only have failed them if I do not find the spy and send him to God early for judgement.

Bertram: What was your childhood like?

Gabriella: Delightful in so many ways, but also sad because we lost Mama when I was five and Grandmama not long after. However, Papa and his new wife, Clara, have provided a loving home for the four of us. My older sisters, little brother, and I have lived in relative comfort our entire lives.

Bertram: Do you like remembering your childhood?

Gabriella: Oh, yes, very much! I have wonderful memories of my childhood.

Bertram: Who was your first love?

Gabriella: My first and only love is Manuel. I never realized how much he loves me nor I him, until he declared his love for me on my birthday. He is the most magnificent man alive and I love him more than my own life.

Bertram: What is your most prized possession?

Gabriella: My peso necklace, because Manuel gave it to me. Though my parents gave me pearls for my birthday, the peso shows Manuel’s love for me. He can’t ask me to marry him, it wouldn’t be proper, but that shows each of us our promise to wed.

Bertram: What is your favorite scent?

Gabriella: Sandalwood., because that is the scent of Manuel’s soap.

Bertram: What is your favorite color?

Gabriella: Apple green, because it was Mama’s favorite as well, and I am most like her of all three of us girls.

Bertram: What is your favorite music?

Gabriella: The flamenco I danced with Manuel.

Bertram: What is your favorite item of clothing

Gabriella: The apple green dress I wore to my party. It is the first dress I wore that showed everyone I am now a woman. And because Manuel and I danced the entire night together when I wore it.

Bertram: If you had the power to change one thing in the world that didn’t affect you personally, what would it be?

Gabriella: I think I’d like the Spanish and the English not to hate one another so much.

Bertram: What makes you think that change would be for the better? There would be less fighting and conflict in the world.

Bertram: If you were stranded on a desert island, would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?

Gabriella: Do not think badly of me of saying this, but I would want to be stranded only with Manuel.  I can think of no one else with whom I have enough in common to spend any period of time. Only if we were married, of course. Anything else would be scandalous!

Bertram: How do you envision your future?

Gabriella: I see my future happily married to Manuel, having his children and loving him for the rest of my life.

Bertram: I hope you get your wish. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

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