Tremontaine has introduced readers and listeners to many vibrant characters both good, bad, and deliciously devilish – but one beloved by all is the gentle genius, Micah Heslop. A farm girl thrown into city life who found a home at the University, Micah has charmed us all with her sweet naïveté and fierce love of math. Get to know her a little more with our below interview!
Loyal . . . readers? You mean students, at the University?
Not exactly. People we’ve been telling about you. Sort of like how Rafe gossips. But nicer.
Rafe says he doesn’t gossip.
What do you think?
Rafe also doesn’t always tell the truth. He doesn’t mean to. He just loses track of things. Like his clothes. Or his duke. Is this going to be like when the Diane duchess lady came to visit?
Definitely not. But people did want me to ask you things, if you want to answer. In fact, everyone wants to know your favorite number.
Because it looks fat and happy and is not as obvious as five.
Can you tell us why you like math?
Numbers always mean the same thing, not like words. But you can still say anything with them. They’re like a puzzle that’s always going and always has an answer even when everyone else is asleep or not making sense.
What about turnips?
Turnips aren’t numbers.
That’s true. Although I guess you could carve them into numbers.
Are there people who want that? Because if there’s an event or something – I don’t think I want to go, unless it’s about math, but my cousin –
What people wanted to know is why you like turnips. What’s your favorite way to eat a turnip?
Boiled. Mashed. Salted. Butter. With maybe some onions or cheese on top. Goats are good for that. Not the boiling or the mashing or the onions – although I guess they eat onions because they’ll really eat anything – but the butter and the cheese. But I only eat that when I go home. I have the tomato pie here. Or sometimes the potatoes, which are like turnips with less taste, but you probably know that.
It’s good to hear your perspective. Would you tell me what you like best about University?
People tell me how to think about solving puzzles. If I think they are wrong, they mostly listen to me until one of us is sure who is wrong, which sometimes is even both of us! They don’t waste time telling me how to be like other people. Or even how to be like me, because obviously I already know how to do that. They don’t always do things that make sense, but it’s not important to them that I understand for us to be friends and that’s the way it is on the farm too—not the puzzles but the what has to make sense to be friends.
And what don’t you like?
No one is very interested in cows, which I know a lot about and are nice so we should talk about them more, and sometimes they treat me like I am very young because I think some of the things they do are boring.
I don’t like not to like things. But sometimes when people don’t ask good questions, I don’t like that.
Are my questions bad?
No! But I don’t know why you’re asking them. We could play Constellations instead? I’m very good so sometimes people don’t want to play with me, but you don’t know that yet…so, we could wager?
Maybe later. Also I don’t know that game, you’d have to teach me. We had one more reader question for you. One of the people who likes stories about you want to know what your favorite sounds are.
Quiet. What a cart wheel goes over well-laid cobbles and it makes a noise like a steady drum. Running with a stick along a fence. The way it feels when a goat screams in your face and you scream back in its face and the sounds bounce of each other and go all around you. A cat when it purrs because you can’t hear it but you can feel it but it’s still a sound and not a feeling. Cows when they’re chewing. Fog in the morning. Rain when it’s hard.
Thank you for talking to us, Micah.