I’m often asked where my characters come from… well, I’m not sure I actually know. In FARHOLM, I don’t know where Deke or Michael came from, they arrived after Nathan Flynn, the pirate, and I do know where he came from. I had a vivid dream of a pirate, a dashing handsome, big man, with long hair, braided and with rings in his ears and eyebrow. In my dream he laughed and said “I am Nathanial Flynn.” So I had Nat Flynn and for a while he was all I had and I intended him to be the main character of what I was going to write.
One of my favourite places is Rathlin Island off the cast of County Antrim and I had wanted to write something set on an island for quite a while and somehow Nat Flynn and an imaginary island came together.
I am not a writer who plans a story, my stories start and I follow them and they often take me along unexpected routes, and although sometimes I know the end, I don’t often know all the details, or how the characters get there. I needed a character to go to the island and Deke Colefox got on the ferry and gradually the reason for her visit was revealed. Michael appeared on the page as I wrote and somehow became a major player in the novel. I had no idea either that Sean would become so important in Deke’s story; he was just supposed to be a detective investigating a mystery.
Names are very important to me; they don’t always come into my head as easily as Nathan’s did; I took a while to arrive at Deke, I wanted a spiky, hard name, not a feminine girly name, and somehow Deke arrived and I rationalized it be revealing later in the story that it comes from her initials D.K. – Drusilla Kate. Michael’s surname comes from the village of Cabus in Lancashire. Sean’s name arrived with Sean himself, and the reason he’s a Hampshire lad is that I once knew someone from Hampshire who looked very like him!!