In my posts about my next novel ‘Loving Judah’ I have mentioned the major theme, the effects of bereavement on a married couple, and how at this crisis in their lives one chooses a different path , leaving the other to find their own way forward.
Aislin, the main character, finds an unexpected friendship with the local vicar, Gideon and tells him “I never thought about our marriage. I never thought about anything like that. We love each other… it was like a comfortable old shoe, slipped on without thought. It does its job, does what it’s supposed to do, it’s snug and cosy and familiar. I never thought about it – not till Judah…”
Aislin, sadly confides in her best friend Sandi “There are times when you reach a fork in the road and everyone expects you to go one way but it’s obvious that you have to go the other. Pete reached a fork – the obvious thing was to stay with me and be comforted by me and give comfort to me… But he left…”
So this is a main thread, this is what triggers the plot of the book, but what triggered my original idea for it was very different. Without going into detail about this particular individual, I must explain that many, many years ago there was a very well-known personality who seemed to have everything. He was stunningly good-looking, talented in many ways, well and widely respected, strong, and impeccably moral. The only criticism the public (who didn’t know him personally) may have had of him was that he was a little too serious, a little too dedicated to his profession. I admired him enormously and began to imagine a character like him in a story, wondering what he would be like away from the glamour and glitz of his every day life.
Suddenly the image was shattered; this man, who I and millions of others had admired so much was corrupt; he did some despicable things and behaved in a shockingly immoral way trading on all those characteristics which had made him great in the first place. I was stunned and shocked – and I didn’t even know him! I couldn’t imagine how his family and friends must feel!
So in my head I had my imaginary character – but I also had knowledge of the real man. From this grew an idea of another character, a man on a more modest scale who made one catastrophic mistake, not on the scale of the real man, but an error of judgement… he was unfaithful, to several people in different ways which led to a personal and tragic catastrophe which changed him forever. In my story, which became ‘Loving Judah’ my character is not forgiven by his family and friends… unlike the real man I based him upon. My character at heart is a decent man, unlike the real man who I now believe was rotten to his core.
My character, Bavol, says “No one wants to touch me now, physically I mean. They all draw back as if I’m leprous,” Aislin took his hand and after a moment he continued. “As soon as I came clean I became dirty. I couldn’t have hurt them more if I’d killed myself. When I was the bereaved friend, arms were all around me. Now I’m poison, contaminated.”
I don’t want to give away any more as I want the reader to meet the characters and form their own judgements, but I hope this will not only be a taster from ‘Loving Judah’ but will be another insight into where I get my ideas from!