As I get nearer to publishing my latest book, Flipside, I have been thinking back to the first book I published as an e-book, Farholm. The story is set on the island of Farholm, which is a bit of a play on words; it is about a woman who discovers a dreadful secret about her husband who has been recently killed in a motorway accident. She goes to Farholm to find out the truth about him.
This post was about the characters in the story… and how they arrived in my imagination.
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!!