There is a difficult balance when writing stories to give sufficient and interesting collateral detail and just adding padding. Everything should weave together to make a smooth and intriguing pattern to the tale with no loose ends, unravelling parts, loosely cobbled together bits, or long stretches devoid of colour or detail. There also has to be a reality within itself – even if it’s a very far-fetched reality, but it has to bring the reader in and engage, hook, and keep them – no writer wants their beloved work metaphorically hurled across an imaginary room or dropped from listless fingers into the waste bin of indifference
My Thomas Radwinter stories feature Thomas himself and his family as well as the various investigations, genealogical and otherwise which he undertakes. I hope there is mystery enough to engage readers, and action to keep them turning the pages, but there is also the ordinary fabric of Thomas’s busy life with his wife and children. His family life is the most important part of who he is – in my previous book, Earthquake, Thomas was so busy working, taking care of the children, doing household chores etc that things got a little out of hand. He wasn’t eating or sleeping enough, worrying too much and working too hard – which impacted on various story-lines.
Thomas and his life are all part of the stories, but I don’t want to side-track too much into domestic detail, or write more than is interesting about his young family – other people’s children, lovely though they are not always as fascinating and adorable as the parents think they are. As I said to begin with, it’s a difficult balance.
Here is a short scene about mornings in the Radwinter household from my latest book in the series, Saltpans’:
Anyone looking through the window at our mornings would think what utter chaos there is! I get up first and make sure everything is ready for the school children, and for Cassie to go to nursery. Kylie usually gets the breakfast things done the night before, and the packed lunches, and she does a lot of sorting of the washing – she doesn’t exactly trust me even though I’ve been mostly doing it since we’ve been together, and haven’t had many accidents… although a white shirt of mine did become an interesting shade of purple.
There is complete turmoil as kids are got out of bed, fed, washed, dressed by Gabriela and me as Kylie gets herself ready and out of the house by half eight at the latest, even though The India Inn is only ten minutes away. Kisses all round and then she’s gone. I take Kenneil and Terri to school, and Gabriela manages the other three; she won’t be able to do this for much longer, then I suppose we’ll have to think again… but maybe then Cassie will be at the school nursery and I can take her.
When we move we might have to leave earlier… if we move…
Somehow everyone gets ready and we all set off roughly on time; I could load everyone into the car now that Kylie has a small work car with Radwinter@The India Inn in fancy writing on the side. I could use the big seven-seater people carrier, but we’re still very money conscious – and wherever we move, we’ll need to be even more so, so I don’t.
I like taking the children to school, chatting and joking, and meeting other parents with their kids. As soon as I get to the gates my pair rush off across the playground; I stand and watch them as they mix with their friends. I had a horrid time at school, and I can’t tell you how jolly pleased I am that they like school and are happy there.
I hope these scenes will add an extra dimension to others when Thomas puts his life in danger to help others – in the past he has had to confront various enraged and possibly mad individuals trying to kill him or kill others, so having a precious family who depend on him in the background I hope adds an extra dimension to these confrontations.
Here is a link to Saltpans:
…and to Earthquake – when Thomas is confronted by a miniature gangster and a deranged shell-collector with sinister glinting glasses:
All my other books, the other Radwinter stories, my other novels, children’s books and writing guides are available on Amazon.