Character Spotlight on Kim
When I was younger, the pub become a huge part of my life because I realised that I had a talent for playing pool and it was the only place I could play. I was under age but I looked older than I was and regulations were not so strict then, so I got away with it.
All sorts of people would participate – students, business people, cab drivers – many from the surrounding council estates. I made many friends.
Two guys stood slightly apart from the crowd and all the girls just loved them, including me! I was too young for them even to glance in my direction (their radar was better than the landlord’s). Kim and Flow are loosely based on them.
Kim is a true hero. He accepts that there is a contradiction between the person people want to be and their emotions. He is considerate when it matters:
…But he didn’t say that because it was the kind of comment that would make her cry in the dark late at night and he didn’t want to hurt her…, and abrupt when an effective tool is required, suited to the environment he lives in: Defensive behaviour got you further with these people.
‘I don’t know, ask her!’ he said aggressively to stop her questions.’ Flow understands this. ‘Sorry mate!’ said Flow amicably, not offended; Kim was always cranky when he was uncomfortable in a situation.
Part of what makes Kim such a hero is that he accepts his life situation. His mother is a prostitute and he does not know what biological seed brought him into the world, but he does know that he is alive and enjoys life and that is the main thing to him. He feels lucky, and what is it that the golfer, Gary Player said? ‘The more I practise, the luckier I get!’ You could apply that to Kim; he chooses to feel lucky. He sees only the positive strands and takes them, swinging through various situations as they unfold, confidently rejecting what does not suit. He got to decide how he felt, not some outside uncontrollable force, thank you very much.
He recognises the value of his friendship with Flow and not even the lure of Clea will shake his resolve, tempting as it is; his scar always reminds him that ‘people disappointed themselves’ and he is not conceited enough or naive enough to think he is infallible.
Flow is his family, the person who brings him laughter, trust and friendship, his emotional home and he knows it is something unusual and precious. Even when the time came that they were earning millions, and that time was going to come, their handshake was better than a contract drawn up by the cleverest lawyers in the world.
No matter what the hurdle, Kim stays true to himself and his conscience throughout and that is the thing that ultimately gets him what he wants – his best friend at his side, a business that only brings prosperity, and a girl he truly loves.
He does not worry about anything, really, and he reacts to the moment in order to enjoy life. He needs money, he sells dope with Flow. He feels like having sex with Leigh, he does so. He thinks he is going to have to support a child, so he starts making sure he is going to be in a position to do that, then adapts accordingly when he is let off the hook, turning things into an advantage for all of them.
When he goes to college, he makes the most of the facilities and deftly takes Flow along for the ride.
People are drawn to him, especially Clea; she describes him through her eyes in the section of the novel called The Frog Theory: Kim was a mystery. He had been defensive with her to the point of rudeness so far, and she felt hurt and insulted by it. He was obviously well liked and well respected by his friends, though; she noticed Paula had a little crush on him. To look at, he was amazing – tall, dark and the greenest eyes, but it was more than his looks; he radiated a calm presence and strength of spirit.
Kim’s driving force is to enjoy life and to earn the means to do so, not just financially but morally. He is openminded and will keep only to paths that interest and fulfil him; he is always inspired.
The Frog Theory
Kim and Flow are the best of friends, living on a council estate, making money selling drugs.
Just around the corner in a smarter part of Fulham is Clea, a well-heeled young woman coping with a violent home life at the hands of her twisted step-father.
The Principal runs a famous college for problem teens. Fostering guilty secrets which distance her from her own children, she resists the advances of a man she sees on the train every day.
When Kim and Clea meet by chance, Kim is smitten but worried about her. Using the anecdote of the frog theory – that it will jump straight out of boiling water and live, but stay in and die if heated slowly from cold – he wakes her up to the dangerous situation she’s in at home.
Serendipity and a cake-fuelled food fight that goes viral will bring Kim, Clea, Flow and The Principal together in weird and wonderful ways in this frenetic, laugh-out-loud story about love, conscience and lion-hearted nerve.
Kim and Clea talk properly for the first time. (She has not yet shed the nickname – Clate.)
They sat on a bench next to the river and somehow Clate found herself telling Kim everything. Her argument with Sarah, who had been her only friend, how Hugo had made her feel, constantly watched and trapped; that she had left the house wearing nothing but her underwear under her coat because he was that strict he wouldn’t have gone made if he’d answered the door; how bored she was being grounded and cooped up in her bedroom the whole time.
She stared out across the water.
‘…and the joke is I cant’ seem to leave,’ she finished. ‘You’d think I’d be dying to get out of the place yet I stay and I don’t fight or protect myself.’ She hung her head in shame. ‘I don’t understand how I can fling someone like Paula to the floor yet when it comes to him…’ She trailed off as she so often did.
‘It’s clear to me,’ said Kim.
‘It is?’ she said, looking at him.
‘Hugo’s got the hots for you and what’s he going to tell himself? That he fancies a kid he’s known since birth and is meant to be a father figure to, over his own wife? That he’s a sad old pervert? Or that you’re a terrible kid who needs disciplining for your own good and he’s doing you a favour by smacking you about?’
He started to roll a joint. ‘Everyone’s their own best spin doctor, Clate.’
About Fiona Mordaunt
After attending school for model-making, Mordaunt started Image Casting in 1998, specialising in customised body castings. Over the course of 13 years, she worked on such films as Atonement and The Wildest Dream, as well as for personal clients like Lionel Richie. In 2012, she relocated to Botswana with her husband and daughter where she currently resides.