I’m very pleased to welcome Georgia Rose, author of The Grayson Trilogy, to BetweenTheLines today with a guest post and extract from her new book Parallel Lies, due for release on 12th September but available for pre-order now!
Don’t miss the link for a fabulous giveaway further down the post.
Over to you, Georgia…..
The Brilliance of Small Characters
I’m using the word brilliance here to mean vividness and wanted to clarify that before there’s any assumption that my characters have any special talents. They don’t. They are just normal people, like you and me. The main characters of a book are easy to write as you have the whole book to flesh them out, to add in the detail, the traits and flaws. But I particularly love writing the smaller characters. You might only have a few paragraphs in which to bring them alive, sometimes only a couple of lines.
We all live our lives with many people around us. Even if we try and live as hermit like as possible there are still those we interact with, if only briefly. I love people watching and particularly enjoy imagining the lives of those that cross my path, in waiting rooms, around town, I’m never bored. As some kind of amateur detective I pass the time when waiting in the queue at the supermarket by building a story line around someone else’s shopping basket – but then I imagine everyone does that, don’t they?
I do the same with my smaller characters. I want there to be an intensity to them, so I build them up by imagining their life until I can see them right next to me as clear as day. I want my readers to feel they know these people. They may not play a huge part in the story but like in life every person you come across has some sort of impact on you, sometimes meaningful, sometimes only subliminally but it is this influence they have over others around them that, for me, brings my storylines to life.
Here is one of my favourites, the less than fragrant, Sidney… enjoy.
‘It is a source of constant fascination to me that this shop continues to open every day as its owner, Sid, appears to care nothing for it, and even less for its customers, if there are any besides me, as I am yet to meet someone else in here. Dingy doesn’t begin to describe the décor that I doubt has been refreshed since it first opened, which if the sign over the door is correct was 1947. My best guess is that the paintwork was probably originally green but it is difficult to tell as every surface is a mucky yellow, sticky with a noxious layer of nicotine. The smoking ban has been in place for several years but it has had little impact here and I make sure I touch nothing as I make my way to the shabby counter covered in piles of papers. To my right is the confectionery grandstand which I can’t imagine anyone ever buying anything from, its contents well past their best before dates. Some possibly there are from before the time those dates even came into existence. Marathons, Opal Fruits and Spangles still appear in the line-up.
Trip-hazard lino makes an attempt to cover the floor. The gaps between the worn and broken patches show dirty concrete and you’d be hard pushed to describe the original colour of the inadequate flooring.
The shop signage, which looks to be the wooden original, cracked paint flaking and peeling in places reads, without further embellishment, ‘Newsagents’. Sid doesn’t go in for the twee names or corporate branding like others are starting to in the town and as a consequence I guess its days are numbered. I’d noticed the piles of papers getting smaller since the supermarket had opened its doors on the old cattle market site, not that Sid ever mentions it. He is a man of few words.
“Shop!” I’d yelled as I’d entered, the bell still jangling above my head and I’d left the door to close behind me, knowing from previous experience not to push it too as it was as unpleasant to touch as anything else in here, and unless you were able to wash your hands immediately afterwards, best avoided. I now look to the doorway in the corner behind the counter. Hanging from the doorframe is one of those curtains meant to keep flies out. I’ve seen more modern variations, beaded wood or metal links, even pvc strips. This one is of narrow strips of coloured plastic. Not all the strips are still present and of those that are, not all are whole. I hear a familiar hacking cough from the other side then what’s left parts as Sid shuffles into view. He’s got a fag on, which is standard, an untipped hard-core Senior Service if I’m not mistaken. In his wake strips of the curtain are left stuck together by the same noxious glue that coats the rest of the shop.
Shabby beige trousers made for a much larger man sag below a faded checked shirt and a baggy, worn cardigan that clings to meagre rounded shoulders. His scalp shows through the thinning strands of greasy, grey hair that reaches his collar.
“Good morning, Sidney, and how are you today?” My usual greeting that I know will only be replied to by a grunt, if that. He reaches the till and I push forward the two national papers I want and hand him a crisp fiver. “Just these two please.” I am as determined as ever not to go through the whole exchange without some social interaction and it is just as well that I’m persistent and endowed with unending quantities of patience because to date I have been unsuccessful. This is our daily routine though and I am convinced that one day I will get him to join in. He looks at me, the whites of his rheumy eyes yellow, bloodshot and watery, as if having to get me change is an imposition. The till isn’t in use as an actual till anymore but works as more of a drawer arrangement. I suspect this is because it has never been decimalised but he opens it and gnarled fingers, yellowed from a lifetime of tobacco use and tipped with blackened overgrown nails, scratch around for the coins I need.
I watch as the lengthening ash tip of his cigarette grows perilous. I’m mesmerised as to how long it will stay attached to the whole and Sid remains unconcerned as it eventually parts company and falls onto the papers I’m buying. I tip them up so it rolls off as I hold out my hand for the change.
“Have a very good day, Sidney.” But as I pocket the shrapnel, he’s already turned and is shambling back to beyond the sticky curtain and whatever newsagenty delights await him there. I’m not sure why I continue coming in here every day other than for the convenience, but I know I’d miss the banter, that life enhancing touch of human interaction, if I didn’t.’
Madeleine Ross has life exactly as she planned it.
Cosy cottage, friendly village, satisfying job.
Company… when she wants it.
It’s an enviable existence for an independent young woman, and one she’s keen to protect.
Enter Daniel – strong, dependable and a danger to everything she’s built. He’s not something she was looking for, but hearts can’t be controlled and maybe, just maybe he might be worth letting into hers.
But, all is not what it seems. Because Madeleine is hiding a lifetime of secrets. Deep secrets.
And they never stay buried for ever.
Her darkest secret returns, like the proverbial bad penny. He is her first love, shadowy, dangerous, the baddest of bad boys. No matter how far she runs, or how well she hides, she can never escape him.
Or her past.
Here he is, on her doorstep, with a proposition she is powerless to resist but which could devastate the future she hoped to have.
Can Madeleine satisfy the old love while keeping the new?
You can’t always get what you want but, desperate to preserve the life she has worked so hard for, Madeleine is willing to risk everything to prove that she can.
But wait! There’s also a Giveaway for you to enter, should you wish!
Georgia Rose is a writer and the author of the romantic and suspenseful Grayson Trilogy books: A Single Step, Before the Dawn and Thicker than Water. A short story, The Joker, based on a favourite character from the series followed and is free to download from Amazon.
Her fourth novel, Parallel Lies, a standalone to be released on 12 September 2017, encompasses crime along with Georgia’s usual blending of genre.
Georgia’s background in countryside living, riding, instructing and working with horses has provided the knowledge needed for some of her storylines; the others are a product of her overactive imagination!
Passionate about horses if she wasn’t reading Enid Blyton Georgia would be reading horse fiction and non-fiction. She has been involved with horses throughout her life and still holds out hope that one day she will get to be part of the jousting team at Warwick Castle.
Her busy life is set in a tranquil part of rural Cambridgeshire in the UK where she lives with her much neglected husband and dog. Their son, currently at university, comes and goes and their daughter, having delighted them all for long enough, has eventually moved out, got married, and is discovering the joys of being all grown up and having a mortgage!
Thank you for inviting me on your lovely Between the Lines blog, Cathy, it has been a pleasure to visit you and get to chat to your readers.
You’re more than welcome any time, Georgia.