Thursday, 15 September 2016
Goodies, Baddies and Assassins
I hate baddies. I mean I don't believe in baddies. Doesn't everybody do their best? Doesn't everybody think they are right? I know I'm always right. The trouble with writing fiction is that we are supposed include nasty people but I don't seem able to manage it. Take my present book. I really wanted to have this horrible bloke come up to Stanhope and upset everybody but the trouble is I quite like him.
I like reading about horrible people. I love Mrs Proudie in the Barchester Chronicles because she is horrible to everybody but when you are a writer like Trollope you can make somebody fascinatingly vile and give them certain qualities which redeem them and this is always the way he does it. Mrs Proudie managed to get a good job for Mr Quiverful and his wife when there was little chance of it and Mr and Mrs Quiverful had fourteen children and badly needed the money. Go Mrs Proudie.
But my man Luke is proving to be rather nice and anyway he had an awful childhood. I haven't quite worked out what happened to him but oh dear me, poor lad. Try as I might he's up there doing his best.
In the book which has just come out I had a gorgeous traveller called Will Hern and he was absolutely ghastly to the two sisters but I did redeem him. I couldn't not. He got himself into all kinds of trouble and really was the pits but he learned his lessons and I was so relieved when I didn't let him die.
I remember in my first saga,The Singing Winds, I had the two main men die at the end. My agent was horrified. She said, 'you can't kill them off, after all they've been through.' I am notorious for despatching my characters. So many of them hit the ground that you stand there in awe and desperation. Has the whole of the north east been done in by a Liz Gill novel? By the way I resurrected them, the two guys in the Singing Winds. Phew.
In Snow Angels, my sixth saga there are so few people standing at the end that my friends took the mickey. I hadn't even noticed and yet carnage everywhere!
I have given up trying to make Luke the villain. I am trying to make him difficult and that's easy. We are all difficult so no doubt Luke will have many adventures before he gets to where he's going. In the meanwhile when I was walking in Rookhope this morning, ( I have become addicted to the app on my phone which tells you how may steps you are doing!! ) I found the perfect house for Luke. It stands about three quarters of a mile beyond the village, halfway up toward the tops. It has a road to it but in those days it would have been nothing more than a track. It's a long house - the barns and outside buildings are attached and it's beautiful and white and it looks down over the dale sideways, no doubt it was constructed with its back to the prevailing wind. I can see Luke going there on his horse late at night in the winter when it's snowing and everything has gone wrong.
For some reason there is nobody there to look after him and since he's thirty, good looking and rich I'm not quite sure where he went wrong. So he gets there and since he loves his horse he looks after it. There is a moon of course, the snow has stopped, he needs some light, so he feeds and talks to the horse and stables it and makes sure it is comfortable for the night and then he goes inside.The house is freezing because he has not been there in months and up there it is silent. There is no sound like the silence of being alone in a house in the middle of nowhere. Luke is alone there. That's why I feel sorry for him and redeem him at least for the time being until I discover other things about him which may make me change my mind. He's going to cause trouble I can already see it but I haven't worked out what kind of trouble yet and that's the joy, the complexity of what Luke has done, what he may do, what he will do and how it will be received in Stanhope. He is needy and lonely and conceited and I do love him!