My Main Character

Snowdon Night ~ by Juanita Clarke

Snowdon Night ~ by Juanita Clarke

This is one of those blog themes doing the rounds and it was Ailsa Abraham, after blogging about her Main character, that asked for volunteers as so many of us had already taken part. 🙂 I was hesitant to step forward but Facebook writer friend David W Robinson encouraged me to have a go  – although I had to confess that it might be another means to put off my outstanding editing. In fact that’s been outstanding for eleven months.

First I should say that David is the opposite of me, as a visit to his ‘My Writing Process’ post at should make clear. He’s also a very prolific writer and one of the awesome Crooked Cat authors, which is in contrast to my single novel in print. Or can I count all those magazine and newspaper articles… guess not.

However, we share a passion for crime, even if his novels see the world outside his productive mind. Please check out his site and enjoy his writing.

Beyond the words ‘sporadic’ and ‘erratic’ there is a pattern to my writing. At specific times of the year, mainly during November and NaNoWriMo, I focus on getting a first draft down on paper. I usually aim to plot this novel out in detail during previous months, leaving room for the characters to introduce their own direction to the tale. Sometimes I manage to fit the draft for another novel into a year, and write that in the same way – outline and fast first draft.

That means that it’s tough to choose a main character, especially as I’ve also been working on the various shorts set in my “Gossamer Flames” world.

Enough prevaricating, time to talk about about My Main Character. But I need to answer the ‘set questions’ about the draft most likely to be read by my devoted fans 😉 – “Fates Maelstrom”.

Snowdonia ~ Juanita Clarke

Snowdonia ~ Juanita Clarke

1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Although there are two POVs in “Fates Maelstrom”, the plot revolves around Twyla Locke, a fictional young woman in her last year of college in North Wales. Although she is a creation of my imagination, I am sure that I have taken some traits from people I know.

2. When and where is the story set?

Set in or just before the present. In the first draft of “Fates Maelstrom” the story was set predominantly in and around the fictional village of Hawktrewen on the edge of Dartmoor, with some climactic scenes around Lake Como in Italy. However, I am relocating the Dartmoor scenes to Snowdonia where I now live. The setting plays a key role as the story unfolds, with ancient standing stones and 18th century follies as well as natural landscape weaving into the plot, along with the rich legends of the area.

3. What should we know about him/her?

Twyla was just a baby when her parents died in a boating accident on Lake Como, so she has been brought up by her mother’s sister Ruby Horn in the Romani community of Horn’s Furrow, which has earned a place in the village, despite prejudices about ‘travellers’. However, her father was born into the local English landowning family, the Lockes, themselves seen as interlopers by the native Welsh.

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

The murder of Twyla’s grandfather Aubrey Locke exposes the deceptions that lie behind the prejudices of a divided village. Twyla becomes the prime suspect not only because she is seen as a ‘typical gypsy’ but because there are witnesses to her being at the murder scene at the right time. Either someone is impersonating her, or she has a split personality. The latter becoming more likely as she suffers blackouts, and fears that she is becoming like her ancestor Mad Geffron Locke, whose spirit haunts her. American journalist, Brogan Keyes gives her an alibi but his relationship with her cousin Yazzi Locke arouses her suspicions and drives her closer to a breakdown. .

5. What is the personal goal of the character?

Before she was accused of murder, Twyla was aiming to obtain her degree and help her aunt Ruby with the horticultural business that keeps the Romani community thriving. However, beyond clearing her name, Twyla now needs to ensure that Horn’s Furrow survives the threat to its existence that is caused by the death of Aubrey Locke. Also, are her health problems a sign that she is going mad? Or has someone framed her for murder?

6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

The working title is “Fates Maelstrom” and I will keep my followers informed of its progress on this website. When I have revised the first draft to reflect the new setting of Snowdonia, I will probably add another page, as I did with “Spiral of Hooves” and “Gossamer Flames”.

7. When can we expect the book to be published?

I have to work around my health problems, and my inclination to distract myself, so it will probably be some time in 2015… and that will also depend on a publisher.

Anyway, whatever I do to prevaricate, you all know what I intend to work on – as well as the “Gossamer Flames” shorts. Suppose that means that I have no excuse now. Tomorrow I must start on revising something – or maybe next week.

Please can I also ask for volunteers to take on the “My Main Character” torch – thanks and good scribbling.