Tag Archives: The Forgotten Son

Deleted Scenes – From Me to You

Well, it’s a lovely sunny Spring Saturday (ah, alliteration!), so I decided to offer you wonderful people who’ve been saying such nice things about my book a little insight into what might have been…

Candy_Jar_LS_Front_BFormat_classic_SmallThree scenes deleted from the final manuscript of The Forgotten Son. Two underwent massive rewrites, while the third was completely excised, although it still fits in the book continuity so it can be considered canon if you like.  🙂

Hope you all enjoy, but be warned, if you haven’t read the book, there will be SPOILERS within.

Download Forgotten_Son_Deleted_Scenes here!

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Origin of the Ancestry

The Forgotten Son has been out almost three weeks (or more, if you pre-ordered it) and it has garnered a lot of positive feedback, with mostly four-star reviews. People seem to really love it, which bodes well for the series as a whole.

But there is one point raised by a few readers which I want to address here. In The Forgotten Son I establish that Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart was born in Cornwall. This has confused some readers, who tell me ‘but he’s Scottish’. Which leaves me to wonder; is he? From where did you get this information?

1301aMy first source of reference is, and always will be, the television series. I have watched every story featuring the Brigadier many times, not only since 1988 when I was first introduced to the character, but also for research purposes. The only story which even suggests his origins is Terror of the Zygons, the season thirteen opener which is set in Scotland. In the early moments of the episode the Doctor, Sarah and Harry arrive at the Fox Inn to find the Brigadier in a kilt. What follows is this conversation:

SARAH: Anyway, it’s nice to see you again, Brigadier.

BRIGADIER: And you, Miss Smith.

SARAH: Though I didn’t expect to see you in a kilt.

BRIGADIER: My dear Miss Smith, as you remember, my name is Lethbridge-Stewart. The Clan Stewart.

SARAH: Oh, sorry. I thought you were doing a Doctor.

BRIGADIER: What an absurd idea.

At the end of the story, the Duke of Forgil questions the Brigadier for not taking back the Doctor and Sarah’s return tickets to British Rail and getting a refund; ‘I thought you were a Scotsman,’ he says, and receives a bemused smirk from the Brigadier.

From these two exchanges it would appear that many have drawn the conclusion that the Brigadier is Scottish. Which is, on the surface, fair enough. (Of course, that he was originally in the Scots Guards could be used to back up this conclusion, except not every officer in the Scots Guards is Scottish.) However, a few points seem to be ignored when drawing this conclusion. The Brigadier does not sound Scottish in the slightest, which at least suggests he was not raised in Scotland or the north of England, and, most importantly, his name.

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREI looked it up, trying to discover where ‘Lethbridge’ originates, and it would appear to have come from a place name in Devon that no longer exists. The family name was derived from this place and has, over the centuries, been altered to the current form of ‘Lethbridge’. Indeed, to this day, the Lethbridge Baronets are a large and distinguished part of Devon heritage. From this it is clear that at least half of the Brigadier’s ancestry is English, while the other half is, as stated in Terror of the Zygons, Scottish as a once-part of the Clan Stewart.

None of which suggests he was necessarily born in Scotland – granted, beyond his accent, there’s nothing to suggest he wasn’t born in Scotland either. So, taking my cue from other Doctor Who media beyond the TV, I decided that the Brigadier wasn’t born in Scotland at all, as his accent suggests – an accent refined by schooling, no doubt. I went for Cornwall simply because of its proximity to Devon and the fact that the Brigadier always seems so at home whenever we see in villages on television.

stewart-clan-crestAs an interesting addition, in Lance Parkin’s The Dying Days, published in 1997, we learn about William Lethbridge-Stewart who was a friend of King James VI. Seeing no reason to contradict this, I have merged this information with soon-to-be established information, as seen in this excerpt from a yet-to-be released document called A Brief History of the Lethbridge-Stewarts:

‘The first recorded Lethbridge-Stewart was William Stewart, born in 1567. He was of the Clan Stewart, a relative of the Stuart Kings of Scotland.  He grew up to be friends with James VI, and was with him when the young king claimed the English throne after the death of Elizabeth I in 1603. By this time William had already met and married Mary Lethbridge, the daughter of the influential Lethbridge family in England – a marriage that was only approved on the condition that the Lethbridge name be maintained in conjunction with the Stewart name.’

And thus the ancestry of the Brigadier is explained in a way that does not contradict what’s been established on television, and successfully extrapolates information given and real life fact.

As an aside, William Lethbridge-Stewart was, one imagines, named after Nicholas Courtney himself, whose full name was William Nicholas Stone Courtney. Naming fictional characters after the real life people who inspired them is a fine tradition of authors all over the world, and one I like to keep alive. Indeed, in the Lethbridge-Stewart series I have named several characters after real people, or people that are connected to those who inspire the characters. Like Colonel Pemberton, a character referenced in the television story, The Web of Fear, who was named by writer Mervyn Haisman after his good friend Victor Pemberton, Doctor Who author and script editor. As a tribute to Pemberton’s life-partner I christened the character with the full name of Spencer David Pemberton (Victor’s partner was actor/producer David Spenser, who died in July 2013). There are other characters inspired by real people in The Forgotten Son – whoever can name the most, will receive a special prize from me (responses in the comments below, or email me: andy@candyjarbooks.co.uk).

LETHBRIDGE-STEWART LAUNCHES

LSbanThe day is here. After almost eight months, Lethbridge-Stewart the series officially begins today. Pre-orders have been shipping the past week, but today is the day that sees the first book in the series available to the public at large. It’s been quite a long journey, but worth every second, although now the book is out there I’m in a position of waiting to see how well I, and the rest of the team at Candy Jar Books, have done my job. Reviews have started coming in, and here are a select few from pre-order readers:

It felt like I was watching it on television, picturing it clearly in my mind’s eye as I was reading, hearing the characters’ voices as I watched the events unfold.  Much like The Sarah Jane Adventures offered a deeper look into one of the Doctor’s best loved companions; Lethbridge-Stewart offers a deeper understanding of one of his greatest human allies. – Katt at Nerdversity

A very good launch to a new series of books looking at Lethbridge-Stewart’s history between The Web of Fear and The Invasion. Very well written, if you know your Who you’ll probably be one step ahead of Alistair, if you don’t you’ll enjoy it just the same. Well recommended. – Goodreads’ reader.

Screenshot 2015-02-24 15.35.50I did have a worry that like some of the New Adventures – which I think I read somewhere was an inspiration to the author – this story wouldn’t fit in with the fictional universe of Doctor Who in the 1960s – by being too modern in its approach. But this achieves the aim of presenting something broader and deeper (to coin a phrase from the NA series) than ‘60s Who without compromising its style and principles. I almost felt this was the novelisation of a spin off series broadcast just after the watershed on a Sunday in 1968 – faithful to its time but still doing something a little different than the parent series. – Reviewer on GallifreyBase Forum

With a number of mysterious layers to intrigue and entice, the puzzle over the colonel’s background and the disappearance of a dead soldier to keep you guessing, The Forgotten Son is a superb opener to the series, mixing recognisable Who lore, suppositions by cast members, tear-jerking dedications, a foreword by the great Terrance Dicks, and the familiar smile of the man we came to know as the Brigadier. – Kasterborous

10947198_10152633322626190_5616946692644792625_n… Which do rather suggest that it’s not a bad book. I certainly hope so. In many ways this is the culmination of my journey as a writer thus far, where my professional career smashes head first into the most important fictional escapism I had growing up. And, of course, from a fan point of view, I am aware of how many people are invested in the lead character and the responsibility resting on The Forgotten Son as the first book in the series.

The book can picked up from any book shop (although they’ll probably need to order it in), with digital editions available from all good eBook stockists. You can buy the paperback online direct from Candy Jar Books, or various retailers via Amazon, and places like the Book Depository.

Alternatively, if you can wait until Saturday, you can drop by The Who Shop in London and buy a copy there, and get it signed by not only me, but Terrance Dicks, Ralph Watson (who played Captain Knight in The Web of Fear), Hannah Haisman and, if you time it right, maybe even get a scribble from David A McIntee and Nick Walters. We’ll be there from 13:30 to 15:00.

A Real Gentlemen

Nicholas_Courtney_DWI never had the pleasure of meeting Nicholas Courtney, but I know many people who did. And if there is one thing you can be sure of, all of them tell you how much of a gentlemen he was. His contribution to Doctor Who cannot be exaggerated. He has been gone almost four years now, but thanks to his amazing portrayal of Brigadier Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart he will never been forgotten. And so, to honour his memory on the day of his birth, I present this excerpt from my forthcoming novel, The Forgotten Son, the first book in the all-new series Lethbridge-Stewart. Every legend has a beginning, and this is his…

sample5
A Moment in History

Nicholas Courtney: 16th December 1929 – 22nd February 2011.

 

LETHBRIDGE-STEWART – Popular Questions

slider_lethbridgestewartWell, it’s only been a few days since the series was announced, but already a lot of interest is being generated (the series even made it to Digital Spy!). With all this interest a few questions have begun circulating, so I thought I’d take a moment to address a few of them, just to clarify things.

Are they official or fan made?

The short answer is… they are official. But let me explain. No, they are not licensed by the BBC, but that’s because they don’t need to be. The BBC does not own the characters or concepts created by Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln for their Doctor Who scripts. The copyright is owned by the Executor of the Haisman Literary Estate and Henry Lincoln, and we have a license with the Haisman Estate and the approval of Henry Lincoln. But yes, they are fan made, in that most of us involved in producing these books are fans, in the same way as the TV series is, the BBC novels are, and Big Finish’s output is.

Will there be eBooks?

Yes indeed. We’re even looking into setting a pre-ordering system for eBooks.

How will you do the back-story — in relation to the books and audios?

dwmr009_thespectreoflanyonmoor_1417_cover_largeOur main point of reference will be the TV series. This is the only source we will go to great lengths to not contradict. There is not a great deal of back-story for Sir Alistair on television; most of what we have learned was revealed in all the novels and audio dramas produced since 1991. Now, it is a fact that much of the novels and audios conflict (as does a lot of the TV series, come to that), and it is generally considered (and stated in both respective mediums) that they take place in separate realities, both spun-off from the prime reality of the TV series. Our books will be no different. We spin-off from the television series and are set in that reality and will not contradict what we know of Sir Alistair from that medium, however there will almost certainly be echoes of the continuity established in the novels and audios, suggesting that certain events happen in all realities, although not always in the same way. A good example will be, in most of the books and audios it is accepted that Sir Alistair was born in 1930, and we see no reason to contradict that as it fits what we’re doing and it makes Sir Alistair around the same age as Nicholas Courtney. Of course, all this said, if fans wish to tie everything together, then they are most welcome to do so. After all, that is part of the fun of being a fan, trying to make everything fit. I do it, we all do it! But as professionals we can’t be bound by continuities outside of the TV series as to do so would only inhibit and constrict what we’re creating.

Will the UNIT dating issue be dealt with?

Not directly. We’re not dealing with UNIT, but we do detail the years leading to its formation and thus fit within a certain timeline. The guidelines make it clear, for the authors, in which year the series is set (initially, that is), but they have been expressly told not to state the year within the narrative. There will be clues, both subtle and not-so, for those who wish to work it out. But we won’t be directly tackling the issue. The UNIT dating issue has existed for so long now, where’s the fun in solving it?

Will the Doctor make an appearance?

Short answer; no. It’s not within our license to use anything owned by the BBC, and that especially includes the Doctor.

Will any other companions appear?

Again, no. There are a few companions not owned by the BBC, but to use them would almost certainly muddy the water.

Candy_Jar_LS_Front_Amended2-mediumAnd my favourite question;

Will it be the ’60s-’80s Brig and UNIT or the CyberBrig?

Neither. The announcement has made it very clear that we’re dealing with Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart directly following The Web of Fear. At this point he has only met the Doctor once. He has only dealt with an alien threat once. And his entire world view has been changed by this.

So, they were a few of the most asked questions (even the last one!), and these are the official answers. We’ll explore the behind-the-scenes more in the lead-up to the release of The Forgotten Son, but for now I hope this reaches you all well. If there are any more questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask.

The first four books (or the first, if you wish) be can be pre-ordered directly from Candy Jar Books. All pre-orders will be shipped at least a week prior to official release.

Beginnings and An Ending

SecretWell after a few months of hard work, I am pleased to say that the first draft of The Forgotten Son is complete. It now resides with the publisher for notes (feedback, edits, etc) as well as the other authors of Project Hush-Hush. Speaking of, soon I’ll be able to stop calling it that. Five months of me not being able to speak openly about it will be over. The cover for book one is almost complete, the press release is all set to go out… We are THAT close to officially announcing the project. The reaction should be pretty intense. And I can’t bloody wait.

I have to say, I am rather pleased with the finished book. I think I’ve done the concept and the property justice. It’s been quite a ride building the foundation for the series and establishing new and interesting elements for the lead character. The responsibility is still heavily resting on my shoulders, but I feel really good about it at the moment. I will talk more about it once the series is officially announced, and interview the rest of the team, but until then I must remain as evasive as ever.

forever_a_print_Front_ENLittle bit of information I can tell you. I’m in talks with two authors for the second batch of books (with a further two authors still considering their involvement, authors very connected to the source of the property — I hope to get all four on my wish-list, so fingers crossed!), and some really interesting ideas are being bandied about. Ideas that feed into the mores of the time in which the series is set.

In other news, next up I shall be re-editing The Forever Journey, which will include adding new scenes set before the original beginning of the book, and then I’m onto editing a new novel for Candy Jar Books. No rest for me.

Oh yes, I want to take this opportunity to announce that I have officially resigned from the Space: 1889 & Beyond series as line editor with Untreed Reads Publishing. An official statement from the company about the future of the series will be released soon. Watch this space.

Update Number Something Or Other

And lo, it’s been over two weeks since the last update. I’m really rubbish at this, aren’t I? Well then, let’s cut to the chase and update y’all.

Secret

I’ve been hard at work on Project Hush-Hush, primarily with chapter eleven of The Forgotten Son which has been a very hard chapter to break. Writing a narrative that’s set in the late ’60s has its share of difficulties since it was a time of great change and a time before I was born — only just, though, but still, we’re talking at least seven years before any real memories of mine. It’s kind of like writing an historical, with lots of research to get the small details right. In some ways not a whole lot has changed, but in others everything has changed. People are people, and basically the same throughout history, all struggling with the same emotional issues and relationship complexities no matter what era you’re writing for, but it’s the small details that create the era. And this is why chapter eleven has been so difficult. The setting for that chapter is 1937/’38, a time when the political climate of the world was undergoing a massive upheaval, where Germany was making itself known is no uncertain way, a time when Britain believed it was finally escaping the depression that had claimed it after the Great War, not knowing they were on a brink of another world war that would do more damage to British economy than ever before and change the face of the world forever. And all this is important background stuff which informs the characters in chapter eleven, although it had no actual bearing on the story told in that chapter. The hardest part was trying to find the voice of the child characters who dominate that chapter, especially children living in the late ’30s. A very different time to be a child, but not so different as all that, as I discovered when I was writing it. How well I’ve succeeded is something which the readers will have to judge, but after two weeks I believe I’ve broken it well and made it work. Certainly my first draft editor (fellow author and unbiased voice, Jonathan Cooper) thinks I did a good job of it — although, of course, he had some useful advice and suggestions. My intention was to capture the Chocky vibe, and I hope I’ve done that.

Beyond the actual writing, I’ve been in important meetings about the series, which is ever near being announced now. We’ve got our cover artist, the hulk_by_soulman_inc-d6ro55amaestro himself, Marvel UK’s very own Simon Williams, and some exciting ideas about what direction we’re taking the cover design. I’ll be getting to see some cover images within the next two days, which is VERY exciting indeed!

In other news I’ve been posting some fun stuff over at Type 40, most notably an interview with Hannah Haisman, granddaughter of Mervyn Haisman, co-creator of the Brigadier, the Great Intelligence and the Dominators from seasons five and six of Doctor Who, plus a top ten of my favourite stories to feature the Brigadier. Pop over and have a butcher’s.

So, that’s me these last two weeks. Now I need to get back on with The Forgotten Son — only got another three chapters left, so I hope to have the first draft finished within a week. It’s all exciting times, with the other authors working on Horror, The Schizoid Earth and MAD while I finish work on my book. Four books coming next year — watch out for the announcement VERY soon!

Incredible Hulk art © Simon Williams 2014

Project Updates

So, what have I been up to in the past two months since post 100? Well, mostly I’ve been working, both on the day job and various writing projects. I’ve also been editing and selecting short stories for the South Wales Short Story Competition which is a bi-annual event run by Candy Jar Books.

forever_a_print_Front_ENFrom an editing point of view I’ve mostly been working on Space: 1889 & Beyond, going through all the books and re-editing them in preparation for the eventual print releases. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and like so many directors, the print releases give me a chance to clean up a few things I was less than happy with the first time around. In particular, due to the turbulent events of season two (behind the scenes, what with authors dropping out at the last minute, etc), I had to pass the final edits of Leviathans in the Clouds onto another editor so I could tackle head-on the problems facing the next book in the series. Despite the good job he did, it’s quite clear that the editor wasn’t too familiar with the series, and so a few continuity errors remained between the preceding book and Leviathans in the Clouds, not to mention several stylistic choices that do not fit with the rest of the series. The re-edits allowed me to clean this up. The biggest casualty of the behind the scenes chaos was The Forever Journey, and still remains the one book in the entire series I am very unhappy with. It’s not that its a bad book — there is much within the pages to recommend it, and the authors involved did the best they could with the little experience they had. But it is such an important part of the series, a turning point in so many ways, that I’ve always felt it should be bigger and never quite felt like the game-changing book it was designed to be. So that will be my next task, doing a major overhaul of that book. The trick will be not to remove anything from the story, and so change it to the point that it will overwrite the eBook, but to enhance the story, add things to it. I have in mind a whole new sequence set on Earth prior to the journey, which will likely be told in flashback so as not to ruin the present narrative of the book. It was that present narrative that was damaged greatly by the initial release, as the book was released out of sequence and a bookend scene needed to be written so it still made sense when released after A Fistful of Dust.

Work on the re-edits, however, are paused for a short while since I am, due to illness, behind on a few projects. Primarily among them is The Forgotten Son, book one of Project Hush-Hush. The first draft is due at the end of October, which is tomorrow, and I’m still five chapters away from the end. I have spent the last few days re-reading the entire book, as it’s been a couple of weeks since I looked at it in any meaningful way. Re-reading with the distance of a few weeks has revealed to me Bannersome problems in the narrative — not plot holes, or even plot development, but the kind of things only an author would spot. I may just be seeing issues that aren’t there, so I’m not going to tackle them until after my editor gets a chance to read the entire first draft. If they’re really there, I know he’ll spot them.  I think it may also be partly down to the responsibility that is inherent in this series; it’s always there in the back of mind. We’ve got the copyright of something that has been a huge part of peoples lives for so many years now, that we have an immense responsibility to get it right, to do it justice, and to honour the intent of the creator of the property. In some ways I felt the same responsibility when I developed Space: 1889 & Beyond, but this is multiplied by a factor of a hundred.

seeker-preview (2) copySo, that’s two writing projects. Finishing draft one of The Forgotten Son, and enhancing The Forever Journey. After these? Well, it seems the next few months will mostly see me editing — be it on Project Hush-Hush or Space: 1889 & Beyond or on a forthcoming novel for Candy Jar Books. All this seems like a great time to get back to work on Augury, book two of The Garden. This presents me with a few problems. The original plan was to only have a year gap between Seeker and Augury, but it’s been almost four years since Seeker was first released, and it wouldn’t really work to have the second book set in 2012. So I’ve been pondering ways around it — how to make a gap of three years work for the narrative. It’s tough as a lot of the narrative is period specific, and the original year-long gap served a very unique narrative purpose. Part of my solution is to write a short novel set between the first two books, which I’m probably going to call Tales of the Three, which will detail the lives of Celeste, Theodor and Erwyn (and those affected by these lives — including, of course, Frederick, Edward Lomax and Julius), covering the background stories that were hinted at during Seeker. These tales will be surrounded by a framework showing the fallout of the events of Seeker for these three characters. In so doing, I will be able to remove a lot of material originally intended for Augury, this in turn should allow me to advance the main narrative forward a few years and bring it more or less up to the present day once more. Or at least that’s the plan. Fingers crossed it will pan out. Still have several things to work out, but currently it seems the most likely way forward with the series.

So, a little treat for you all, here’s an exclusive scene from the extended version of Serere, the prelude to Seeker, which can now be purchased direct from Lulu.com (and will soon be available globally for order wherever books are sold)…

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‘We’re not liking this, Aly,’ Detective Inspector Carbis said, ‘are we?’

Rowe recognized the look in his dark eyes, but they had been friends since she joined the force. He was responsible for her transfer to CID. He trusted her instincts as much as she did, and he knew that she’d walk down whatever path she had to in order to solve the mystery. She didn’t care how dark a path it turned out to be.

‘You haven’t heard the worst of it, yet, Gary,’ she replied. This was, at least for now, still informal and off the record. They were meeting in a quiet corner of a pub near Hirst Park, Carbis drinking a bottle of Smirnoff Ice while Rowe downed a pint of lager. ‘I managed to track down the identity of the old man. His name was Cliff Goleman, and he went missing in 1917! At the age of nineteen.’

‘The same age as Robin.’

Rowe nodded slowly. ‘You saw Goleman’s body; did it look 104 years old to you?’

‘I don’t think I’ve seen a body that old, Aly, living or dead.’

At this Rowe smiled. ‘Okay, fair point. But according to the autopsy, the heart, liver… all the internal organs are consistent with a man of no more than sixty years.’

‘Then it can’t be the same man. DNA records didn’t even exist in… when did you say? 1917? This is insane, Aly. Insane.’

‘I know.’ Rowe grinned, and finished the rest of her pint. ‘The DNA results led me to Goleman’s grandson. He’s fifty-eight, by the way, and the spit of Cliff.’

Carbis shook his head. ‘No, I’m not buying it. How could you even have found out about Goleman’s disappearance? Our own record keeping was bad enough thirty years ago, let alone eighty-five years ago.’

‘Harry Goleman is a lifer at the Scrubs, so his DNA is on the system. Seeing his picture was a bit of a shock, since for a moment I was sure I was looking at our corpse. A bit of research later and I’m reading about his grandfather going missing at nineteen, only three months after his marriage, leaving behind a wife who was, unknowingly at the time, two months pregnant. The gears shifted in my brain.’

Carbis narrowed his eyes. ‘Knowing how your brain works, I’m not surprised.’ For a moment he looked down at the bottle in his hand, while Rowe watched his rapidly thinning crown. ‘What do you propose we do?’

‘Let me continue to investigate this. A man presumed dead eight decades ago turns up, healthy as a sixty year old – well, other than the complete loss of blood – next to eight pints of blood that should, by rights, still be in Robin Turner’s body, which is now missing.’ She paused for a minute, before delivering her final card. ‘We’ve not seen the last of Robin Turner.’

‘This is quite a limb you’re out on.’

‘I know, but it’s my limb. And I know I am right,’ Rowe added with complete certainty.

Project Hush-Hush – Creating Real People

SecretThis is my 100th post! Yay. And so I shall be talking, a little, about one of the most important reasons why I write fiction…

Today I want to talk about characters.

Now, what with the secrecy surrounding this project I cannot be as open about the process of writing as I’d like. There are key elements of the story, and the world I’m building, that I simply cannot talk about. Which is annoying and exciting equally. So today I want to talk about the characters in the book, at least a little bit, and quite possibly in some vague terms as to be more detailed would spoil just that bit too much.

Characters are the most important part of any piece of fiction, more so than plot in fact. Characters drive the story — indeed, they are the story. The emotional journey each character takes is the journey the reader takes, thus why I call them the story. But for me characters are not just ‘types’ of people, they’re real, as real as you and me (but not you over there). I don’t create characters that only act a certain way, who have specific traits from which they cannot deviate, because people aren’t like that. Any one person can act in a variety of ways depending on the situation they find themselves in. People like to say, ‘oh, I’d never do that’, but it is nonsense. No-one, and I mean no-one, knows how they will act with any given situation until they are there being tested by it. Just as anybody who says ‘I am who I am, and I’m not going to change’ are talking even more nonsense. We change every day, with every single situation. People are in a constant state of flux, reacting and changing to every new situation that comes along. We all have our core beliefs, our default settings, but we’re all adaptable and open to change. My characters are exactly the same. They are determined by their experiences, not by specific traits. And with each new experience they grow, they change, they become either a better person or a worse one.

What follows is a list of characters from Forgotten Son, and a little something about them. This list is not definitive since it won’t contain the licensed characters (too important to reveal just yet) and neither will it include characters who have not appeared yet.

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  • John James — A minor character, at least for now since I have plans for him. A ten-year-old boy from London who is named after an old school friend of mine from Hackney.
  • Ray (Raymond) Phillips — This is a character carried over from the original version of Forgotten Son written back in 1997, although he was called Phil Raymond back then. He’s not much changed since his original iteration, except that now he’s a moderately successful author haunted by his past. But still the childhood best friend of or lead character. Oh, and he’s forty-one years old.
  • Owain & Louis Vine — Seventeen-year-old twins. These two came out of discussion between my publisher and I, as he felt I needed some younger people in the book, two characters who were polar opposites in their core beliefs. One who wanted out of the village of Bledoe and into the bright lights of London, and the other who never wanted to leave Bledoe. They’re also my way of having a tongue-in-cheek look at the misconceptions surrounding twins, a task made very easy by the fact that they’re based on two twins I know, Owen and Damien.
  • Charles Watts — A late addition to the book. Another seventeen-year-old, he was created to be the pull for Louis, to ratchet up Louis’ desire to leave the village. Charles is from London, and a teen who’s fallen into the relatively new skinhead movement. Being from London he also serves as a direct link to the events going on in that city, and a way to anchor the early Bledoe scenes with the larger story.
  • Thomas Hamilton — Big player in the larger story, but there’s little I can reveal about him without spoiling the series. So, moving on…
  • Sally Wright — At the start of the book, and thus the series, she becomes the fiancée of the lead character. She’s also Hamilton’s assistant. Beyond that, there’s little more I can say for now.
  • Walter Douglas — Best friend of our lead character, and has been for just over nineteen years. Which, of course, means I can reveal no more about him. Yet.
  • Mabel — Mary’s neighbour in the small village of Coleshill. Barely a cameo character, but chances are she’ll return at a later date. Named after my paternal grandmother.
  • George Vine — Father of the twins, and a typical gruff ex-military man. Concerned by his son’s behaviour, but is more likely to be at the pub joking about it than actually doing something about it.
  • Mrs Vine — She doesn’t have a name yet. Mother of the twins, typical housewife of the 1960s, also concerned about the twins but understands they’re young men and so she tends to give them their space. While quietly fretting about it.
  • Ahsen Khan — A Hospital Attendant (or orderly, as they’re usually known in the US) at St Mark’s Hospital in Harrow. From Pakistan and named after an old school friend of mine. Only a cameo role, and a way to allude to the institutional racism of the 1960s.
  • Alf & Ralph — Two brothers in their mid-fifties. Delivery drivers who move goods and supplies for the NHS. Bicker a lot, with the elder (Ralph) often teasing the younger (Alfie, as Ralph calls him). Only a cameo role.
  • Henry Barnes — Landlord and owner of The Rose & Crown pub in Bledoe. Easy going chap who welcomes anyone into his pub, except ‘nancy-boys’, who he has no truck with that at all. A nod to the institutional homophobia of the 1960s, especially among older people. Believes men should be men, and won’t stand for all this ‘long hair nonsense that the young men seem to go for so much these days’. Like George, he’s every bit a man of his time.

And so those are the players thus far, with a few notable omissions, of course. A bit of insight into my thought process behind creating characters and naming them, and a few non-spoiler hints about the story. 🙂

Project Hush-Hush – Getting Direction

SecretChapter three is done! Yay!

Was a really fun chapter to write, with more setting up and getting the lead characters closer to the main location of the book.  One of the challenges faced today was working out how to get ‘Albert’ and Mary to a point where they almost literally crossed paths, and when you have one travelling by train and the other by car it’s not as straight forward as you might expect. Luckily they start from different points of England so in terms of time travelled they reach the same point at roughly the same time. However…

I believe in making the fictional Earth as real as the one in which we live, and so I often use real-world locations. In this book I’ve created a couple of new places, to give me more creative leeway, although Bledoe is based loosely on the real-world location of St Cleer, whereas Gotha Falls is based, again loosely, on Golitha Falls in Cornwall (as you see, in the latter instance I’ve not changed the name much, but change it I did so that I don’t have to be too accurate). Such creative licence has been called into play today, so that I could make my end of chapter cliffhanger work (end of chapter cliffhangers are a given in my novels). In my research I discovered that when you head into Liskeard by either car or train there’s a moment where the A38 passes under the railway. Perfect for what I needed! Except for one important catch; that particular bypass of the A38 didn’t exist until 1976 — almost eight years after my book! This presented a slight problem, until I decided that, you know what, this is fiction and dramatic licence can be called upon when needed. Thus, in this fictional Earth, the Liskeard A38 bypass did exist by March 1969.

Another thing I had to look into today, was how long it would take someone to walk from Harrow to Paddington, and the longest direct route is less than a three hour walk. Alas, this did not really fit the time scale I needed. So, as they say ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, this lead me to come up with a plot point which, as it turned out, nicely fed into something else that was going on in the chapter. The upshot of all this I now know the a direct way to walk from Harrow to Paddington should I ever need to do so.

One other problem I spotted while writing today is that I accidentally revealed just a bit too much of the plot — with only one line. It’s a line I can’t reveal here, for obvious reasons, but just leaving it in joins together so many clues already littered in the first few chapters that it would ruin the first half of the book. I think, those paying attention may be able to work out this plot point, but there’s a big difference between the readers thinking they know the plot than the author telling them the plot.

And now something that’s not connected to Forgotten Son, and it’s a cover reveal for my forthcoming short story/novella collection. I don’t have a release date, but I do have a cover, and it’s rather shiny! Hope you all like it.

aphelion