Congratulations to Ingrid and Kim Dyke! They are the winners of this drawing!
Look! Jen Silver stopped by today to share the news of her newest release, Deuce, and to give away two ebook copies here at Women and Words. Drop a comment in the space below and I’ll draw the winners on Friday April 5.
When starting work on a new story, I have to make decisions on which characters will have a point of view. Obviously the two main characters in a romance are going to be prominent. But I don’t seem to be able to write two-handers. There are always other characters that I feel should have a voice…sometimes six or seven.
Is this confusing for readers? I do try to make it clear which head I’m in with scene breaks – to avoid the dreaded head-hop. Signposting is important when changing points of view.
With my latest book, Deuce, I had a dilemma about introducing the POV of a character who is introduced in the prologue but doesn’t come into the story until the second part, about half way through. She’s been away for twenty-three years, having lost her memory (not a spoiler…it’s in the blurb) and has been living on the Faroe Islands with a different name. It wasn’t until I started writing her POV in first person that I was able to really get inside her head.
This is the first time I’ve done an extended first person narrative. It was quite liberating in a way. And this is how it happened.
I started writing the first chapter from the point of view of Jay Reid, an ex-professional tennis player. She’s now fifty years old and engaged to be married. However, she’s never completely let go of the loss of her first love, Charlotte. So the story was developing nicely with points of view from Jay and a few other characters with the main ones being Jay’s fiancée Amanda, and Tess who finds out she’s Charlotte’s daughter, having grown up knowing she was adopted but not who her birth mother was.
When I wanted to reintroduce Charlotte into the story, I found that third person just wasn’t working. So I decided to experiment with first person and the words started to flow. And although my publisher thought this worked, they did make a suggestion that I should flag this up at the beginning so that readers wouldn’t be confused by the changes in the narrative with one character in first person and the others in third.
This is the Prologue with the addition of the first and last paragraphs:
I recall that the day started as many other days had for Katrin Nielsen, and I watch it now like a movie reel unfurling in my mind…
Once she had seen Konrad off to his morning lessons, Katrin washed their breakfast dishes and tied her hair back to stop it blowing across her face on the short walk to the library, such as it was; a grand name for the single-room turf-roofed hut. She was looking forward to opening the new shipment of books that had arrived from Copenhagen the day before. The books would need to be covered and catalogued but that was a job she enjoyed.
She sniffed the air when she left her work to go home at lunchtime. Only ten of the new books had been processed. Katrin always stretched the job out to make the most of the brief respite from the regular daily chore of gutting fish from the night trawlers’ catches.
Konrad came racing up the path towards her before she reached their house. She loved the way he moved. Fourteen years old and all long limbs and awkwardness. He reminded her of someone she’d once known. A flicker of recognition that came and went like a lighthouse beam piercing the night.
“Mamma. Come. There’s a seal on the sand. It’s stranded.”
Katrin gathered her coat closer to her body and followed her son down the winding path to the small strip of beach that was only visible at low tide. A few of her neighbours were already there standing around the large mammal lying on its side.
“Is it ill?” she heard one of them ask.
Katrin moved closer until she could see the creature clearly. “No. It’s not ill. Seals do this from time to time. Haul out so they can rest, digest a big meal. She will rejoin the sea on the next incoming tide.”
Konrad was staring at her open-mouthed, as was her nearest neighbour, Lars. She looked past them, past the recumbent seal, to the waves beginning the cycle of return to the shore. Her mind left them there, reverberations in her head, the swell of the sea, frantic shouts, holding on and holding on, wet, cold, pulling and pushing, falling into darkness….
“Mamma!” A boy’s anxious face came into focus.
“Are you okay? You said something now in a foreign language. About the seal.”
“It will be okay. It’s resting.”
As I turned away and walked back up the steep path, so many images rushed through my thoughts—faces, and one in particular. A name. Jay. Where was she? I had to get back to Jay and my baby. A small bundle in my arms, tiny fist curling and uncurling…and one thought gained prominence as I reached the cliff top…I am Charlotte Summersbridge.
And that was the beginning – giving Charlotte her own voice. I think it worked and feedback from readers and reviewers so far has confirmed this. But if you have a point of view about points of view, I would love to know.
Note: the cover of the book features the statue of Kópakonan—the seal wife—standing on the shore at Mikladalur, a village on the Faroe island of Kalsoy. The legend doesn’t have a happy ending, but my story does.
PS: When I’m stuck for ideas, I look to Colin the
Chameleon for inspiration. He makes me smile and reminds me that everything can change.
Thank you, once again, Women and Words for letting me take up a guest post. Please leave a comment here if you want to be entered in the draw for the ebook giveaway.
After retiring from full-time work, Jen thought she would spend her days playing golf, shooting arrows, reading, and enjoying quality time with her wife (not necessarily in that order). Instead she started writing and Affinity Rainbow Publications published her debut novel, Starting Over, in 2014. Jen now has nine published novels to her name, a number of short stories, and not as much time as she thought for other activities.
For the characters in Jen’s stories, life definitely begins at forty, and older, as they continue to discover and enjoy their appetites for adventure and romance.
- Blog: www.jenjsilver.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/jenjsilver
- Twitter: @jenjsilver
- Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Jen-Silver/e/B00P86Z0ME/