This post is a day early but Kathy invited me to interview my character, Evan from Life in Slake Patch. This was my first attempt at writing a novel during my first NaNoWriMo – talk about pressure! Prior to that NaNo, I had only written short pieces and plunged into the challenge full heartedly. I plan to revise and edit Life in Slake Patch next year.
I hope you enjoy the interview and please remember to comment on Kathy’s blog and share.
Contumacious – definition: stubbornly defiant or rebellious; disobedient
I share with you an excerpt from my novel, Life in Slake Patch. Evan is my POV character and he has been charged with bringing the rebellious Tribe to justice. This scene has Evan and the Tribe leader, Aiden meeting for the first time.
As the riders moved toward u,s it was plain that all were young men. Just before they reached our barricade a rallying cry rung out
“Brothers fight for supremacy.”
Gripping my dagger even tighter in readiness, I shouted orders to my men.
“Stand firm behind the wagons, let them come to us.”
The clash of metal against metal and wood against wood filled the valley air. Cries of pain rung out as wounds were inflicted and cries abruptly silenced. A shadow blocked the sunlight above me; I looked over to see a horse’s belly level with my head. Swiftly I turned to look up and face the rider. He was no older than me and swinging a baton toward Peter’s head. I let out a cry and dug my dagger deep into the rider’s thigh and pulled with all my might. The rider’s scream of pain seared through the air as he fell from his mount. I held him fast with a foot against his chest and my dagger’s tip pushed into his neck.
It was then I noticed the deafening silence around me. Looking up, all faces were turned toward me as if everyone had become frozen. One by one the Tribe riders weapons began to drop to the ground, my men took advantage of the opportunity and grabbed their opponents. As the Tribe members were secured my victim groaned.
“Don’t fail me brothers’ fight.”
But he could see all heads hanging down in defeat turning away from his stare.
In truth I was shocked. It had not occurred to me or any one of us before, that there might have been a leader to the Tribe. We had thought it was a few disgruntled young men wandering the plains, surviving by stealing. This man must have recruited his followers. I looked down at my captive.
“What’s your name?”
“I am, Aiden, leader of the Tribe and proud of it, you down trodden oaf.”
At the insult I could feel my muscles tense and pressed the dagger tip deeper into his neck. He cried out again and I released the pressure.
“Secure this man with the others. Medic Jones, please tend to the more seriously injured first.”
I made my way to the south side of the camp searching the valley for any sign of horsemen. The tell tale dust plumes far below would show me their progress. We would have to guard these men well and trust there were no more members hidden in the small copses of trees along the range of hills. My group had fought well and from Medic’s report none were too seriously hurt. His only real concern was the rider named Aiden, whose deeply sliced thigh required treatment he was not qualified enough or sufficiently equipped to give.
“His blood loss has been significant and without timely treatment he may die, Merchant Evan. I do not have sufficient bindings to close the wound tightly enough.”
“Follow me, Jones; I have something you can use.”
Evan’s opinion of Aiden’s beliefs changes gradually from this point in the novel. Although Evan stands firm with the matriarchal law there is a shift in how he views the separated compounds.
Who is you favorite rebel?
There is of course James Dean forever cast as a troubled teen and Paul Newman in Hud and Cool Hand Luke. Rebels have a fascination for movie watchers. Is it the bad guy made good? Or just the excitement of their struggle?
I don’t know about you but this description initially brings to mind a solidly built man. He may be the hero or the villain but his presence can not be ignored either way. My character, Evan in Life in Slake Patch is perfectly formed in my mind. He is about six foot tall, blonde, muscular with blue eyes. Browsing through photos on the internet I found a couple of images that are close to how I see Evan. It was while I was browsing that it struck me that my heart-throb Paul Newman, more thank likely influenced my choice of hero in, this my first, novel. Strange how the mind works sometimes.
Paul is, (alas I should say was)for me, the perfect human being.
When characterizing your heroes do you draw from people you know or fancied when you were younger?(or still do!)
I found some great articles regarding hero’s so have linked them here. Enjoy.
Insurrection – definition: an act or instance of rising in revolt, rebellion, or resistance against civil authority or an established government
In my novel, Life in Slake Patch, the ruling government is a matriarchy borne of necessity after a Grand War. Generations have lived without questioning the separated male and female compounds until my protagonist, Evan’s twenty second year. A group of younger men, calling themselves the Tribe separate themselves from the normal routine. Creating a camp away from the compounds and surviving as best they can.
Conflict ensues between the establishment and the Tribe. Evan is enrolled to bring the Tribe members to justice but several unfortunate events and Evan’s own emotional struggle lead him to question their way of life.
He comes to understand how unfair it is after taking a bride and being unable to visit his lover, apart from once a week. And then only when the weather permits in the harsh winter months. He cannot be seen to side with the Tribe members but also wants to bring about change.
In interviews with the Tribe leader, Aiden, Evan realizes he and his followers are not so dissimilar from the other males. They want to be free to live with their chosen partners and children every day. To be a constant presence not an occasional one. Evan must find a way to balance the requirements of the ruling council with that of the younger members of the society.
Carnage – definition: the slaughter of a number of people : massacre
Television viewers are assaulted with images of carnage on a daily basis. Regardless o,f if it is a war, revolt, terrorist attack or mother nature, there is human and animal suffering displayed to the world by the news cameras. When I was younger; I’m talking late teens early twenties, these images had a profound effect on me. I would have recurrent nightmares, which incorporated all the most disturbing pictures I had witnessed. It was at this time I resolved never to watch the news. My parents told me I should keep up with current events and affairs, but I just couldn’t do it. So I left the room when the news came on at my parents house and when I moved out, I never switched it on. Several years later I happened to accidentally see a news clip. What struck me was its similarity to the last report I had seen except the location of the carnage had moved.
What is wrong with the world, it is on some sort of repeat button? Are we on a thread wheel, going round and round in circles? Supposedly we are the ‘higher’ animal life on this planet, so why can’t we learn? Doesn’t the natural world give us enough to contend with without adding to the pain, suffering and carnage?
End of lecture…and on to a happier note.
The images I was exposed to on television and film still haunt me on occasion but now I can use them creatively banishing the demons. One scene from my novel, Life in Slake Patch, has my antagonist, Evan, in shock. After a fierce battle he finds many dead including a close friend. He questions their actions. Was it worth the lives lost?