Considering I was named Patricia because I was due to be born on St Patrick’s Day, it seemed appropriate that I mark St Patrick’s Day in some form or other on Patricia’s Pen. With that in mind, it was the perfect opportunity to feature fellow Chindi Author, Helen Christmas, who has come along to chat about St Patrick’s Day and her Irish characters. Over to you Helen.
St Patrick’s Day and my Irish Characters
I love St Patrick’s Day, a chance to dig out audio cassettes by ‘The Pogues’ and enjoy a glass of Guinness. This year, I’ve chosen to celebrate it with a special offer on my book, Rosebrook Chronicles, and introduce some of my own Irish characters.
I’ll start with Peter Summerville from Dublin, who plays a big part in a series I began in 2011. Same Face Different Place is a mystery thriller set across four decades with a wide cast of characters. This prompts me to wonder what makes a strong character. One who keeps you interested or you find yourself gunning for.
Step in, Peter Summerville, a lovable Irishman who appears in the second book Visions. Peter is a charismatic Community leader. Silver haired, blue-eyed with an unmissable Irish accent and a huge heart, he is the most selfless character, a man who goes out of his way to help those less fortunate.
Strong characters are important when writing fiction so what other tips can I give writers to make their characters shine?
Consider their motivation. What do they want to achieve in life?
For Peter it is doing something worthwhile and his ambition in Visions is to revamp the town’s Community Centre. His next goal is to inaugurate a housing trust for those priced out of the property market but he is also a skilled counsellor.
Do they have flaws?
While Peter is successful in his career as manager of Rosebrook Community Centre, other pleasures such as marriage and children seem to bypass him. Sadly, he has deep seated emotional issues concerning relationships.
Create a backstory
Not until Book 4 Retribution do we learn Peter has a hidden past when police officers turn up to arrest him. As an abuse survivor from a Catholic Orphanage, no-one knows of the crime Peter committed to escape, his tragic story revealed.
Throw obstacles in their path, allow readers discover how they deal with them
Fortunately Peter has a strong network of friends and colleagues to support him as portrayed by one of the main characters:
Capturing his eye in the mirror, she experienced a flood of emotion so intense, she knew they had reached another stumbling block. They had to get him cleared of these crimes. Their community simply could not survive without him.
I finished the series in 2017 but Peter inspired an idea for a new book.
As Peter seeks justice, only then do you discover other secrets; a sister named Bess (adopted aged 6) who he’s spent a lifetime searching for.
But what happened to her? Why did it take them so long to find each other? By the time I touched on this sensitive part, I realised there was a whole new story.
From this thread, the concept of Rosebrook Chronicles evolved.
Quite different from my series, this book of interlocking character-driven stories provides some of the backdrop but focuses on the personal journeys of three abused teenagers. Peter and his sister, Bessie, feature, as do a whole host of new characters. Sister Maria, a kindly novice who travels with Bessie to London when she is adopted. Father O’Brien, the terrifying Catholic priest who is Peter’s abuser. The lovable O’Flaherty family who are friends and last but not least, Declan, a student in Belfast, his world torn apart by sectarian violence until he is drawn to the IRA. This novel can be read as a standalone, a mix of domestic noir and suspense filled with snippets of social history from the 1960s to the 1990s.
Thank you, Helen, for providing a background around the characters in your latest book, Rosebrook Chronicles, I’m sure my readers will be eager to get hold of a copy.
In honour of St Patrick’s Day, Rosebrook Chronicles is on special with a Kindle countdown deal at 99p/99c. Offer valid from March 17th – 21st.
If you’re a fan of audio books, hear the musical Irish accents of the characters come to life in a new Audible version, narrated by Paul Metcalfe.
The best news is…
Helen has twenty codes up for grabs. Just download the Audible app from Amazon, enter your promotional code and enjoy the experience for FREE.
For a free code please email email@example.com. No personal data will be harvested from this promotion and once Helen has sent the code to you, she will then discard it.
Hurry though because these FREE codes aren’t going to hang around for long.
Links to where you can find Helen on social media and purchase her books, along with audio, will be listed below but first, let’s find out a little more about Helen.
About Helen Christmas
Helen Christmas loves writing and has a passion for moving sagas with powerful characters. She is currently working on a psychological thriller based in Bognor Regis, where she lives with her husband and they work from home.
To find out more about Helen you can visit her website/blog, ‘Same Face Different Place’ by clicking here.
Social Media links
Links to purchase books
Rosebrook Chronicles, The Hidden Stories
Rosebrook Chronicles, The Hidden Stories
Beginnings (Same Face Different Place #1)