As I was working yesterday on a Distances scene – holiday is over; novels don’t get finished unless YOU finish them – that includes a new character, I was struck by this thought.
The books are built around core characters we know by now. There are others who are prominent regulars too of course: the various parents and certain friends.
However, much as in real life, we have people we know who make an impression and (sometimes sadly) leave us. Often someone has to move on, or we just grow apart. Sometimes they drift back into our lives; but sometimes they never do, or plain cannot:
Natalie stopped smiling. Her expression turned pained. Stéphane looked awkwardly down at the floor.
Becoming increasingly emotional, Isabelle asked Béatrice, “You remember, uh, David, from school?”
“Oh, yes.” Béatrice broke into a cautious, light grin. “When you kissed him, in the hall, in front of all the jerks.”
“Béa, I still miss him,” Isabelle replied despondently. “How long now he is dead? Seven years? Eight now?”
“He was very sweet.”
“He was so sick and had to have always that back brace,” Isabelle recalled. “How that anyone could laugh at him? I was so angry when I saw. I hated them. That a girl could kiss him? That was the worst thing to those boys. They could not believe it.”
“No, they could not,” Béatrice agreed.
Suddenly Isabelle’s tone grew steely and heated. “They were making fun of him. Saying no girl would kiss him? I tell you here that I would have kissed cat sh-t before I would have kissed any of those boys!”
Or there may be friends we have who aren’t friends with our other friends. Perhaps we know them only from work or school/ university and they don’t mix well, really, with those friends we’ve known since we were age 11. They make up a “separate” section of our lives.
As in the first two books, in Distances we will meet new characters who may, or may not, be around for long.
After repeated references to them in the first two books, crime novelist Bill Lombardi’s adult children enter the story: James’s cousins, Thomas, and TV tabloid news producer, Maria, will finally appear. In Maria’s case, she will burst onto the pages making light in a situation one would not think would normally evoke laughter – and yet her behavior is also in its way a wonderful tribute to someone much loved. (I will say no more.)
Clémence, a school friend of Isabelle, Virginie and Beatrice’s, will also show up. Born in Martinique and raised in France until returning to Martinique after finishing school, she’s surprisingly back. None of them had expected to see her ever again.
Schéhérazade, a workmate of Béatrice’s at the American school in Paris, will also pop up.
These “new” ones I’d scoped out over two years ago when planning the books. Yet I had not actually gotten down to “writing” them. The main characters from the first two books have by now become so familiar to me, I’d almost forgotten what it was like bringing to life new ones. 😉
Just me rambling. As, uh, usual. Time now for another coffee, and back to writing Clémence….
Hope you’re having a good day. 🙂