Today I'm delighted to welcome author Sherry Gloag to my blog. Sherry's latest release is a Christmas Regency romance, Vidal's Honor, and here she talks about the 'silent witness' in her story:
The Silent Witness.
Do you ever wonder how there can be an influential silent witness, or an unnamed character, in a story?
Is it possible?
Yes it’s possible, and in some cases essential. The reality first hit home when I read Nora Robert’s Northern Lights many years ago.
This story takes place in Alaska, and a couple of mountain ranges are named and mentioned throughout the tale. A murder takes place on one many years before the opening of Northern Lights, while missing boys found on the mountain are the catalyst that reveals past events that impact directly on the present in this story. In strategic spots the mountains are mentioned and become true characters that, while passive in their presence, influence almost every facet of the tale. So in this instant the mountains in this case are the ‘silent witness’s.
In Vidal’s Honor, released by Astraea Press this November, the weather became the unnamed and passive character in my Christmas Regency romance. Ask any Brit, and you will soon learn the weather is an abiding passion with them. It is not unheard of for certain places in the UK to experience five different weather conditions in one day, so it offers a topic ripe for discussion.
But what if the weather in question in a story are those of 1812? How can you possibly have an accurate discussion about the state of the weather conditions two hundred years ago?
Well, it will be no surprise to research buffs that you can. It was more in hope than expectation that I googled ‘weather conditions from July to October in the Spanish Pyrenees’, and again the same in France, and over several weeks while my hero and heroine travelled across a war-torn Europe in their attempt to reach England before Christmas. I admit I became fascinated with the information, so much so that one scene was written completely round the weather conditions on the French and English Channel coastlines on a certain day. There’s nothing like a good storm to keep your main characters on their toes. Almost at every stage of Vidal’s Honor the weather has an impact on unfolding events, if not specifically, certainly indirectly.
The weather, therefore, became my ‘silent witness,’ and had many faces, and appeared in many guises, but its influence is revealed at the beginning and is still in evidence during the final stages of Vidal’s Honor.
When you are reading a story, do you take note of the silent witness in the tale? And for authors, how do you maximise the use of ‘silent witness’s’ to move your story forward?
Multi-published author Sherry Gloag is a transplanted Scot now living in the beautiful coastal countryside of Norfolk, England. She considers the surrounding countryside as extension of her own garden, to which she escapes when she needs "thinking time" and solitude to work out the plots for her next novel. While out walking she enjoys talking to her characters, as long as there are no other walkers close by.
Apart from writing, Sherry enjoys gardening, walking, reading and cheerfully admits her books tend to take over most of the shelf and floor space in her workroom-cum-office. She also finds crystal craft work therapeutic.
When plunged into a world of spies, agents and espionage during the Peninsula wars, Honor, Lady Beaumont, flees for her life when the French capture her husband at Salamanca, and relies on his batman to arrange her safe passage back to England.
Viscount Charles Vidal is ordered by Robert Dumas, the First Lord of the Admiralty, to travel to Spain and escort the only woman he’s ever loved, Lord Devlin Beaumont’s widow back home before the French discover her whereabouts.
Their journey is fraught by danger, least of all knowing whether they are surrounded by friends or foe. Will they survive long enough to explore the possibility of a future together or will whispers of treason be enough to see Honor dispatched to Tyburn first?
While Vidal joked with his cousin, the viscount scanned the room. The smell of fine wine, whiskey and cigar smoke blended into a rich aroma that was as much a part of Whites as the card games, the background chatter, and outbreaks of lewd laughter from the younger members of the club.
One member in particular interested Vidal tonight, and he watched Robert Dundas, second Viscount Melville, and First Lord of the Admiralty, take leave of his friends and head in his direction.He wondered why the man spent the best part of the night watching his every move, and paused in the act of fobbing his snuff box while he waited for the viscount to join him.
“Take a walk with me?” Although couched as a question, Vidal noted the quiet steel of command in the other man’s voice. Dundas laid a hand on his arm; a companionable gesture for anyone interested enough to observe the two men leaving the club together. “I believe I live not far beyond your own house. I’d appreciate your company, and this is not the place for such a discussion. ”
With an indolent twist of the wrist Vidal returned the modish lacquered box, unopened, to his pocket and nodded agreement. A man’s club was no setting for private conversation, and it was plain the man wanted to talk about something away from flapping ears.
Together they strolled across the room stopping to take leave of several mutual friends.
Vidal's Honor is available now from Amazon UK, Amazon.com, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Bookstrand, Kobo, AllRomance ebooks