Thomas’s cup of tea – an interview

As part of the ’73 challenge’ my fellow blogger on our Moving Dragons blog has set us, we have conducting an interview on the list; I decided that I would really challenge myself by doing an actual spoken interview, recording it, and sharing it here… Well, technical problems have arisen and so although it will be attempted, for the moment I am going to do a written interview. Just to make it a bit different, and maybe it will seem a bit strange, I am going to interview a character I have written about.

I don’t know if it is the same for other writers, but some characters I write about almost seem to become separate from my imagination, and when I am writing they do unpredictable and sometimes foolish things. This doesn’t mean that when I am editing and working on my complete novels I don’t try to eliminate inconsistencies and things done and said which don’t seem true to the imaginary individual I have created. Nor do I have any illusion that they are actually real and living in a different dimension!!

The ideas for the questions I’m posing are taken from a food magazine but with a lot of tweaking…

So here is Thomas Radwinter explaining what is ‘his cup of tea‘:

My Cup of Tea

Q: What dish reminds you of your childhood?

Thomas: Um… well… I actually didn’t have an exactly brilliant childhood… things all went a bit wrong… but I do remember one happy time… which will probably seem a bit strange… anyway… I remember once it was at night and we were in the kitchen and it was dark and the oven was on and John my brother and I were sitting in front of the open oven and it was really warm, and we were eating baked beans out of bowls with a spoon.  John was telling me a story – we were cowboys out on the lonesome range and we were sitting round our campfire…
Whenever we have baked beans, I always think of that, and think of how we were lovely and warm and John was making me laugh with his story

Q: Do you cook any of the things you ate as a child?

Thomas: I have had a go at making baked beans myself… My boy liked them, but none of the rest of the family did, so I guess I won’t be doing that again! These days what I cook depends on what  is in season on my brother’s allotment, what is going cheap at the veg shop, and any offers on at the butcher’s or supermarkets! I guess this means we eat quite healthily – and it also means I do cook some strange stuff according to what I’ve bought! I’m not bad at cakes, the kids’ favourite is my orange surprise cake – it was supposed to be lemon drizzle but we didn’t have any lemons so it was a surprise because it was oranges! (They were going cheap at Val’s,  the veg shop)

Q: What’s for breakfast?

Thomas: Breakfast is supposed to be really important isn’t it? My wife likes a cooked breakfast and because I’m a bit more flexible in my work (being a stay-at-home dad and part-time solicitor) I make sure she has something cooked – even if it’s only beans on toast (beans again!) or a scrambled egg before she flies out of the door. The two oldest are at school so they usually have porridge and then maybe an egg (we eat a lot of eggs but we get most of them from the old bloke who has an allotment next to my brother’s) The three littlies (yes we have five children) have porridge or cereal and fruit or toast, or an egg… kids’ breakfast stuff…  I know it’s bad for me but quite often I sort of forget breakfast for me – and then have elevenses later when everyone is where they should be!

Q: What food do you never run out of?

Thomas: um… well, veg – because of the allotment! And there’s usually cake.

Q: Which chef would you love to have cook for you?

Thomas: Crikey! That’s a tricky question!! We love going to my friend Leo’s Italian restaurant; his family come from Apulia so most of what he cooks  is traditional from there… I have another friend who is Armenian and we love going to his restaurant too! So I guess Leo or Vekan…. as for a famous chef… um… I’m a bit out of touch these days… I do use Claudia Roden’s recipes a lot so that would be amazing if she cooked a meal for us!!!

Q: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Thomas: This probably isn’t very strange in the top ten of really weird and peculiar things that people eat like unusual parts of an animal or insects or bird spit… but when I found a recipe which involved frying sprouts with black pudding, that actually did seem might odd… especially as you make a sort of sauce with blue cheese… Actually it tasted jolly good, and everyone who said sprouts were disgusting tucked into it and I had to make some more… so that was jolly strange… except it isn’t any more as we quite often have it when we get given sprouts by Val from the veg shop.

Q: where in the world would you like to go and try the local food?

Thomas: Anywhere!!!! I just love food!!! I guess I would like to go to Apulia and Armenia, but most I would like to go to Tobago. My wife’s father is from Tobago, and two of my children are… so a family holiday to Tobago would be great!

Q: best biscuits for dunking?

Thomas: I don’t dunk! I think it’s horrible!

Q: how do you take your tea?

Thomas: usually as quickly as possible because I’m always in a tearing hurry! Actually I like it strong with not too much milk – and just ordinary, I’m not keen on fancy stuff like Earl Gray or fruit teas…

If you want to find out more about Thomas, you can read his stories here:

 

Case study… but not quite

I haven’t given much thought to the list of 73  recently… In case you’ve missed me chuntering on about it, the 73 is a list of suggestions of different sorts of blogs which can be written. A friend found it shared it, and it became a sort of challenge between us to try and write one of each of the suggestions.

I am on number 7 – ‘Case Studies‘… hmmm… what or who can I wrote about… a case study…

  • a process or record of research into the development of a particular person, group, or situation over a period of time
  • a particular instance of something used or analysed in order to illustrate a thesis or principle

I suppose I could write a case-study of my fictional Radwinter family, but I have written so much about them here already – and also to describe the process which created them would take far long – and the end product would be far too long!! I could write a case-study of how I came to create my books for reluctant readers – but I’ve been writing about them and how they came to be over the last few days.

My working life before my writing life was teaching, but it all seems a rather long time ago – in fact it wasn’t, but things have changed so significantly (for me – and probably for teaching too!) that I’m not sure I could write very much of interest.

In my latest novel I have been doing a lot of research on two very different subjects, the salt industry – focusing on sea salt rather than rock salt, and the zeppelin raids of the first world war. However, my research is very superficial as I just want to include a few details into a couple of the narrative threads.  The salt making is part of a story-line about the history of my fictional town of Easthope and how the archaeology of the nineteenth century salt works has a bearing on a one character. The zeppelins is part of a family history which is being traced… and here is an extract – Thomas Radwinter is telling the story:

I looked through the collection of news reports I had about the zeppelin attack. There were quite a few in the local newspapers, but one I’d not properly looked at, told me very much more than I already knew, about Anatole saving the young sisters from the burning hotel. It seemed that it wasn’t a bomb which had been dropped but a tracking flare.

Rescue from burning building

A sensational rescue from a burning hotel was effected in Great Yarmouth last evening, when two young girls, who were half choked with smoke, were led down a back stairs from the top story of Gentzer’s Hotel near Blacksmith’s Lane. The empty hotel had received a direct hit from an incendiary device and the flames spread rapidly. When the firemen arrived the old building was well alight. It took until morning before the flames were all extinguished.

I was intrigued that the writer used the word ‘sensational’ – I would have thought that was a more modern expression… anyway…

Plucky Rescue From Burning Building
by the gallant act of Anthony Finch

Two young sisters were rescued from death by burning near Yarmouth, early yesterday evening.
Finch was on his way from work, when he saw the zeppelin above but had no notion of what it was. Although filled with terror as fire rained down, when he noticed Gentaer’s old hotel was ablaze, he rushed in. The older girl, Irene had called from the window and Finch found her and the little girl, Mary. The bedroom furniture was on fire but he smothered the flames with an old curtain and despite only having one arm, carried little Mary out of the burning building.
Then, the child having been taken by Mrs Dotes a farmer’s wife, Finch ran back into the house, where he found Irene collapsed on a landing. He succeeded in carrying her down the stairs where the fire men met him.
Both sisters are in hospital unharmed but suffering from the inhalation of smoke.

So that was it, that was why Anatole was not a soldier – he only had one arm!

So this is research, but it’s not a case study! I must think some more about how to do number 7 of the list of 73!

Here is a link to my Radwinter stories:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/RADWINTER-5-Book-Series/dp/B072HTG366/ref=sr_1_16?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1508971464&sr=1-16&keywords=lois+elsden

 

 

I should have checked the reviews…

I went away for the weekend and needed a hotel room for one night. There were various events on in the city and most of the hotels were either full or beyond my price range. I didn’t want anything particularly fancy, clean, en-suite and with parking that was all I needed. Well, I found a hotel – not exactly in the city centre but convenient to where I wanted to be; it sounded modest but looked fine on the images I saw so I booked it.

I used Delilah the satnav, because although I roughly knew the area, the hotel was on a main road and I wasn’t sure I could creep along looking for it with all the traffic. Delilah the satnav told me I had arrived – the hotel was supposed to be on my right as I was driving along, but there was no sign of it. I drove on, turned round and drove back again, but still I couldn’t spot it.

I parked up and walked back to where it should be, following the property numbers. There was a strange-looking restaurant and then I spotted a board, the hotel!! But the board was attached to a wall so it was only visible if I was going in that direction. There was no sign of the hotel. I wondered if it was behind the wall the board was attached to – no that was a nursery. I wondered if I accessed it through the dodgy looking restaurant; I went up the concrete steps, but there was nothing to tell me that this was anything to do with the hotel.

Between the restaurant and the wall with the board was a narrow alley, about the width of a car. I walked down it, past some absolutely reeking dustbins. There was an area at the end with a few cars parked, and a building which might possibly be the hotel although there was no name and nothing which said ‘reception’ or anything similar. The door was locked but a stuck on piece of paper directed me back to the restaurant.

Back to the restaurant and I went in and there was a small hatch; two people were there, a young woman on the phone and a man. Eventually he rather timidly asked if he could help, and then signed me in and gave me a key. He led me through the restaurant out the back and down some rickety wooden stairs to a yard full of broken furniture and rubbish which led round to the locked door of the building at the back.

I put in the code and opened the door, and as I went up the stairs, past several notices warning me not to smoke, that smoking was forbidden. Two men came down he stair and greeted me pleasantly enough but they were what you might call dodgy geezers. I opened the door into the corridor, a door plastered with more no smoking notices, and walked into a cloud of smoke… Repulsive! I came across a cleaner and she directed me to my room. To be fair, it was clean, the bedding looked new and the towels were soft, fluffy and spotless.

I spent the afternoon and evening with a friend and returned to the hotel. I had particularly wanted a parking place but, typical of this place, they were all full so I managed to find some street parking just down the road. I walked back to the hotel and noticed there was a big illuminated sign, flickering on and off ‘HOTEL’ in red – when I had been trying to find it during the day the sign had been switched off… The flickering sign was like something from a third-rate thriller movie! I returned to my room and watched TV – which worked perfectly, had a couple of cups of tea (kettle worked perfectly) then, weary after my early start and long drive, settled down for the night.

I slept well; I woke early because I wanted to pick up my car, not sure whether I had left it in a parking area, and not wanting to get a ticket. I watched a bit more TV, had a cup of tea, went to have a shower… and the shower didn’t work… so much for having lovely fluffy towels!

As I got dressed an enormous foul-mouthed row erupted right outside my door as a woman, a fellow guest presumably berated hr boyfriend/partner/husband for something or another. I gathered my things and left. I wanted to complain about the shower but the restaurant was closed and there was a box to post keys back. as I walked away I noticed that the sign board attached to the wall hadn’t even written the name of the place correctly…

Oh well, it was an experience… when you read about one of my characters visiting a dodgy hotel in one of my stories you will know what it was based on!

When I got home, my daughter asked if I’d looked up any reviews of the hotel… well… no, I hadn’t… she looked at me… I’ll let hr sort out my accommodation next time!!

This is definitely not a third-rate thriller… but I did keep thinking about it!

Here’s a link to my books…

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_2_9?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=lois+elsden&sprefix=lois+elsd%2Caps%2C140&crid=2RIGPR2VNRFVL

There’s a haunted hotel in this one:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/EARTHQUAKE-RADWINTER-Book-LOIS-ELSDEN-ebook/dp/B06Y18H8JR/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1508140776&sr=1-5&keywords=lois+elsden

 

A nifty bit of footwork

‘ve mentioned I have a new project about to come to fruition – an anthology of work from two writing friends and me which, we hope, will soon be available!! Exciting!! It has been a busy year; in April I published ‘Earthquake’, my most recent Radwinter story (I’m working on the next which may arrive before Christmas, but is more likely to appear in January) and I also published my little writing guide ‘So You Want To Write’. As well as that this year I have been very involved with my writing groups, leading and being part of, and have had lots of exciting things in my own life, not least a six-week trip to Tasmania, and my daughter coming back to live at home after five years away!!

For some reason I thought I had also published a book which I first started writing about ten years ago or more, Lucky Portbraddon. However, that was just over a yea ago, September 2016! The idea for the Portbraddon story went back much further, had been in my mind for many years, and was inspired by – but definitely not based on, two strands of inspiration:

  • bands – having loved rock music just about all my life, and having seen at close quarters what it’s like to be in a band (my husband has been a drummer and in bands since he was about fourteen) I was fascinated by the dynamic in such groups. There is a closeness because of playing music together, rehearsing and live, and for some bands who go on the road sometimes for months at a time, there is an extra bond. However there are fall-outs and splits, and people leaving and new people arriving
  • family – I am so fortunate to be part of a great, loving and faithful family, and i must say here that the Portraddons are not remotely like my own cousins and are not based on them in any way except one – the one way that there is a similarity is the loyalty a family feel, a bond which can never be broken even if the family is broken. With my fictional Portbraddons there are major upheavals and betrayals, but even so at the end, as they constantly say ‘family is family’ and ‘family first’.

Here is an extract from Lucky Portbraddon. Ismene was the girlfriend and, she hope, fiancée to be, of one of the cousins. She went to meet the rest of the family and to spend Christmas with them in their grandma’s large but isolated  house up on the moors. They were snowed in for several days during which time Isméne’s boyfriend decided he didn’t love her and as soon as escape was possible he left to return to town.

In the following extract, Isméne has been brought home to her flat by a cousin, Nick; he is also giving a lift to his nephew, Noah, who is shy and awkward and always seems on the outside of everything. An unexpected reception awaits  Isméne.

They got out of Nick’s rickety car, stepping into slush. The night was damp and had a fusty town smell after the clear air up on the tops. The thaw had set in but there were still mounds of snow, semi-frozen piles of mush, speckled with dirty grey and black.
Noah stayed in the back and she waved at him through the side window; he managed a weak smile but looked away shiftily.
“You will stay in touch, won’t you Ismène?” Nick asked as she keyed in the code on the security pad.
“I sure will, as long as you want me to,” she held the door with her shoulder so he could come in with her bags.
He made a facetious response and she replied with a joke but she had the tiniest suspicion that Nick might want to do a little more than flirt. He was lovely but she had not the slightest interest in him even if she’d wanted another relationship.
Someone grabbed her and shoved her to the floor and a man jumped at Nick and began hitting him in the face. Nick was unable to defend himself, encumbered by her bags.
Ismène jumped up and grabbed the attacker’s arm, he spun round and it was Jaco.
“You leave her alone, you bastard, she’s my wife!” Jaco bellowed and shoved her aside to continue his attack on Nick.
Ismène tumbled backwards, falling over one of her bags, and sprawled across the floor again – And then there was a figure in black between Nick and Jaco. It was Noah and he grabbed Jaco, punched him straight in the face, before pushing him out of the door. He hurled him down the couple of steps then stood blocking the doorway.
“Fuck off shithead!” he bellowed.
Nick was on his knees, blood streaming through his fingers cupped over his face and Ismène tried to get him upright, appalled by the sudden violence.
“I’m so sorry, Nick, I’m really sorry.”
“What are you apologising for?” Nick staggered as if dizzy.
He called a muffled thank you to Noah, who cast a baleful look over his shoulder and went out, the door banging shut behind him.
Nick was wiping his arm on his sleeve, his moustache and beard a gory mess. The light in the hall was garish, Nick’s face was grey and he was certainly in pain. There were splashes of blood on the blue and green floor tiles, as if the seascape they showed had been the place of a dreadful battle.
“I didn’t realise he knew where I lived – I guess he thought you were James.”
She gathered her bags and other things, and hoping Noah was safe, she pushed Nick to the lift.  It pinged open and they hurried into its apple-scented interior.
“Long time since I’ve been in a fight,” Nick looked at himself in the mirror, touching his nose experimentally. “I don’t think it’s broken.”
“Well, it wasn’t really a fight. He hit you then Noah threw him out.”
“Oh, that’s right, spoil my moment of fantasy! In my mind I decked him with a quick one-two and some nifty footwork!”
As they stepped out of the lift Ismène’s neighbour was waiting; he cast a horrified look at Nick and hurried down the corridor to the stairs.

I hope you are intrigued and want to find out more! here is a link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/LUCKY-PORTBRADDON-LOIS-ELSDEN-ebook/dp/B01LWTVURP/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1507879718&sr=1-6&keywords=lois+elsden

… and here are links to my other books I mentioned:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/EARTHQUAKE-RADWINTER-Book-LOIS-ELSDEN-ebook/dp/B06Y18H8JR/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1507879718&sr=1-4&keywords=lois+elsden

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Want-Write-Telling-Tales-Book-ebook/dp/B074W19JK3/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1507879718&sr=1-3&keywords=lois+elsden

Checklist 2 – how to self-publish on Amazon

As I’ve mentioned, a friend and I have picked up the challenge to try and write blogs on seventy-three different subjects. I am just working my way down the list, he is picking his topics at random. Yesterday I wrote about checklists; I produced a checklist for self-editing a book, forgetting completely that I had written about self-editing in another of the 73! Doh!!

So, to be fair, I am going to write about another checklist, this time I am writing about how to self-publish on Amazon

  • set up an Amazon account – this is easy, at the bottom of the Amazon page, under ‘Make money with us’, is a link ‘independently publish with us’
  • you should arrive at a page titled ‘bookshelf’ and there is a box which says ‘create a new book’ with a choice of paperback or kindle – choose which you want (you can always do the other one later!)
  • I am going to follow the set-up for a paperback, but it is equally easy to set-up for Kindle
  • You will be taken to a page where you enter the details
  • Language – the language you are publishing in…  I publish in English but there are plenty of languages to choose from
  • Title and subtitle – you write in your title, if you have a sub-title put that in its own box, if you don’t have a subtitle leave it blank
  • Series – if you think you might write a series, put in the title of the whole series – for example for my Radwinter series I put ‘Radwinter’ and then the volume number and the volume title
  • if you are doing this for the first time where the next box asks for edition number, it will be 1. If you edit or revise your text, then it will be a subsequent number
  • The next box is for author – and that is you; if you are writing with a different name, put your writing name in here
  • under that is another box for contributors – and there is a drop down menu which includes such things as ‘editor’, illustrator’, etc. I am shortly going to publish an anthology with two friends, so their names go in there and they are both credited as ‘author’. You can add as many people as you like
  • the next text box is for a description – this is what the prospective reader will see when s/he comes across your masterpiece on Amazon. You want to make it as intriguing and interesting as possible!
  • the next check is for copyright and publishing rights – tick as appropriate (there are helpful explanations if you’re not sure!)
  • Next you have to think of seven words or phrases to describe your potential best-seller. For our anthology to be we used: poem, short story, creative non-fiction, polemic, geology, science fiction, euphoric writing
  • The next choice is of category, and there is an impressive selection to choose from – you can choose two – these are things like fiction/non-fiction/poetry etc
  • The last question on this first page ass if you have ever used CreateSpace… I haven’t so I didn’t have to answer any further questions
  • The next page continues first of all by checking if you need an ISBN number; Amazon will assign you one if you don’t have your own already
  • Then you can if you wish, set your own publication date
  • for a paperback you have a choice of type of paper, cover and size
  • You then upload your manuscript – it is as easy as attaching a document to an email; it may take some time if it is a very long book! When I say some time, I mean time in minutes not hours! Enough time to make a cup of tea.
  • Once you have manuscript uploaded then you can design your cover – if you already have one, upload that (I’ve not done this, I have just used Amazon’s own formats) This is quite tricky – not in the doing of it, but in the choosing of the right style, colours, pictures, the etc – trying to make sue you have got it right!!
  • The next step is to preview it, where you have a virtual book on the screen in front of you and you are able to edit and adjust… If you change your manuscript, you have to upload it again, but that is no problem
  • The last page you have to do is to decide on price, publication details, various admin details… it is very straightforward, and there are drop-down boxes explaining and guiding you all the way.
  • Good luck!!

Maybe this is not so much a check-list as a guide… well, whatever it is, I hope it is helpful!

Here are my books self-published on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_6?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden&sprefix=lois+e%2Caps%2C419&crid=1RW9VEPBQPRLE

and a direct link to my Radwinter series, including the first paperback (more to follow!)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/RADWINTER-5-Book-Series/dp/B072HTG366/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1507662328&sr=8-5&keywords=lois+elsden

The third woman

Today I’m sharing an excerpt from my most recently published Radwinter book, ‘Earthquake’. Thomas Radwinter has been consulted about a mystery – in 1931 thirteen Chinese girls were at a summer school, and several of them died in mysterious circumstances; at the time they were thought to be accidents, but Thomas has been asked to investigate by the son of one of the surviving girls.

In this excerpt, he is meeting Edward Foxley, the son of another ‘girl’ who died some twenty years later in 1952, drowned in a boating ‘accident’ with a school-friend, Cissie.

Edward Foxley was a very thin but quite handsome man; he had wire rimmed glasses which gave him an old fashioned appearance, and he reminded me a little of the politician Jacob Rees Mogg. I had my sensible, serious head on, and didn’t try and act dumb. I passed him details of the history of the old school, the photo of the girls and the school then and now. There was nothing personal about the girls, and no mention of their deaths.
“Your mother was very beautiful, sir,” I said as I handed him a larger copy of her photo. He nodded but said nothing and gazed at it… ‘Chinese crackers…
He looked again at the pictures of all the girls.
“Which one is Aunt Cissie? “
I pointed to her as she stared coolly and sadly out of the photo.
“Do you know how they died?” he asked.
I replied that I’d come across a newspaper report so yes, I did, and I offered my condolences for her passing sixty years ago.
“I have been to the place where she and Aunty Cissie died, I cannot imagine how it happened… The river is so slow, sluggish, how could two fit, not old women have died? It is shallow enough for them to have stood up… They both could swim, how did it happen!” he asked looking at me severely through his wire rimmed glasses. I felt a little uncomfortable, he reminded me of someone else who wore glasses who had done his best to kill me…
“Could you describe it to me, sir?”
He described the sluggish river, the water a greeny brown with a particular smell. There were meadows on either side, and when he was there the water was quite busy with punts and canoes. He’d walked there and then gone back and hired a punt, as his mother and Cissy had in 1953.
“I have thought about it a lot, Mr Radwinter. All the reports describe it as a tragic accident, but how? As I mentioned, mother was a good swimmer, a very good swimmer. She and my aunt went away on holiday together often, and they always went somewhere they could swim. Father and I would stay at home while they went off gallivanting…” He gave a little laugh. “That’s what father called it, I’d quite forgotten, gallivanting…” He drank his coffee.
I asked him if he knew anything about any of his mother’s school friends although he was very young when she died. He said nothing and I wondered whether he’d heard me and if I should repeat it.
Instead I said that I’d noticed in a couple of the newspaper reports of the accident a mention of a third person in the punt, another woman, but that it wasn’t referred to in the coroner’s report. I expected him to be suspicious of my interest – this wasn’t anything to do with writing a monograph on the Academy.
“Do you know who she is?” he asked eagerly… No I didn’t, I replied. I also didn’t say that if she existed, she may have been responsible for other deaths too.
There was something I didn’t like about him, I don’t know what, or why I felt like this.
“Was she one of my mother’s school friends? For some reason I always thought she might be…” and he lapsed into silence staring at his coffee. Now this was very interesting; he knew about the third woman, and he believed she’d been in the punt… So who could it be? I didn’t say anything to him but mentally ran through who was left, Frieda, Alma, Bertha or Frances…

© Lois Elsden 2017

If you want to find out whether these accidents were murder, and whether Thomas finds the answer to the eighty year-old mystery, then here is a link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/EARTHQUAKE-RADWINTER-Book-LOIS-ELSDEN-ebook/dp/B06Y18H8JR/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1504942625&sr=8-2&keywords=lois+elsden

…and another link to my other e-books, and my recently published paperbacks:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden

There he is! Walking down the street!

My subject of my novel ‘The Stalking of Rosa Czekov’ is easy to guess!! I return to the theme of stalkers and being stalked in the book I am working on now, provisionally called ‘Saltpans’; one of the characters is troubled by someone who seems to be stalking him… at present it is harmless, letters, small gifts, other messages. He doesn’t know who it is but it’s troubling.

I came across something I wrote some time ago, and this is from the point of view of someone who becomes intrigued then infatuated and then obsessed about a stranger… Here is an excerpt:

There he is walking down the street in front of me! … There he was just a-walking down the street.. is that a song from the sixties? Or maybe it was something else… there he stood in the street , smiling from his head to his feet

But anyway – there he is! And before I know it I’m walking after him, following him! He walks quite quickly, but then he does everything quickly. I’ve watched him working, and whatever it is, selling tickets, doing stuff behind the counter, making coffee, rearranging chairs, he works quickly… not hurrying, not rushed, not slap-dash, he’s just quick.

I keep up with him as he goes round the corner walking along past the back of the shopping centre. Slim waisted, neat figure… he isn’t very tall, long-bodied rather than long-legged, wearing jeans as usual and a black polo shirt.

Suddenly he stops and I almost stop too but he has met someone and I have to carry on walking, stepping out into the road to go round them.

I get a snatch of conversation, his friend, a taller man, balding and with has short blondy red beard, is saying something about Clacton… Clacton? Isn’t that a seaside town in… in Essex maybe?

I cross over the entrance to the car park, and there’s no traffic to stop me and I’m walking away, wanting to glance over my shoulder… I get to the corner and stop and get out my phone and stare at it hopefully… then I have to cross over, I can’t stand there for ever. But the lights are red so I wait. I glance left and he’s standing beside me, so close that I can see a blue mark on his cheek as if he’s stabbed himself with a pen.

I stare across the road, and it’s only when someone pushes against me, someone behind me that I step out and move, a couple of feet behind him again. He cuts across in front of me and has only gone a few yards beyond the crossing when a car stops, he bends to look in and then opens the door and slips into the passenger seat. There’s a burst of music then the door shuts and they drive away… I stop and stare after them, memorising the number…

“Are you alright, dear?” an elderly gentleman asks me. “Do you need help?”

I gather my sense… no I’m fine, I tell him with a smile, I’ve just remembered something… and thanking him again I set off to find the nearest bar… and when I lift the large glass of Pinot, my hand’s trembling.

© Lois Elsden 2017

Here is a link to my e-books, and my recently published paperbacks, ‘So You Want To Write‘, and ‘Radwinter’:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_6?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden&sprefix=lois+e%2Caps%2C136&crid=1Q08W85YOOTFO