Tuesday, October 27, 2009
At this point - the management whisked me off to Toronto for 'management training' - even though I was only 15. I worked in different locations around Ontario for the rest of the summer and then moved back to the same city where my family was located. I had my own little bachelor apartment and was still working for the same company and engaged to the same boyfriend. I was fairly content and had built something of a little life for myself when the following happened.
(another excerpt from The Wailings - my book in progress.)
It was 5:28 pm when the phone rang abruptly in the little bachelor unit. Ani stretched across the couch and answered it with a grin, expecting Rick on the other end of the line.
“Ani? It’s your father.”
Ani froze in her attempt to light a cigarette, absently setting both the cigarette and her lighter down on the coffee table. Her heart pounded in her throat and she could feel the fear of anticipation welling in her stomach. Something must be wrong for Jerome to actually be calling her.
“What is it Dad?” she asked unsteadily.
“Well Ani. It’s your Mom.”
Ani took a deep breath to try and steady herself and blew it out raggedly. She watched her hand shake as she reached for the cigarette and lighter again.
“You see,” he continued, “we had to put Snoop down earlier this week and your Mom is having a terrible time trying to deal with it. She cries all the time and I can’t seem to help her in any way.” He took a deep breath himself then continued. “I’ve been thinking it over and I think that if you come home she might be able to forget about the dog.”
Ani stayed quiet a few seconds as tears welled in her eyes and rolled down her cheeks. She had loved their dog Snoop. He had been part of the family for fourteen years and it was hard to imagine him gone.
“Look Ani. You think about it. I have to go. I don’t want her finding out that I asked you to come back.”
Ani slowly hung up the phone.
Friday, October 23, 2009
The next morning Ani was up and preparing for school, unable to remain hiding in the Carlton’s home. She stood looking in the mirror, staring at the bruised eyes and swollen cheekbone. She found it hard to bring her gaze to her mangled neck, the sight making her feel nauseous. With relief she finished applying her deodorant and pulled on her turtleneck sweater. It was unfortunate the color made her facial bruises more vivid, but at least her neck was well-covered. Madge was waiting for her at the back door, and together they walked towards the mall like a pair of old friends. Ani left Madge having a final cigarette outside the Woolco store as she carried on towards the school. She walked with her head down, trying to avoid the looks of passersby.
When she reached the school a quiet murmur followed her down the hall to her locker. With a steely resolve she opened the locker door and gathered her books for her morning classes. Ani couldn’t help but notice the reaction of the other students when they caught a glimpse of her face. Their startled expressions and embarrassing cover-ups emphasized her dejection and pain. No one spoke to her during the entire morning and she spent her lunch hour in the most remote washroom she could find.
She ate her lunch slowly and spent the rest of the period staring at the little ring on her left hand. As she emerged from the washroom Ani noticed a distinct change in the atmosphere around her. People stared openly at her as she walked the halls heading for her first afternoon class. Heads turned as she entered the science room and most of the students did not look away as she made her way to her seat. Not wanting to be the center of attention she kept her head lowered, concentrating on the textbook in front of her.
With leaded feet Ani left her science class and headed down the hallway to her math class. Keeping her head down, she found her seat and opened her books to the necessary chapter. Unable to focus on her textbook she finally raised her head and looked towards the blackboards behind the teacher’s desk. Across the entire front of the classroom was written in chalk ‘Ani Black is a slut!’ Ani’s mouth fell open as she read the words and her face flamed each time another student entered the room and read the board. An uneasy silence settled over the classroom as they waited for the teacher to appear. With each second that ticked by on the clock above the blackboard, the words burned deeper into Ani’s mind. She couldn’t even begin to think who would have written such a thing about her.
Desperately she tried to recall the students coming out of the room before she had entered but she had been too busy trying to hide her face. Finally, Mr. Rose entered the room and put his books down on the desk. Turning to the blackboard he took an involuntary step backwards as he read the words scrawled before him. Seizing the brush, he furiously swiped at the letters, trying to scrub them vigorously away. With a reddened face he settled at his desk and glanced briefly at Ani as she tried desperately to melt into her desk.
He began the class as if nothing had happened, only to be interrupted by the buzzing of the classroom telephone. Reaching behind him he plucked the receiver from its holder and listened intently. With a strange intuitiveness Ani stared at Mr. Rose, knowing the one-sided conversation was about her. She had already closed her textbook when Mr. Rose hung up the phone and called her name. “Ani. Gather your books and report to the vice-principal please.” Afraid she might break down in front of everyone, Ani held her head high as she left the room, the fluorescent lights reflecting off her bruised eyes.
She stood in front of Miss Fillmore’s door feeling her stomach clench. The vice-principal was a heavyset but robust woman. She would not stand for any foolishness in her school and eked out punishment to those who crossed the line with a heavy hand. Ani didn’t know where she stood at the moment. Although she had been the victim it might not look like that to others. Timidly she knocked on the pebbled glass that made up half the door. Miss Fillmore’s immediate response caused Ani to tremble slightly as she reached for the doorknob.
“Come in and sit down Ani Black,” Miss Fillmore said as Ani entered the room.
The vice-principal sat behind a huge desk covered in stacks of paper that did nothing to take away from her imposing figure. Her hair was short and gray, clinging to her head like a helmet. In her right hand she twirled a black pen while she eyed Ani up and down.
“Turn down the collar of your sweater please Ani,” she said. Ani’s eyes widened at the abrupt command, but she took a deep breath and rolled the sweater down and tucked the turtleneck under. Miss Fillmore’s face crumpled slightly as she looked at the marks on Ani’s face and neck.
In a quiet low voice she asked, “What happened to you Ani?” Ani sat staring at the woman, biting her lips with her inner turmoil. “It’s all right to tell me Ani. I only have to report to the principal.”
“My parents beat me up,” Ani finally replied.
Being able to tell someone what had happened to her, instead of just suffering the stares, caused an enormous relief to spread over her for the first time that day.
With a slight movement of her hand, Miss Fillmore got the whole story out of the young girl sitting in front of her. She kindly offered a box of Kleenex as Ani broke down and cried out her anguish. She sat patiently through the tears, not wanting to envisage what Ani had described to her, yet the scene played out violently in her head anyway. She had seen previous beatings on other children in the school, but the marks around Ani’s neck were obviously the results of a vicious attack. When Ani fell silent, she sat and studied her desk, praying that she would say the right thing to this vulnerable girl.
“You say you’ve left your home, and now are staying with your boyfriend’s family.” She had not failed to notice the engagement ring on Ani’s left hand. “You’ve been to the hospital and to the police and you are not going to press charges against your parents. You are sure about this Ani?” Ani’s emphatic nod was all she needed in response.
“All right. I may be able to help you in some way. First of all, you won’t be able to stay at your boyfriend’s indefinitely. That will put too much of a strain on all relations in that house. However, what I suggest is that you get in touch with Child Welfare. They can help in situations like yours. I will give you their phone number before you leave here.” Her voice was low but kindly and Ani felt a connection to this woman she had never dreamed imaginable.
“The other major problem is what to tell the rest of the school should they ask. The faculty that you are in contact with will be informed by the principal. As for the students who ask you, I suggest you just tell them you were in an accident. That way you won’t have to have your story known by everyone. That goes with your not wanting to have your parents charged so people won’t know about the problem. What do you think about that Ani?”
Ani nodded her head, afraid to talk in case she broke into tears again with her gratitude. She took the piece of paper from Miss Fillmore that had the number for Child Welfare written on it and carefully put it inside her penholder.
She looked the vice-principal in the eye for a long moment and then said, “Thank you very much for everything.” She gathered her books before remembering to roll up her turtleneck before heading back to class.
“I suggest you wait in the lunchroom for a bit and then go to your next class Ani.” Miss Fillmore said as she adjusted the files on her desk.
As Ani stretched her hand out for the doorknob she turned back towards Miss Fillmore and thanked her again. A bond had been forged out of this brutal situation, and both of them smiled at each other in their acknowledgment of it. Ani’s heart was a little lighter as she sat in the lunchroom and stared out the windows.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Ani let herself into the house in time to start the supper before Margaret and Jerome arrived from the store. She stood at the stove busily flipping hamburger patties and getting the vegetables ready. Sierra, Daniel and Pet sat at the kitchen table lazily reading the day’s newspaper while Grandma B was downstairs preparing her own little supper. The savory aroma of beef stew floated up the stairwell with the sounds of the religious radio station Grandma liked to listen to.
Through the closed bifold door, everyone heard the garage door open and the car drive in, and the clacking noise the door made as it lowered back to the ground. There was a sudden pounding on the hall door as Jerome yelled for someone to come and open up. At first Ani ignored the pounding, expecting one of the three at the table to go. She was trying desperately to get the supper finished before her parent’s arrival, and she stood with both hands busy while trying to check on the baking bread at the same time. As the pounding continued, Ani finally grunted with exasperation and turned and looked at the three around the table pointedly. When no one moved, she threw her hands in the air and slid open the bifold door in time to see her grandmother trying to hurry along the hallway as Jerome finally opened the door with his own key. Glancing at her father and the brown paper bags in his arms, Ani turned and headed back to the stove to save the supper from burning.
With a roar, Jerome pushed past his mother-in-law who fell gasping against her bathroom door. He took the stairs two at a time as he raced for the kitchen with a red-faced Margaret not far behind. Bursting into the kitchen, he threw his groceries at the counter and headed straight for Ani, his hands outstretched. Canned peas and cat food spilled from the ripped brown bags and crashed to the floor, denting edges and tearing the labels. A carton of homogenized milk burst open and vomited its white liquid down the front of the counter. He caught her arm viciously as she turned towards him, causing a hamburger patty to go sailing onto the potato peels in the sink. The glistening hamburger grease reflecting off the potato skins caught her eye and vaguely registered as small rainbow pools as his huge blunt fingers dug into her. She looked at him questioningly as he started to wrestle with her, the greasy lifter still held in her right hand.
“Just who do you think you are not coming to the store after school!” he screamed into her face, his hot spittle spraying across her nose and flushed cheekbones.
“I’ve been getting the supper ready!” she stammered as his huge hands wrapped themselves around her throat and started to squeeze. Ani beat at him futilely with the egg lifter, but Jerome batted it away as he would an annoying fly. It flew across the kitchen in a graceful arc, spraying its own viscous spittle as it rotated through the air before hitting the fridge and clattering to the floor.
Ani’s three siblings sat frozen at the table as if a giant nut and bolt held them to their yellow chairs as the scene started to unfold directly in front of them.
“You think you’re something these days don’t you! You think you’re ‘In Love’! Well – I’ll show you what love really is!” Jerome growled. With one swift motion, he grabbed her hair and hurled her to the floor, punching her face as she went down, then straddling her. She could see her own blonde hairs clinging to his right fist before it connected with her left eye and pain ricocheted around her head. Then Margaret burst into the room and immediately started kicking Ani’s prone form as Jerome held her down, her blue coat flapping about her thick legs with each swing. Through the pain that shot to the back of her skull when Jerome’s hairy knuckles compressed her eyeball, Ani noted that seconds had only passed instead of the eternity she felt.
“You’re getting what you have coming to you young lady!” Margaret screeched as she landed a solid kick to Ani’s ribs, causing both of them to grunt with the loss of breath.
A shocked silence emanated from the three at the kitchen table, and as Margaret drew her foot back and Jerome reached for her burning throat, Ani heard the distinct sound of milk dripping onto the linoleum. The clock on the spattered stove made a small clicking noise as it flipped over another number on the minute side.
With her head pressed up against the yellow flowers on the wallpaper, Ani stared up at the black vinyl curls in the extended cord of the telephone that hung over her head. They swayed and bounced slightly from the impact her head made as it connected repeatedly to the wall. She struggled futilely against Jerome’s weight as she tried to hold him off her, wrenching at his hands as he squeezed what little air she had left out of her throat. With what felt like superhuman strength, she slowly pried the fingers that heralded disaster away from her throbbing neck. A layer of grease still coated her fingers, and she was no match for his strength or his anger. With a little cry, she watched as her fingers slid off his and the hand clench into a huge fist. It loomed like an incoming comet, its black hair almost streaming in the wind as it made a direct contact with her right eye. Pain exploded in shooting stars and she reacted automatically. Pulling her knee up hard she made a direct contact with Jerome’s groin, sending him backwards with a furious scream.
“I’ll kill you!” he roared as he jerked away from her knee and grabbed his genitals. Seeing her chance, Ani scrabbled up the wall and made a grab for the phone.
“Just who do you think you’re calling?” Jerome hissed as he held his crotch with both hands. The veins on his neck bulged and pulsed with his fury and pain.
“I’m going to call the police,” Ani gasped, “this is child abuse and you can’t get away with it.”
Ignoring the throbbing in his swelling balls, Jerome reached forward and grabbed the phone, wrapping the cord around Ani’s aching neck.
“We’ll see who’s calling who here,” he growled as Margaret landed a few more kicks on Ani as she slid down the wall. Her head felt like a balloon and her swollen eyes were on fire. A hand connected with her cheek and snapped her head sideways, causing her teeth to crunch with the impact. She spit out blood and some tooth enamel when she tried to scream, but the constant kicks and blows took her breath away making any speech impossible. Each connection sent stabs of pain through her body, and as she fought to hold her own, she fought to appear unaffected by their efforts to hurt her.
Blood trickled from her left nostril as Jerome picked her up bodily, as if lifting weights, and dropped her onto her back. The immediate searing pain that shot from her lower back to the top of her head suddenly transported her back to the seconds that followed her fall in the skiing accident. With the same determination that had seen her through that accident, she turned her groans inward and clamped her jaw shut, refusing to let them win.
“I’ll have you charged,” she gasped as Jerome’s black work shoes kicked her in the small of her back. Unable to stand the pain, Ani rolled over and tried to retreat into a ball, but Jerome picked her up again and dropped her. As she lay there staring up at the ceiling, she noticed the dead flies that had collected in the bottom of the kitchen light. The question of how flies managed to get into lights briefly crossed her mind, then winked away.
“I’m the boss in this house, not you!” he seethed. “Now get up and get the dinner on the table like you’re suppose to. And if you ever try this trick again the results will be worse than this.”
With that, he gave Ani another vicious kick around her tailbone as Margaret’s winter boot connected with her shoulder. For a brief moment, Margaret stood looking down at the crumpled form of her daughter lying on the floor before she drew her head back and spat on her. The fury swept out of the room with them as they stormed out of the kitchen and the sound of the newspaper settling onto the kitchen table almost hurt the ears in the silence that followed.
Moving slowly, Ani pulled her knees up under her chin and stared at the drops of blood that spattered the kitchen floor. The pain emanating from her lower back helped minimize the agony she felt everywhere else, and she almost gave into it. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see the puddle of milk where it was collecting in front of the counter and noted where the cans had rolled under the table. She knew it was going to be up to her to clean up the kitchen. No one would be offering to help. She had gotten herself into this mess and it was up to her to resolve it. A brief wave of self-pity washed over her and she clamped down hard on it, refusing to allow it to take over. Deep inside her she knew that if she didn’t take some sort of action now, then she might never again.
The stove kept retreating to the end of a dark tunnel as Ani edged her way over and managed to lever herself up with the help of the door handle. Taking slow breaths, she let the air seep into her throat like flames before she turned slowly and looked each of her siblings up and down. Daniel’s hand remained in the air where it had been holding the newspaper before Ani’s world collapsed. Were they made of clay, she wondered? With a fractured rasp, she asked them to move so she could set the table, and as Ani turned her back on them, they hurriedly folded the newspaper and deserted the kitchen.
With slow, agonized movements, Ani rescued the hamburger out of the sink, set the table, and cleaned up the spilled milk and groceries. The entire house felt like it was holding its breath when she called the others for supper and silence prevailed as they avoided looking at Ani and seated themselves at the table. With downcast eyes, Ani placed the meat and vegetables on the table, and the smell of freshly baked bread almost made the atmosphere seem warm and cozy. She arranged everything carefully then turned and headed for the kitchen door. Her father’s voice grated across her raw nerves like a rusty rake.
“You are going to sit here and eat supper with the rest of us before doing the dishes.”
Without a word Ani returned to the table and sat, pushing the food around her plate. She was not sure if she had a loose tooth or not, but there was no way she could get anything down her sore throat. When they finished the meal, she rose silently and started rinsing the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. She washed the pots and baking dishes in the sink, then cleaned the counters and table before hanging up the dishcloth and tea towel. The rest of the family had disappeared as quickly as they could, most of them unable to watch Ani’s painful progress around the kitchen, their guilt eating away at them.
Slowly she climbed the short flight of stairs to the upper level where she made her way into the bathroom, and closed the door. Turning on the light she took a deep searing breath and peered at the image in the mirror. Red circles surrounded her eyes and she could see the bruises starting to appear where the knuckles had made a direct contact. Her eyelids were puffy and scabrous looking, as if they were going to split under the pressure of the swelling. A bluish red hand print stood out on her cheekbone and the distinct mark of the telephone cord circled her throat like little red waves. A faint smudge of dried blood remained under her nose and she ran some warm water over a facecloth and wiped her face gently. Her blonde hair stood out from her head as if she had been rubbing it with a balloon to create static energy and she combed her fingers through it to try to remove some of the tangles that had formed.
While using the toilet she felt like she was going to pee blood, but the water remained clear as she wiped herself. Returning to the sink, she washed her hands and stared at herself in the mirror. Her green eyes were cold and brilliant looking, the redness that surrounded them making them even more startling. She could feel the dam of tears wanting to burst free but she braced herself, refusing to let them hear her cry. Instead, she fished her toothbrush out of the drawer and headed down the hall to the bedroom she shared with Pet at the front of the house.
Quietly she moved around the room, taking some underwear out of her drawer and her few valuables off her dresser. She tightly folded a couple of small blouses and crammed them into her purse with her underwear, deodorant and toothbrush. Putting on an extra pair of jeans and two sweaters, she crawled under the blankets and turned towards the wall, feigning sleep. Staring at the wall she waited for the hours to pass. When the house finally slept, Ani slipped out of bed and put on her winter coat and boots. Tucking her purse firmly under her arm, she silently opened the front door and slid out into the night.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Ani Black crouched under the kitchen table. The tiny hands that covered her ears tried ineffectively to keep out the screams that originated from an upstairs bedroom. She was a small child, yet her sturdy frame belied an inner fragility already obvious in her green eyes. She had fine white-blonde hair that hung poker straight to the middle of her back. Today her mother had tied the sides of her hair up with small barrettes in the shape of silver bows. They refused to stay anchored in the fine hair, which only added to her mother’s exasperation of looking after her four small children.
At age five, Ani was the middle girl of three. Pet was fifteen months her junior and was a contradiction in terms when it came to her name. Tiny boned and dark haired with a smattering of freckles that dusted her cheekbones and crossed the bridge of her nose, her smallness was almost an inadequate covering for the fiery nature that lived within. Although she was the baby of the family, she was already a force to be reckoned with.
Sierra on the other hand was the firstborn and five years Ani’s senior. She was dark like Pet but heavier set, taking more after her mother. She wore her hair in a long single plait down her back. Her mother had taught her the tricky machinations of braiding and Sierra had caught on quickly, revealing a dexterity that showed in almost everything she did. She knew the ins and outs of things that a 10-year old had no right knowing. She had been forging ahead and breaking the “first to do it” ground for as long as Ani could remember. And much like her name, Sierra was like a desert. There were huge expanses in her where nothing grew or stayed for long, with only a small oasis here and there where thorny things hung on for dear life. Sierra was hard to get near and touchy.
Daniel was the brother. Being the only boy made him special from the start. He was 17 months older than Ani. A round face and fair hair made him look almost cherubic. His blue-gray eyes reflected the wonder of what every day offered anew to his eager mind, and he was quick to accept and learn. His quest for knowledge was something he liked to share, and Ani was often his companion along the way. They liked to point out to each other things the other might have missed. Daniel was the thinker, the mediator, and the diplomat. He was the apple of his mother’s eye, his father’s pride, and Ani’s best friend and confidante.
Of the four children, Ani was the fairest.
Her physical appearance was a contradiction of her name. Her parents had thought it amusing to name her Ani after a bird they had seen while honeymooning in the southern States. She had stood silently many times as she listened to her parents describe the American bird.
“Generally black in color, belonging to the cuckoo family.”
Her father always followed this description with the words, “You’re just the little cuckoo bird of the Black family, aren’t you Ani?” Even at the age of five, the litany did not amuse her and she would stare straight ahead while her father tousled her hair and smacked her bottom to send her on her way.
She crouched now like a little bird, hiding under the table in her mother’s bright yellow kitchen while Sierra’s screams echoed throughout the house. The sunlight that warmed the kittens playing on the stoop outside the screen door was a sharp contrast to the chill silence that followed. Ani’s eyes darted to the dark maw of the stairwell that led down to the basement, a place where rats nested in-between the stones that formed the foundation of the old red brick house. From the blackness of the stairwell, her eyes traveled up the wall and rested on the hook set high above their heads. It was empty. Prickles of fear swarmed across her arms and down her back. They all knew what that meant. The Strap! The long thick black piece of leather whose original purpose had been a razor strop used to put a fine edge on a straight razor. Now her father liked to use it to put a fine edge to his punishments.
She had no idea what had brought about Sierra’s punishment. She hadn’t even noticed the wary look on her mother’s face as she had bounded into the kitchen, letting the screen door slam. Her mind had been on the kittens when the first screams erupted and pinned her to the tiled floor. Foolishly, she had fled for cover under the table. Daniel’s face had appeared briefly around the corner of the screen door, and then vanished--he wasn’t taking any chances. Pet was out of sight and Ani realized that she was the only one trapped. The sounds of muffled sobs were faint underneath the roar of her father’s voice.
“I’ve told you before that it’s for your own good, so don’t you dare question me Sierra! Next time I’ll make sure you won’t sit for a month!”
The heavy thud of his footsteps coming down the stairs and entering the hall that led directly to where she hid made Ani almost wet her pants. She knew that for no reason at all he could easily transfer his anger from one child to the next. She held her breath as he suddenly came into view, positive he would discover her and then she’d be in for a strapping too.
He was a big man at just over six feet tall and 220 pounds. His face was a flaming red from his exertions and his blue eyes glared angrily from beneath his dark eyebrows. He had deliberately rolled the sleeves of his work shirt back to his elbows to help facilitate a good swing, and his left hand opened and clenched, opened and clenched. In his right hand swung the black leather strop. He was sweating.
He strode over to the top of the basement stairs and placed ‘The Strap’ on the hook almost tenderly. Then he turned and moved off to his favorite chair where he picked up his newspaper and disappeared behind it. The only sounds heard in the roaring silence that had descended were the rustling of the pages as they turned, and Sierra’s distant muffled sobs.
Her mother sat staring at her clenched hands as they rested on the kitchen table, oblivious of the daughter hiding beneath the yellow arborite. When Ani finally judged it safe to escape, she crept out from under the table and stood looking at her mother with the question she wanted to ask stuck on her tongue. Her mother’s blue eyes stared into another world while she rubbed her reddened hands together as if they were cold. She didn’t even smell the potatoes boiling over on the stove until the shout from the big chair made them both jump.
“Do I have to do everything around here?” seethed the voice from the living room.
Her mother’s eyes were still distant as she turned to the dinner, never seeing the little girl who needed her.
That night Ani lay in her small bed thinking of the day’s events. Nobody spoke of the beating, and Sierra’s pride kept Ani from questioning her. The whole episode had left her nervous. By not knowing what provoked the punishment, she couldn’t make plans to avoid that particular behavior and its results. As the streetlight threw monstrous leaf shadows on the wall beside her bed, she could hear the wind whipping through the trees and smell the coming storm. Sometimes the shadows looked like her father’s huge hands, rising and falling. She shuddered as the first crack of thunder resounded around the room. There were always so many storms in this house, she thought as lightning flashed and she shrank from the images that flared on the wall. The thunder that followed sounded like the crack of ‘The Strap’ from earlier that day. Ani whimpered softly as she slipped lower in her bed, pulling the covers up above her nose. Gradually her eyes closed, her fear finally wearing her out.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
As you can see at the top of my blog I have written the words - 'When I was growing up my parents told me that they beat me because they loved me. This is a true story about a life of abuse – both physical and mental – and my long journey to find ‘true love’.'
I am indeed in the process of writing 'The Wailings'. It has been a long time in the writing as life and mental health has often got in the way and I am not very good at delegating my time and focus on this. In fact I have found myself stuck so many times at the most crucial of points because I need to find the proper words to convey just how horrible life was at that exact moment.
I have scheduled the beginning of the story to start tomorrow. My posts have started with excerpts from The Wailings and then switched to my own voice as I have continued on with the story past what I have been able to write. I have received comments that people prefer to hear the story in my own voice but it was easier for me to include the excerpts and go from there.
Please note that I chose to write The Wailings as a fiction instead of an autobiography. I did so because I fear being found by The Beater and being prosecuted for revealing the truth. I will not be re-posting every single one as I see there are over a hundred posts under the label 'truth'. If you wish to read more of the story you will be able to find them by clicking on 'truth' in my sidebar and going back to the oldest and working your way forward. If you just want the high(low)lights - stay tuned right here and don't change that dial.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Some of you may have noticed a link on my sidebar to a book called ‘An Ungodly Child’ written by Rachel Green. I first met Rachel – when I stumbled across one of her blogs. Since then – not only have I had the delight of reading her book but I also get to follow the tales of Harold and Jasfoup in her two blogs – Laverstone Tales and Diary of a Demon. To give you an idea of what the story is about – here is a little teaser found on the back cover of the little blue book -
An Ungodly Child follows Harold Waterman, an unlikely hero, and his summoned demonic familiar Jasfoup.
When Harold is infected by an incurable disease after meeting Jedith, otherwise known as the Angel of Pestilence, he turns to the black arts to find a cure. Jasfoup is only too happy to help, as long as Harold can pay for his services.
Meanwhile, the three angels of destruction are out to prove that there could be an antichrist, if only Harold would believe it. Gillian, Harold’s vampire girlfriend, is not so sure.
Aims and her friend Rachel
The following is an interview I did with Rachel about her book. I am more than happy to have got a small insight into Rachel’s writing world and to include this interview in The Little Blue Book Tour.
1. What is your least favourite word in the English language?
What? No, seriously. That’s my least favourite word. That and its friend, ‘ever’. There are many others I dislike, but this is the worst.
2. When I was reading An Ungodly Child, I couldn't help but think that some of your characters might be based on your wyves or family. I know you relate to some characters - is there a chance that your wyves or family also play a part?
I try not to base characters on real people, though it’s hard not to add a character trait or two from people you know well. There’s a bit of me in both Harold and Jasfoup, and possibly bits of family members here and there. I did base a minor character in another book on a friend. Of course, I’ve had to edit him completely out in the re-write in case of litigation.
3. If you ever got the chance to live in Laverstone - who would you be?
I’d be me – the eccentric English old lady who talked to demons in her garden.
4. Where would you live in Laverstone?
Somewhere near the cemetery, for preference. Within the sound of the bells of St. Just’s.
5. I know there was some mix-up in getting AUC published, but thankfully it did materialise. I am going to ask you what all writers want to know - how did you become a 'published author'?
I got a short cut. I won a competition to get a book published. It was also a one-shot, so my agent is currently trying to find a home for book two.
6. What did the process of getting your book published entail?
Lots of edits. I had three people reading the manuscript but I still didn’t catch them all. Add in the errors the publisher added accidentally and there are still a dozen or so in the first edition.
7. Do you have an agent and do you recommend one?
Yes and yes. I signed with the Spectrum Literary Agency after Denyse King read AUC. I would always recommend one – they’re worth their weight in diet leaflets. I no longer worry about getting rejections because Denyse gets them for me.
8. Now that you are published - what is expected of you on the marketing end?
Everything. My publisher had no marketing budget, so all copies have been sold through me pushing it and friends reading and recommending it.
9. Is a book/signing tour in sight?
I very much doubt it. Very few bookshops took the risk to stock it and without publicity there are very few sales.
10. I remember you did a symbolic burning of the draft. I found that particularly interesting as some authors keep every draft. Can you explain why you did this and would you recommend it now that the draft has gone up in flames?
I still have it on disk! It was only the hard copy I burned. Yes, de-clutter your life. I’d have kept it if it was the only copy I had but I wouldn’t have wanted anyone to read those early drafts. They were rubbish..
11. If Jasfoup ascended to heaven - how long do you think he'd last before getting the boot?
Alas, he’d burn as soon as he set foot there. Not that he’d want to go. Heaven is a tedious place for a demon, and they don’t serve curry there. Or have gay sex. Or eat shellfish. I could go on. At least Valhalla has beer.
This book made me laugh out loud and almost spill my tea. I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a break from the real world.
An Ungodly Child is available from Amazon.co.uk.