I love writing this blog, especially when visitors leave comments. A regular commentator is Teagan Geneviene and I really enjoy visiting her blog. When I read her post Meet My Main Character Blog Tour, and saw that she hadn’t found anyone to tag, I tagged myself. If you’ve visited her blog, you’ll know what fun it is – please drop by and read about the main character in her WIP, the sequel to Atonement, Tennessee. Teagan says, “You’ll meet many familiar characters in book 2, Atonement in Bloom. Once again, Ralda Lawton is the main character and primary narrator. Lilith the calico is back too, and the parts of the story Ralda can’t see are told through the cat’s eyes. The story is an urban fantasy, inspired by ancient Celtic mythology.”
Now it’s my turn in the “Meet My Main Character Blog Tour.”
For this virtual tour, we have to answer a series of questions about the main character in a work-in-progress (WIP). Here are my answers to the questions about the principal heroine of The Orchid Tree.
1. What is the name of your character? Is she fictional?
Kate Wolseley is a fictional character, although I’ve given her the physical characteristics of my mother at her age.
2. When and where is the story set?
Colonial Hong Kong between 1941-1945 and from 1948-1949. My grandparents were interned by the Japanese during WWII, and I’ve used their memoirs of life behind barbed wire in the Stanley Civilian Internment Camp. My father joined the Chinese Maritime Customs after his demob from the Royal Navy, and his experiences chasing smugglers up and down the South China Coast inspired the character of the Englishman, James, in my novel. I wanted to bring alive a time and place that no longer exist, and I hope my knowledge of the era lends an authenticity to my writing that readers will enjoy. You can see some of the locations of The Orchid Tree here.
4. What should we know about Kate?
I don’t want to give away the story, so I’ll keep this brief. Kate has lived a pampered existence, in a house full of servants, at the pinnacle of pre-war Hong Kong society. Spoiled by her father, but lacking the attention of her mother, she finds comfort in the love of her Chinese amah (nanny). Her background is typical “stiff upper lip” British, except Kate is more open than her parents. As a result of her over-protected upbringing, she’s young for her age, which is fifteen at the start of the novel.
4. What is the main conflict?
Initially, WWII. Kate is interned with her parents in a squalid camp and has to endure cramped conditions, humiliation, disease, and starvation. She befriends 17 year-old Charles – who’s half Chinese – and they give their hearts to each other under the orchid tree. Kate’s father doesn’t approve of their relationship. At the end of the war, Kate and Charles are separated. She believes him to be dead when the ship he’s on is sunk, and her emotions have been frozen ever since.
5. What is the personal goal of the character?
Kate’s goal is to make a new life for herself in a society on the brink of change. She wants to become independent, overcome prejudice, and become a part of the new Hong Kong. All the while, Kate clings to her memories of Charles. Will she ever be able to love again?
6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
After several working titles, I’ve finally settled on The Orchid Tree, the Bauhinia Blakeana, and I would like one of these trees on my book cover. A recurrent location in the novel, the orchid tree flower has become the emblem of Hong Kong. You can read the first eight chapters of my novel here.
7. When can we expect the book to be published?
I can’t make any promises or predictions at the stage. It’s in the lap of the gods, as they say. However, I would very much like to publish it before the calendar year is over. That’s my aim and I hope to achieve it.
And now, it’s my pleasure to pass the baton on to two wonderful authors. The first, Celia Micklefield, is a talented writer who I met through the YouWriteOn peer review site. The second, Tina Burton, is also an extremely gifted author, and I met her via Twitter. Please visit their websites and check them out! Both are highly creative. Tina loves quilling as well as writing, and Celia blogs about writing, reading and living in France. Thank you, dear friends, for agreeing to participate in the Meet My Main Character Blog Tour. I’m looking forward to reading about your main characters.
Celia Micklefield – Writer in Languedoc – Blogger, Trucklover, Trobairitz, Winelover. http://celiamicklefield.com/
Tina Burton’s Blog – A blog about writing and quilling – making designs and pictures from paper. http://tinakburtons.blogspot.co.uk/