Friday means it's time to give those supporting secondary characters a bit of the limelight!
Today, I'm joined by a Crooked Cat author, the lovely Angela Wren, who has chosen to spotlight a really interesting character from her contemporary murder mystery novel, Messandrierre. I remember a little lad as being a novel and interesting addition but I'll let Angela tell you all about how he came to be included in the very engrossing story. And then you can read the extract that's just perfect for getting to know the character.
I'm also enjoying the photographs Angela has sent along to illustrate her post - I hope you do, too. Cevennes/France in snow and Cevennes/France in sunshine - a fabulous variety!
Welcome again, Angela...
|Col du Rieutort - Courtesy of Angela Wren|
My first idea for my series of Jacques Forêt mysteries came to me whilst I was in
France. It was September 2007 and I’d woken up to a
snow-covered landscape. I was in the Cévennes
on a favourite campsite that sits at about 1000m above sea level. So, whilst snow isn’t normal in September,
neither is it completely unusual. Within
a couple of days, I had the opening paragraph for the story and a lot of notes
about my central characters, the crime, the perpetrator, the victims and I had
a village full of people waiting to be written about.
I began the actual task of writing Messandrierre some time in 2011 and continued to work on it through into 2012. By this time, I knew that I had four stories to tell and I had certain characters allocated to each one. Pierre Mancelle was one of these characters and I had decided that he would make his first appearance in book 3. But
Pierre had other ideas.
I was working my way through draft 4 of Messandrierre – the first book in the series – when
Pierre breezed onto the
page. I deleted him and carried on and a
few days later whilst reviewing and revising a later chapter, Pierre ran into the village gendarmerie and
plonked himself down on the floor. That
was when I decided that he needed to have a proper role.
Let me introduce him to you. He’s 5 years old at the very beginning of book 1. His mum is Marie Mancelle and his father is Martin. His grandfather is Monsieur Le Maire in the
. Marie and Martin both work in the music
industry, but this is a fact that doesn’t come out in detail until book 3. village of Messandrierre
In this scene,
Pierre has just had his 6th
birthday when he visits Gendarme Jacques Forêt.
Jacques has been trying to determine the final whereabouts of the
missing tourist, Rob Myers, and is convinced that the location might be
somewhere in or close to, the village.
Hearing the office door open, he looked over the top of his computer screen as the door then closed again, apparently all by itself. Arms folded he sat back and waited.
“Junior Gendarme Mancelle reporting for duty, sir,” said
Pierre as he ducked under
the counter and presented himself to Jacques. “And my maman has sent you this,”
he added, carefully placing a small pâtisserie box on the desk.
He looked inside and, found a piece of birthday cake. “Happy birthday and I
suppose you have lots of presents.”
|LaGarde-Guerin - Courtesy of Angela Wren|
“Come and see,” said
darting back under the counter and out into the sunshine. Preferring not to be
disturbed at that moment, but not wishing to disappoint the child, Jacques
reluctantly left the list of calls on his desk and followed. Outside, he found
the youngster astride his brand new red bicycle, a wide grin on his face, and
Jacques saw an opportunity.
In the road outside Beth’s chalet, Jacques checked that his assistant had everything he needed. “Chalk?”
Jacques squatted down and re-set his stopwatch that was temporarily tied to the handlebars of the new bike. “Ready stopwatch.”
“This time pedal as fast as you possibly can to see if you can reach the path leading up to the chateau. All right, on your marks. Get set. And…” He clicked the stopwatch on. “Go!”
“So, Junior Gendarme Mancelle,” he said as he caught up with the boy. “What have you to report?”
A little red-faced and breathless, he carefully laid his bike down on the grass verge and then pointed to a chalk mark in the road with the number 3 beside it. “That’s the best so far,” he said.
“Well done,” said Jacques. He took out his notebook and crouched so that
could see what he was doing. “What we do now is we draw a little sketch,” he
said as he turned to a new page. “And then we pace out the distances between
the three chalk marks.” He made a few more additions to his drawing. “And now
we pace,” said Jacques striding out from chalk mark three, making a note and
then doing the same again from chalk mark two with Pierre beside him having to
take more than twice as many steps. He handed his notebook over and let Pierre write in his own
With his experiment completed Jacques took the track down past the Pamier farm. “Your maman said you had to be home soon so I will come with you to thank her.”
Pierre is a forward little guy at only five years old but so likeable.
(ps My grandson is almost 4 now but I can see him doing something similar since he's so inquisitive, but hopefully we don't have murders in my village for him to help solve!)
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Website : www.angelawren.co.uk
Blog : www.jamesetmoi.blogspot.com
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