Friday, 16 February 2018

# Someone to #Lean on- #Felipe from Revolution Day

Friday means it's time to give those supporting secondary characters a bit of the limelight!

Today, I'm joined by Tim Taylor, a brilliantly versatile author of contemporary novels, historical novels and poetry, who has chosen to feature an accomplished character from his novel Revolution Day. It's a little while since I read this fantastic 5* novel  so it's brilliant to be reminded of what a sensible, steady and calm character Felipe is, at least that's how I read him to be. Though  Revolution Day is a contemporary novel it has a historical novel feel to it as various memories are interwoven as the story progresses.

Welcome to my Friday series, Tim I'll let you explain a bit about Felipe so that my readers can get to know him better!16th Feb

T. E. Taylor 
Hello, Nancy, it’s lovely to be visiting you again!  I have to say that when you said you were inviting guest posts about supportive secondary characters I jumped at the chance. It is always the way with supporting characters that they don’t get a fair crack of the whip whenever we’ve only got a few words in which to talk about a novel (in the blurb, for example). They often play an important part that is not easily summarised in half a sentence.

Nancy says: I totally agree and you put that so much better than I have!   
So it is with Felipe, private secretary to ageing dictator Carlos Almanzor in Revolution Day. Because the main storyline of the novel revolves around Carlos, his estranged wife Juanita and ambitious vice-president Manuel (who is plotting to seize the presidency for himself), Felipe tends not to get mentioned in straplines and soundbites. I have often felt this to be unfair to him, and am glad of this opportunity to give him his moment in the sun!  
It’s lonely at the top, and Carlos is increasingly depressed and insecure. He is a deeply flawed man who has done many bad things in his long career, but he is not a monster. Felipe sees this, and does his best to steer Carlos towards the light. By doing so he will come to have a significant influence on the events of the novel (though I’m not going to reveal exactly how!) But how does a lowly, gay secretary in his mid-20s influence an elderly, irascible autocrat? Not overtly, for sure, but indirectly, by understanding his boss, earning his trust and knowing what buttons to press.  
Here is an example of how Felipe operates. He has been trying to get Carlos to show a more human face to the world via an informal video blog. However, on discovering an obscene parody of his blog, Carlos angrily threw away his laptop. This passage shows us Felipe’s first step towards getting him to change his mind.    

“What the hell is this nonsense?”
            On the previous half dozen occasions when the President had confronted him at his desk, Felipe’s face had turned red and he had almost lost the power of speech, such words as did emerge being rendered unrecognisable by the return of a stammer that had been largely eliminated in his childhood. Today, however, his face remained its usual agreeable shade of light amber and his reply was measured and clear.
            “I am sorry, Presidente, I should have put a label on the cover of the folder. It is a digest of material about you that has appeared on the internet during the last few days. I thought that, since you have decided not to use a computer, you would wish me to monitor the relevant sites on your behalf.”
            “Do you think that I have time to read through pages and pages of scurrilous drivel every week?”
            “I do appreciate, of course, that your time is heavily committed, Presidente. So I have prepared the digest in such a way that it is not necessary to read it all. See, there is a two-page executive summary here at the front that highlights the main themes. It gives page numbers, in case you want to see more detail on any particular item.”
            Unsure what to say in response, the President expressed his continuing anger in the form of a succession of grunts and growls, allowing his secretary to maintain momentum.
            “Do you not recall, Presidente, that in our discussion last month, you expressed your concern about defamatory material that was appearing on the internet, and your dissatisfaction that neither I nor the Ministry of Information had kept you informed about this? I was merely seeking to rectify that omission. Was I wrong to do so?”
            “I…I am not sure that I recall the discussion.”
            “If I may refresh your memory, Presidente, you were upset when you discovered a parody of your blog. When I said that parodies and other uncomplimentary material about public figures such as yourself were not unusual, you enquired whether the Ministry of Information monitored the internet for such material, and asked me why I had not informed you about it before.”
            The President did not yet look convinced, but he did not challenge what had been said. Felipe took this as an invitation to continue.
            “So the digest is, as I have said, my attempt to find an appropriate way of keeping you informed. Of course, if it does not meet your needs, or if you have decided that you do not require this information after all, I will not trouble you with such a document again…”
            Carlos opened his mouth to speak, but unusually, Felipe did not give way until he had finished what he was going to say.
            “…But might I be so impertinent as to suggest that, before you decide, you at least take a brief look at the executive summary. It will only take a few minutes, and there is no urgent business in your calendar for the day. Then I will be happy either to continue with the digest or to discontinue it, or to modify it in any way you wish.”
            The President opened his mouth once more, left if open for a couple of seconds, then closed it again. He snatched the purple folder off the desk, turned, and walked away, closing the oak door behind him.

If your readers are intrigued, they can find out more about Revolution Day here:

Links for Buying and reading about Tim's work: 

Revolution Day on Amazon:

A bit about Tim: 

Tim ‘T.E.’ Taylor was born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1960 and now lives in Meltham, near Huddersfield, with his wife Rosa. He studied Classics at Pembroke College, Oxford, and some years later did a PhD in Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London. He spent a number of years in the civil service before leaving in 2011 to spend more time writing. Tim now divides his time between creative writing, academic research (he has published a book, Knowing What is Good for You, on the philosophy of well-being), and part-time teaching in ethics at Leeds University.

Tim’s first novel, Zeus of Ithome, is set in Ancient Greece and follows the real-life struggle of the Messenian people to free themselves from Sparta. His second, Revolution Day, is about an ageing Latin American dictator who is clinging to power as his vice-president plots against him. As well as fiction, Tim writes poetry: he won the 2016 National Association of Writers Groups open poetry prize. He also plays electric and acoustic guitar, occasionally in public, and likes to walk up hills.

(You can also find more about Tim's previous visits to this blog by using the 'Search' facility on the right sidebar to access my review and posts where Tim's been my guest.) 

I remember Felipe a lot better now (I read so many novels every year that the details tend to get lost in my memory banks, although I always remember when I loved reading the book as with Revolution Day). 

Thank you for coming today and sharing him with us, Tim. My best wishes for the next steps in your writing, whichever genre that might be in. 


1 comment:

  1. Many thanks for hosting Felipe, Nancy. It's great to give him the opportunity to step out from the shadows.


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