HERE'S A BLOG I recently wrote for the 'Paranormalists' website.
(You can check it out here )
The set-up is that I imagine what one of my lead characters might say if interviewed. How would they react to the treatment I give them? Would they complain?
In this case, it's Melia (from 'The Amelia Hartliss mysteries' series.)
Character Confessions: Amelia Hartliss, spy and Secret Agent
Hi, Everybody. My name is Amelia Hartliss, but everybody calls me Melia, (and that’s the first thing I have to ‘thank’ my creator for). Why a short name? Why so informal? Good Grief, I’m a kick boxer, a sharp shooter and a skilled linguist. Why shouldn’t people respect me for being more than a gorgeous female, devastatingly attractive to both males and females. My author is so old-fashioned. He makes me wear tight sweaters and leather boots, tight jeans and jackets. He implies I sashay into rooms. For whose benefit? Watch out, folks. It’s almost as if there’s an adolescent young writer behind this character, and one with raging male hormones!
Having said that, the most bizarre thing about the world I inhabit is that nobody swears. None. There’s no profanity. So here we are, in the dirty alleyways and tough cities of post-industrial northern England, and everyone speaks as primly as a church-going spinster on a Sunday. I suppose it’s something I’ve had to get used to, but some days, when things don’t go right, (and that’s pretty often, in my world,), I just need to vent. Doesn’t everyone? I’m surrounded by bank robbers, terrorists, thieves and kidnappers, but no matter what the tension, there’s not a single expletive to be heard. (I’ve been told some readers like that.)
Unfortunately, author Mike Scantlebury has never explained himself on this odd quirk. Also, he hasn’t allowed me to comment on it, though me - being a tough cookie in a Man’s world - might have noticed it, don’t you think? In fact, he doesn’t allow me much opportunity to explain myself at all. He might tell you that I was born in Manchester, England, but hey, there’s a million people in this city and a dozen suburbs. Where was I born and where did I grow up? What school did I go to? (Well, I know that. It was called Levenshulme High School for Girls, in the south of the city. Is that of any interest to you?) One thing that does keep cropping up is that I live in an apartment at the back of Piccadilly train station, the main one in central Manchester, and that I have a great view of the old canal basin on Dale Street from my second floor window. Yeah, it’s nice, well furnished and secure, (being off the ground), but when did I move in? Did I buy it? I can’t remember any of those details, even though I’ve been here for years, and plenty of characters have come to visit me here, including Prince William, grandson of the Queen, (in the ‘Olympics 2012’ novel).
I suppose I had parents, like most people, but that’s another closed book, to coin a phrase. The only relative I’m ever allowed to mention is my cousin Liv, who lives on the other side of the river, in Salford. Apparently, we spent a lot of time together when we were teenagers, but our lives together only really re-started when the city of Salford decided to elect its own Mayor for the first time in 2012 and Liv’s Dad, my Uncle Marty, got involved in the more sleazy aspects of the electoral process. Marty is dead now, and Liv has moved from her childhood home in Swinton to a smart new flat in the precincts of the University of Salford. Not bad, I say. Not bad for a girl with less education than me, who left school with no qualifications, and had to make up for lost time by attending Night School and Evening Classes. The gal has done well for herself. The only thing I resent about her is that she keeps poaching my men. There was a time when she was engaged to Terry the technician - from my Unit - but that all fell through for some reason. Later, she married a police detective called Don, a sergeant in Manchester City Police, the best friend of my boyfriend, Mickey.
Well, I say ‘boyfriend’. I’ve got no reason to be sure about that. Mickey is sometimes portrayed as being a Secret Agent, like me, but a while ago he retired from the Service, only to resurface occasionally as an active spy, who keeps disappearing off abroad on hair raising missions. When he’s here, he’s great, but there’s plenty of times when he just isn’t. When I was having to deal with the ‘gun running Granny’ Jan Branch in my recent adventure ‘Co-Vid2020’, he was nowhere to be seen So, please don’t blame me that I fell in love with a younger man while on a short holiday in Spain. He was called John Lewis - well, that was the identity he gave me - and I only found out his true background - and real purpose - much later. Oh dear, that does make me seem like some sort of irresponsible, gullible chick, doesn’t it? Please don’t judge me. It’s the way I’m written. My critics sometimes say I’m introduced as a smart and modern young woman and then I go and commit the simplest mistakes and fall for the most obvious fabrications. I wish I could be painted as clever as I am, but No. As one critic recently said: ‘They say you’re a spy, so how come that when something happens, you’re always the last to know?’
I don’t know. I’m the last to know. Like, for instance, you might be told I work for a government department here in Britain, but the Unit keeps changing its name. The work we do is mainly anti-terrorism, so you might guess we’re linked to MI5, the place where James Bond works. But he’s in London, of course, and I’m up here, in the northern Regional Office. At least, I think I am. Some people say that MI5 doesn’t have any offices in the Regions, but what do they know? If there were no regional offices, I’d have no place to work, and there wouldn’t be any British Security presence in Manchester or Salford and - well, I wouldn’t exist. But that’s not possible, is it? I’m Amelia Hartliss, Secret Agent, and Mike Scantlebury, author, is quite clear about that.
Melia, looking the worse for wear, in a recent book.
Here's the link: