Q is for Quentin

Quentin – from ‘The Audition’ (working title)
Quentin is a character in a new story I’m working on for my second collection of short stories. The story is about a local theatre group full of folk who believe they should be on the West End stage. It’s audition night for their next production and a new member comes to join… that’s all I’ll say for now.
Quentin Purcell (pronounced PurCELL) was born Ralph Purcell (pronounced PURcell). He legally changed his name after being made redundant from the papermills when it shut down. His settlement was enough that he could afford the legal fees then comfortably retire; just as long as his wife kept working in the local bakery. She was quite happy to keep working; especially now that he was retired!
Quentin was a founder member of the theatre group and it really did mean the world to him. He had seen members come and go and secretely resented them all. The ones who left to do something else, because he did not understand how anyone would want to do anything else. The ones who went professional, because he himself never got the opportunity.
In the story, Quentin’s nose is put firmly out of joint by the new member of the group who did make it to the West End. However the situation is resolved, but by the most unlikely person…
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P is for Patsy

Patsy – from ‘A Technical Hitch’
Patsy Dalton was born Patricia Maxwell. Her father was the Head of Maths at a Junior High School and her mother was a child minder. Mostly for teachers in her husband’s school. From a very young age Patsy was a ‘fixer’ of things. Her father was no good at DIY so Patsy and her mother always worked together to find a way to make things work. While the other girls in her class studied music and art, and were cheer leaders. Patsy studied woodwork and physics, and edited the school science magazine.
After winning an early scholarship to MIT she gained 2 Ph.Ds – in Science and Engineering. She was snapped up by NASA before she’d finished her studies; and after just 6 weeks at NASA, was snapped up by Cuthbert Dalton III whom she married 6 months later.
Bert, as he was called, was almost 20 years Patsy’s senior but they were perfect for each other. They loved living and working together, and never ran out of problems to solve or theories to argue about. They bought a run down house and renovated it top to bottom. In the middle of it all their daughter Maisie came along.
In the story Maisie is a teenager, and is having a bit of trouble in school. She’s wired very much like her mother and so when she gets a chance to be involved in the school play, it’s not on stage doing the singing.
Patsy ends up being a great help to Maisie as she helps out back stage with the tech side of things…
You’ll find Patsy in ‘A Technical HItch’ from ‘The Long & The Short of it’

O is for Orla

Orla – from ‘Artistic Temperament’ 
Orla had little option but to be an artist. Her father was a ‘tortured writer’. He wrote during the night mostly and dozed on and off during the day. His books were deep and dark; and though they were niche, they sold well enough that he could live a life where he did not have to do anything else to provide well for his family.
Orla’s mother was a poet and artist. She was not interested in money; and it was a good thing that she didn’t need to be, as her work had a loyal but very small following.
So how could Orla escape the arts? She was the only child of these two creative geniuses; and an unplanned one at that. They were both shocked to find themselves expecting a baby; as if no one had told them how these things came to be. They doted on Orla from the moment she arrived but determined not to ‘make that mistake again…’ Their parenting style was interesting to say the least and consisted mostly of various ways of making sure their daughter knew the importance of art.
Orla could create any idea from her head but it was a frustration to her that she could not draw what she saw in front of her. So she regularly attended life drawing classes.
Somehow she managed to end up with a ‘practical’ gene and knew that she would need a ‘real’ job to pay the bills, while she waited for artistic success. So she went down the route of graphic design. The zany thing she got from her parents gave her an edge in the business and in this story we find her in an interview for a high level job in a big firm.
But she gets a bit of a shock when she sees who is on the interview panel…
You’ll find Orla in ‘Artistic Temperament’ from ‘The Long & The Short of it’

N is for Nancy

Nancy –  from ‘Girl Power’
I think Nancy is the kid I wished I was. I was bullied in school and anyone who has known that experience knows how powerless you can feel in the presence of certain people.
I suppose this story is a ‘hat tip’ to all who have been bullied. Those who’ve been brave enough to stand up, like Nancy; and those who are more like me… who wish they’d had the gumption to do what Nancy did.
It’s possible that her reaction wasn’t actually the most appropriate one. I would never advocate lashing out or hitting back. It’s far better to go to someone you trust and tell them what’s happeneing, so that together you can find help. But Nancy hadn’t done that (unless you count her brother who gave her the ‘chin-up’ response), and so a build up of anger and frustration brought things to a head.
Like I say, maybe not No.1 one on the list of ways to respond – but if you’ve read the story I bet you gave a cheer when she did… :)
Oh btw I gave a couple of interviews for a radio series called ‘Freedom from Bullying’ if you’d like to listen to it.