Hello and welcome to strange and unusual interviews
We’ve managed to get inside author P.J Roscoe’s head and having delved deeply and rummaged around completely in her mind we can ask the characters some questions to find out how they actually feel.
The first interview is with Bronwen Mortimer – from the award-winning novel ‘Echoes’.
“Hello and thank you for coming today, I understand it’s been a difficult time lately?”
“Hi, yes, it has been difficult.”
“Can you tell me a little bit about that?”
“Well, as you know, I moved to this village just over six months ago because I wanted to get away from the noise of the city. I thought Derwen would be quiet, a place I could relax and feel safe and with Shrewsbury being so close I liked the idea of that. I’d heard Shrewsbury was a nice place to visit. Sadly, it didn’t work out how I’d planned.”
“You didn’t feel safe in the city or the village?”
“I don’t want to talk about that … I’m still recuperating from the events …”
“Okay. Have you been to Shrewsbury town since the incidents?”
“I called in a couple of times, but I’ve never stayed long. The memories of my previous visits are still too raw. You know, with James following me and, well, you know all about that so I won’t go into that now, but it seems that even away from the village, the memory of Gwenllian is still too strong and I find myself on the verge of tears. I miss her …”
“Yes, can we talk about that? I believe you witnessed her death?”
“I did and it was horrible. Made me feel quite sick to my stomach and it took me a very long time to grief and work through the horror of it, as you can imagine. You know, I even kept a knife by me during the night, daft I know, I mean, what can a knife do to someone that’s already dead, but you know, I wasn’t thinking straight then.”
“Sounds terrifying for you. Have you had any support from the locals?”
“I had a friend, Eira. She was kind and we had a nice cup of tea and homemade scones. I think I miss her more than I’m willing to admit. Once it all came out I withdrew for a while and let the gossiping villagers get on with it, but most were kind to me when I re-emerged. A few took me to the pub and a couple of nice ladies brought me groceries, and one even baked me a cake! I know they all want to know if I knew more than what I told the police, but I can’t see any point in telling people the truth – nobody would believe me. Even those who experienced some of it are having difficulty believing.”
“Met anyone else in the village?”
“Well. there’s Adam of course and the Kenward family. A lovely woman who’s their housekeeper, Judith, though she took her time to get to know me. I think she feels quite protective towards the family, Adam in particular! His sister Rosalyn is okay, but I don’t see her much as she lives and works in Chester. She sent me a lovely scarf for Christmas.”
“So, you and Adam Kenward?”
“What about me and Adam Kenward? We’re friends, I mean, we’ve both suffered and it brought us closer, but I refuse to answer that question, it is too private – make your own mind up on that!”
“But aren’t you renting his cottage?”
“I’m renting it from his father, Sir Richard, who I get on with very well. I have a couple of months left on my lease and then I will make a decision on whether I stay or leave. I quite fancy seeing a bit more of the country – perhaps doing a painting tour?”
“A painting tour?”
“Yes. Following the incidents I took up doodling on paper, which became pieces of artwork. I showed them to a gallery in Shrewsbury – well, Adam did behind my back and they had an exhibition coming up and four of my pieces were displayed – three sold! It gave me the confidence to continue, and experiment, and I found that I have a talent for oil on canvass. I think I’ve painted everything in the vicinity, so need to branch out! I’ve painted Kenward Hall from every angle I think!”
“Kenward hall? Built around the same time as the death of the little girl?”
“Yes, it was built in the late fifteenth century. She came from that time. It was built by her father Sir William, though apparently he never lived in it.”
“I think you have a soft spot for her…?”
“I do. Of course I do!Poor thing. To die that way is too horrible to contemplate and besides, we have a connection that echoes down through the centuries – of course I have a ‘soft spot’ for Gwenllian. I think I always will.”
“What do you have planned today?”
“Not sure really. I think I might take a walk into the village and take some paints and see if anything catches my eye. With Christmas fast approaching, the ladies of the village have decorated the old chapel, so I might go and capture the essence of it. Beyond the village, in the fields surrounding it are the ancient Oaks, I like to walk the circular walk around the village, touching each one in turn and asking that healing be sent to the village and its occupants.”
“They circle the village I believe.”
“Yes they do. It’s about a two mile walk, perfect in this winter weather. Just long enough before returning to my home for a mug of hot chocolate! The trees still hum, as if an electric current is gently moving through them. The power of the old villagers is still strong after all these centuries.
“Well thank you Bronwen for talking with us today, I hope you enjoy your day.”
“Okay, thank you … I’ll see you around x”
2nd Interview with Adam Kenward, from the book ‘Echoes’.
“Morning Adam, thank you for giving us some of your time to…”
“Yes, yes, hurry up, I’m a busy man.”
“Of course, right, so what are your plans today?”
“Today I have to organise the horses. I’ve had a run of luck lately with my mares and two have recently become pregnant so I’m keeping a close eye on them, and the stallion, who fathered them, as he’s getting a bit agitated. He wants to be with his new love, Scarlet all the time! Along with horse-sitting duties there’s the usual mucking out, grooming, exercising, all the day to day running of stables, plus I’m helping with renovations up at the hall, so my days are very busy.”
“I see and is that Scarlet we can see popping her head out of that stable?”
“It is, isn’t she a beauty? Dulas, the stallion loves her. He’s the one you can hear whinnying to her from the field. I had to let him out before he kicked his stable to bits! She’s responded well, and we’ve all got our fingers crossed for their offspring later next year.”
“I see, how are the stables doing?”
“That’s none of your business. Why are you asking me that? You’re not a spy from that Oswestry stable are you because if you are … next question.”
“Sure, okay, I believe you know a Miss Mortimer?”
“Yes, what of it?”
“I hear you’re friends?”
“What did she tell you? What did she say about me? If she said we’re friends, then I’d agree, we are. Following the incident we became … closer, I think that was inevitable, normal really when people experience trauma.”
“Do you like her?
“Next question …”
“Come on, surely you can answer that?”
“I said next question or I’m leaving. Bronwen and I are none of your business, okay?”
“Really? You feel that strongly?”
“Well, I suppose that is a bit harsh, but I’m a private man and Bronwen, I mean, Miss Mortimer is also private, so let’s move on …”
Sure, okay although I know many readers are dying to know if you two …?
“I’m leaving! What Miss Mortimer and I do is not your concern …”
Echoes can be purchased on Amazon.
3rd Interview with Helen Gunn, in ‘Freya’s Child’.
Hello Helen, thank you for being with me today.
You’re welcome, nice to be alive.
I’m sure it is Helen. Can you tell me how you and Charlotte are doing these days?
We’re living each day as it comes. Some days are easier than others. Charlotte never speaks about her time away, but she has had a few nightmares were she wakes up screaming for her daddy. I don’t sleep very well as I’m listening for any sounds, but my therapist tells me this is normal and will pass.
Good to hear. How are your injuries?
They’re healing, slowly. I’ll never have a perfect face again (laughs) but at least I’m alive and I have my daughter. Nothing is worse than losing her.
Do you keep in touch with the others?
I do. We meet for coffee and cake once a month, it helps with my confidence to get out there and endure the stares and pointing of people. Kathryn and I have had a couple of girls nights out, but Tony and Kathryn are stuck together like new lovers right now and I don’t get in the way of that.
What about Bernard? Do you see him?
Yes, I’ve seen him occasionally. We met again after the trial when they held a memorial at the dig site. We had pagans of the Norse path come and hold a beautiful ceremony to honour those who died. Before that, I struggled seeing anyone following the incident. I’ve walked with him and his dogs a couple of times, but he is so busy with preserving the site with Trevor and Kathryn.
Do you know what happened to Mr Merton?
You mean after he was sentenced? yes, Kathryn told me. A mad man.
Do you believe his rantings about past lives?
I know he believed it, that he was some chieftain and commanded these people. It doesn’t matter what I believe. He was evil, creating stories to help make himself feel better is just sick.
So what has life got in store for you now?
I love my job at Arrow Park Hospital. I work with people in recovery. When they see what I’ve achieved, they are happy to work with me. It’s only part-time, but that suits me fine. I can collect Cherry from school, so quality time together and I have a job – a dream life really. I am more than aware of how lucky I am to have this. I owe it all to Robert. (voice cracks)
Thank you for your time today Helen.
4th Interview with Jonas Merton of Freya’s Child
Hello Jonas, can I speak with you?
(Grumbles. Grunts) You dare to presume you may speak with me …?
I do, if I may, or would you prefer I speak with Halldor?
I shall accommodate you if you set me free from these chains …
Afraid I can’t do that. Do you remember why you’re here, erm, Halldor?
I do indeed. They that no nothing of the powers that rule this land have made me their slave. I shall never be slave to another, for I am Viking.
I see. And what do you do as a viking?
You are pitiful. Vikings rule this land. We gave our word to that Saxon woman, but we knew it was false. We can never settle on another’s land until it is ours. I am chief. I take a wife, we burn and pillage and take whatever we want.
And your village at Thurstaston?
What of it? Is was mine to do with as I pleased. The people are mine to do with as I pleased. Did I not kill every last one to save them from a weak death? I am merciful and they shall be grateful that I sent them to Vallhalla and not Hel.
And what of Helen and Charlotte Gunn? You tried to kill them.
They dared to interfere. It is true, to harm a woman of high birth is considered wrong, but she had no right to do what she did. I am chief, not this Helen. It is my right to command and speak with the gods, not this puny woman.
Are you sorry for what you did?
Never. And when I am released of these chains, I shall return to take my revenge on all those that wronged me.
Sure, okay, we’ll leave it there, thanks …
Freya’s Child can be purchased on Amazon and Smashwords
Coming soon – interviews with main characters from ‘Diary of Margery Blake’ and ‘Between Worlds’