Monday, 14 April 2014

Meet My Main Character!

On Sunday I came across a fantastic new blog hop/chain of posts for historical fiction writers to introduce the main character from their WIP or soon to be published novel. It looked like so much fun that I simply had to join in, so the lovely Beth von Staats tagged me in her post. Make sure you check it out, it's a really interesting read!

I must also give honourable mentions to Debra Brown, who started this blog hop, and to Farida Mestek, whose post inspired me to join in!

What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

My novel has two protagonists, but the protagonist we see the most of is Jane Ask, who is 21 years old at the beginning of the novel (apart from the brief prologue, in which she is 6). She is entirely fictional, and very dear to my heart.

To the right is a picture of how I imagine Jane, made with this dollmaker because, sadly, I can't even draw stickmen well.

When and where is the story set?

The novel is set in Lancaster, Lancashire, and at the beginning of the novel the year is 1554. Mary I sits on the English throne.

What should we know about him/her?

After her mother's sudden death when she is 6, Jane grows up with just her father and two older brothers. Her oldest brother, Matthew, and her father eventually die, and her other brother, David, moves to London to work as a carpenter there. Jane elects to remain in Lancaster, near the countryside that she loves, and away from the wilderness that is London.

At the beginning of the novel London, and indeed all of England, is a dangerous place for Jane to be, for she is a Protestant, and therefore a heretic in the eyes of the queen. She must keep her beliefs incredibly secret, as Lancashire, like most of the north of England, is devoutly Catholic. 

She lives a quiet life as a healer, with only a select few friends, and enjoys her own company. She's also rather proud, despite being on the poorer end of the social scale, though she would never admit it.

What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

During the autumn of 1554 Jane is accused of witchcraft. She is arrested, questioned and tortured via thumbscrew, leaving her hands forever maimed. Determined not to be hanged for something she hasn't done, Jane still refuses to admit to the charges. She is eventually ducked and found innocent when she sinks, but spends the rest of her days struggling with PTSD; she suffers from nightmares, flashbacks and panic attacks.

Jane eventually marries a Scottish tutor, a Protestant like herself who has fled London after seeing some of his friends arrested and executed, and has four children, three of whom survive infancy. Her oldest child and only daughter, Thora, gives her something of a shock when one day she summons fire in her palm.

The realisation that her beloved daughter is the very thing Jane was once accused of being brings back memories she'd rather forget. She is forced to question everything she knows about the world and the true circumstances of her mother's death, all while trying to protect Thora from herself as her powers begin to grow stronger.

What is the personal goal of the character?

Ultimately Jane wants nothing more than to keep her children safe, and she will do anything to make sure that they are. Due to her PTSD she suffers from mild paranoia, and is fiercely protective of all three of them.

Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

Yes! My novel is titled Bloodroot and Bracken, and a few weeks ago I took part in WeWriWa and posted the first eight sentences of the novel. Other than that, however, I keep it mostly to myself. For now!

When can we expect the book to be published?

Ha - I need to finish writing it first! Ideally I'd like to have it ready to send off to agents either at the end of this year or the beginning of next year.

I hope you enjoyed finding out a little more about Jane, and I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Once again, thank you to Beth von Staats for tagging me. I'm going to pass the torch to Carrie-Anne Brownian, an author of 20th century historical fiction whose characters I'd love to learn more about, and also to Amy Brashear, who, I believe, is working on a novel which takes place in the 1960s. Exciting!

If anyone else would like to join in, let me know and I'd be more than happy to tag you!



  1. Poor Jane! I feel so utterly sorry for her. Could she work as a healer after she had been tortured? I wonder how she met her husband. You've got a very interesting plot here with a very shocking twist. I'd definitely love to read more about it. Thank you for the mention!

    1. Thankfully she does manage to return to her work, though it takes a while; her thumbs remain crooked for the remainder of her life and for a little while she's simply too afraid of her neighbours to venture outside, but she gets back to work eventually. It keeps her busy, and keeping herself busy lessens the symptoms of her PTSD.

      Thank you very much, and you're welcome! :) Thank you for introducing me to this blog hop!

  2. What an introduction! I like how you're tipping your hat to the historical context but giving it your own paranormal (fantasy?) flair. Who will the story focus on - the daughter or mother? Or will you split it up?
    Jen Corkill -
    Would like to read passages of it :)

    1. Thank you very much! :) The novel is split so some chapters focus on Jane while others focus on Thora. The majority of the chapters, however, are focused on Jane - Thora doesn't start to get really interesting until she's a little older! ;)