Tell Us Your Backstory—A Scottish Lilt with Narrelle M Harris
Extract from Ravenfall
James was pensive on the way home, waiting for further questions that didn’t come. All Gabriel said was, ‘Your accent comes out when you’re stressed or hurt. Did you know?’
‘It’s gone again.’
‘I’m fine now.’
After that, Gabriel lapsed back into contemplative silence and James waited.
Curious things can happen during the editing process. One comment can make a huge difference to how a character develops.
So when Ravenfall’s editor, Wendy Fries, suggested that while the story structure was great, she felt that the vampire lead, James Sharpe, needed to be differentiated more strongly, I had a long think about how to achieve that.
And then I made him Scottish.
It wasn’t just James’s accent that changed, though. The introduction of his Scots heritage (I have one myself!) brought in more of his backstory – how he’d been raised by his grandfather as well as his mother, and his Granda’s effect on his development of what it meant to be a good man. James’s Granda is the angel on his shoulder, helping James to navigate his deep and distressing concerns about his humanity.
To his Granda, James was always Jamie. It’s a nickname that always made James feel loved and safe, and so when his friend and lodger, a very human artist, Gabriel Dare, begins to call him by that name, it signals the warmer connection of their friendship as it moves to love. It’s strange that a vampire might need to feel safe, but even the supernaturally strong have vulnerabilities. James is afraid he has no soul, that he can’t feel love any more. Gabriel’s going to show him how wrong he is.
James’s accent is also a barometer of his mental and emotional state. The more he is under stress, upset or angry, the thicker his accent becomes. Gabriel always knows when Jamie’s distressed when the Scottish brogue gets broader and the old Edinburgh slang come more readily to Jamie’s tongue. It’s a way of demonstrating that he is listening – the Gabriel hears and understands James, and cares about how events affect him.
This one simple change was born in the editorial process – and it gave one of my lead characters greater depth and texture. It made his voice more unmistakably his own – and therefore able to better harmonise with Gabriel’s, the man with whom he falls in love. Because a vampire can love.
(And he can die, but that’s the crux of the thriller element to this paranormal romance adventure story.)
Narrelle M Harris
What would you do for love?
Would you kill? Would you die? Would you give up your soul?
British soldier, Dr James Sharpe, returned from Afghanistan a changed man. Like most war veterans haunted by deadly choices and the horrors of battle, James struggles against his demons. Unlike other ex-soldiers, his demons are real. Transformed in the heat of a desert battlefield, James Sharpe is now a vampire.
Struggling London artist, Gabriel Dare, has his own secrets – like who he really is, and why he lived on the streets before lodging with Dr Sharpe; like the ghosts he used to see, that made others question his sanity.
James knows Gabriel is the best thing in his life, but questions his ability to love and fears he’s a danger to all. Gabriel knows there’s something different about his enigmatic landlord, but can’t deny his attraction.
When some of Gabriel’s street friends go missing, he discovers that London is full of monsters – real, vicious, otherworldly monsters.
Risking all for love, James and Gabriel join a clairvoyant cop and an unusual Earl to uncover the truth; for it seems the vampire who sired James is back in London – with a diabolical agenda that threatens the entire nation.
Ravenfall is available in paperback on 1 September and as an eBook a month later.
- Ravenfall (Clan Destine Press)
- Ravenfall (Amazon.com)
- Ravenfall (Amazon UK)
- Ravenfall (Barnes and Noble)
- Ravenfall (Angus and Robertson)
- Ravenfall (Book Depository)
- Ravenfall (Booktopia)