character sketch: Will Grant

Cecil Beaton and Gary Cooper, some time in the 1930s.
Cecil Beaton and Gary Cooper.

Detective Sergeant William Grant is in all three of the Lost in Time 1920s London books. He is Alec Carter’s second in command. He was invalided out of Military Intelligence (“Contradiction in terms, old chap!”) after he got caught out in a gas attack in 1915. Before that he was working in the Middle East–Palestine and Egypt. He’s in his early forties by the time The Hunted and the Hind begins.

He comes from a wealthy family who were bemused by his decision to go into the police when he came out of the army, but he really didn’t feel like he wanted to do the Foreign Office thing he’d been offered. Boots on the ground and not too much responsibility seemed like a good plan for a while.

He’s always known he wasn’t attracted to women and has reached his own internal peace with that. When he meets Fenn at the beginning of Shadows on the Border, he’s a bit confused because Fenn is so androgynous and that’s not the type of chap he’s previously been attracted to.

Oh. And he’s a worker, or in his boss, Alec’s, terms a bloody magician. It runs in the family. His grandfather was apparently a skilled worker who disappeared some time in the 1860s whilst involved with the Regent’s Park group. So his father never learned all that he should have. He passed on as much as he could to Will, so Will’s not entirely ignorant, just not as well prepared as he’d have liked to be when all these peculiar things start to happen in London.

The picture I’ve included is of Cecil Beaton and Gary Cooper, some time in the 1930s. In my mind’s eye, Will is Beaton, on the left. Cooper is pretty similar to Alec, although they never flirt like these two are.

Previously in Lost in Time character sketches… Lew Tyler, Alec Carter, Ella Fortune.

Lost in Time Audiobooks!

I have been very remiss blogging about this… but there are now three Lost in Time audiobooks available from Audible!

Lost in Time and The Flowers of Time came out last month… and today… we are proud to introduce Shadows on the Border, the sequel to Lost in Time.

Both Lost in Time and Shadows on the Border are narrated by the inimitable Callum Hale. I cannot emphasize enough wonderful and on-point his interpretation of the characters is and how brilliantly the foggy, war-tired atmosphere of post First World War England comes across in his narration.

I am currently working on the third book set in the 1920s, so look for that in both ebook/paper and audio some time next year.

Back in the 1780s, Zoe Brookes has done a wonderful job with the The Flowers of Time and has struck just the right note with Edie and Jones… in particular Jones, who as a non-binary character is very close to my heart.

Again, look for more Jones and Edie next year, if I can get my works-in-progress ducks in a line!

I am so pleased with all three audiobooks. I feel very lucky to have found narrators who ‘got’ each of the stories and brought their own expertise so brilliantly to bear.

character sketch: Alec Carter

Alistair Carter, one of the two main protagonists from Lost in Time and Shadows on the Border, is a Detective Inspector with the Metropolitan Police. I imagine him as looking quite like the chap on the left on the cover of Shadows, although with a raincoat and a Homberg hat.

He’s in his mid-thirties at the start of Lost in Time in 1919, which means he was born in the late 1880s, to quite a well off middle class family who were pretty upset when he joined the police instead of becoming a solicitor or another professional. He was in the Military Police in the war and served on the Western Front. Afterwards, he came back and took up his old job with the department and works out of the Poplar area of London, at Wapping Police Station, on the Thames. He was promoted to Detective Inspector when he came back from the army and is quiet and insightful and good at working out what people mean from what they don’t say.

His brief, abortive marriage to Kitty has left him with a big empty house next to Hamstead Heath and a lot of guilt. He married a woman because it was expected of him and he could have made it work if they’d become friends, but she was really only interested in being a trophy wife and by the time she died, although he was devastated, there was also an element of relief because he was so unhappy.

He’s cross most of the time for reasons he can’t really put his finger on. Unsettled in his skin. And that only gets worse when he meets Lew Tyler during the course of a murder investigation. He isn’t unused to finding men attractive and has had liaisons before and one particular person he was very drawn to, but no-one as strongly as Lew.

Alec is probably my favorite character from the two books. He’s grumpy and defensive and not at all in touch with his emotions. It makes him really interesting to write.

character sketch: Lew Tyler

This is the first in a series of occasional character sketches I’m going to do.

Lew Tyler is one of the main characters in both Lost In Time and Shadows On The Border, books one and two of the Lost In Time series. I think he’s probably going to pop in and out of future stories as well.

Lew was born in the UK in 1983 and when we first meet him at the beginning of Lost In Time, he has just been jettisoned back in time from 2016 to 1919.

One of the things I wanted to do with the story is contrast the experience of someone age thirty-three in 2016 with the experience of someone of a similar age in 1919, and I was quite happy with how that worked out.

Lew is a rather reluctant magician who can manipulate the fabric of time and space and the void between the worlds. He gets sucked back through time as part of his search for his friend Mira, who Lew assumes is missing because she over-reached her magical abilities. Lew tried to use his own magic to track her and ended up in London just after World War One. It took him a while to find his feet – he was very lucky – and he ended up with two jobs that overlap – a journalist and photographer at a small weekly London paper and as a police crime-scene photographer. This allows him to poke around London quite easily in his search for his friend and his unexpected bequest of a motorbike early on in the book helps that a lot too.

He’s not actually a very good or knowledgeable magician. He and Mira met in foster care after his parents died when he was in his early teens. Although his father was a magic user, Lew didn’t have enough time with him and neither he nor Mira have had any kind of mentoring or training. They’re flying blind and that’s why things have gone wrong.

Lew is a kind and open person. But he’s also scared of people finding out his secrets – both that he’s from the future and that he’s gay – and he feels very alone at the start of the books. As the series goes on, he settles in to himself, but I can’t say too much more about that without spoilers!

What does he look like? He’s five foot ten, with high boned cheeks, long-ish fair hair that he tries to keep slicked back from his face, but that usually falls in to his eyes. He’s sinewy rather than built. He’s got dark brown eyes that are shot through with lighter hazel and when he’s pulling power, the hazel bits take on a golden colour. He’s quite empathic, probably because of the magic, and finds it difficult to filter out other people’s emotions unless he’s concentrating hard. That can be helpful if he’s working magic, but a nuisance the rest of the time.

I really like the overall feel of the artwork JMS has done for the series. I feel that that they give a good feel for the characters and the world. In my head, Lew is the man at the back hiding under the rather large hat.

 

 

 

Win copies of Lost In Time and Shadows On The Border

I have Thing happening! A giveaway of five pairs of Lost In Time and Shadows On The Border. You can enter it below and the more you share it, the more chances you have to win. It’s new software I’m experimenting with and it all seems… very straightforward, which is a bit unnerving.

Sign up here to go in the draw! It’s one of those thingummies that the more you share it, the more entries you have.