I am delighted to welcome Allie Rogers to my blog today as she introduces us to her character, Danny, from her novel, Tale of the Tooth.
Over to you, Allie!
Danny, the protagonist of Tale of a Tooth, came to me as a distinctive voice when I was away on a writing retreat. For me, new stories are always brought by a character. Danny arrived with all the insistence of a four year old, tugging on my hand, demanding to be heard.
A character like Danny is truly a gift for an author. There was no escaping from his story once he started to tell it and his very particular ways left me in no doubt as to who I was dealing with. Sometimes a protagonist arrives who is reticent or can lead you up the garden path for a while. A character like Danny, who tells his truth as he sees it, who has very little filter and whose motivations are clear, is easy to work with. It wasn’t a case of coming up with a story for Danny but simply of standing back and letting Danny tell the tale.
I became fond of Danny very quickly, in the way one can of a small child. I found his honesty and openness engaging. If anything is a challenge about Danny, it is his tendency to fixate. This means that anything significant to the plot needs to be presented in a way that will catch his attention and draw it away from the things he loves.
Not all my early readers were certain about Danny. Writing in the voice of a young child demands that the reader be prepared to drop their expectations of what an adult novel will sound like in their head. As an author, it means accepting that some people might not be prepared to get through that initial surprise or discomfort. But, happily, my early readers and, later, my editor, all stuck with Danny and were able to believe in him as a narrator of what is, very definitely, an adult book.
Danny is not based on any single child. Obviously, the years I spent with young children of my own, plus the many kids I’ve known, influenced the character, but he is very much his own person. I did use a few particular turns of phrase from real children and the YouTube film Danny adores was a favourite VHS tape that my son watched obsessively at the age of four.
I don’t like to take my characters out of the narratives in which they live. If I do reflect on what might have happened to them after the last page, that’s not something I’d ever want to share. I think an author’s job is to tell the story and offer it to readers. What readers might imagine for little Danny, once the story ends, is their business.
I don’t really know how to consider Danny as a character I could meet ‘in real life’. I feel like I know him in a more real sense than people I meet in the world. One of the delights of writing is the God-like insight it gives you into your characters. So, if Danny suddenly appeared, sitting next to me on the bus or coming in to the library where I work, I think it would be terrifying! He would be disconcertingly transparent to me, in a way other people never truly are. Of course, I happen to love him, and believe that his heart is beautifully human and flawed in all the right ways, so I would certainly offer him my friendship. But I’d do my best to tuck him back into the pages of the book at bedtime.
Thank you, Allie, for sharing this with us!
Danny sounds intriguing and if you’d like to find out more about him, here’s the blurb …
Legend Press (19 April 2018)
Four-year-old Danny lives with his mother, Natalie, in a small Sussex town. Life is a struggle and when they are threatened with a benefits sanction, salvation appears in the form of a Job Centre employee called Karen. But Karen’s impact is to reach far beyond this one generous gesture, as she and Natalie embark on an intense relationship.
Told in the voice of an intelligent, passionate and unusual child, Tale of a Tooth is an immersive and compelling look at the impact of domestic abuse on a vulnerable family unit.
Be sure to catch up with the rest of the tour:
About the author …
Author of LITTLE GOLD (2nd May 2017) and TALE OF A TOOTH (APRIL 2018) Allie Rogers was born and raised in Brighton. Her short fiction has been published in several magazines and anthologies including Bare Fiction, Queer in Brighton and The Salt Anthology of New Writing. She has performed at local live literature events including the Charleston Small Wonder Flash Fiction Slam, which she won in 2014. Follow Allie on Twitter @Alliewhowrites