Which character from your books would you spend time with, and why?

butterfly_effect_drawing_by_katepowellart-d53u79dWhen I think about some of the characters in my books, I have very mixed feelings about the prospect of spending time with them.

Some are so vile that I would not wish to spend any time with them at all (although if I could spy on them without them knowing I was there, I would spend many fascinating hours).

Some are so familiar to me from writing them (and interviewing them; and voicing their dialogue until I felt that I’d captured the essence of how they’d talk; and drawing them; and scouring magazines and web pages for images that I felt looked like them in some way…) that I feel as though I do hang out with them a lot already.

OK, enough putting it off.

I would spend time with….

…Chloe, from We Are The Pigs. Why? Because I think I like her. I mean, I think she’d take care of me. I think she’d… she’d give me hope. There’s a hopefulness about her that would lift me up, even if I was down. She’s a bit like I imagine an angel to be.

Now that’s vague, I know. Let’s get specific, eh?

There’s a scene that I wrote with her where she’s in the room – the dormitory – with all the children sleeping. It’s night and it’s dark, and all the lights from their machines are blinking and shining pinpoints in the darkness. We’ve seen Miss Julius in an almost identical scene earlier, where she stands there listening to the children breathing and their machines bleeping and clicking. In that moment we sort of like Miss Julius. We realise that she really does care about those kids, that their lives depend on her and would be a lot worse without her.

So now we see Chloe in exactly the same scene. It’s night, the machines are blinking and beeping, the kids are asleep. Chloe breathes in her surroundings, and we ride with her thoughts as she cares for the children.

But this time, unlike Miss Julius, Chloe is sensing everything at a much deeper level. She doesn’t realise it; she doesn’t understand herself and what she can do. But she just sort of instinctively, intuitively reaches out to these kids and senses what they need, each of them. Then she gives it to them. She gives easy breathing to the one struggling for breath. She eases away the pain of the suffering ones, smoothing away the sharp stabs and massaging the pain away softly. She calms the minds of the nightmare sufferers, and gives them peace.

I’d like to be there with her, right at that moment. I think if I was really there, my presence would spoil what happens, so I wouldn’t want to be physically present. No, I’d like to be there observing but more like Scrooge when one of the spirits takes him to see Fezziwig or the Cratchetts. Now, knowing Chloe, she’d sense that I was there, and it’d be OK, she’d smile. I wouldn’t be in the way, and she wouldn’t mind my being there. Yes, it’s a very metaphysical moment.

And that’s the moment that I’d most like to share with her, that feeling of oneness with the kids, with everyone being safe and protected. I want to step into that moment when everything is safe, when she catches them falling and lifts them back up again. That moment of rest, and peace, when all the turmoil and the troubles can be over. No more hurt, no more pain.

Dd that scene make it to the final draft of the novel? You’ll just have to read it to find out! :-)