Lightening Up a Serious Novel

I’ve invited British author Clare Flynn to show us how she has lightened up her  novel, A Greater World. Here is Clare to tell us about it:

My novel, A Greater World, is anything but humorous – my main character, Elizabeth Morton goes through all kinds of trials and tribulations as the story develops – but even the most serious of situations can be leavened with a little lightness of touch or a turn of phrase. This scene below takes place between Elizabeth, newly arrived in Sydney, and her landlady Peggy Little. Elizabeth is in an intolerable situation – having crossed the oceans only to find her father died a few days before she arrived and that now she is being pushed into an unwanted marriage with a man she barely knows. Elizabeth is bereaved and desperate – but Peggy’s earthy humor provides a counterpoint.

 Excerpt from “A Greater World”:

‘Peggy. Please. No woman should be expected to marry a man she doesn’t love.’

 ‘Love?’ Peggy sighed. ‘That doesn’t last long. They’re all the same really, men – farting, belching and snoring and taking up most of the bed. Sleep, food and their conjugals – that’s all they want. A wife’s just there to wash, cook, clean and service his needs in bed. Never mind her own needs! Yes there may be many as is more handsome than Jack Kidd, but there’s few as well off as him – and believe me Elizabeth – you won’t see what he looks like when the light’s out!’ She laughed. ‘We women have a lot to put up with young lady – and the sooner you realise that the better. At least in your case you’ll never have to worry where your next crust of bread’s coming from. The first two years I was married I never knew from one day to the next if I was going to be able to put a meal on the table. We were in love I suppose – but that doesn’t help when you’re hungry. By the time my Fred was making decent money we’d both forgotten all our romantic notions. But you settle into a steady old pattern. Get used to each other. Put up with all the shortcomings – and then there’s children to keep you busy and to care for. Jack Kidd may not be the man you dreamed of, but then the man you dreamed of wouldn’t be that for long either. At least if you’ve no high expectations, you won’t ever be disappointed.’

 Elizabeth rubbed at her eyes with her handkerchief – then saw that she held in her hand the rough-spun confection that Michael Winterbourne had given her the previous afternoon. She breathed through the coarse cotton and tried to recapture the scent of him – a mix of hay and warm tweed and the outdoors. Her stomach lurched as she remembered that she had arranged to meet him that afternoon. He may never want to see her again when he knew her story, but she had to take that risk. The clock showed it was already almost 3 o’clock and it would take her a good half hour to get there.

 She jumped to her feet, grabbed her coat and bade an astonished Mrs Little goodbye.

 ‘Where are you off to in such a hurry, Elizabeth?’

 ‘I promised to meet a friend I met on the voyage. I’m already late.’

 ‘I hope you’re not thinking of doing anything foolish my love?’ But Elizabeth was already out of the door and running along the street.

A Greater World Cover LARGE EBOOK

A Greater World is available on Kindle UK 

and USA

 

Clare Flynn

Clare Flynn lives in the UK in West London, where she combines novel writing with running a successful management consultancy. “A Greater World” is her first novel – and nearly didn’t make it when a burglar ran off with her laptop containing 80,000 un-backedup words- and she had to start it all over again. Her second novel, Kurinji Flowers will be published later this year.

More about Clare and her novels at www.clareflynn.co.uk

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