Today is the first stop which is also my stop on the Blog Tour for The Salt Marsh which is her second novel. I am thrilled be taking part in this wonderful Blog Tour and delighted to welcome author Clare to my blog with a guest post from her and a BIG thanks to Blake Brooks from Head of Zeus for allowing me this opportunity to take part with some other fab book bloggers too. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour above.
When I wrote Orkney Twilight, my first novel, I hadn’t expected to write a sequel. But one of the great things about writing a follow-up is that you can develop characters, give them more depth, allow them to grow, and fill spaces in their make-up.
Both Orkney Twilight and The Salt Marsh are told from the point of view of Sam. In Orkney Twilight, Sam is a teenager. It is, in part, a coming-of-age story. Sam is the daughter of an undercover cop. His long absences and his difficult behaviour when he returns home mean that although she loves him, they have a difficult relationship. She has had to cauterise her feelings. Growing up as the daughter of a spy has meant that Sam herself has taken on some of the characteristics of a spy. She sometimes imagines she is playing the part of somebody else. She is more at home with birds and the landscape than other people. In Orkney Twilight, Sam rarely expresses or explores her own emotions. She acts and analyses. She banters rather than having conversations. The story is told in close third person. This slightly distant voice seemed fitting for a girl who is disassociated from herself and her own feelings. In Orkney Twilight I didn’t use the phrase ‘Sam felt’ because Sam didn’t know what she felt. It is only at the very end of the book that she realises she misses her father, and sheds a tear for his loss.
The Salt Marsh is set two years later. Sam is in grief, but it is a difficult kind of grief because she is mourning the loss of somebody who had secrets, and she is scared of his legacy. Has she inherited her father’s enemies? Will she be made to pay for his sins? In this book, Sam is older and forced to deal with emotions that are so pressing they can no longer be contained. She is less able to maintain a feisty cover. In The Salt Marsh her vulnerabilities and inner turmoil are more visible to herself and therefore to the reader. Sometimes her emotions run amok and she cannot control them. The story is still told in the close third person, but sometimes it nearly slips into a first person voice as Sam grapples with her demons and her boundaries dissolve. In The Salt Marsh, I do use the phrase ‘Sam felt.’ Although I tried to use it sparingly.
I am currently writing the final part of the trilogy and enjoying developing Sam’s character still further. Will she turn full circle, and gain control of her feelings once more, albeit in a more conscious way? Has she got what it takes to become a spy like her father? As the author you might expect I know the answers. But until Sam’s newest voice emerges in book three, even I’m not sure where everything will end.