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Creating New Characters

Updated: Feb 23

When I start a new story, I have a rough sketch of the main characters’ backgrounds. Some are more detailed than others, depending on where the story is going. But for most of the characters, I usually only have the basics. Age, appearance, attitude, connection to the main characters, etc. Davie George is a main character in ‘An Ill Wind’. I knew how he met JJ Jenson, because that’s important to the story, but I also needed a more detailed background, because what happened in the past usually dictates how you are in the future, and it may be needed for the storyline. Has this character become a miserable and disgruntled being with a chip on his shoulder, a bigger and better person, or perhaps one of those who just stumbles along, rolling with the punches? This is what I came up with for Davie. I think he’s going to be one of my favourites.


Davie George


Davie George is an incorrigible thorn in the side once he’s got the sniff of a story. Back in the day, he was a dedicated journalist. His favoured topic was politics. Davie hates politicians. All of them, whatever party they belong to. He believes however well-intentioned and dedicated politicians start out, the longer they hold their seat, the more their principles crumble. The higher they climb the ladder, the further away they move from the reality of life in their constituency and, most importantly, honesty. That matters to Davie, which is a huge contradiction, as he’s spent most of his life spinning tales and lying to get what he wanted.


Davie is a likeable ‘cheeky chappie’ to most. He has an easy way about him that most people trust. Unless, of course, they know it’s them he is investigating. Davie can be charming, witty or sarcastic, and usually knows just what to say, whatever the situation. It’s difficult not to like him.


The growing use of the internet, and the drop in sales, meant Davie’s days at the top of his career were numbered so he moved to Bristol, his wife’s choice, and slowly the word ‘journalist’ faded into the background when people spoke of him. He refers to himself as a reporter. Others call him a hack. Davie still chases the big local stories, but more often than not, he’s looking for dirt. The more salacious and nasty the story, the better the financial reward. And Davie needs the money. Because there are no proper jobs for the likes of Davie anymore, he lives from story to story.


Davie’s life is much like one of his scoops. It’s rarely calm, often traumatic, and full of revelations.

At the age of fifty-three, Davie’s world upended. His wife announced she was leaving him, taking what little savings they had, and as a bonus, left a stack of unpaid bills in the kitchen drawer. Davie found he was months away from having his house repossessed by the bank. Davie accepted the news with stoic good grace. It miffed him he’d not picked up on her affair, and that on top of everything else, he was going to have to find somewhere new to live. But he didn’t blame her, and on reflection, he wondered why she’d not gone years ago. Things might have worked out differently had it been the day before, but on that day, he had more important things to worry about. Things that were a matter of life and death. His life. His death.


Cancer. Davie has lung cancer and only that morning had agreed on the date to start his treatment. He’d come home to tell her, but couldn’t see the point once she’d told him she was going. So he watched her load her bags and boxes into the van driven by her lover, and called the bank.



We meet Davie, looking much older than his fifty-five years, sitting on a wall outside the home of a woman whose death was unexpected. Amber Wilton.


Davie lights another cigarette and considers his current situation. A lot had changed in the last few years, a lot of things had gone. His wife, his home, a steady income, his health, part of his lung, and his hair. But there was nothing he could do about that. He had to deal with his immediate problem, and that was how to put petrol in his car, which was also his home. He only had a couple of pounds in his pocket. Hopefully, the Amber Wilton story might provide a bit of intrigue and therefore a better payday.


Davie had already written the opening. He didn’t believe anyone threw themself off a twenty-foot high bridge into water and hoped to end it all. The police were saying nothing, but the locals were screaming murder. That’s what the story would be. What really happened to Amber Wilton? Although, of course, he’d exaggerated the screaming locals. It had been one phone call. All he needed now was the gossip about the deceased and her family to play with, and he'd have his story.


Davie looked up as a neighbouring door opened. A tall, barefooted man was walking towards him.

“Do you live here?” Davie slid off the wall. “Do you know the Wiltons?”


And Davie and JJ Jenson meet again.


Do you think you’ll like Davie? I’ve scoured the internet looking for a photograph of the Davie I had in my mind whilst writing. This is the closest to the man I imagined. So now, when you read An Ill Wind, you’ll know what he looks like - to me at least. You might see a different version of Davie.


An Ill Wind is published on the 31st of March 2024 and is available for pre-order.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich pexels.com

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