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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Interview of Fiction Character by Fiction Character – Part 12

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford's mystery short story collection

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection

The role of the writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.

Anaïs Nin

For the next two interviews Bast Overture, crime reporter-turned PI talks to the mother and daughter in an unsettling family situation in the short story “Unfinished Business” (from Beyond the Tripping Point, Blue Denim Press, 2012). The daughter, Trish Clark (no relation to the crazy Clarkes from the last four interviews), is 12 and curious about her mother’s background forcing her mother to face her past. Today, Bast speaks with Trish.

Trish enters the room carrying a pile of newspapers, which she places on the table. She nods at Bast, and with a comment “Have to get these ready for delivery” she hauls out a small knife and cuts the binding holding the papers together. She pulls out a small notepad from her other pocket and starts ticking off items on it.

Bast, clearing his throat: I heard you were very industrious with your paper delivery. Which newspaper is that?

Trish (looking up): The Barrie Advocate. I deliver papers throughout the north end of Barrie.

Bast: How long have you lived in Barrie?

Trish: About three years.

Bast: Where did you live before?

Trish: All over North America, sort of.

Bast: Can you be more specific?

Trish: Fine. I was born in Seattle, but Mom and I lived in Montreal, Miami, LA, Calgary, and now Barrie, Ontario.

Bast: Travelled around a lot, I see. Why is that?

Trish: At first I thought Mom was just restless and needed a change of scenery. But as I got older – I’m 12 now – (She smiles as if she’s hit a milestone) and looking back it was more than that. You see in every place we lived there was a man involved with Mom. Sometimes we lived with him and sometimes not.

Bast: I see. Did any of the men mistreat you or your Mom?

Trish: I think some took advantage of Mom. Mom is fragile. And I suppose I got mistreated by Harry in Miami. (Trish lowers her voice). He pushed snow – and I don’t mean the white wet fluffy winter stuff – up my nose. Well, that got to Mother and she moved us out of there fast. You won’t tell her I told you this? Please.

Bast: Of course not.  I’m just curious why Barrie?

Trish: To be honest with you I think Mom got homesick but she didn’t really want to go back to her exact home until I pushed her to do so.

Bast: Why was this?

Trish: I wanted to know more about my background. She had already told me about the dirt-bag who was my biological father but Mom came from somewhere and I wanted to know if I had aunts and uncles and grandparents on her side.

Bast: So you goaded her back to Toronto?

Trish: Yes.

Bast: Do you think she would have gone back on her own?

Trish: I don’t know. She told me afterwards that she had tried once. She went down with a girlfriend but hid down on the car floor. She couldn’t look up at the place.

Bast: I understand you had something of a wild ride into your Mom’s old neighbourhood.

Trish: Not really. Mom was driving a bit fast but I stopped her in time before she hit anything.

Bast: So, what did you think of your mother’s family home?

Trish: It’s an old bungalow. Now prime real estate…

Bast: And you know this how?

Trish: Hey I deliver the newspapers and I read the ads, including the real estate ones – well for Toronto I checked with one of the Toronto dailies online.

Bast: So, without giving away what happens at your mother’s old place, did you find it surprising or?

Trish: Not so surprising as somewhat unexpected. I knew there was something terrible in Mom’s background but I didn’t know it was that.

Bast: And when “that” showed up and came after…

Trish: I thought you said you weren’t going to give away anything that happens?

Bast: Correct. Okay, I guess readers will just have to read “Unfinished Business” in Beyond the Tripping Point. And stay tuned next post when I talk to your mother, Lilly Clark.

Trish: If she’ll come. She’s shying away from the interview but I’ll have a talk with her and tell her she has to do it. It’s part of her healing process.

Bast: Thanks, Trish. And thanks for coming today.

Trish: No problem.

You can read more about Trish Clark and her mother Lilly Clark in Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to my profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book  go to http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/search/?keywords=Beyond%20the%20Tripping%20Point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy.

Sharon A. Crawford will be taking Beyond the Tripping Point to several readings and even using it in a workshop she will be teaching with Brian Henry – all September events. For Sharon A.’s September 2013 gigs, go to http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Interview of Fictional Character by Fictional Character Part 11

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford's mystery short story collection

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection

Character gives us qualities, but it is in actions – what we do – that we are happy or the reverse….All human happiness and misery take the form of action.
– Aristotle

Today, Bast Overture the Crime Reporter turned PI interviews the last of the main characters in “For the Love of Wills.” William Clarke Jr. is a lawyer and like the general take on most lawyers he is cagey. However, William Jr. may be hiding more than most lawyers. Bast has his work cut out for him. “For the Love of Wills” is one of 13 stories in my mystery collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012).

Bast sits at the table, twiddling his thumbs as he waits for his interviewee to show up. He starts rereading his questions when William Clarke Jr. enters the room.

William Jr.: Sorry, Mr. Overture, I was delayed with a client. Nice to meet you. (He extends his hand.)

Bast (standing up and shaking William Jr.’s hand): That’s okay. Take a seat and we can get started so you can get back to your valuable clients.

William Jr.: Okay, point taken.

Bast: You are the eldest child – for want of a better word – of a shall we say eccentric couple. How was it growing up with Heidi and William Sr. as parents?

William Jr.: Interesting. Never a dull moment.

Bast: Were you close to your sister Clara when growing up?

William Jr.: Until I got into my teens. Clara is four years younger than I. And to answer your other question a bit fuller. Clara and I were always getting into shall we say scrapes, often instigated by one of Mother’s weird ideas. Dad was sort of the calming factor.

Bast: Hm. What were some of these scrapes?

William Jr. (chuckling): Well, there used to be a tree house in the backyard. It’s long gone now. Clara and I used to hide up there when Mother got a little loud and unreasonable about what she wanted us to do or not do. Mother and Dad never caught on about this until one day – I was about 10 and so Clara would have been six – we stayed up there all night. Mother and Dad couldn’t find us and called in the police. They looked all over the neighbourhood and didn’t find us until Clara got the bright idea to throw rocks down into the yard. You should’ve seen their faces when they looked up. (William chuckles again.)

Bast: Was this how you got the idea to try to hide things from the police in “For the Love of Wills?”

William Jr.: What do you mean? I answered their questions.

Bast: True. But you insisted on talking to your father away from the police and you and Clara had a whispered conference away from that constable who was supposed to be keeping an eye on you.

William Jr.: Now wait a minute, Mr. Reporter…

Bast: I’m a PI now.

William Jr.: Well then, Mr. PI. Speaking to my dad was lawyer-client privilege so no cops should be present and well, Clara and I had to compare notes. Anyway that cop watching us wasn’t exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Bast: Interesting that you use that analogy as the murder weapon in “For the Love of Wills” isn’t a knife but a…

William Jr.: Now, let’s not give the plot away.

(A commotion is heard just outside the door and Heidi Anastasia Clarke charges into the room).

Heidi: William, my good lawyer son. Your father, my poor Will needs your help. He’s got himself into a devil of a situation.

William Jr.: Now calm down Mother. Let’s go outside and talk. (He turns to Bast). That’s about it, Mr. PI. Duty and family call.

William smirks and leads his mother outside the room.

Bast shakes his head and mutters something about having enough of the Clarke family.

Stay tuned for next week when Bast goes into a most unsettling family problem and interviews the 12-year-old daughter from “Unfinished Business.”

You can read more about the Clarke family in my mystery short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point, (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to my profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book  go to http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/search/?keywords=Beyond%20the%20Tripping%20Point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Interview of Fictional Character by Fictional Character: Part 10

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford's mystery short story collection

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection

What is character but the determination of incident? What is incident but the illustration of character?

— Henry James

For this interview, Bast tackles Clara’s father William Everett Clarke in “For the Love of Wills.” “For the Love of Wills” is one of 13 stories in my mystery collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012).Clara’s father has dumped her mother for a much younger secretary nicknamed behind his back as “The Bimbo.” Hopefully his wife, Heidi Anastasia Clarke will stay out of the picture today,  but she is a loose cannon so you never know.

Bast (seated at a table): Please sit down Mr. Clarke. I don’t bite.

Clarke: You are a reporter.

Bast: Not any more, I’m now a private investigator and with my sister, Dana, I run the Attic Investigative Agency. But right now I’m more concerned with you and your situation.

Clarke (looking around the room): What do you mean my “situation?” Hey, you don’t have any hidden cameras or bugs anywhere here.

Bast: Nope, just my trusty digital recorder.

Clarke (jumping back): Shut that thing off.

Bast: Why, you got something to hide?  Okay, sorry. I just use the recorder for accuracy. Now, let’s get down to some basics. And please sit down. Now, Mr. Clarke, you were married for how many years?

Clarke (now seated across the table from Bast): Forty.

Bast: Tell me something about your wife, Heidi.

Clarke: What do you mean?

Bast: Where did you meet? Your children, that sort of thing.

Clarke (sighing audibly): Heidi was a secretary where I worked as a clerk. We went out on a few dates and seemed to hit it off. We were married a year and a half later. William Jr. came along four years later and then Clara was born a few years after that. William is a lawyer and Clara, well she is Clara. She likes climbing up walls, did you know that?

Bast: Yes, and it seems that she got your wife involved in that in the beginning of “For the Love of Wills.”

Clarke: More likely the other way round. (Clarke chuckles).

Bast: In what way?

Clarke: Heidi is well, what they call her own person with a mind of her own. She’s spontaneous and doesn’t take any nonsense from anyone.

Bast: Is that why she and Clara snuck into the matrimonial home via the walls because you threw her out for your secretary? Do I see a pattern here with secretaries?

Clarke (jumping up and leaning over the table). Now see here young man. I still love Heidi but well, when you’ve been married as long as Heidi and I, you get too familiar with each other and you want something different.

Bast: I can see that, but you did more than have an affair. You moved your secretary in with you and Heidi had to leave.

Clarke: Yes, I suppose so, but I was having second thoughts when the m…”

Bast: Sh. We don’t want to give anything away to the readers.

Clarke (now sitting down): Right.

Bast: Did you trust your wife?

Heidi storming into the room: What kind of question is that? Of course he trusted me. My poor William.

Bast: Heidi, you had your turn last week. And William did throw you out of your home?

Clarke: Now wait a minute…

Heidi: But it was only temporary. I was…

Bast: Stop. Heidi, you have to leave. My interview is with your husband.

Heidi: But…

Clarke: No, this interview is over. Come Heidi, we have things to talk about.

The two leave the room. Bast stares after them and then at his tape recorder, muttering, “I’ll get at the truth next week when I talk to William Jr.”

You can read more about the Clarke family in my mystery short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point, (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to my profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book  go to http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/search/?keywords=Beyond%20the%20Tripping%20Point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Interview of Fictional Character by Fictional Character – Part 9

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford's mystery short story collection

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection

Be obscure clearly.

          E.B. White

Anastasia Heidi Clarke (mother) in “For the Love of Wills” is calmed down somewhat from her tirade last week with her daughter Clara. Today, Bast Overture, crime reporter turned PI interviews this eccentric family member. “For the Love of Wills” is one of 13 stories in my mystery collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012).

Bast: Anastasia Heidi – those are interesting names. How did you come by them?

AH (Mother): Well, young man, my parents named me. My father read Russian novels and my mother read Heidi that Swiss Alps novel. So I’m doubly famous. (She smirks).

Bast: Okay. In “For the Love of Wills” you seem determined to see your ex-husband’s will…

AH: He is NOT my ex-husband. We are still married. He just didn’t want me to live with him anymore. And there was no way I was giving him a divorce and get half the house with that Bimbo living there. So they could live in sin. What was the question?.

Bast: Why did you want to see your husband’s will?

AH: To make sure I was still in it and he wasn’t leaving everything to that Bimbo, of course.

Bast: But as things turned out that didn’t matter.

AH: Sh. Sh. Do you want to spoil it for the readers? I don’t think Sharon A. would be too pleased if you gave it all away.

Bast: Point taken. Then, without giving the plot away, and because we did mention this last week, why did you and Clara do a climbing act to get into the house?

AH: I wanted to sneak in without William seeing or hearing us.

Bast: But it didn’t work out quite that way, did it?

AH: What did I say about not giving away the plot?

Bast (making hand-pushing motions). Very well. Let’s go to the police when they arrived. You seemed concerned about what they were up to. Why is that?

AH: Well I had to make sure they didn’t arrest the wrong person and they seemed too controlling. It was my house they were invading.

Bast: But that’s their job – when there has been a crime, the police investigate to find out persons of interest and suspects so they have to ask questions.

AH: But they herded us into separate rooms. I couldn’t make sure that my family was okay if I couldn’t get at them.

Bast: I see. Was there anybody in particular in your family you were concerned with? Clara?

AH: Clara can take care of herself.

Bast: Your son, William Jr.

AH: He’s a lawyer. ‘Nuff said.

There is some noise outside the door and it opens. William Clarke Sr. walks in.

William: She means me…

AH: Whatever gave you that idea, William? After leaving me for that twenty-something secretary.

William: Yes, but you did say “my poor Will” to one of the cops and I don’t think you meant our son.

AH: So what?

William: Well…

Bast (trying to get control of the interview): Okay, folks. William, your turn will be next week. Now Anastasia, I have one more question…

Anastasia: And I’m done. Good day.

Anastasia Heidi Clark leaves the room, followed by her husband. Bast shrugs his shoulders and mutters “Talk to you next week.”

You can read more about the Clarke family in my mystery short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point, (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to my profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book  go to http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/search/?keywords=Beyond%20the%20Tripping%20Point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Interview of Fictional Character by Fiction Character – Part 8

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford's mystery short story collection

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection

The things that you know more about than you want to know are very useful.

          Robert Stone

Bast Overture stays in 2013 and will have his hands full with the next few interviews as he will be talking to members of the wacky Clarke family who appear in “For the Love of Wills” in my short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). When a body turns up in their Rosedale home (ritzy area of Toronto, Canada) each member tries not to get arrested for the crime. Bast will start with the main character, Clara Clarke.

Bast: Clara, it’s not every day that a body is found in the family home. How did you react when you and your mother found the body in the attic den?

Clara: Sounds like an old Agathie Christie mystery when you put it that way.

Bast: But it’s not. It’s present day.

Clara: Right. Well, I did wonder if Dad was involved somehow. I mean he did find the body.

Bast: But didn’t you feel a little bit glad? The main reason your mother was kicked out of the family home was now dead?

Clara: I don’t think so because like I said, I was worried about Dad.

Bast: What about your mother? She had the most to gain from the murder?

Clara: No way. Mother was with me.

Bast: When the body was found, but before?

Clara: You forget that Dad changed the locks so Mother’s house key didn’t work.

Bast: Aw, come on, she could have knocked on the door earlier and your dad could have let her in.

Clara: No way. Mother didn’t want to even confront Dad.

Bast: Very well. Now you and your mother made a rather unconventional entrance. Was this your idea?

Clara. No. Mother’s. Even though I did rock climbing at the gym, Mother, whose only previous climbing experience was stairs, suggested we climb the walls of the house to the balcony and then sneak in.

Bast:  In this story by Sharon A. Crawford, your mother and you discuss why the two of you have to get into the house.

We’ve got to see his will.” [Mother said]

“His will? What the hell for?”[Clara said]

“I need to see that he’s still leaving me everything and hasn’t changed it to the Bimbo.”

“Wouldn’t it be simpler to just ask William, Jr.? He is the family lawyer?”

She’d smirked and muttered something about keeping her ideas close to her mind. (Excerpted from Beyond the Tripping Point, copyright 2012 Sharon A. Crawford)

So, Clara, why didn’t you persuade your mother to talk to William Jr.?

Clara: Well, because she is Mother. Once she makes her mind up about something, nobody can change it.

(Heidi Anastasia Clarke – Mother –  stomps into the room): And I had my reasons. It had to be done this way and only this way.

Bast: Mrs. Clarke, please, this is Clara’s interview. Your turn will be next week.

Heidi (waggling a finger at Bast): Now, listen here young man, it was my husband who cheated on me, who kicked me out of our home after 40 years of marriage. I think I…”

Clara: Mother, shut up.

Heidi: Now, listen, Clara…

The two continue arguing. Bast throws up his hands in disgust, covers his ears with his hands and walks out of the room.

You can read more about the Clarke family in my mystery short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point, (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to my profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book  go to http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/search/?keywords=Beyond%20the%20Tripping%20Point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy.

The video link to my thatchannel.com interview and reading from Beyond the Tripping Point on You Tube can now be accessed via the new page “Video” at the top of this blog.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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