by Chris Oswald | Sep 12, 2018
The Story Behind the Characters in 2024: A History of the Future
I thought I would do a little back story on some of the characters, starting with my first book, 2024: A History of the Future, just to hint at where they have come from. I am starting with Francine L’Amour, the tough and hardened French leader of the British resistance underground movement.
I’m always very interested to read your thoughts so please comment if you feel inclined.
1. Francine L’Amour – Resistance Leader
He had sandy hair and a smile that whipped Francine into a frenzy.
Later that night he told her the same. For him it was her deep brown curls.
But his French was terrible, causing her to laugh as she traced her long fingers over his body.
They were married that summer, when school was out. She was seventeen. Brian was twenty-one.
She left Bordeaux for the first time, went with her husband to Exeter. They took everything they had in two backpacks and a single suitcase with a broken wheel.
There was a lot she did not like about England; not just the warm rain, but the cold people and the damp rooms they rented above a bicycle shop. They cleaned the shop below twice a week. In return they could have use of two bicycles whenever they wanted.
One weekend they rode to the abbey at Buckfast and drank wine with the monks, closeted in the little bar they had for special guests. They were special because Brian’s brother was a monk there. But they seemed special anyway, because they were young and in love.
And they were happy.
But the world around them was not. It was changing; forcing change upon them.
It was fun at first to go to the protests, to be marching with the others, to have some purpose in this crazy world. But then it got earnest. Brian spoke at rallies and organised demonstrations, neatly planning the maximum embarrassment for the authorities that leant on them, trying to crush the life out of their rebellion.
One day Brian said they were to form a new protest group. It was to be an artful one that achieved mighty aims by careful planning and stealth. They argued long and hard as to its name, finally deciding on the Spiders. They would weave their webs and trap the authorities. Then there would be freedom again.
Francine was sad to see her Brian shared with so many others. But she reasoned best to have most of him than none of him and she loved him again for what he was.
The shot came ringing down the London street. The sound seemed to charge ahead of the bullet, seeking where to do maximum damage.
She knew it would hit her husband as soon as she heard the crack.
She had to be grateful for small mercies for they did not arrest Brian; not that night in the hospital or the next day or the day after.
What would they do, after all, in arresting a cripple? Other than to promote a martyr, of course.
After six weeks, Francine took Brian home to his parents. He was a different man to the one she had fallen in love with in her home town in Bordeaux. Only his mother could manage the mood swings from morose to violent. Francine tried to be his carer but could not do it. She delivered him to his parents on a Friday, spent the weekend in one final effort that failed.
“You must go” Brian’s mother said.
“But my responsibility…”
“Go”, his father repeated, “go and fight in his place.”
“I’ll do that”, she replied, “for I know he is in the best hands. But know that I will be back for him as soon as we’ve secured independence for my adopted country.”
On Monday, she used her maiden name to join the Spiders. She did not want favour for her connections, nor pity to push her along.
Within a year, Francine L’Amour was running the resistance with a determination that combined with courage and flair to produce a leader that everyone loved to love.
Except Brian, who could love no more but, nevertheless, waited patiently for that someone in his life to come back.
After all, she had said she would one day.
You can find my novel, ‘2024: A history of the Future’ on Amazon by clicking here.
Chris Oswald is British Author based in Dorset, England. In this article he talks of his Brexit-inspired Novel ‘2024: A History of the Future’, but he has also published a second novel titled ’18 Acres Of England’ and has written a third book, ‘The Stuff of Heroes’, which is due to be released this Autumn.
by Chris Oswald | Sep 7, 2018
Win a Book!
I need your help!
I’ve got three printed copies of my novel, 18 Acres of England, just itching to find a new home. They will go to the most helpful comments on the subject I am asking about in this post, so please give me your two-pennies worth!
Lots of people I’ve spoken to about self-publishing tell me to write a series of books to capture people’s interest and keep it sustained. They tell me people like returning to the same central characters, the variation coming with different ‘baddies’ I suppose.
What do you think?
A lot of (but not all) series are detective novels. I’ve never written a detective novel, but no reason to think I could not do one. It is just that there are so many and very good ones too. I’ve got a couple of ideas for a series of detective/ adventure books set in historical times. Again, a number of periods of history have been done to death, so I’ve looked for times that are stirring with great change but somewhat ignored by other authors. I think I’ve found the ideal period, spanning a generation across the turn of a century. It contains many ingredients of adventure – war, change, unrest, religious discord and evolving technology. I am keen also to set these stories in Dorset where we live now after a huge amount of change and travel within our own family life!
But I have two dilemmas I wanted to seek opinion on. The first is I want my main character to be involved in more than just solving murders. I’ve nothing against murder-mystery and read a lot myself, but I wonder if it is too crowded with too many very good writers? Can you imagine a main character somehow sitting outside the establishment and ranging across a wide variety of activities, yet anchored in Dorset? I suppose more of a Dorset Poldark than a Miss Marple.
Secondly, a lot of my books contain baddies who redeem themselves. Sometimes others take the law into their own hands and force change on the villain, thus acting independently to make the baddie a better person, or at least allowing it to happen; turning a blind eye. How does this fit with murder mysteries where taking the law into one’s own hands is actually a crime in itself, making the detective no better than the criminal? And how can one square away the solution of a crime solved (leading to the judicial system deciding what punishment to impose) with the idea of redemption?
I am fond of self-redemption because I believe everyone has good in them. It just does not always come out without some assistance! I don’t recognise a world in which everyone is divided into good and evil, almost like mass scale pre-destination controlling our universe.
Besides, when a baddie turns good, it creates an unexpected twist to the story!
So, please let me know what you think of series of books, general adventure, historical and based in Dorset but perhaps adventuring worldwide!
by Chris Oswald | Sep 2, 2018
Just found medium.com and posted my first few articles. This is a link to the first one:
And the text is below, but I thoroughly recommend joining medium.com!!
What Have They Done to Scotland?
Don’t get me wrong. I love Scotland and always have. I am half Scottish and half Zimbabwean, but that is another story for another day.
I’ve lived on the west coast and I’ve lived on the east coast. My family – I’m really into history – were Vikings and settled in the Orkneys. When the Orkneys passed to Scotland in the 15th Century, one of my ancestors decided to take the leap to the mainland. They settled in Wick in Caithness, then various sons went to Glasgow to make their fortunes. There are many Oswalds in the southwest of Scotland today. But my grandfather half returned to his roots, marrying someone from near Invergordon with a lovely home looking onto the Black Isle where we went for long visits throughout my childhood.
I returned to Scotland as an adult with a young family, spending five glorious years on the north bank of the Clyde at Helensburgh. Our play area encompassed the beaches of Loch Lomond with its mist and sun in equal proportions, hiding and illuminating, in turn, the steep slopes that seem determined to slide into the water below.
Then we moved to America again and put our memories of sun and shade on hold for a while. This summer we went back, stayed in Ayrshire, an old family base, and re-visited the places we had loved before.
Nothing had changed, except there were many more tourists – a world phenomenon of course – and we were technically part of the tourist mob, although we walked with the air of ownership.
The friendliness was as we remembered it – generous and magnificent. The midgies were not as bad as we feared. The weather was glorious, sun and rain mixing like ingredients for a feast.
So, what is wrong with Scotland? Why this grim question of such a beloved place?
The answer, my friends, is the architecture. We had sort of noticed it before, but now it sank in.
Someone drew a line at one time. Was it 1950, 1970, or somewhere in between? It does not matter much when it was exactly. What matters is that someone drew that line and imposed a rule that all new buildings after that date should be as ugly as possible. Perhaps they wanted the contrast with the beautiful stone-built houses, mansions and cottages alike, of the old Scotland? Maybe they are saying “look at the new Scotland we have created. Isn’t it beautiful in its drabness and dreariness? Is it not wonderful to the eye to see grey concrete wherever you turn? Soon we will go back and tear down each and every one of the old monstrosities and then we will have a new grey Scotland for the sun to try and bounce its fearful rays off.”
That is what they have done with Scotland.