On behalf of Love Books Tours, Anne Coates and Urbane Publications I am proud to be hosting a guest post today where Anne discusses how much of herself she puts into her main protagnist Hannah Weybridge.
SHE IS HUNTING FOR THE TRUTH, BUT WHO IS HUNTING HER?
Freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Weybridge is commissioned by a national newspaper to write an investigative article on the notorious red light district in Kings Cross. There she meets prostitute Princess, and police inspector in the vice squad, Tom Jordan. When Princess later arrives on her doorstep beaten up so badly she is barely recognisable, Hannah has to make some tough decisions and is drawn ever deeper into the world of deceit and violence.
Three sex workers are murdered, their deaths covered up in a media blackout, and Hannah herself is under threat. As she comes to realise that the taste for vice reaches into the higher echelons of the great and the good, Hannah realises she must do everything in her power to expose the truth …. and stay alive.
Fragments of Myself by Anne Coates
What readers often ask me is how much of Hannah Weybridge is based on me and friends often nod and smile telling me that some scene or reaction was definitely me. Because Dancers in the Wind emanated from my journalism many people have assumed that my protagonist Hannah Weybridge and her situation are, at least in parts, autobiographical.
Of course this is true to a certain extent and I couldn’t put it better than Virginia Woolf who wrote: “Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.” Although I would probably have changed “his” to “her”!
I have dug deeply into some of my own experiences to create Hannah however her life has been refracted through various prisms. How she reacts to situations is part of her personality not mine. Fortunately I have not been exposed to the risks my protagonist takes but I do enjoy creating them from the safety of my writing space. She is, like other characters, one of my imaginary friends.
During my time writing for newspapers and magazines I was introduced to all sorts of people in extraordinary situations – including Princess the sex worker and the DI Hannah interviews – and often I had a platform for my own views. However what fiction allows me to do is frequently have opinions, reactions and solutions that wouldn’t normally be attributed to someone who’s been a freelance journalist and book editor! Especially if that character is not one of the good guys.
Plus like an actor I get to be different characters as I create them – or they turn up unexpectedly – and live their lives. Some of them reflect experiences I or perhaps a friend has had. I have fallen in love with some of the characters in Dancers in the Wind and they reappear in my later books but sadly some do not survive. Being a novelist means I get to be the director too. I get to shout “Cut” and “It’s a wrap” as I edit and rewrite.
One of the literary conventions I often wish I had in real life: when there’s an awkward situation insert a plot twist – or kill someone!
© Anne Coates, 2019
Author Bio – Anne Coates
For most of her working life in publishing, Anne has had a foot in both camps as a writer and an editor, moving from book publishing to magazines and then freelancing in both. Having edited both fiction and narrative non-fiction, she has also had short stories published in a variety of magazines including Bella and Candis and is the author of seven non-fiction books. Telling stories is Anne’s first love and nearly all her short fiction as well as Dancers in The Wind and Death’s Silent Judgement began with a real event followed by a ‘what if …’. That is also the case with the two prize-winning 99Fiction.net stories: Codewords and Eternal Love.