Last year, when I wrote Magic O’Clock, I hadn’t ever considered a sequel. Writing about the death of a loved one – even in fiction – strikes fear in my bones. Don’t get me wrong, I can kill off a character if needed, usually … but Archie?
Could I do it? Could I even think about doing it?
Despite being a fictional character, there were so many real elements tied up in that story. Glimpses of truth weaved their way into my writing. Because to get into the mindset of the daughter-narrator, I was – unfortunately – most able to draw upon personal experience.
But readers asked for more. They wanted an ending, albeit one that could stir up heartache of their own. Surely, no-one expected him to recover, to beat the illness that took away his most cherished memories, and robbed his daughter of her father – except, of course, at Magic O’Clock.
However, once that seed took root in my mind, I was left to ponder the idea of taking Archie’s story to its inevitable conclusion.
Whew! The thought of resurrecting certain memories brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. Memories are not to be feared, to be packed up in boxes and stored in dark loft or cellar. The memories I have of my father evoke all sorts of emotions, but the overriding one is that of happiness. I only had him in my life for a short while, losing him when I was 17 to lung cancer. Nonetheless, the time I had with him was precious, made even more so because it came to such a sudden and heart-breaking end.
So, you see, Archie was not my father in life, but he personified the man who lives on in my memories. Fiction enabled me to give him a longer life, but no less happier or full than that of my own dad.
Could I tell Archie’s final story?
You bet I could … and I will.
Please join me on April 1st – my dad’s birthday – for the cover reveal. At that point, I’ll also confirm the release date, expected to be on another very special, meaningful …and, might I say, most appropriate date later that month.
To whet your appetite, and hopefully to encourage you to stick around for Magical Memories, here’s a brief – and unedited – excerpt:
From the doorway, I poked my head inside. Dad lay on his bed, his arms outside of the cover, fingers laced. So calm. I stared at his chest, to make sure he was breathing, and I gasped as it rose. The room smelt stale, as though the air had been sucked out of it in anticipation of the inevitable. No air meant no breathing. No breathing meant …well, I knew what it meant.
‘Angie, this room is stifling. Can you do anything?’
She looked at me, shaking her head. ‘It’s not the room, love.’
Of course, it wasn’t. The room was climate-controlled. It was me, wasn’t it? I was shutting down. Bracing myself.
‘Lily? Is that you, again?’ Dad asked, turning his head ever so slightly towards my voice. His blue eyes, jaded by fatigue, sought me out and I crossed the room to rest my hand on his, stooping to kiss his warm forehead.
‘It’s me, Dad. Your baby girl.’
His lips curled up—denture-free, as was his preference— and a pink tongue peeked through his pale gums.
Thank you for reading 🙂