Welcome back to another BlogHop, with#OpenBook. Read on for this week’s prompt.
It’s been a while since we’ve done this. Interview one of your characters. Introduce them to a new audience or give existing readers new insight into their motivations.
Way back in 2916 I wrote a short story, called Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café. In it, I introduced a new character, an accident-prone, slightly ditzy lady with a past. She was a real fish out of water, having left her job, her man and her planet!
She ended up on a space station orbiting Saturn, where she took over a moribund café. At the time, I didn’t really know where her adventures would lead her. Little did I realise that she would become a somewhat reluctant amateur detective. The short story turned into a novel which now has two sequels, with more adventures to follow. Strangely, she has become my favourite character to write.
I’m very pleased to be talking to her this week, but before we could begin, we had to have a conversation, set out a few ground rules. I knew that she still thought that I’d been a bit harsh in the way I’d described her in the books. I wanted to make sure that revenge wasn’t on her mind.
“What do you want to talk about?” she asked innocently, “people might have read about me, all that stuff about the mining station and what I got up to, they could have got the wrong impression.”
“What impression?” I asked. I thought that I had tried to make her sound like the sort of person you’d want to be friendly with, interesting and a bit crazy but never in a nasty way.
“You made me out to be a bit dozy,” she said. “OK, I admit I can be clumsy and sometimes my hormones take control but I’m not that bad. In fact, I’m as sane as most of the people I know.”
“Well, here’s your chance then,” I told her, “tell us about your life before the Oort Cloud Café, what you were like growing up. Show us the real Andorra Pett. Put the record straight. But I want to make sure that we don’t talk too much about your adventures, I don’t want this to be one long spoiler for the books.”
And this was what she said.
Me: Hello Andorra, it’s great to get the chance to find out a bit more about you.
Andorra: Hi everyone, it’s great to be here with you. I’m Andorra Pett but you can call me Andi. I don’t know if any of you have read Richard’s version of my adventures off Saturn but its all lies!
Me: Steady on, that’s not a very good start.
Andorra: Well maybe not all of it but you’ve certainly portrayed me in a less than favourable light, I’m not as dozy as you made out, I’m vaguely domesticated and just because I’m short it doesn’t mean anything. Napoleon was only short and he did alright for a while. And I can work things out if you only give me a chance. It’s when you all start shouting and hassling me that I get confused.
Me: Without giving too much away, can you tell our readers about your life, before you got to the Oort Cloud Café?
Andorra: Sure, I’m the second daughter of Charles Wilson Pett and Magdalena Pett (nee Sloane). It sounds posh, well my father, bless him, was a diplomat and worked all over the place. Hence my name, it’s where he was stationed at the time. Enough said! My older sister is called Argentia, not because Dad couldn’t spell Argentina but because there was all that trouble. Which also saved her from being called Malvina; so maybe it was a lucky escape for her. She’s my big sister and I should love her but…, that’s another story, as you might say.
Me: Don’t give me ideas.
Andorra: (Laughs) As if. We grew up all over the world, moving around every year or so when I was young as dad’s posting changed. It meant that we had little education; we were just left to get on with it. My sister was five years older and like a lot of older sisters took delight in making me look stupid. For a time I never knew that you held both chopsticks in the same hand, it took me a while to forgive her for that one! The one constant in my life was Maisie, the daughter of dads assistant. She was the same age as me and we were inseparable, always in trouble and always laughing.
Then one day, the worst day of my life up to then, I must have been about seven, I was taken to a school. We had returned to London and the only school that would take me (and Maisie) at short notice was a convent. It was full of people who seemed to know each other and I was the strange girl, the one who didn’t know anything and didn’t fit in. I hated it at first; everyone was cleverer than me and knew all sorts of things. I had to sit still, be quiet and listen. I was so relieved at the end of the day.
When I found out I had to go back again, I was shocked, “but I’ve been to school,” I said. Argentia slapped me around the back of the head, “you’re going to have to go lots,” she laughed, “you’ll still be going when you’re sixty.”
“I’ll show you,” I tried to hit her but she danced away, “I’ll have learnt enough by the time I’m fifty, see if I don’t.”
I also found out that you couldn’t trust everything you heard, the other children would tell me things and when I repeated them at home I got shouted at, or sent to my room with no tea. But then I discovered that all the bullying and nastiness could be stopped if you made people laugh. And if you made them laugh about you because you acted stupid, well that was even better, people suddenly wanted to be with me. I developed a way of hiding any knowledge I’d acquired by being silly.
Me: That’s fascinating, what did you plan to do after school, before you left Earth behind you?
Andorra: One thing I found out was that I could draw and paint. Especially cartoons of teachers. That got me into lots of trouble, but it made me even more popular. Then, one day I was investigating the cellar of the house we were in and found a load of old paint tins. They were rusty and uninspiring but when I opened them the colours fascinated me. I played around, mixing them up and splashing them on the walls. I got permission and decorated my room, at first it was hard but as I practised it got easier.
Then it became a regular thing, I used to decorate my room every month or so, with things that I found in the cellars and sheds of the places we were living in. Rusty, half-filled tins of paint and old pieces of fabric I could cope with and make something from. I would hide away for days getting it right and then hold a grand opening, showing everyone my latest colour scheme.
I managed to amaze everyone, including myself and leave school at sixteen, I went to art college, where I learnt how to design clothes, dye fabrics and met my best mate Cy. Poor, long-suffering Cy, he’s still with me now, he’s swapped making clothes for making cakes, back then we didn’t know how things would work out.
Me: Is that the same Cy who shares your adventures?
Andorra: That’s right. We used to wonder what we could do with our lives, after college. “I always wanted to open a clothes shop,” he told me one day in our final year, over a boozy lunch by the river. “How do you fancy it?”
To cut a long story short, AC Couture was born, Cy was tailor and cutter and I was the designer, Maisie was there too. We concentrated on fashion that was six months out of synch with everyone else; working on the theory that as you could never get any clothes for the season you were actually in, I might be able to make a living doing just that.
I could go on about AC Couture and all the adventures I had with that for ages, but then I might get into trouble, especially if I mentioned any names.
Me: How did you get from making clothes on Earth to running a café on the Space station?
Andorra: That’s another long story and if I told you that, you wouldn’t need to buy the books, would you? Let’s just say I had some good times and some disappointments and leave it at that.
Me: Thank you so much for talking to us today Andi,
Andorra: It’s been a pleasure, Richard. Can I ask you to try to make me sound a bit more like I know what’s going on in the next one you write?
If you want to know more about Andorra, you can read chapter one of Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café HERE. (Opens in a new window).
Here are links to the novels, the next one, Andorra Pett takes a Break will be published in late 2020.
I’ll be back on Thursday with another Indie Showcase.
Incidentally, I’m very grateful to Matthew Brittan for the wonderful drawings of Andorra. If you’ve enjoyed reading about her, please leave a comment below and I’ll make sure she gets it. Then go and read the rest of the great blogs on the hop. Just follow this link.