The author blog of C. J. Ivory

Tinkerer with words. Dresser-Upper. Adorer of Steampunk and VictoriaNoir fiction. Occasional Lawgineer.

April 14, 2011

April's Absolute Write Blog Chain Challenge

I love this month's challenge! It has two parts: First, describe one of your characters in 50 words or less. Second, have that character interview you! 
(Well done to the clever Orion from nonexistent books, who came up with this cute twist on the old interview.)

1. Character Description (in fifty words or less)

The Honourable Isabel Crawford is a penurious governess turned nineteenth-century sleuth. Charming when she wants to be, brutal when she must be, Isabel embodies the new woman of the Victorian Age: acerbic wit, sensible brolly, and a whole lot of moxie. Oh – and a two-shot derringer, tucked into her stocking.

That's what I'm talkin' about

2. Isabel interviews me, her Author.

I suppose you think you’re rather clever.

Uhm. Is that actually a question?

The scandalous death of both my parents, poverty, a menial job – that ridiculous Detective Inspector Dennehy. Really, the way you throw me into these situations at will – what are you thinking?

Well, people seem to enjoy reading it...

Is that a good enough reason to put me in constant danger? I’ll remind you that my family is English nobility, no matter that the gutter press may have it otherwise.

Oh, pish. You’ve survived so far. In fact, considering you’re “English nobility,” you’ve done better than I thought you would.

Hmph. Did you expect I would just curl up and whimper? We Crawfords are made of sterner stuff than that.

That’s the spirit!

Oh, don’t think you can flatter me now. I suppose you think you’ve a way with words, but let me tell you, I’d never read one of your novels. Your characters are ridiculous.

Ridiculous? Come on, that’s a bit extreme. Which of my characters is ridiculous?

Take that Miss Lydia Fyfe, for example. A common little trollop, and yet you have the young men falling over themselves for her. Not a chapter goes by before some idiot gentleman is making eyes at her.

Such as Detective Inspector Dennehy?

I wasn’t talking about him.

Well, you were talking about idiot gentlemen making eyes at Lydia Fyfe, so I assumed – 

Hah! The Inspector is not a gentleman.

Well, you should know. Hehehe.



Are you still there?

If you refuse to be civil, this discussion is over.


What I want to know is: when will my fortunes turn around?

Maybe they won’t. There’s no shame in being poor, you know.

Gracious – do you know anything about Victorian England?

Fine. How about, in the next book, you receive some sort of generous inheritance from a long-forgotten great aunt?

I’m listening...

Enough money to live in a comfortable style – rent a nice little cottage in, let’s say, St John’s Wood. 

No, I won’t live any further north than Bayswater Road.

Fine, a house in Mayfair. And you can have a staff of three.

I thought you said I was to live in a comfortable style. Five staff.

Four. That’s my final offer. And I’ll throw in a nice man.


Anyone I’m acquainted with?

No; I know how much you detest all the men I’ve introduced you to so far. I’ll write a completely new man.

Oh. Well. That seems rather a waste of your writerly talents. I mean, perhaps we can tweak one of the existing fellows.  Make him a bit less, I don’t know, less rough about the edges.


Perhaps improve his station in life – give him a better career, that sort of thing.


But maybe not too smooth about the edges.

Alright. This is good; I feel like we’re making some headway. What shall we call this new novel?

Well, of course we’ll have to name it something to complement Unseemly Conduct and Unspeakable Acts.

Let me think: you come into money, move to St John’s Wood –


...move to Mayfair, meet a charming man and have a nice life. How about we call it, Unbelievably Boring?

I see. There’s really no need to be like that.

Sorry. It’s just that no one is going to read a novel like that. Readers want tension, drama, obstacles to happiness, and all that jazz.


Sorry: all that stuff. If I give you a “Happily Ever After”, you know what comes next?

“The End”.

Right. And, just between you and me, I don’t think you’re ready for that.

Hmmm. Perhaps not.

So perhaps no mysterious old aunts kicking the bucket, just yet?

Kicking the bucket? You do have such a vulgar way of putting things.

And we’ll just keep Lydia Fyfe as she is?

I really couldn’t care less what you do with that girl.

And no smoothing Inspector Dennehy’s edges?

I have no idea why you should think I was referring to Victor Dennehy...

Sorry – my mistake. Well, I better get back to writing. I’ll see you in the second draft of Unspeakable Acts

Could I at least have a new hat for the sequel? The mushroom silk one has a tear in it.

I’ll see what I can do.

And perhaps I can get a superior gun? There have been several new developments in ballistics since my old derringer.

Er. I guess I’ll do some research.

Be sure that you do. Goodnight, Charlotte.

Goodnight, Isabel.

Hope you enjoyed meeting my lovely protagonist (or at least witnessing us argue!). While I wait for the surrealist police to come and cart me away, don't forget to check out the other participants in the April Blog Chain:


Trisha said...

This was brilliant Charlotte - I really like this lady, she's very SASSY indeed! ;) And don't you let her bully you, she has to go through crap to get to the good stuff :P

Anonymous said...

Hi! I came from AW!
I love Isabel, she definitely knows what she wants.

Erin said...

I love it when a lady speaks her mind. And you're right, Unbelievably Boring would not suit her at all. I have a feeling Inspector Dennehy...erm...the gentleman in question will come around eventually.

Leigh said...

I love it that everyone is having their characters talk to them about how they are written. So much fun!

Anonymous said...

The surrealist police release you on bail after they are summoned to rescue Schrodinger's Cat from a tree (or not).

In addition to bringing out a really great voice, I loved the fact that, by the end, you were negotiating with your character to placate her!

Charlotte Jane Ivory said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone! This was great fun to write :)
Looking forward to reading the remaining ones soon...

Anonymous said...

The Honorable Isabel Crawford is a character I'd enjoy spending a whole lot of time with.

Delightful interview! And the brolly and the derringer are nice too.

Aimee Laine said...

Very cute! LOVE the voice! Well done!

Dana said...

This was really fun to read! Loved it!

Anonymous said...

That was a delight. No inheritance, no new hat, no smoothing of a certain someone's edges (loved that whole Dennehy bit) but please at least give her a more formidable weapon. Dirty Harry meets Jane Eyre! Doesn't get any better than that.

Charlotte Jane Ivory said...

So glad you enjoyed! I do love Isabel, she's my favourite protagonist. So, no, I'm not going to give her a "Happily Ever After" for some time yet!

De's Stories said...

This is a fantastic post. I love how you bridge the past with an interview with a character from the 19th century. I've always imagined doing the same thing with my characters from 'Day of Revenge'. Way to go.

Anonymous said...

I'm loving this! Isabel seems delightful and I lover her denial in regards to Mr. Dennehy. Her voice was very strong, I dare say she'd give me a run for my money. :p

Anonymous said...

I had to chuckle. I can picture this so clearly, and I would love to read some of the adventures that Isabel gets into.

Of course, I wonder what she would say to a handsome stable hand...

Anonymous said...

I really like the back and forth in this. What a great character. Both of you ;)