Starting with A Place Called Hope, I loved writing scenes with Anna's slatternly sister Eliza. Here she is entering the church on Christmas Day:
It must have been halfway through the service when Eliza made her noisy entrance, interrupting the sermon. She held her baby and was followed by little Bess who clutched the hand of quiet, mild-mannered William. Not content to sit quietly at the back, she gestured for her husband to follow her along the aisle. The parson waited patiently as she arranged her family, squeezing in beside Mother and asking others to move up to allow space for William and Bess.
Eliza made herself comfortable, brushed stray mousy curls from her face, hitched up her skirt to show a stained shift, then used her sleeve to wipe the dribble from the baby’s mouth. Finally she set her dark eyes and snub nose in the direction of the parson, lips in a bored pout.
also enjoyed writing the scenes with Edmund who Jessica was intended to marry. He wasn't horrible, but very thoughtless. Here they are having been to a church service at the far superior church in New Romney:
“A welcome change from your little chapel, no doubt,” commented Mr Blackstock.
“All Saints suits us well enough, and our small community still manages to enjoy the service,” my father responded.
“I hear the roof is in disrepair,” Edmund said. He turned to me, “You'll not suffer such discomfort for much longer, St Nicholas is a fine church; no cause for complaint here.”
“It's no discomfort,” I replied. Edmund didn't hear.
Later, when discussing which church to marry in, Edmund has this to say about Jessica's parish church:
“...and I can’t say that I could let my own mother sit in a puddle if it were to rain. Oh no, she could not be sitting in a puddle on her son’s wedding day!”
Following their betrothal, Jessica worries about becoming intimate with Edmund: would he dare to press his lips upon mine when we were alone?
In What the Monk Didn't See, the character who was the most fun to put in a scene has to be the old soothsayer, Gundred! Any scene with her in it flowed so quickly. Here she is on the afternoon before the Great Storm:
"There's dark deeds happening tonight. I've never had such a bad feeling. Pray Matilda. Pray for your family and the town."
"Pray for the town?" Matilda repeated, alarmed for she tended to be drawn into the soothsayer's cautionary tales.
"Aye, the town. Cinque Port, sunk port. That's what I hear over and over: Cinque port, sank port, sunk port. It rings in my ears and fills me with terror." Gundred stood on the street before Matilda. She only reached the younger woman's shoulders, her back was that bent. As always, she was draped in a thick shawl, scraggy brown-grey hair escaped in tendrils from beneath her hood; her nose was aquiline and her eyes were small dark currants.
Here Gundred speaks to Agnes:
Then she looked beyond Agnes and her eyes narrowed. “Be off with you, I see your secrets, we need no words and you bother my prayers.”
And again she taunts Agnes with her knowledge:
"I was just... just saying a prayer for him."
"There need be no secrets between us," Gundred said. "You wouldn't want his wife, the godly Matilda, to see you at his funeral. Full of suspicion that one. Shame... shame that she was once a dear sweet girl. Not like you."
"Not like me?" Agnes repeated, her heart tightening.
Next time I'll look at my favourite characters in Secrets of the Shingle and Stranger on The Point. Can you guess who they are?