Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Whatever Happened to Barbie?

Now and then I introduce a minor character into a book series and then find out afterwards that their existence niggles at me. Whatever happened to... I have a habit of adding just enough detail to be tantalising. One such character is a woman named Barbie who was mentioned in a few throw-away lines in one of my books as the first girlfriend of a major character's grandfather.  The grandfather, whose name is Peter Peckerdale, is an irascible character who appears in quite a few of my stories, first as a hale man in his eighties and also in the retrospectively-set Midsummer Melody which took place in 1969, and The Kissing Ring which is set in the 1980s. In the first, Peter is in his late thirties, terrorising his daughter's boyfriend, and in the second, he's a grandfather teamed with his cousin and their wives to create a community tower. I'm now engaged in writing Peter's story, beginning in 1950, just after he's broken up with Barbie. Ten years later, Peter's wife Pia decides to contact Barbie in the spirit of friendship. To avoid telling the volatile Peter what she's doing, she enlists the help of Peter's  cousin, the then eighteen-year-old Simon Peter Grene.

This young man, already a bit traumatised by Sydney traffic, arrives at Barbie's address only to encounter her husband Jacobi le Fay, who is understandably not too pleased at this reminder of his wife's earlier mistake.

Jacobi le Fay is an elf man in his thirties. He's known Barbie since childhood, and although he knows about her brief relationship with Peter back in her student days, he would rather it stayed in the past. Jacobi's family are acclimatised elves who live human. He has an ordinary job, a car and apart from a few minor issues such as conspicuously good health and the ability to conjure, he is just an average citizen... That's his story, anyway! He's a nice person on the whole, but he just can't help giving the young messenger a hard time. Nevertheless, he does consent to talk to him and some of Barbie's later history is illuminated.

Will readers have been hanging out to know whatever happened to Barbie? Probably not. The point is, I have been wanting to know. And now I do.

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