As all readers and writers know, stories develop from characters. So, over the coming weeks and months I thought I’d share my characters’ background information with you beginning with the lady herself, my narrator, Sam.
Sam was born on the 1 April 1983. She has no memory of her father or any idea who he might be. Her mother’s husband was killed in the Falklands war and the dates of conception and birth make it highly unlikely that he was Sam’s father, despite her mother’s insistence that he was. At other times, Sam’s mother would claim that Sam’s father was an American soldier based in Britain. Despite exhaustive investigations, Sam can find no evidence for this claim.
Sam’s earliest memory of her mother is of a woman slouched in a chair with an empty gin bottle in her hand. Sam’s mother was an alcoholic and from the time she could walk Sam became her carer and the ‘woman of the house’. Caring for her mother disrupted Sam’s education and she dropped out of Secondary school. Instead of a formal education, Sam would spend all her free time at the local library and educate herself through books.
Sam was in her early twenties when her mother died. At that point she went to night school and trained as a secretary-typist. She joined an agency and obtained steady employment. Then she met a journalist, Dan Hackett. Handsome and charismatic, Dan charmed Sam into a swift marriage and a week into that marriage she discovered that he too was an alcoholic and violent. Despite many black eyes, a broken jaw and a fractured skull, Sam stayed in the marriage for four years. The turning point arrived when Sam suspected Dan of having an affair. She went to a private detective who was too busy to help, but he guided Sam through the basics and she completed the case herself. Impressed with her level of skill and determination, the private detective hired Sam as a secretary-assistant. Unfortunately for Sam, he also fell in love with her, and with his wife and three children in the background, Sam thought it was best to leave.
And so she started again. Free from Dan, she returned to secretarial work and built up her savings. Missing the buzz of detective work, she put her savings into her own enquiry agency. After five years of struggle, Sam’s agency is just about making a profit.
Independent, still coming to terms with her past, but determined to look forward to a brighter future, Sam’s story continues, with Sam’s Song , Love and Bullets, The Big Chill and Ripper.