Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Guest post - On Track for Murder by Stephen Childs

Displaying on track for murder04.jpegWith her father stabbed to death, her brother caught with the bloody murder weapon, and her stepmother suspiciously missing, 18-year-old Abigail Sergeant is forced into a dangerous cross country adventure to uncover the truth and bring the real killer to justice. Traveling from England to Australia in the late nineteenth-century, Abigail and her naive younger brother hope that reuniting with their father — and his new wife — will offer them security. What awaits them on the shores of the Swan River dashes any prospects of a blissful life. Discovering her father murdered and her brother seemingly caught red handed, Abigail’s life is thrown into turmoil. The police are convinced of Bertrand’s guilt, but Abigail is determined to prove his innocence, no matter whatever it takes. The only thing that the now insensible Bertrand will say about the murder is that their stepmother, Frances, knows what really happened. Frances, however, has fled south to Albany, a port from which she plans to board a ship bound for New Zealand. With time running out, Abigail persuades the police to let her follow Frances, but only if she is chaperoned by the reluctant Constable Ridley Dunning. Embarking on a heroic train journey across Western Australia, Abigail faces deception, kidnap, sabotage and arson, forcing her to draw on a resolve she didn’t know she possessed. But will that be enough to save her brother from injustice?

Building Emotion Through the Eyes of a Teenage Girl by Stephen Childs

Writing about murder and the subsequent challenge of finding the perpetrator presumes many intriguing plot twists. With On Track for Murder, I wanted the characters to experience more than just a series of perplexing puzzles. The drama comes from fear and confusion, deception and dilemma. 

From the outset, I sought a character who offered the greatest possibility for change. I looked for the most innocuous of protagonists to challenge the ever present Victorian ideals of the nineteenth century. Abigail Sergeant became that lead character. Discovering a bloody murder traumatises her as would be expected. The determination to find the killer, though, immediately reveals a hidden strength. 

My challenge was to put her through terrors that would incapacitate many of the time, but that she would overcome and use to grow. She is chased by a knife wielding attacker and only manages to escape by stealing a railway locomotive. A kidnapping that would see most Victorian women merely sobbing, allows Abigail the opportunity to use her knowledge to blow up a boat and effect her escape. An ever increasing array of terrifying scenarios builds the drama. Even faced with, what seems like, the ultimate betrayal, Abigail manages to prevail.Her final witnessing of the killer’s hanging truly reveals how much she has grown through the traumatic experiences. 

Edge of the seat encounters are a great tool for progressing a character. In this story Abigail’s tenacity strengthens, while she continues to prove that you don't need to be perceived as strong to overcome adversity.  

Many thanks Stephen for joining us today.

About the author: Born in Ealing, West London, Stephen Childs immigrated with his family to New Zealand in the 1970s. He has enjoyed a long career in the film and television industry. After a serious health scare in 2005, Childs’ view of life changed. He briefly went into politics as a parliamentary candidate in the national elections, standing against the now New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key. The drive to pursue new challenges prompted Childs to relocate to Western Australia, where he now lives in Joondalup, north of Perth, with his family and two cats. In his spare time, Childs enjoys exploring the great Australian outdoors and studying genealogy. On Track for Murder by Stephen Childs (published by Clink Street, available September 1st, RRP $12.00 paperback, RRP $7.50 ebook) is available online from retailers including amazon.com and can be ordered from all good bookstores.

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