Friday, May 10, 2013

Character Interview #2: Conlan and Finn from LOVERS AND OTHER STRANGERS


“He’s better now. A lot better,” Con says. We’re sitting in the weathered Adirondack chairs on the long front porch of The Birches, watching Finn, who’s painting. He’s positioned his easel on the green lawn sweeping down to the rocks at the edge of the bright water, and he’s working, absorbed and oblivious to our quiet observation.   “He had us all worried for a while.”

 

“You mean because he was depressed about Fitch?”

 

Con nods absently, all his attention on Finn. “He’d have had a hard time with it anyway, but given the circumstances…”

 

I don’t comment on the circumstances, particularly Con’s role in them. Instead, I say tactfully, “Too many things hitting him at once?”

 

“He was still recovering from the accident last winter, still vulnerable emotionally and physically, though he’d never agree with that.” Con smiles faintly. “So when it all did finally hit him, it hit him hard.”

 

“There’s nothing he could have done.” No one knows that better than me.

 

“True. Guilt isn’t always logical. The fact that Finn was the only person with a valid reason for not noticing what was going on, didn’t matter. From his perspective, he’s the one person who should have known.” The stern lines of Con’s lean, ascetic face ease. “But like I said, he’s better now. He’s sleeping. He’s eating.”

 

“And he’s painting again.”

 

Con’s laugh is wry. “Oh yes. He’s painting. Every damn minute of every damn day. The daylight hours, anyway.”

 

“Do you mind? You’re writing, aren’t you? You had a book due, I thought?”

 

“No. I don’t mind. I tease him about it, but no. It’s a relief. It’s standard operating procedure for the Barrets.” From inside the house we hear Martha humming as she sets the dining table for the family luncheon.

 

Con remembers he didn’t answer the rest of my question. “The book got put on hold while Finn was – anyway, now that we’re past all that, I’ll be back to work soon, too.”

 

“How are Martha and Uncle Thomas and everyone else?”

 

“It was rough on everyone after the news broke. The publicity was hell. Seal Island was wall-to-wall with reporters and news crews for a few weeks. But things quieted down. Life goes on. Thom’s in Europe this week. And you know Martha, nothing could make her happier than having one of her chicks back in the nest.”

 

“So you’ve been living at The Birches?”

 

Con nods. “It was better for Finn. We’ll be moving out to the estate in the fall, and then he’ll come with me when I fly back to England to finish my research.”

 

Across the lawn, Finn has stopped work and is packing up his paints and easel. He raises a hand to Con and Con, smiling, lifts a hand in reply. We watch Finn cross the grass, walking toward the house. He still has a slight limp, but he no longer needs the cane. He’s thin, but he was always thin. He’s tanned and healthy looking, eyes bright and smile relaxed.

 

We get the greetings out of the way, Con excuses himself to fetch ice tea for us. It is a very warm day. The sun is hot, despite the cool sea breeze.

 

“He’s certainly very attentive these days,” I remark.

 

Finn, scraping at the paint beneath his fingernails, smiles faintly, privately.

 

“So all is forgiven?”

 

He looks up at that. “I don’t think I’d have made it through these last months without Con.” He stares out at the sparkling water. “Anyway,” he says at last, “after everything that’s happened, it kind of puts some of the other things in perspective.”

 

“I suppose so. How’s Paul these days?”

 

Finn laughs.

 

“What’s so funny?”

 

 “Nothing. Paul’s in Paris for an art show. He met a navy lieutenant.”

 

“So he made a full recovery?” Then Finn’s words sink in. I say slowly, “Did you say a navy lieutenant?”

 

Finn nods.

 

“A French naval lieutenant?”

 

“No. American. Actually, maybe he isn’t a naval lieutenant. I might have got that part wrong. He’s something in the military though. He was over there for some kind of D-day celebration.”

 

David Bradley?” I ask in alarm.

 

Finn squints as though gazing into the hazy blue distance of sunlit ocean. “Maybe.” He sounds doubtful. “David something, for sure.”

 

“Wait,” I say. “Hold everything. That’s definitely wrong. Paul and David Bradley? No. That’s not going to work.”

 

“Probably not,” agrees Finn. “Most of Paul’s relationships don’t work.”

 

I am already on my feet and hurrying down the steps. 

 

Finn watches my departure, puzzled. “Aren’t you staying for lunch?”

 

“No. I can’t stay.”

 

“Not even for ice tea? Con’s bringing—”

 

“Not for anything!” I break into a run.

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

46 comments:

  1. It IS fun to laugh out loud in the morning! :-) So lovely to start the day with something new written by you! Con and Finn story is one that stayed with me as painful but hopeful, and it's so good to know what's going on with them, and get some closure perhaps as well. I'm glad Finn is feeling better and that Con is attentive nowadays.
    But why not Paul and David Bradley? i think i need to reread these, but it would be cool if David met someone nice, he deserves that for sure.
    This is wooonderful! Thank you, Josh, for giving us these lovely presents! :-)

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    1. You're very welcome, KC! I'm delighted they're being enjoyed.

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  2. I love you! You know that, right?? Keeping David occupied is BRILLIANT! There's a reason you're my favorite! Loved this little snippet, and this story. I think it's time for a reread. Loving these little character interviews.

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    1. :-D :-D :-D

      I thought that might give one or two of you a chuckle.

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  3. I had the same reaction as the "interviewer" when I read "Navy Lieutenant"! WUT?!? AWESOME! Definitely looking forward to that one :)

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    1. :-D

      A match made in...hmmmm...

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    2. Yeah, I just went back and re-read LAOS and... yup. Match made somewhere strange and interesting indeed!

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  4. That is awesome!! Being involved with Paul will do wonders for David! :-)

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    1. There would be certainly be some funny dialog there. :-D

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  5. Josh, thank you so much for this little vignette into some of my favorite character's lives. I do love a crossover...sweet. I do believe you had as much fun writing this as I had reading it; and sometimes, that's what it's all about isn't it? Thanks again for the surprising treat. Denise A.

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    1. I did sorta kinda amuse myself with that one.
      :-D

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  6. Excellent interview.

    “There’s nothing he could have done.” No one knows that better than me.
    - authors are so cruel ;o)

    “Nothing. Paul’s in Paris for an art show. He met a navy lieutenant.”
    - I think Paul and David would make a good couple :o)

    -Andy

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    1. It's that God complex. We writers all have it. :-D

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    2. Very true - it is what makes writing fun ;o)
      Hope your day goes well.

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  7. This is a lovely catch-up with Finn & Con, Josh. Thanks so much. I loved their story in LAOS. And the minute I read Paris and navy lieutenant I immediately thought, not David Bradley! That is too funny. Thanks for the humor, too! :)

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    1. I figured you'd all get a good laugh out of that one.

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  8. You just took me on a full spectrum emotional ride with this one, oh mighty Josh. :-) Love!

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  9. OMG, David Bradley! I had to laugh out loud at that. Very Clever, Mr. Lanyon! :D

    Anyways, it's good to see Finn doing well. Con was not my favorite person (still isn't, really). But since he treat Finn right these days... ;-)

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    1. Yeah, Con pushed the limits of acceptable SO behavior, that's true! But he's really, truly sorry. ;-D

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  10. Oh, thank you! I love Con and Finn and I'm glad to see that they are recovering from all the trauma. Love the little twist - I knew who it was as soon as you said Navy Lt. in Paris! What an entertaining surprise!

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  11. Wait a minute, Josh! I just purchased 3 (count'em three!) Adrien English books @ full price from Amazon. (They are scheduled to arrive tomorrow, yippee!)

    What do you do in return? You put a tantalizing teaser for another work on your blog. U-N-F-A-I-R!
    No spoilers, folks! LAOS will have to wait until next month!

    Heartless. Just Heartless! :-D

    Penelope
    p.s. BTW, do you and other writers sit around at Boucheron and place bets on how many times you can insert "black as a raven's wing" into a text? I've always been curious about that one. Virtually every mystery, suspense, crime novelist I read, uses that phrase in almost all of his/her books.

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    1. It's such a nice image for the sweep of dark hair -- and unfortunately none of us can think of a better one!

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    2. I guess "black as Newgate's knocker" wouldn't really work in a romantic work.

      Happy TGIF Day & Happy weekend.

      P

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  12. Ha! Wondeful! Thank you, Josh. Crossovers are so much fun and a crossover like this one — brilliant! I loved the way it got your feet moving too. You have stopped running already, have you? LOL.

    Anyhoo, I'm glad you showed us Finn painting again. :-)

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    1. Paris is a big city! I'll never find them! ;-D

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    2. You ran off to Paris? And there I thought you were running to your computer to write them into some other adventure... :D

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  13. Love the title, and really enjoyed the excerpt. Have a beautiful weekend.

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  14. Glad to hear the two of them are doing well.

    And, David Bradley?! Really? I didn't see that one coming and laughed out loud. (I hope the neighbors don't mind...^^)

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    1. It's like that Monty Python skit. NOBODY EVER EXPECTS DAVID BRADLEY!

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  15. I so look forward to these interviews! I am a 'what happens to them after the story ends' person, and these interviews, no matter how lengthy or brief, allows me to see where they are and how they are getting along. It also reminds me to go back in my e-books and reread these wonderful lives you create so brilliantly. Thanks so much, Josh!

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    1. Linda, I enjoy these a lot too. They work so well on characters and stories I'm not sure I want to revisit in a full-length feature.

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  16. Josh--
    Laughed. Out loud. But you tease! Now I want more. More. David, Paul, and sparkling dialogue. In the meanwhile, time to reread Finn's story, me thinks.

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  17. :-D, You just made my day, Josh! I had to do a double take when I read about David. You are such a tease!!!

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    1. :-D :-D :-D

      But in a crazy way it almost makes sense!

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  18. But who is the interviewer? Who is so upset about David and Paul? That's what I want to know!

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  19. Awesome! I too got very excited about the mention of David Bradley. I was one advocating for someone to keep him busy and out of Taylor and Will's ways!

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  20. :-D I think he'll have his hands full with Paul.

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  21. Hi, Josh!

    Apparently everybody apart from me saw this interview! I've discovered it just now and I did enjoy it a lot, thank you for writing it!

    In fact I love all your interviews.

    And the crossover! LOL! Just keep David away from Will and Taylor, please!

    Ciao

    Antonella

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