I’ve realised now that I’m writing a series. Not something I expected but I have this notebook called Ideas and I bung every little inkling of a story that I get in there with notes for a title, characters, places, occupations and how they all fit together.
Last week I realised just how many of them are set in or around a small Welsh borders town and satellite villages – they say you should write what you know – and I also realised that it wouldn’t take much effort to fit them together. If Mal and Rob in The Bones of Our Fathers need a solicitor, why not let Leo the solicitor from Northern Light serve their needs? If Leo needs a haircut why not let Terry from Untitled but there’s a Poodle do it. If someone is stupid enough to pick a fight with Terry over his poodle, he’s probably a bully and may well pick on poor lonely little Dai Beynon from Untitled Paranormally Murdery Thing and have his arse handed to him by the silent but incredibly dangerous David Ashton from The Language of Flowers. It could be fun to populate this small country town But I’d best get this one done first.
28359 so far today 🙂 and here’s an excerpt:
At the back of the salon the tiles changed from blue and white to glossy black and terracotta and the chairs looked more suitable for a 1930’s dentist than a barber. Mal grinned at the pile of Autocar, PC Gamer and Classic Bike magazines on the little table by a line of austere bent wood chairs. This room smelled too, but it didn’t make Mal’s sinuses twitch. It smelled, somehow, of masculinity. Soap, Mal thought one of the expensive woodsy ones, aftershave of several different types, boot polish, dog and maybe just a hint of socks.
“Do you like it?” Lillian asked. “Since Cyril’s down by the market closed the boys have had to go to Hereford or Abergavenny for a haircut in a proper barber shop. I poached Terry from that big place in Aber.”
“Handier for me,” Terry said. “I don’t live far and the blokes prefer to have a place of their own, silly sods. ‘Ow you going to meet girls if you don’t go where girls are. Siddown.”
He spun the chair towards Mal who seated himself and put his hands on the arms.
“I love it,” Mal said. “Not that I don’t like the rest of the set up too, Lillian, but this has a very welcoming feel. OMG is that an original Brylcreme steel.”
The rectangular advert looked good against the stark white of the wall. Red and black again, and rugby players with muddy knees and glossy hair. Mal read the tag line of the advert – Get ahead from any position – and grinned.
“Picked it up in a salvage yard,” Terry replied. “So what’ll it be?”
“Well he’s a museum curator,” Lillian pointed out, “so he’ll need to look tidy. Professional.”
“But don’t let him tell you he just wants a short back and sides,” Betty demanded. “Mal, you’ve got a bit of length there. Might as well make the most of it.”
“Don’t interfere.” Terry put a big hand on top of Mal’s head scrunching up the hair there between his fingers. “It’s fine, bet it goes flat when you’re hot. Let’s get some layers in there, bit of product to give it a lift and you’ll be good to go. Lean forward. You’ll be needing that jacket off.”
Mal did as he was told. For a start he was in the abode of experts. He wouldn’t tolerate being told how to go about things in the storerooms and labs of a museum so why should he object to following direction here? Then there was the calm way Terry met his eyes in the mirror and gave him a nod, man to man, to reassure him that nothing awful would happen no matter how much Lillian might seem to be stuck in the days of feather cuts and flares or Betty advocate a complete makeover involving, as a first step, an application of bleach. Then there was Terry himself, with his build of a prop forward slightly gone to seed, messy black curls and neatly trimmed beard framing a handsome face and a wry smile. And finally Mal had to admit that he had a little bit of a thing for men who were just a tad bossy in bed. Not that he was looking at Terry in that way, of course, but the strong confidence with which Terry handled him, tilting his head forward to scoop out the locks of hair that were under the collar of his sweater, was undeniably pleasant.
“Your neck’s stiff,” Terry grumbled. “Relax, man, you’re not getting the Jason Statham look.”