A warm welcome to author Silvia A. Winters joining us today on her mini blog tour for her new release “Bat’s Children”.
Welcome to the third quarter of my four stop mini tour. If you want to see previous posts, there are links at my blog. But read this one first, since you’re here.
Today I want to talk about the characters themselves and about their relationships with one another. Of course, I don’t want to give too much away about the story, so watch me balance on that line.
The main protagonist, Arwel, lives with his brother and sister in their family home, which isn’t much to speak of, but it’s theirs. Their father, Bat, wasn’t a good man, and they didn’t have a particularly happy childhood, but they had each other. Arwel, as the eldest, looked out for his siblings and, because their mother died when Ceryn was still pretty much a baby, assumed something of a parental role in the family and so feels a lot of responsibility for them.
As a child Arwel used to steal frequently, because their father usually spent his money down the tavern rather than on food for his family. When he died, he left them with a lot of debts to sinister men, and Arwel, along with Emyr, decided to up their game and begin robbing foot travellers and small carriages out on the unlit road into town. Ceryn, of course, never one to be left out, joined them after the first few times and they all worked together.
The relationship between the three of them isn’t perfect though, especially between the brothers. Emyr is sullen and has a bad temper, and Arwel’s tired of dealing with the fallout.
As much as I love all four central characters, I have to say Emyr is my favourite. Of course he’ll probably be everyone else’s least favourite since he’s kind of a dick, but writing him was a lot of fun for me. All of them act on their own off-point moral compass, but Emyr doesn’t seem to really have a compass at all. Out of all of them, he’s the most free to do what he wants; the only thing stopping him, really, is his brother, who has the knack of both calming him down and holding him back.
And then there’s Tomi. Tomi co-runs a small pawnbroker’s in Aberystwyth with his father, often conning people into paying more for items than they’re worth, giving bad deals to desperate people parting with their belongings.
Arwel and Tomi’s relationship is built primarily on business. Arwel rarely sees Tomi without something to sell him, mostly because he assumes Tomi wouldn’t be interested otherwise, and Tomi certainly doesn’t want to be seen with Arwel in public, because he’s trying to at least pretend his business is legitimate, and Aberystwyth is a small town. You’ll have to read the book to see how that turns out, though.
I think, really, they all love what they do. Tomi loves the art of persuasion and manipulation, loves the edge to selling stolen goods, and he likes the feeling of superiority when he’s able to cheat someone out of money. Emyr loves the adventure, the adrenaline of highway robbery, and Ceryn loves the freedom. Arwel enjoys that too, but for him it’s more about survival than it is for the others. He wants a good life for himself and his family and he can’t get that any other way.
Today’s extract is a the first scene between Arwel and Tomi. Enjoy.
The trees were closing in, vines pulling at his ankles, dragging him down into the earth. From below, he could hear his father singing, that gruff, gravelly voice rising up from the soil, some old Welsh nursery rhyme Arwel could only half-remember.
He awoke to candlelight and Tomi’s face, peering at him wide-eyed through the gloom. Tomi was twenty, but he still had the face of a child, all long, dark lashes and freckles, innocent blue eyes. But Arwel knew too well that was an illusion. Tomi was far from innocent.
“What were you dreaming about?” Tomi said, his voice soft and low. “It sounded like you were crying.”
“I wasn’t crying.” Arwel pushed himself to a more upright position. They were in an old, abandoned barn on the hillside, derelict since Arwel had been a small boy. He hadn’t meant to fall asleep, but it was late and he was tired, and he’d felt himself slipping.
“Ceryn said you had something for me.”
“On whether or not you’re going to rip me off like last time.”
Tomi smiled. “Ah, so you did notice.”
“Of course I fucking noticed. I’m not a fool, Tomi.”
“News to me.”
Arwel grimaced. Sometimes he wondered why he kept doing business with Tomi. Still, he pulled the bag out from behind him and emptied it onto the stone floor.
“Hmm,” Tomi muttered, picking up the watch. “Not very fashionable these days. They make them smaller now. Still, I could probably get something for it.” He picked up the pearls. “These are worthless.” Then the brooch. “This, on the other hand… It’s not much, but it’s nice. I could sell this.”
“I’ll give you a florin for the lot.”
“A florin? Fuck off.” Arwel crossed his arms over his chest. He knew he probably didn’t have much, but he was sure it was worth more than that.
“Alright then.” Tomi sighed theatrically. “Half a crown.”
“I won’t take less than a crown.”
“This isn’t worth that.”
“Tomi, I know when you’re lying through your sodding teeth. I won’t take less than a crown.”
Tomi smiled, pulled out his purse and deposited a crown into Arwel’s hand. “I do like a man who knows his own mind.”
Arwel and his family are bad stock, everyone knows it and they’re happy to say it—but left with a towering debt and no means to pay it, survival means living on the wrong side of the law. Arwel has little doubt his life will end via the hangman’s noose, but the risk of execution is better than the alternative.
Tomi makes a living buying and selling pretty things, including those that Arwel passes along from his roadway victims. Tomi has few morals when it comes to business, and if buying stolen goods brings him closer to Arwel, so much the better.
Then one night a robbery goes wrong, and Arwel finds himself on the brink of losing everything he holds dear, including his life, and Tomi doesn’t know if he’ll ever see him again.
Sylvia is a British writer with a penchant for the gothic. She currently lives in the centre of Bristol amongst shabby gay bars, massage parlours and anarchist hangouts. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time looking after her elderly rats, listening to heavy metal, watching horror films, or in the pub.
She most enjoys writing paranormal, but likes to play with other genres from time to time and has been known to dabble in contemporary, steampunk and historical.
You can keep up with Sylvia through her twitter account or her blog.
I’m also giving away 2 ebook copies of the book (one giveaway run across 4 blogs).
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