Smudger was sitting on a tabletop tombstone, puffing away at a cigarette he’d cadged earlier from Jack.
Writing stories is all about creating characters. Knitting together wispy trails of thought and reflections until each has enough substance to fill the roles sketched out for them. I don’t hold with any of the “my characters just took over” flummery about the development of fictional personalities; my characters are products of my conscious and subconscious mind and, as such, are constructed from all manner of things – oral history; old photographs; contemporary novels, journalistic pieces & memoirs; facets of real people; facets of myself; imagination; things I wasn’t aware I knew and can’t place but come from inside my head all the same.
I wanted to share this picture as the one I have chosen to stand in for one of my favourite characters in Found Drowned, Martin Woodleigh (known to his friends and enemies alike as ‘Smudger’). I really don’t mind – in fact I would be positively pleased – if those of you who have read the book have different ideas of how he should look because that means I must have been successful in breathing life into this particular creation.