Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - 25 - 13 Things About Robbie Flynn

On this Monday's Poetry Train, I posted an excerpt of a WIP I'm working on. At the moment it doesn't even have a working title. I just refer to it as my gardener story.

The gardener to whom I refer is Robbie Flynn. For today's Thursday Thirteen, I'm going to borrow from fellow blogger Susan Helene Gottfried, who regularly features backstory gold about her fictional characters from Riverview.

Here are 13 things about my fictional character, Robbie Flynn:

1 - As the story begins, it is 1844 in Cheltenham, in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire.

2 - I've modelled Robbie on actor Ewan McGregor. It's hard to figure out whether Ewan has green or blue eyes, but the character of Robbie has green eyes. Robbie has Ewan's light brown hair color, though. He's 28 years old.

3 - Robbie is the middle child of five siblings. Unfortunately for Robbie, he's the youngest of the two boys. This wouldn't have been so bad if his brother Laurence hadn't been interested in taking over their father's flower shop. But Laurence loves every aspect of being a shop owner, including the magic of the flowers themselves.

4 - This means Robbie has to make his own way in the world. Since he's inherited his father's and brother's love of flowers, Robbie turns his passions to the gardens where the cut flowers get their start. He studies the art of landscape design from a fairly early age. Being the second son of a shop owner will not hold Robbie back from pursuing his dream.

5 - After pestering the minister to let him help out in the churchyard garden, Robbie garners a reputation for his skill even before he turns fourteen. Rather than having to seek a position at a country house, the head gardener comes to him. Mr. Sollows approaches Robbie's father to ask if he might spare his son for work at Ashbury Downs, the country seat of Brigadier-General Chase, retired of India.

6 - Robbie begins his apprenticeship under Sollows with a line mentally drawn between himself and the other servants he has joined. He doesn't think of himself as having gone into service, as all the others at Ashbury Downs have done. No, Robbie is the son of Timothy Flynn, Esquire, owner and proprietor of the Winchcombe Road Flower Shop. He is learning his more than respectable craft at the side of a talented head gardener. Robbie is very pleased with his situation.

7 - By nature an introvert, much more at home with his own thoughts than having to make conversation with anyone, Robbie manages to work for several years at Ashbury Downs without getting entangled in any of the daily dramas of the house staff. Even more thrilling is the gossip about the Chase family for whom he works. Robbie stays apart from most of it, though it's impossible to remain completely aloof.

8 - He knows first hand about the devious nature of the second son of the house, Mr. Zachary Chase. I've based this character on Robson Green.
The young master nurses a grudge against Fate for denying him inheritence rights to the family seat. He uses his handsome face and irresistable charm to help himself to whatever takes his fancy, especially when it comes to the sexual favors of the female staff.

9 - Robbie has been the unwilling witness to more than one seduction of a poor maid, as Zachary enjoys using the conservatory to lure his victims and take his pleasure of them. No matter how much the staff attempt to prevent another incident, warning all newcomers about the ways of the young master, Mr. Chase always stays one step ahead. Robbie has taken to working late in the conservatory to try to dissuade Mr. Chase from using it.

10 - Immersed completely in learning his craft, Robbie goes through his twenties barely saying more than a few words at a time to a pretty girl. Beside the fact that he doesn't much know what to say to them, Robbie has a clear timetable for his life. He will not consider looking for a wife until he has become head gardener on an estate. Dalliances with girls are just a nuisance.

11 - A tragic accident makes Robbie rethink his moratorium on relationships. During a New Year's skating party on the lake, one of the laundry maids falls through the ice and drowns. Robbie realizes he'd never taken the time to speak one word to her, though she'd worked on the estate for some time. Shaken, he takes a special interest in the new girl who's come to replace her.

12 - Helen's arrival upsets Robbie's measured and manicured life. I've modelled Helen after Keri Russell.
Even if he hadn't resolved to force himself to talk to the new arrival, Helen's childlike delight in even the simplest aspect of life at Ashbury Downs is strangely contagious. Robbie finds himself inventing reasons to speak with her. And somehow, his normally tongue-tied attempts go smoothly when she's near. Simply the strangest thing.

13 - When he tries to warn her off of the young master, however, Helen bristles and refuses to believe such talk. It disturbs Robbie when he realizes how incensed this makes him. Stumbling upon an attempted seduction, Robbie steps between the young master and Helen. It's no surprise that Mr. Chase is less than pleased, but Robbie is not ready for the hostile reaction he gets from Helen. If she wants to be treated like poor Lucy, then let her. But who is he trying to fool? If Helen finds herself compromised by Zachary Chase again, Robbie knows he'll have to come between them - and damn the consequences.


No Nonsense Girl said...

That's a great TT idea Julia!!! :) I love your character.

Mine's up, 13 things about my job interview tomorrow!!!

Camille Alexa said...

You have that thing totally thought out. Do you really adhere closely to your story plan, or does it shift as you work? Mine's always doing its own shake-n-bake by page 20, regardless of plan.

ONwebCHECK said...

Wow a nice post on TT :)

Darla said...

Don't stop now! What happens next??!

Christine d'Abo said...

Have I mentioned you need to sell want to read it!!

Red Garnier said...

You get such fantastic TT ideas, Julia! I loved this TT and Robbie Flynn!! =)

Samantha Lucas said...

Ok you had me at #2 I LOVE Ewan McGregor! But the whole post was fabulous. Loved it!

Anonymous said...

What a great way to get your backstory down!

You'll have to remind us all of this when you get it published. I love it, and want to read the rest!

Amy Ruttan said...

Very Cool TT! I loved learning more about your characters and I always enjoy seeing Ewan MacGregor

Joyismygoal said...

Do you find him talking to you when you are trying to do other things? come visit my Photo essay on Hands

Carrie Lofty said...

Ewan McGregor is one of those thinking gal's heartthrobs. Not a hunk, but damn sexy. I love this TT idea... may steal it one day.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Aww, thanks for the linky love! I'm really impressed with the depth of your vision. In fact, if you'd like to let my favorite black pen loose, I'd be glad to read this in early stages (and I do NOT make this offer often. In fact, you're one of the first!).

and yes, my weekend traffic falls off. Weird, huh? Like... you can have a life off the computer? Really???


Lisa Andel said...

I love getting backstory. I'm not usually that organized myself.

Rhian / Crowwoman said...

w- this was awesomely cool! GREAT TT Julia! you rock!

keeyit said...

Green and blue eyes.. wah.. I never see the people with that color of eyes.

Miss Frou Frou said...

Hi, I'm with Christine - I want to see this published... even more now I've read Robbie's story

julia said...

Camille - I've never been much of a plotter. I'm a pantser by nature, as in 'seat-of-the'. This blog post is actually the first time I've collected all of my backstory for Robbie into a coherent piece - it usually just lives inside me.

Thanks for the interest, everyone! It will help get the story out of my head and into the computer.

Akelamalu said...

That sounds intriguing - I want a copy!