Blog Tour, Book Review, Guest Post, Middle Grade Fiction

The Runaways of Haddington Hall by Vivian French ~ Blog Tour & Guest Post

The Runaways of Haddington Hall is a fast-paced Victorian adventure full of fire and determination! Minnie O’Sullivan is the daughter of a washer woman who teaches her how to stand up for herself and make her own way in the world. When a series of small mistakes land Minnie in Mrs Haddington’s home for wayward girls, she isn’t going to put up with being maltreated. Together with her friends, Edith and Enry, nothing will stop her from revealing the villains’ secrets and proving she has as much value as any other child, no matter how much money she has.

This is a fantastic story of identity and self-worth. As a young girl in the 19th century, Minnie doesn’t have much of a voice. Everyone assumes she has little power and little to say for herself. Her pride might get the better of her at times but it is also the making of her. She won’t be pushed down. With so much spark, Minnie is a heroine readers will adore!

Creating Exciting Characters by Vivian French

I love Charles Dickens. I’ve read his books over and over again, and I never get tired of them. So many of his characters feel like my friends, or, sometimes, enemies.

He invented such amazing names; Uriah Heap, Mrs Malaprop, Seth Pecksniff, and my all-time favourite, Noddy Boffin. It was from Dickens that I learned how important it is to find the right name; it gives the reader an idea of what the character will be like. (I’m still rather pleased with Olio Sleevery (the villain in The Steam Whistle Theatre Company), and in The Runaways of Haddington Hall I’ve got Obadiah Marpike, and Mrs Krick.) So… if you want to create an exciting character, one way to start is to invent a name.

A useful trick is to choose the name of a friend’s pet, and mix it with the road you live in. So, Slipper Harrison, Silver Morningside, or Minski Spottiswoode. (These are real pets, and real roads!) Then have a think; what kind of character does the name suggest? Are they good? Are they bad? Would you like them? If not, why not? Do they have a particular habit, like sucking their thumb, or biting their nails? What are they good at? What can’t they do? Is there anything they really hate, like gooseberries, or spaghetti? And how do they move? That can tell you so much about a character.

If someone sneaks into a room, and creeps towards the cupboard are they likely to be good, or bad? If they hop and jump and skip… what then? Don’t tell your reader what a character’s like… SHOW them! The more you know about your character, the more real they’ll be to your reader. Then, when you’re planning your story, you’ll know exactly how your character will behave!

The Runaways of Haddington Hall is a fast-paced Victorian adventure full of fire and determination! Minnie O’Sullivan is the daughter of a washer woman who teaches her how to stand up for herself and make her own way in the world. When a series of small mistakes land Minnie in Mrs Haddington’s home for wayward girls, she isn’t going to put up with being maltreated. Together with her friends, Edith and Enry, nothing will stop her from revealing the villains’ secrets and proving she has as much value as any other child, no matter how much money she has.

This is a fantastic story of identity and self-worth. As a young girl in the 19th century, Minnie doesn’t have much of a voice. Everyone assumes she has little power and little to say for herself. Her pride might get the better of her at times but it is also the making of her. She won’t be pushed down. With so much spark, Minnie is a heroine readers will adore!

Thank you to Walker Books for this brilliant book!

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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