Sorry about last week, procrastination got the better of me and I started and finished an assessment the day before it was due. The good news is that I got it finished (hopefully it’s enough to pass) and I’m back again ready to share some new thoughts, plans and even an excerpt from Lonely Hearts, so keep reading if that sounds like it might tickle your fancy!
I’ve been thinking about some of the smaller details in the world and lives of my characters over the last week and have come up with a few new thoughts. After watching the Underbelly Razor series (at the suggestion of my uncle), I’ve been able to gain a little insight into the world of Sydney from 1927-1936 – the perfect time frame to provide an insight into the world of Thomas and Rose. When we first meet Rose in Lonely Hearts it is February 1935, the economy is slowly recovering from the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and many of the country’s wealthy businessman are taking advantage of lower property prices and the lower cost of living. Thomas is one of these people, but he isn’t the type of businessman to put people out of a job, in fact his aim was to do the complete opposite. I’ve spoken of this before, but in case you’ve missed it, Thomas’ role as a businessman and investor is the key factor for Thomas and Rose meeting. Ordinarily Thomas and Rose would never have met, they were from two different worlds – Rose was orphaned at the age of fourteen after her mother -her only known family died and was taken in by her employer, József, a Hungarian-Jewish immigrant and the owner of a tailor shop. Thomas is a wealthy businessman who inherited a significant fortune when his parents died of Spanish Influenza when he was only eight years old. Therefore, if it was not for Thomas’ interest in investing in József’s business, the two would never have met.
I started thinking deeply about the two different worlds my main characters are from and the details of their worlds. Thomas, being of considerable wealth, would have had a large house – possibly in the Northern suburbs of Sydney. He would have many people in his employment to look after his household – including a driver. When I considered that, I started to wonder what kind of car he would have and after some initial research, decided that Thomas would own several cars, including a town car for everyday travel (such as travelling to The Rocks to invest in a certain business), an expensive glamourous car for attending evening events and a sporty little roadster, which Thomas would drive himself -because boys and their toys and all that. I haven’t decided on all the details entirely but I think that this 1935 Lincoln 301 Model K 7-Passenger Limousine would be fairly nice car for attending evening events don’t you?
Rose’s world on the other hand is very different, neither her nor József own a car, with most of the money being put back into the business, trying to keep them going. They lived modestly in a small terrace house next to the tailor shop. The early 1930s may now be known as The Great Depression, but many people did not dress like that, especially Rosie. Her skills as a seamstress and her talent for replicating the latest fashions were evident in the gorgeous clothes she wore, however her wardrobe consisted of day dresses and skirts and blouses, she owned one hat for going out during the day, which she saved up her money for and she wore it at a jaunty angle- a flirtatious statement in line with the latest fashion.
Of course there is still much more I need to explore in the world of Thomas and Rose and the attention to detail is making this world become some sort virtual reality experience for me, I only hope I can pass this experience on to my readers.
So as I head off to nail down a few more details, I leave you with an excerpt from the first chapter of Lonely Hearts. Some of it may seem familiar as a section of it I have shared in a previous post, but I have done a little editing as I progressed through the chapter, so it has been added to and changed slightly. I’m sure it will be edited and changed several more times before I feel it is finished, but this is where it is at this point in time.
“As I prepared the tea for József and Thomas, I caught myself staring at him through the partially open door, “Damn”, I nearly overfill the cup and I glance back to the door hoping no one heard me curse, but I have no such luck. “Is everything ok Rosie?” József calls from his office, the door now wide open. “Yes, fine. Would you like me to bring in the tea?” I ask quickly as I try to draw the attention away from the fact that a lady just cursed. I glance back towards József’s office and see the same slight smile curving the one corner of his mouth and I’m sure he is laughing at me again. I carefully carry the tea into the cramped office setting the tray down on the small round table next to the wall between the two men. I risk another glance at Thomas to check if he still finds my fumbling nervousness amusing and notice a small scar above his right eye and that his nose is slightly crooked. Is this his darkness, was he a brawler, exerting his physical power over others for his own gratification? Surely a man of his social standing would not associate himself with such brutal activities. Yet how can I be sure, by my own admission I know nothing about this man, yet I am strangely drawn to him, I imagine reaching my hand up to the side of his face and touching that small scar as he leans his cheek into my palm, I shake my head banishing the image from my mind. Listen to yourself Rosie! You barely know this man and you’re having unsavoury fantasies about him! Fantasize all you want, but remember, you are from different worlds; you could never be together, besides he probably thinks you’re simple after this morning’s performance. I nod in silent agreement with my subconscious, even though I barely know this man, I know that we inhabit two very different worlds.
My hands are shaking, betraying my nervousness as I make József’s tea to his liking, one sugar and a small amount of milk. Rosie, get a hold of yourself! I take a breath, bracing myself before I look at him again. “How do you take your tea Mr Heath?” I ask with a polite smile. My eyes lock with his, my breath hitches and I suddenly feel hot –too hot. He runs his tongue over his bottom lip, sending a shiver down my spine. No man has ever affected me in this way and I desperately pray that he doesn’t realise the effect he is having on me, but the now familiar curve that is at the corner of his mouth tells me that he knows exactly what he is doing to me and he is enjoying watching quiver and squirm under his intent gaze. Thomas blinks, as if he has remembered that we are not alone, “Milk and two sugar thank you Rose and please, call me Thomas.” I nod and prepare his tea as per his instructions, as I lean over to pour the milk into the tea I am acutely aware that Thomas’ gaze is fixated upon me and I am sure I just caught his gaze attempting to glance down the front of my dress. I know I should be offended, but I enjoy that idea that he perhaps might find me as attractive as I find him. I turn to József before leaving the room, “Well if there is nothing else you gentleman need, I’ll let you get on with your meeting. I’ll be out the front.” Jószef nods and I turn to quickly take my leave. I can feel Thomas’ gaze on me as I walk out of the room, slightly swaying my hips, secretly hoping he is enjoying the show and I imagine his lips curving into that gorgeous lop-sided smile.”
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