Paul Bradley: On a quest

In today’s blog I thought I would provide a character study on the main character of my new novel which i am presently working on. ‘Haunted at 4:12,’ which is the provisional title of this novel, involves Paul Bradley spending a fortnight in the English coastal town of Southend. He is on the look out for ideas which will help him write a book which will make him as a writer. I have already written about this book in the Horror Updates section of this site. My blogging has taken the form of a progress report on all that has taken place in the storyline to date. But now I want to branch out and tell you something about Paul, my main character, and give you an idea of what drives him and what places him in the middle of the action of what is a crazy storyline.

He is, like me, a horror writer so I think I have an inkling as to how his mind works. Southend is a favourite of his. He’s holidayed there a few times in the past. Each time he has gone there in order to recharge his batteries and to try to get away from his normal life and allow some invigorating ideas to come to him. This strategy has not worked very well in the past and when he arrives there on this occasion he wonders why he is retreading old ground. What makes him think this time will be any different from his previous visits. He is soon to find out, however, that the present two week stay by the sea is going to be nothing like anything he has experienced before.

He soon finds himself entering into a sequence of events which are beyond his understanding. What had started out as a search for ideas soon becomes a quest to find out the truth behind a lot of confusion and contrasting views. In my previous blogs on this theme I have described how he awakes early one morning (4:12 to be precise: hence the title) and to discover that a mysterious island has appeared on the far horizon. This turns out to be an alternate world and it is the goings on which take place in this far-flown land which sparks his interest in a big way.

As the storyline develops Paul’s good friend Tom becomes embroiled in the action. He acts as a support mechanism to all that Paul is going through. On various occasions throughout their shared experience Paul lapses into his writer’s guise as he uses all he has learnt throughout the many years he has been writing fiction to provide a new insight into all that comes his way now. He is, after all, dealing with episodes which take place in an alternate world so he spends part of his time in a completely different time dimension to his own. So he has to very much think outside the box. Nothing is precisely as it seems. This is something he has come across on numerous occasions in his career as a horror writer although never in quite the same way as he does now. After all, all that had previously occurred to him happened in his imagination, his over fertile imagination as Tom has pointed out to him from time to time. But this is not fiction he is dealing with now: it is reality. Certainly not his reality, but someone else’s.

There are occasions when Tom wonders about Paul’s search for truth. He feels he is putting both of them in harm’s way just so he can write a book about his experiences. This to him is going too far. He knows Paul is desperate to write a bestseller but some things should be left alone and not trifled with, otherwise something serious might be the end result. But Paul is undaunted. He insists this is not solely about writing a book which will sell. No, he has been caught up in the battle between two groups of people in this alternate world. He must find out who is on the right side.

Throughout the storyline to date Paul is faced with different messages coming to him depending on who he talks to. The island people seem to be the good guys at first and the ghostly seamen the villains of the piece. But before long Paul is forced to face up to the idea that he might have picked up the wrong signals all along. Could it be that it was the other way around to how he had imagined it? As he becomes more and more immersed in the events which take place on this mysterious island he comes to see that a new scenario is being painted to the one he had previously envisaged.

At the stage I have reached in the storyline Tom is visiting Paul for the weekend. It is during this visit that Paul finally comes to see that it is indeed the ghostly seamen who are the put-upon ones and the island people who are the wrongdoers. This is where the time dimension angle comes in as he is sent back centuries before to the island as it was then and a discussion between a member of the island people and a counterpart from the seamen. The two groups had formally been business partners but something had come between them and this is the crux of all the problems which ensue from that moment on. During this conference Paul discovers that the island people are not the worthy, upstanding figures they had made themselves out to be. It becomes apparent to him that this had been an act put on by them to worm their way into his confidence. He had been fooled into believing they were something they were not and he is now charged with the responsibility of helping the seamen in their quest to right the wrongs which had previously been done to them.

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