Janet McElroy is a character of Angela Fish’s mystery, The Fractured Globe. Angela is a fellow author at Darkstroke Books, and her The Fractured Globe is high on my t0-read list, especially after reading this post. Here. I will let Angela take over.
I’d like to introduce you to Janet McElroy. She is a part-time nurse, manages a charity (thrift) shop and also helps out a few nights a week at a “soup kitchen” for the homeless. She is not one of the two main protagonists but without her, the story would not hold together. She is the aunt of Kay Jones, one of two single mums, who meet when their sons are born on the same day, and whose lives intertwine over twenty-five years. She also befriends Tia, the other mum and it is the involvement with both girls that leads to a number of the misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and conflict throughout the story. It is also because of Janet that the mystery of an abandoned child is solved.
Janet had a shaky start. The novel evolved from a writing prompt at my writers’ circle and became, at first, a simple short story told from one of the sons’ point-of view. It was well-received by the group and it was suggested that I try writing something from the child’s mother’s point-of view. Not the same story, but something which complemented and added to it. That was fine, so I decided to continue and compile a series of about six such stories. Janet was next. However, at that time she had a slightly different role as a social worker, and I found that after a few paragraphs, I had nothing more to say so I abandoned her in favour of someone else. Unfortunately, I lost the plot (literally!) and put it to one side as the children’s books I had also been working on had been accepted for publication.
Some years later I attended a seminar on how to pitch to agents/ publishers and I had the idea to pull apart the short stories and reconnect them as a full novel. It took some time and the characters underwent many changes, especially Janet, who became both catalyst and lynch-pin. There was no real-life inspiration for her — she just grew into the role. As for her name, it just seemed to “fit” her character. She’s a strong woman who knows her own mind, and is quite different from her sister, Ruth, who is Kay’s mother. Janet chose to remain single to develop her career and, while she loves her life, she sometimes wishes she had a family of her own. The work that she does, her support of her sister, Kay, and Tia, highlight her practical and empathetic nature. I think if I met Janet, I’d like her very much!
EXCERPT FROM THE FRACTURED GLOBE
“You remember that girl I told you about, the one we’d seen hanging around the square? Well, she only turned up in a right state outside the shop and collapsed on the pavement. Looked like she’d been knocked about and I think she was miscarrying. The ambulance came right away and they carted her off to A & E. I did think about going with her, but I couldn’t leave Marge to manage the shop. You know what a drama queen she is!”
Ruth finished her tea and put the cup down quietly. “So, what happened?”
Janet grimaced. “I don’t know. I was going to go and see her later, before my shift started, but they’d taken her to St. Jude’s, not Rowan Tree District. When I thought about it, I convinced myself that it wasn’t a good idea to get involved. I might still go, though. What do you think?”
Ruth screwed up her mouth. “That’s up to you, love, but if it was me, I’d probably stay away. More tea?”
The sisters drank a second cup almost in silence, each thinking of Kay and the impact of her disappearance on their lives. Ruth leaned forward and tapped Janet’s hand.
“Before you go, there’s something I want you to see. It’s in the front room.”
They crossed the hallway and Ruth paused for a moment before opening the door and standing back for her sister to enter. Janet blinked as the room was in darkness except for a faint glow in the far corner. She moved towards it, then drew in her breath sharply.
“You still have it.”
She reached out her hand to caress a large snow globe and stood transfixed as a pale blue light flickered over the figure of Jack Frost that sat on a dead tree trunk. Everything inside the globe was made from crystals and as the snow swirled, the whole scene glistened and shimmered. Ruth flicked a switch at the base and Janet shivered as the haunting strains of A Winter Lullaby filled the room. She felt the hairs on her neck stiffen and realised that she was crying. Her! She wasn’t ever the soppy one.
As she gazed into the globe, she remembered how Kay had been afraid of it when she was small and that it had eventually been banished to the spare room cupboard. They’d all laughed at her at first; at her insistence that Jack Frost knew what she was thinking and that he was going to take her away. Now, in the eerie stillness of the room, Janet thought she understood the little girl’s fears. There was something ethereal about the globe, something unexplainable, yet she felt a more positive energy from it. It took a lot of effort for her to stop looking at it but eventually she turned to Ruth who was crying quietly.
“I couldn’t bear to part with it. I never understood why Kay was so scared of it. When I plugged it in this morning, all I could see was her face in the snow. It just gives me some connection, some hope, you know?”
It was when Janet was driving home that she realised her niece’s baby was due any day, and that Ruth hadn’t mentioned it. She kicked herself again.
ANGELA FISH’S BIO
Angela has lived all of her life in Wales and has worked in Medical Research, Electrical Engineering, and Education. She has been an avid reader all her life and began writing at age seven, although did not contemplate publishing until many years later! The Fractured Globeis her first novel. She has previously had four children’s books published, as well as poetry, critical, and academic work.
She has a love of mythology, and myths and legends from around the world, and also finds the psychology of human behaviour fascinating, especially the nature/nurture debate, which is the focus of The Fractured Globe.
Angela loves books and cats, probably in equal measure. She also shamelessly eavesdrops, particularly on public transport, or in queues – for research purposes only, of course.
ANGELA FISH ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Amazon Author page: https://tinyurl.com/y6zeyrk2
The Fractured Globe https://tinyurl.com/y3y3hb7q
Children’s — all on Amazon Author page: https://tinyurl.com/y6zeyrk2
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