Building Character, On Writing

Meet Becca Gates of Your Secret’s Safe With Me

Rosie Travers is the next author to appear in what I call my Building Character series, in which I invite authors to write about an important character in their novel. In this post, the character is Becca Gates from Rosie’s novel, Your Secret’s Safe With Me, which had a Feb. 18 release. This is the second book for this UK author.

She describes her character this way: “Everything Becca does is ‘sensible’ and controlled.” I get the feeling things are going to change. Here, I will let Rosie tell you all about her.

Who is your character?

My character is Becca Gates, age 39, single, works as a Personal Assistant and Editor to her mother IMG_0076 (1)Pearl, a best-selling romantic novelist.

What does he/she look like?

Becca is 5’ 6, slightly heavier than she wants to be, shoulder length mid-brown hair. She dresses ‘sensibly’, wears subdued coloured clothing, practical shoes. Everything Becca does is ‘sensible’ and controlled.  She is the antithesis of her mother.

What is your character’s back story?

Becca’s father was killed in a motorbike accident when she was a baby. She and Pearl were on their own for several years before Pearl met and married Dieter, husband number two. Becca was eighteen, studying at finishing school in Switzerland when Pearl and Dieter embarked on a bitter divorce just as baby Freddy arrived on the scene. Becca was recalled to London to help out and has been in charge ever since. She once thought she’d found her soul-mate in policeman Nick, but he broke her heart when he jilted her at the altar.  Managing Pearl’s writing career has taken precedence ever since.

What is your character’s role in your novel?

Your Secret’s Safe with Me is a story about the intricacies of family relationships and the consequences of keeping secrets.

Becca is the lead protagonist and faces the dilemma of family loyalty versus independence.

When Pearl announces she is about to get married for the third time to Jack, a man she has only just met, Becca is determined to prevent her mother from making another disastrous mistake. Pearl is equally as adamant the wedding will go ahead, further insisting she intends to quit writing and retire to Rivermede, Jack’s idyllic home on the coast.  This immediately causes conflict between the two women. Becca doesn’t want to up-rooted from her home and she certainly doesn’t want her mother’s career and subsequently her own livelihood to end.

All families have taboos and Becca, Pearl and Freddy, along with new fiancé Jack, have plenty to hide from each other and those around them.  At first Becca struggles to adapt to her new surroundings and situation, but gradually, as a new career opportunity unexpectedly comes her way, she realises this is her chance to break out of the cycle of co-dependency within the family and forge a new life for herself. However, her plans stall at the first hurdle when she encounters an unwelcome face from her past, and receives a grim warning that Rivermede is not the calm, safe haven it seems to be.  Becca takes on the pivotal role in protecting her family from danger, but in doing so, she has to risk exposing an awful lot of secrets.

Why should readers care about this character?

Becca is intelligent and self-effacing but her past heartbreak makes her very vulnerable. She has made a lot of sacrifices to ensure Pearl’s career flourishes and to provide stability for Freddy but in doing so has created her own personal comfort zone. As the strings that bind Becca to Pearl and Freddy begin to unravel and the family dynamic begins to change, the threat of danger awakens Becca’s hitherto hidden powers of resilience and tenacity.

I’m hoping readers will be rooting for the new, improved, Becca, to pull through.

Give a brief excerpt featuring your character.

‘I don’t know why you’re making such a fuss about it.’ Freddy yawned as he spoke, and his words, like his arms, stretched towards the ceiling. ‘Maybe this’ll be third time lucky. Don’t you want her to be happy?’

‘You think this toy boy will make her happy? I’ve Googled this Jack Robshaw character, look, Freddy, look at him.’ I held out my phone, thrusting the screen into his face. ‘A former world championship powerboat racer? Twenty years her junior. Is that what you want for a step-father?’

Pearl’s phone call had left me shell-shocked. How could she do it again?  I’d fended off palpitations with deep breathing exercises, whale songs and a mug of camomile tea, but it had been impossible to get back to sleep. I’d called Freddy first thing to impart the news and he’d very reluctantly agreed to meet me for lunch to plan a campaign strategy. His lack of concern was demoralising. He could hardly keep his eyes open despite a second coffee.

‘I am not going to let her make another disastrous marriage,’  I continued. ‘I can’t bear the thought of another gold-digger like Dieter coming into our lives. This guy is hardly her type, is he.’

‘Who knows what Pearl’s type is?’ Freddy replied, brushing my phone away. ‘She’s had her fair share of oddballs over the years.’

This was true, although luckily none of them had hung around for very long, least of all Dieter, the last husband. The aftermath of Pearl’s catastrophic second marriage had heralded a horrendous period in our lives. Freddy, now age twenty-one and struggling through his final year of an art degree, was the one positive to come out of the whole sorry episode. At least Pear had now reached the age when childbearing was no longer an option.

She referred to Dieter as her cloud, and Freddy our silver lining. I’d been a teenager at the time, unaware of the financial implications of my mother’s messy divorce. Now I was an adult, and very conscious of the consequences. Jack Robshaw wasn’t so much a cloud as a potential thunderstorm.

Brief Synopsis

Career Girl Becca Gates’ organised life is thrown into chaos when her mother, romantic novelist Pearl, announces her surprise engagement to Jack, a man she has only just met.

Becca reluctantly follows Pearl to Rivermede, Jack’s home in an affluent sailing community on the south coast of England, where she encounters an unwelcome face from her past. She receives a grim warning that all is not as calm as it seems at picturesque Rivermede and her family are in grave danger. But why should Becca trust the man who has betrayed her before, the man who broke her heart, the man who thinks he knows all her secrets?

Rosie Travers Bio

I grew up on the south coast of England and after initially training as a secretary I juggled a career in local government with raising my family. I moved to Southern California with my husband in 2009 and began a blog about life as an ex-pat wife which re-kindled a teenage desire to become a writer. On my return to the UK I took a part-time course in creative writing and following some success in short story competitions, I joined the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers’ Scheme. My debut novel, The Theatre of Dreams, was accepted for publication by Crooked Cat Books and officially launched on in August 2018. My second book, Your Secret’s Safe With Me, was published on 18 February 2019.

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