What’s with me and the name Valerie?
I do not know – but I know a lot of Valeires have turned out in my stories through the years. Indeed, the female lead in my very first “good” work, back in 1989, was called Valerie. And maybe it was the Quarterflash song of the same name, but I doubt it.
Anyway, Valerie Trelawney debuted in society this morning, as my Patrons in the Five Bucks Brigade received the third story in the Seven Lives project – a short called The Case of the Inkmaker’s Daughter. The character will have a more public debut later in 2020, when a second story, celled The Case of the Manchester Mummies, will be published in a big fat anthology together with the work of many writers that are better than me.
Valerie… this Valerie, is an attempt at creating an Edwardian occult detective, and the character is inspired in equal parts by the Gibson Girl, and by characters and events in Bram Stoker’s The Jewel of Seven Stars – the first edition of that book, in particular.
Tall, with fine black hair and a pale complexion, rumour had it she had been born in Egypt, and raised in France, which made her scandalous by principle. She was said to be the illegitimate daughter of an English archaeologist and an artist from Tyre. What sort of artist, it was much speculated upon, and much maligned.
Valerie comes complete with a bohemian apartment in Hampstead and a French-accented companion called Micheline, that is known to pack a gun and has a penchant for smoking a hookah and dressing up as a French maid.
The characters will hopefully grow by accretion, as already I have a third story in the works, and a possible March deadline to submit it to a fine magazine that should fit Valerie Trelawney like a glove.
Working title, The Case of the Haunted Debutante.