Today part 5 of Six Stories with Matt Wesolowski, this time he tells us a little about another character in the novel – Charlie Armstrong. We are nearly at the end of this now – Part Six on Friday when Matt will be answering my 20 questions brave soul that he is, then it’s my turn on the blog tour at the weekend when I’ll review the book. But if you haven’t got your hands on it yet – go! It is truly superb.
Charlie was seen, not only by the other teenagers, but also by the accompanying adults as the ‘alpha’ of the group. Perhaps even more than that: he was revered by the others, looked up to and followed.
Charlie meant a lot to those who knew him.
We all knew that one lad. We were never that lad, but we all had a Charlie Armstrong somewhere in our life.
You remember your Charlie, he didn’t give a shit what anyone thought of him, he had his own style which you feebly attempted to mimic, he was funny, charismatic and everyone who encountered him was in love with him. That Charlie, you remember now, right?
Charlie was always into the best music you’d never heard of, he knew how to smoke, how to inhale properly without coughing; he could spit out a ball of chewing gum at hit it on the volley dead-on. Charlie didn’t get picked on, he slouched at the back of classrooms and hung round the end of the field at lunchtimes with the bad kids. Charlie had a darkness, deep, unfathomable, wore it like a cloak, streaming out behind him.
You followed Charlie round in adoration. You wanted to be Charlie, you adopted the same way of walking, the same way of talking, dropped band-names like chip-wrappers at parties.
When Charlie talked to you, when he chose to be seen with you, you lit up, you walked a foot taller, dropped your voice and octave deeper.
You hated yourself for how much you loved him, your Charlie.
Charlie was probably the most fully-formed character I had when I began writing Six Stories. I feel like in every friendship group there’s a Charlie and I wanted to reflect that without going over the top, without making him seem perfect. I guess Charlie is an amalgamation of many different people I’ve admired when I was growing up. It did make me wonder whether these Charlies we grow up alongside are ever aware of their prominence in the minds and hearts of their peers; whether they revel in it or are simply ignorant of the adulation that surrounds them?
Not being a Charlie, I’ll never know…
About the book:
1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who embarked on that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.
2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure. In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. And who’s to blame…
As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth. A chilling, unpredictable and startling thriller, Six Stories is also a classic murder mystery with a modern twist, and a devastating ending.
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