It was an honour to be asked to take part in this event. Today I am delighted to feature Thorne Moore and introduce her latest book, Fatal Collision. To quote, Judith Barrow, Moore possesses ‘a talent for setting the scene . . . Fatal Collision has a strong plot that weaves in and out, juxtaposing the ordinariness of life with disturbing and menacing criminal undertones . . .
Thorne’s back catalogue is equally impressive. Her writing is immaculate and astute. And her female characters in particular have always appealed to me. They are unfailingly interesting and relatable (even the scary ones!), often flawed and above all, authentic. It is no wonder then, that when I asked her to conjure a small essay about writing female protagonists, she wrote this, proving beyond any doubt, she is a woman after my own heart. Welcome Thorne and away we go.
You know the story. Butch guy in metal comes to the rescue of hapless girl at mercy of cruel beast. Butch guy gets grateful girl. It’s a theme that runs all the way from St George and the Dragon, to Lorna Doone, but it isn’t one I follow. Does anyone these days? Except in tales of sado-masochism, maybe. Even the new-model Bond girls do less squealing “James! James! Save me!” They are more likely to come to his aid with a well-aimed karate chop and a Kalashnikov.
I usually write about women and they often do need rescuing, from emotional crises or bad decisions, because fiction needs drama in the form of obstacles to be overcome, but I make it a rule that my women always save themselves. I am not averse to them finishing up with Mr Right, if that’s what they really want, but only after they’ve sorted themselves out. Like a bar of Flake, he’s a little treat they can award themselves when the work’s done.
I don’t want my women to be naturally helpless and passive, waiting for a manly hand to change a light bulb, but I am quite happy for them to be vulnerable. In Fatal Collision, my protagonist, Nicki Bryce, is a woman who, in normal circumstances, would be ready to stand up and fight, or at least argue, with anyone. But circumstances are not normal. Her husband/best friend, Adam, has been killed by a drunk driver. She witnessed the accident and held him as he died, so she is suffering not just from grief but from post-traumatic stress, and that leaves her both numb, unable to deal with issues that are just too much to confront, and vulnerable to the malign whims of others. When the crunch comes, however, she takes matters into her own hands – with a vengeance.
I do slightly slip from my no. 1 rule with Fatal Collision, in that Nicki has a man constantly at her side, or just behind her, and she desperately wants him to save her. She talks to him, he teases her and he tells her what to do when things get tricky. The one thing he can’t do is touch her – because he’s dead. It’s one of those things about grief. You often can’t bear to let go of someone you love, and you’re desperate to believe that they don’t want to let go of you either.
Call yourself a friend? asked Adam.
“Call yourself a husband?”
That’s exactly what I am.
“No, you’re not, you’re a pile of ashes. You left me, you bastard.”
Fatal Collision, published by Diamond Crime, is out now, available as paperback and Kindle.
Thank you, Thorne! Love the teaser and cannot wait to read Fatal Collision, a copy of which is on order.
website and blog: thornemoore.com/
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Amazon author page amzn.to/1Ruu9m1