Meet My Main Character
Written by
Lisa Dyer
August 2014
Written by
Lisa Dyer
August 2014

What is the name of your character?

Meet Hal Bartlett, sometime resident of Dover, Kent, now living in rural Oxfordshire with a veterinarian practice, a very opinionated business partner and a lot of marital problems.

When and where is the story set?

Hal Bartlett is the main character in Since You've Been Gone which is set fifteen years in the past. The story begins in Oxfordshire as Hal wrestles with the increasing deterioration in his relationship with his wife, Julienne. It's the eve of Julienne's spoilt younger sister's high-end wedding and Hal knows he's out of his depth. After a bitter row, Hal takes the only option open to him...he returns to the home town and friends he abandoned years before and begins his journey to revisit his past and lay some old demons to rest.

What should we know about him?

Hal is a good man, a bit of a wimp but essentially a good bloke. His life is a bit messy, no neat edges.

He left his home town of Dover in the September of 1983 without ever realising how life expanding university would be. 

Slowly, so slowly even he didn’t notice it happening, Hal shed his old life, old friends who never left the town into which they were born and, sadly, he shed his parents. 

He didn't do any of this because he was denying his past...he did it because Hal is a man on the run, from his emotional past and in particular one person, Abigail Markham. She was 'the one'. The one that he loved first and last. The one that broke his heart. The one that cut him loose. His withdrawal from his old life and absorption into his new allowed him distance and an excuse never to go back and find out exactly what happened between them.

What is the main conflict? What messes up his?

Hal married out of his league and he knew it. His wife’s family have money, have never been on the type of rough council estate Hal grew up on let alone been in a council house and they glossed over Hal’s working class roots and remade him in their image and Hal, for a quiet life, goes along with it. He’s an adaptor but never comfortable in his new role and always guilty of what he’s done to his parents in order to keep the charmed life he now has. Hal needs to man up and get out but he’s loyal and steady and really he’s looking for an excuse.

Hal is also wrestling with his past and is too scared to confront it, to move on and wipe his emotional slate clean. Forces outside of his control, however, end up making the choice for him and he goes back...back to the home town he left as a teenager and back to the family and friends he's distanced himself from in order to heal his own heart. He's about to get a big wake up call and his life will never be the same again.

What is the personal goal of the character?

In the beginning Hal is drifting. He knows in his heart of heart he's in the wrong place and with the wrong person but he's also trying to be a 'good bloke'. . Like most people, circumstances drive him not the other way around and so he finds himself constantly fighting the tide to get upstream. What he really needs is a good old dose of 'closure'. To lay his past to rest so that he can move on with a new heart. He sort of understands this but is at a loss on how to act upon it without causing the hurt he some much desires to avoid. Hal wants to be at peace with himself. 

Is there a working title for this novel, and when can we expect the book to be published? 

Since You've Been Gone was published by Crooked Cat Publishing in December last year and is available on ebooks through the usual suppliers and as a paperback through Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, and other bookshops on line.

I hope that you've enjoyed reading about Hal and if you would like to know more then visit my website here at Tickle Belly Alley.

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