This week’s character interview is with a character that is dead! Talented author Colette McCormick is interviewing Ellen from her tear-jerking novel, Things I Should Have Said and Done. Grab yourself a box of tissues and read on.
First, let’s take a look at the blurb
One minute life is good and the next it’s over.
Ellen has everything to live for, so when her life is cut short by a drunk driver running a red light she is unprepared and so are those that she leaves behind.
From the limbo that she now inhabits Ellen can only watch as her husband struggles as a single parent and as her mother falls apart. That is until she realises that her daughter can be a link between the two worlds. From beyond the grave there are things that Ellen can do to influence the life that she left behind.
Constantly by her side is George who has been sent to help her make the transition from life to death. George is new to the job and his methods are unorthodox but together he and Ellen find a way for her to find the peace she needs.
Along the way they form a bond that neither of them expected.
Now let’s read Colette’s interview with Ellen.
Ellen thank you for being here today.
It’s my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
If it’s not a stupid question can I ask, how did it feel when you realised that you were dead?
Well, I’ve got to be honest, I wasn’t very happy about it. I mean, there I was driving along minding my own business and then there’s this …light and I’m dead.
Would you agree that George helped you come to terms with the reality of your situation?
Have you met George? Just kidding. I suppose he did but just not in the way that he was meant to. Some of George’s methods were unethical to say that least.
And what about when you realised that Naomi could see you? Was that a shock to you?
The whole thing was a shock to me. I mean, I’d always assumed that when you were dead that was it but it turns out that I got that completely wrong. I was surprised that Naomi could see me and that we could communicate but it was a blessing. She is at the centre of everything and none of us could have moved on without her.
And would you say that you have moved on?
I’ve had to move on. I’m not going to pretend that I’m any happier about it now than I was when it first happened but it has happened and all the wishing in the world won’t bring my old life back. Having said that, all things considered I am settled and content now.
If it’s not too upsetting can I ask you about Marc?
I love him now just like I did when I was alive. If you mean how do I feel about his new life and his new relationship, well at the end of the day I just want him to be happy. I struggled with it at first but George made me realise that him loving someone else doesn’t change the love that we had. I’m happy for them.
What advise would you have for anyone facing your situation?
My advice is for everyone because when you get into ‘my situation’ it’s too late. I would say talk to people, tell them things that they might need to know. If I’d shared the spaghetti secret with Marc, Naomi would have eaten more in the early days. If there’s something that you want to say then say it while you can, before it’s too late.
Thank you Ellen I’ve enjoyed talking to you.
Want to find out more? Here is a short extract from ‘Things I Should Have Said and Done.’
One minute I was fine and the next … well, I’m not sure what I’d call it exactly, but I’d never felt it before. I was shaking and I could hardly breathe and all I could think was, Oh my God! What’s going on? To be honest, there might have been the odd expletive as well but, oh my God! What’s going on? was the gist of it.
I tried to open them a couple of times but it hurt so much I was forced to keep them closed. I was in complete panic.
I was breathing in short bursts which I took in and let out in stages. I didn’t know what was going on but I knew I was panicking. I’d never had a panic attack before and I couldn’t understand why I was having one now.
What on earth was that light? I asked the question over and over in my head. What is that light? What is that light? What is that light?
I asked myself why it was so noisy. There were loud noises all around, like when I’m watching TV at my granddad’s and he hasn’t got his hearing aid in. People were shouting, and someone even screamed. I wanted to scream myself but couldn’t. It was taking everything I had to breathe.
Oh my God, what was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I breathe properly? Why were my teeth chattering?
The answer to all three had to be the same – I was scared. No, I was more than scared; I was petrified.
I tried to think.
Somehow, I knew that no matter how much it hurt, I would have to open my eyes. I thought rubbing my eyes might help but it only made things worse. So now, as well as the light, there were circles flickering under my eyelids as if I had a migraine coming on. Ah, I thought, that’s it; I’ve got a migraine forming. It would be worse than any other I’d had before, but that was the only explanation. Oh great, not only would I have a blinding headache soon but I’d have the vomiting later. Yippee!
That would have to wait. Right now, I had other things to worry about. Slowly, a millimetre at a time, I forced my eyes open and blinked rapidly in a desperate attempt to adjust to the light. They hurt like hell, but I’d managed to get them this far and I wasn’t going to stop so I forced myself by holding my eyes wide open. My facial expression was probably freakish but I didn’t care. Anyway, I doubt anyone noticed because when my eyes eventually opened properly I was able to see I wasn’t the only one panicking.
To the left of me was a woman.
‘Help!’ she shouted. ‘Someone help.’
‘What’s wrong?’ I had to yell because the noise was deafening.
Apparently I didn’t yell loud enough.
‘What’s wrong?’ I said again, moving closer and shouting even louder.
But there was no response, so I turned around to look for someone else. There was a man running towards me and I held my hands up in a gesture that made it obvious I wanted him to stop, but he didn’t. He kept on running and I had to jump out of the way as he passed by.
‘Oh, thanks anyway,’ I shouted, adding ignorant bugger under my breath.
I looked after him, standing on my tip toes to try and see where he was running to that was so important but I couldn’t see a thing. There were too many people in the way. Heads were bobbing up and down and the bodies were packed together too closely.
I looked around but everyone seemed too preoccupied to even notice I was there.
Hang on a minute, where was I? Now I could see I needed to work out where I was; maybe I’d be able to work out what was going on. How could I not know where I was? Oh my God, maybe I’d had a blackout. Shit! I knew I should’ve had those headaches checked out. I’d dismissed them as nothing but it looked like they might be something after all. OK, I’d ring the doctor in the morning.
What was the last thing I remembered?
I took a couple of deep breaths and tried to calm down enough to think straight. I remembered being at Mum’s house. We’d popped round to check on her because she said she wasn’t well. She’d looked alright to me and I was a bit huffed that she hadn’t picked Na … Oh my God!
‘Naomi!’ The scream almost burst my own eardrums but no-one else seemed to notice. ‘Naomi,’ I shouted, ‘where are you?’
I whipped my head around, desperately looking for my little girl.
‘Naomi,’ I screamed again. ‘Naomi, where are you?’
But there were so many people around and Naomi was just a little girl. I couldn’t see her anywhere.
‘Have you seen my daughter?’ I asked anyone who would listen.
Nobody answered. No-one even noticed me.
That didn’t stop me. ‘Please, have you seen my daughter?’
Eventually, one woman noticed me. ‘God help her,’ she said. ‘She never stood a chance.’
‘Who?’ I asked. ‘Who never stood a chance?’
But the woman was looking off into the distance beyond the crowd and I realised she had been talking to herself more than to me.
So now I had another question.
Who never stood a chance?
Oh my God, please, anything but that. Please don’t let it be Naomi.
I may have been panicking before but now I was in overdrive. Thoughts of Naomi and what might have happened to her rushed through my head and a nightmare was starting to form.
Was she the reason for the pandemonium?
Had something happened to Naomi? I almost didn’t want to know because part of me knew the truth might be more than I could bear.
But bear it or not, I had to know. I had to know what everyone was looking at and what had made the colour drain from the faces of people nearby. I had to know what had made a woman scream in the street in the middle of the day.
I had to know, but I was terrified.
I forced myself to take some more deep breaths. I pushed my chest out as I took them in and puffed my cheeks as they came out. I didn’t do it consciously; it was like my body was working on autopilot and it did what it needed to keep me functioning.
I knew that the answer, whatever it was, was at the front of the crowd, and for the first time since the light thing happened, I was focused. I knew I had to get to the front of that crowd and I wasn’t worried about who I upset to do it.
I expected that I would have heard at least the odd grumble as I barged my way through, but no-one said a thing. In fact, I met no resistance at all. It felt like everyone was moving out of the way so I could get through.
‘Naomi,’ I shouted again and I heard a sob in my voice, ‘Naomi, I’m coming.’
And there she was.
Wow! Sounds fascinating doesn’t it? You can buy‘Things I Should Have Said and Done’ on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle
Originally from Sheffield, Colette now lives in County Durham in the north east of England. Although she has always written it took a serious illness and a long stint in hospital to make her realise that if she was ever going to fulfil her dream of seeing one of her books published she needed to take a leaf out of Ellen’s book and do it while she still had time. These days Colette’s health issues appear to be behind her and she is enjoying life. Her second book ‘Ribbons in Her Hair,’ (Accent Press) will be out in August.
Twitter – @colettemcauthor
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