Today we’re interviewing Lady Blackbird, the protagonist of a work in progress. Hello Lady Blackbird.
Could I just clarify that is not my name, Lady Blackbird. I’m not the soul singer with the white afro. My actual name is Tara Amsel.
Right, OK. Thanks for clarifying. So why is your book called Lady Blackbird?
I really have no idea, you’d have to ask my author.
You sound like you don’t get on well with your author.
(sighs) I try. I really try. But she is not giving me the attention I deserve. She keeps herself busy with other things during the day and I have to wait until she’s trying to get to sleep at night and then I start telling her more of my plot when I know she’s not being distracted by anything else.
Is that working?
Not really, I have to rely on her remembering what I’ve told her overnight and her jotting it down in her notebook when she wakes up. Her notebook is filling up with “Lady B” notes but she’s not working hard at turning these notes into proper sentences and scenes. I wonder if she’ll ever get around to finishing my story.
Could you tell us briefly, what is your story?
I’m a married woman who finds out my husband is cheating on me. So I kill him.
I mean, not with a knife or anything. I’m not some kind of crazy woman. I just wanted him to suffer like I’d been suffering since I found out he was cheating on me. But I let him suffer a little too much. It went a little bit too far. And he died.
So will we see you being brought to justice for your crime?
What crime? As far as the world knows I’m a grieving widow and he died of natural causes.
And are you grieving?
No. Him dying saved me going through the expense and mental hell of a divorce and I really didn’t have the energy for that. And he cheated on me so he had it coming. But yes, some days I feel sad that he’s not there, although after 30 years together, it feels more like I’ve lost a pet.
Cold? Don’t talk to me about cold. You haven’t had to watch the love of your life fall out of love with you. You haven’t had to watch them try to hide their happiness when their lover calls them and know they never look that way about you anymore. You haven’t read the messages he and she shared, making jokes about me. You haven’t had to live in the rotting flesh and bones of a dead marriage.
So the readers will have some sympathy for you?
Oh I hope so. I’m not just a spurned and cheated wife – sorry, widow – I’m a woman in my middle age trying to find answers to life’s questions. Where did my youth go? What happened to my career, my marriage, my body? Where did that hair on my chin come from? Why do my grown up daughters dress like four year olds off to kindergarten? When did everything get so ugly? I make lots of stupid mistakes as I try to answer these questions and navigate this world I find myself in. If the readers don’t laugh at least once as I try to be cool and fail miserably then my author hasn’t done her job properly.
When can we expect to see your story on a bookshelf?
(eye roll) I really have no idea. It depends on when my author gets herself organised. She really is a hopeless case.