In addition to coming up with a plot that would keep readers guessing, whilst I was writing Monkey Arkwright, I also had to come up with several scenes where Monkey would be climbing something. He is, after all, the boy who loves to climb. I couldn’t have him sitting around in a cafe all day, could I?
Early on, I had the idea of him climbing onto a church roof. Soon afterwards, I thought that it would be good to have him rescuing a cat that had become stuck on the roof. Then this idea changed slightly as I thought that the scene would be more memorable, more cinematic, if he didn’t just climb on the roof, but also made his way up the church tower. But at this point, I was thinking that if I was the reader, I would want to know the nuts and bolts of how Monkey actually managed to get up the tower. After all, he isn’t Spiderman, he’s just a boy.
The answer to this question that had been puzzling me for several days came when I was on my way to pick up my daughter from college. My journey from work to the college can be a nightmare at the best of times; at Christmas, it seems that every man and his dog is trying to get to the Trafford Centre. Whilst sitting in queuing traffic tests the patience of most drivers, it does allow me to listen to a good deal of music whilst giving me a bit of thinking time. Plus, this autumn, there was the added benefit of driving past the Dino Falls adventure golf as it was being constructed – seeing rocks, waterfalls and dinosaurs slowly rising out of the ground in the shadow of the Chill Factor-E skiing centre was an incongruous sight.
But anyway, back to 2016 when it wasn’t Christmas, but thanks to council’s fiendish road management schemes, things were still difficult. Once the chaos of the M60 motorway is behind you, there’s the relatively serene glide down the M602 into the heart of Salford, before you enter the madness that is the A576 running past Salford Royal Hospital. Battling past the ambulances and visitors entering and leaving the hospital, you are faced with the constant need to change lanes because of the bus lane scheme that attempts to squeeze the maximum amount of traffic through the smallest possible gap. With a slew of traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, critical right turns and random people crossing the road at assorted points, I swear that this would make an entertaining video game – just think of the Death Star trench sequence in the original Star Wars with the added bonus of traffic lights and you’ll get the idea.
It was whilst I was sitting in a queue on this road that I got a good look at St. James church, just outside the hospital. It’s a beautiful church with a stone tower topped off by a spire, but what interested me the most were the buttresses that flanked the sides of the tower. As I gazed upon this elegant building, I began to imagine that a small boy like Monkey could wedge his feet between the tower wall and the buttresses that protruded at ninety degrees. By pushing one foot against each wall, I figured that he might just be able to climb the tower. But please don’t try this at home because remember that Monkey is a fictional character, and whilst he’s not a superhero, I may have taken liberties with such a climb being possible!
Although I’d come up with the idea for Monkey’s character several years before, this was the moment that truly fired my imagination in regards to what he might be able to achieve. Before long, I was dreaming up an assortment of structures and buildings that I could have him climb up (or down) as the story progressed.
Remember that Monkey Arkwright will be FREE to download on Amazon from 18th to 22nd January. If you are reading my blog, then a big thank you, but please can you tell as many people as possible about the free download. Thanks again.