Yana has asked what Gavin, Will, Ellie and Kamil look like, which raises an interesting point about writing. Does the author have a fixed vision of the characters? I know that individual readers do, but actually, as the author, being asked to describe my characters is a bit like being asked to describe myself, which I would find quite difficult to do since I don’t spend that much time gazing into the mirror. So – though I could give you Gavin, Will, Ellie and Kamil’s opinions about almost anything, can I describe their faces? Well, here goes.
I see Gavin with thick brown/blonde hair, and Will too. They’re both of medium height, Gavin slightly taller. There’s a distinct family similarity in that both have those bright, expectant, very English faces, Gavin’s a little longer than Will’s, his lips a little thinner, his bearing a little stiffer. Will has a dimple, which appears when he tightens his cheeks, making it hard for him to look very stern. Will looks more and more like their father as he gets older. Gavin, had he lived, would have looked more like their mother. Ellie is shorter than Will, and slimmer, with auburn hair and expectant eyes. She’s always alert, as an animal is, and her lips turn up at the edges when she smiles, which is often. In repose, her expression is a little wistful, as if she’s seeing something in the far distance which she faintly wishes she could have.
Kamil’s skin is walnut and his hair is black, as are his eyes in the dusk, though in the daytime you see they are actually greyish purple. He’s the same height as Will, only seeming taller because he’s very slender, with beautiful, long-fingered hands. His face is closed and deliberately so. He doesn’t want people to guess what he’s thinking. He can look a little supercilious, with a profile as clean and proud as a Persian statue (he never grows a beard). But when he’s playing with his daughter, or when he’s with his horse, his face softens and little creases dance round his lips. Even when he’s laughing, he manages to preserve an air of slight detachment. It’s his shield against the world.