Write & Shine: Novel Excerpt Share #1
My book My Mr Keats is still crowdfunding over on Unbound! I should be doing more work letting everyone know about it but I’m quite a private person – not great when you’re a writer!
So today I am going to share an excerpt of my story – which I LOVED writing and would LOVE for everyone to read!
A short blurb of My Mr Keats:
My Mr Keats is historical coming-of-age story about a young girl who befriends a dying boy kept in the attic of his family’s home
When Kitty’s father is employed by the wealthy Castleton family as a live-in doctor in the Lake District, 10 year old Kitty bewitches the servants and the family alike. The horror of her city life is quickly replaced by the rhythmic peace of the new: swimming in the local stream with the servants, feeding the animals at the nearby farm and helping Charlie, her best friend and the Castleton’s sarcastic chauffeur, build his own car.
But during the evening Kitty visits Johnny in the attic.
This is a part of a chapter about 100 pages in when the protagonist Kitty is walking back from swimming in the stream with her friends, the servants of the household she’s now living in, to the main house. She’s walking with Charlie, the chauffeur, and her best friend. She’s 10 and he’s 17 years old.
My Mr Keats | Excerpt Share #1
We walked up to the house in our own time, Charlie and I. Jenny had the day off and Charlie saw no need for her to accompany me to the house, when she had been the one to pick me up.
Between us we held the basket of empty, greasy sandwich wrappers, flasks of tea and wet towels, and sauntered up the hedged path at a glacial pace.
My dress stuck to my damp suit, which I still had on underneath, whilst my shoes squeaked noisily against my bare feet. Charlie had changed out of his swimming trunks further upstream with Peter, and only retained his damp hair as proof that he had gone swimming at all.
“Remember to bring spare clothes with you, next time.” Charlie joked as we began walking together.
“Shut up,” I mumbled, embarrassed at not remembering to pack underwear. I had been far too excited to think clearly, but at least I knew for next time. And that there would be a next time.
Clouds were forming in the sky above us, as the sun stepped down from its perch. A light wind rustled the hedges of the path as we passed, playfully pushing against one another.
“Have my coat.” Charlie said, as I shivered under a gust of wind.
“No!” I said, defiantly. Shoving him again. He didn’t even lose his footing.
“You’ll catch cold,” he said. “You’re still dripping wet.”
“Fine then.” he muttered, crossing his arms as we carried on walking. He wasn’t upset, although he pretended to be. I pushed at him again, waiting for him to end his fake sulking and smile at me. It didn’t take long. “What are you doing tomorrow?” he asked.
“I don’t know yet? Farm first, maybe, and then I’ll come to the garage.”
“Come and pester me.”
“Yes!” I said, attempting to stand on the toe of his boots. He was too quick. He jumped backwards and kicked up the gravel from behind me. I felt the small, sharp stones hit the back of my legs but they didn’t leave a mark, just an itch-like irritation that needed to be scratched. “Stop it!” I shouted, still in jest.
“You hit me first.”
“What are you going to do tomorrow then?” I said, rubbing my hands against my legs awkwardly as we continued to walk. “If you don’t want me to pester you?”
“Maybe I’ll go and play footie.”
“Can I play?” I asked, running to keep up with him.
He nodded but became distracted by something up at the house. He stopped and stared upwards, his hands in his pockets and his eyes narrowing in confusion. I looked up and saw a curtain falling into place in one of the second storey windows. “What? What is it?”
“I think somebody might want to speak to one of us. Probably you.” He looked at me again, no longer smiling.
“Who was it?” I asked. He said nothing as he suddenly reached down to pull the basket from my grip and ran off ahead of me, in play once more.
I stood still and watched him, unable to adjust to his sudden change of mood. He began walking backward, facing me with his tongue poking out, teasing me to chase after him.
“Haha!” he shouted, swinging the basket over his head like it only contained feathers rather than heavy, water-weighed, objects.
“Hey! No fair!” I called after him, breaking into a run to catch up. The gravel flew up my dress and into my shoes as I almost tripped and threw my hand out for grip on one of the hedges. I pulled it away with a graze across the edge of my palm. It looked like a game of noughts and crosses had been etched onto my hand.
“You alright?” Charlie asked from up ahead.
“Yeah.” I sighed, returning to a walking pace to meet him at the fountain in the middle of the drive. “You cheated.” I pointed out.
He poked his tongue out at me, breathing hard to catch his breath. I took the basket from his hands and tutted. He rolled his eyes as I pushed the heavy basket into the crook of my elbow, feeling the weight tug on my muscles.
I turned, dramatically my wet hair swishing across my shoulders, and headed for the servants quarters. But someone cleared their throat behind me.
“Miss Pike…Mrs Castleton would like a word with you.” It was Mr Wakefield. He stood, stock-straight like a ruler, under the arch of the front door. He stared above my head as though expecting me to grow six inches in the following six seconds.
I looked to Charlie who winked at me softly before taking the basket from my arm with ease.
“Go on then,” he whispered into my ear. “Told you someone was after yer.”
“How would I know? Go on,” he said, prodding me in the back to make me walk towards the butler.
I watched Charlie over my shoulder at him, frightened to look at Mr Wakefield who cleared his throat as he turned on his heels to let me pass. Charlie smiled at me reassuringly, walking backwards towards the gate.
I only looked away from him when I bumped into Mr Wakefield’s arm. An awful shiver went down my spine, the feeling that people often put down to someone walking over your grave. I never understood that expression. I didn’t have a grave.
There we have it! One excerpt share for My Mr Keats!
For more information on my novel and where you can go to support it and help me get it published, check out my Unbound page!
I hope you enjoyed this excerpt share! I’ll be posting one every fortnight so be sure to watch out for the next!