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Andy Charman  |  Works in Progress
Part-Wolf
The Tales of Vicky the Crow
A novel for children aged 7+
A crow's quest for exhilaration and  self-discovery.
Vicky Barksgrip is a crow. Black feathers, long beak, all the rest of it. But Vicky is not like all the other crows, because beneath all that carrion-eating exterior, Vicky is something else; something scary. Watch out for the full moon because Vicky... is part wolf!
Vicky the crow (part-wolf) wants desperately to soar like an eagle. Crow society, however, is very strict on such matters. Crows flap. So Vicky leaves the roost to follow her dreams. Helped by Bob Thwistle, an ever enthusiastic blue-tit and a philosophical gull called Alfred, Vicky sets out on the quest to find Eric, Lord of the Eagles. It's a long, hard road but she beats the odds and befriends the King of All The Birds. Things turn bad, however, when she discovers that Eric has a crow as a slave. Vicky has to escape the land of the eagles, flying for her life. She uses every trick she knows to escape her pursuers but ends up blundering into... guess what?...  a pack of wolves (wouldn't you know it!). It all works out okay, but now you've read this much you're just going to have to contact me to find out how!
Researching
The behaviour of crows, eagles and wolves. And the reading tastes of 7-9 year olds and their parents. Get in touch if you have a candidate for test-reading!
Planning
Part-Girl: The Further Adventures of Vicky the Crow
Shakespeare's Thief
Victorian Short Story

In the Summer of 1848 a troupe of actors arrive in Wimborne Minster from London to perform A Midsummer Night's Dream at the wedding of a wealthy land-owner's daughter. The whole theatre group has come down by train, but there is one more member due to arrive from Ireland.
The lead actor is new to the troupe, but known to the eccentric prompt who warns Titania that her Oberon is a renowned thief of the worst sort. One actor feels robbed as soon as he arrives, since he's bumped from Oberon to Bottom. The weekend is hot and merry and the performance is well-received. When the Irish actor departs everyone checks to see what they have lost.
Researching
Nineteenth century theatre, history of Wimborne Minster. Great Western Railway. Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
An Alderman in Winter
Victorian Short Story

A very elderly Alderman of Wimborne is doing his rounds on Christmas Eve 1854, distributing bottles of fine Brandy. It is late at night and the town is bedded with snow. He visits four houses, touching on each of the lives of the other Victorian stories, and showing several sides to his character (along with his many lies). In the last of the houses, he meets another elderly man. They discuss their memories, their hopes and their fears for the future. Then the Alderman steps out in to the dark and snowy night.
Researching
Poole and Wimborne in the nineteenth century. Victorian fears about the future. If you have any material on Victorian futurism, I'd love to hear from you.
The Ghost of Bramblebush Corner
Victorian Short Story

An unscrupulous smuggler, Henry Ridout has spent many years smuggling for his pay-master, the Alderman of Wimborne but as Christmas approaches, Ridout refuses to make another trip.
He has many years of misdeeds behind him and few years of confession time left. To the Alderman's horror, Ridout wants to confess his sins and face up to his crimes. The Alderman convinces his smuggler to make one last trip, collect come contraband and re-visit the scene of his crimes. He aims to assure the man that ghosts of the past are nothing but phantoms. They make the trip across Poole harbour, but the Ghost of Bramblebush Corner is not so easily dismissed.
Researching
Victorian smuggling, Poole and Wimborne in the nineteenth century.
Heavier than Water
Victorian Short Story

Sailing with supplies for California, Sea Captain Arthur Froud takes on the demons of Cape Horn. He knows for certainty that this is the part of the world where the devil holds sway. It is the very end of the earth. So the battle against the elements is not a simple matter; it is a fight against the evil itself himself; to surrender is to surrender one's soul and to give up is to lose faith in God. But this is not a simple spritiual battle. With his wife and daughter among the passengers, he has everything to lose.
Froud has tackled the horn before, but this time he is commanding one of the new steel-hulled wind-jammers. As the cold, the exhaustion and the anxiety take their toll, Froud's thoughts go back to his childhood days in Wimborne; bitter-sweet memories of innocence and abuse. His inner and his outer battles merge.
Researching
Mid-nineteenth century sailing, Cape Horn, tall ships. Life of women on sailing ships; if you know anything about these please get in touch.
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