Quick recap for those who have forgotten or don’t want to read about too much the past:
- First job
- Defaced Mel Gibson picture.
- Threats of bodily harm.
- 6 fictional characters based on real people murdered via short episodes.
- Spin off character Pontius Smith created to investigate murders.
15 years later…
Pontius Smith had stayed with me for quite some time and I had always wanted to do something with him in the future.
The problem was that the projects I was working on were of a more serious nature, and while Pontius wasn’t ever really a comedic creation I always thought he would work better as a foil. Not to say he ever lacked humour, but I thought he would always thrive in lighter fair.
As the other projects went into their own sort of development Hell, I took a different tack and tried something a little more light hearted.
When I was younger, I always wanted to be a detective. From the Basil Rathbone Holmes films to the Dr Haledjian Two Minute Mystery books the idea of finding clues to help people or solve crimes was such an exciting concept to my young mind. I did have a detective agency at one point, but we didn’t solve any crimes even though I did buy two new pocket torches. Eventually though, the gang broke up and the team moved to a new organisation named after an incident involving carving names in a tree. For some reason I started on a fond memories kick and harked back to that time in my life. From there, ‘Tec was born.
Wait… what? Thats another project, surely?
Yes, strange voice in my head manifested on the page in italics, thats true. However, as I started to map out what would one day (hopefully) be ‘Tec, I thought about dropping in Pontius Smith.
Ah, I see.
Good. Now lets stop this schizophrenic stuff okay?
Good. So, after plotting the novel it became clear that if Pontius was to appear it would be in a more minor role.
That wasn’t really what I wanted for him because I think he is a much bigger character and could hold his own. As a result, I put him in ‘Tec as a mentor character to one of the main protagonists Mark, and sought a solution just for him.
You’ll note, of course, that throughout this historical recap I haven’t mentioned the word (or more accurately words) Hope Town. That will all change now.
My route was now to find a meaty vehicle for Pontius and after a visit to Hopetoun House just outside Edinburgh (look, if its not I apologise, but to be fair my Geography has always been shit). Whilst there, at some annual fair, I started thinking about the name of the place and how it sounds a little like Hope Town, only more Scottish. For all I knew that was the literal translation of the name, but it didn’t matter because as soon as I had the name, I had an idea for a story.
Within a few minutes I had the concept (some might call it conceit, but we’ll disagree to agree or something) for Hope Town. I’ve never shared this with anyone, so here we go:
In the early 18th Century Hopetoun was for a few hours the Capital of Scotland; some time between Perth and Edinburgh, a visiting royal spent the night sheltering from a storm and bestowed the title on the house and the 150 acres of land. The next day, he sobered up and went on the heard of Edinburgh and decided to change his mind.
However, because it was declared Capital City, even for a few hours it was henceforth afforded all privileges and for reasons that I won’t go into just now due to time pressures, it became a haven for lots of strange and mysterious things/happenings/people.
Fast forward to the 21st Century, and Hope Town is a thriving community with its own government (having ceceeded from the Union in the 1900s), police force and army. Lately however, things have gotten even more bizarre, with inanimate objects taking on more animated forms and terrorising the poor populace. Things get so bad that there are even sightings of buses in Edinburgh devouring an entire bus queue.
One of those who were on the receiving end of the weirdness was Pontius Smith, a traffic warden pounding the beat of the Edinburgh streets looking for those flounting the traffic laws.
Taking a pause for breath there, you may wonder why Pontius now is a traffic warden when my initial thought was for him to be a Detective Inspector and indeed, he had been originally.
So, take a longer pause for breath and we’ll pick it up in 7…