Cordelia has been my fictitious friend since 2010 when we first met as I was cycling along the horribly noisy and polluted A4 dual carriageway in London’s Hammersmith. I noticed a discarded men’s shoe on the pavement. The following day I cycled the same route and passed by the shoe again. It made me wonder why it was there and what had happened to the other one. I started thinking how useful it would be if someone had a psychic ability that meant they could tell its story. Then suddenly Cordelia came into my mind. She had a psychic power and could use her special skills to help police forces find missing persons and solve crimes. Over the years of not writing Sole Brethren, I was still thinking about Cordelia. In 2015 I devised Footloose, the fictitious holographic shoe technology, and Cordelia became enemy number one with real shoe manufacturers, leading to all sorts of shenanigans. Slowly her character and story arc developed, she became the world’s leading designer of luxury shoes and, with her twin brother/business partner Rex ran House of Tanner. Cordelia engaged her psychometry psychic skills to discover the stories of shoes her dog Blanche came across on their walks.
Psychometry is an extra sensory ability where facts about a person or an event can be deduced by touching inanimate objects associated with them. I invented a turbo-charged version called psychomatricks for Cordelia. That’s why she is able to delve so deeply into a person’s life as she does with her historic shoe collection. It also means she can enter scenarios that really happened to the shoe owner, albeit in her mind, and it is a source of regret that she can look but not touch with the bewitching 18th century Lancelot.
Cordelia is witty, lively, generous of spirit, always up for fun, open, loving, ambitious, confident, has street smarts, and is inquisitive and seeking about the world. Being beautiful, talented and successful, her vanity is understandable, but the fact that she acknowledges and laughs it off makes it quite appealing. And Cordelia knows she is not physically perfect (the feet, the feet!) which is why she developed Footloose, not for herself, but for the people with physiological foot problems like hers who cannot access fabulous footwear as she can.
Cordelia is in almost every scene, and as the central character all the others mentioned in the book are there because of their connection with her. I really enjoy her interactions with other people, particularly Oscar and Elodie. And I am so glad she is a twin to Rex. At first I intended her to have a younger sister (not a twin), then a drag queen friend with whom she was in business, but I decided family was so important to her, and she needed a business partner who would always keep the big secret about Footloose, so it had to be a twin who would be the closest and most reliable person.
Her most significant relationship, after Rex, is with Elodie. Cordelia had a feeling they had met before and they became immediate best friends. Is that because of a connection in a previous life?
When I discover novels with characters I want to spend time with it makes me so happy. To me Cordelia is intriguing and engaging and we would be friends in real life. But as that is impossible, she will live in my head and send me ideas for her future adventures with Elodie and Rex. She’s already done that for a sequel and I am currently developing ‘Sole Brethren: Left To Their Own Devices. Hurray – this means I have at least another year in their excellent company!
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B.A. Summer (pen name of Jane Peyton), Brighton, UK