Today I’m pleased to welcome Fiona Mordaunt to BrizzleLass Books as part of the blog tour for The Frog Theory, she has written a character spotlight on Clea, one of her main characters from this novel to give you a taste of what to expect when you pick The Frog Theory up, so dive in and check it out.
Tragedy and comedy in perfect proportion.
Kim and Flow are the best of friends, living on a council estate, making money selling drugs.
Just around the corner in a smarter part of Fulham is Clea, a well-heeled young woman coping with a violent home life at the hands of her twisted step-father.
The Principal runs a famous college for problem teens. Fostering guilty secrets which distance her from her own children, she resists the advances of a man she sees on the train every day.
When Kim and Clea meet by chance, Kim is smitten but worried about her. Using the anecdote of the frog theory – that it will jump straight out of boiling water and live, but stay in and die if heated slowly from cold – he wakes her up to the dangerous situation she’s in at home.
Serendipity and a cake-fuelled food fight that goes viral will bring Kim, Clea, Flow and The Principal together in weird and wonderful ways in this frenetic, laugh-out-loud story about love, conscience and lion-hearted nerve.
Character Spotlight on Clea
All of my main characters are slightly exaggerated – real life super heroes, if you like, intended to inspire, entertain and comfort.
I believe that we have seeds of potential within us all which bloom in certain ways, at certain times, depending on the conditions we are exposed to and the cues in life that we choose to react to.
Initially, when we meet Clea, she is known by her nickname, Clate, a name imposed on her by Hugo, her stepfather. This is one of the subtle ways in which he keeps her down. He does not feel fatherly towards her and struggles to fight his true emotions, which are sexual, but present themselves as violent. Hugo wants to be in love with his wife and to be a father to Clea and he hates himself because it is not so. He has no one to turn to – everyone is their own best spin doctor – and it is no different for him. He tells himself that the violence is for her own good and is not aware of the base emotions he is constantly keeping at bay within himself; he cannot face up to them nor understand them.
Clea is perhaps a me I longed to be as a younger woman. She is so agile, and I can’t even touch my toes! I remember trying to do various stretches and dance moves as a kid and no matter how much I practised, I could not grab my ankle with my hand and straighten my leg out. Her character is carefully built up, physically and mentally, as a heroine who triumphs. Her mental strength is in learning to trust her instincts in order to walk her path with confidence.
We meet her best friend, Sarah, early in the novel. ‘Sometimes she thought Sarah actually enjoyed hearing the grief Hugo put her through’, and right from the beginning we can see that Sarah’s main objective is finding a dream boyfriend – perfectly normal for many young girls her age, though using Clea the way she does to achieve it is, perhaps, a little mean. ‘You’re always grounded, I’ve thought of a way around that. You can’t spend your whole life cooped up in your bedroom.’ However, she is right about this and is the unwitting catalyst that leads Clea to the party where she meets Kim.
Kim has plenty of emotional intelligence, he has seen it all and immediately correctly interprets Clea’s situation with Hugo: that he fancies her. ‘She let his words sink in. It made sense of all the times she’d felt the need to cover herself…’ Clea cannot understand why she has let things get so bad. Kim tells her the anecdote of The Frog Theory, that is will stay in cold water if it is heated up gently until it dies, in order to help her be kind to herself and to give her confidence.
It is Kim’s influence, and the unexpected kindness she finds in a solicitor who gives her news of an inheritance from her biological father, that ignite her desire to change.
She chooses to listen to the solicitor, trusting her instinct for the first time. ‘…he took Clate’s hand in his own and imagined that she was one of his daughters. It was different from how she felt with Hugo because the solicitor’s touch didn’t give her the creeps. His contact was strong, caring and wise…’
She seizes the opportunity to react to this person who evokes feelings of such hope. She is ready to leap. She drops the awful nickname and becomes Clea: ‘she shed a skin that day.’
It is not until she reconnects with Kim that she revisits her past. ‘This unexpected telescope… put her on edge.’ It is not only cerebral memories that return but an emotional experience, too, which she finds she cannot control or contain, but she does know that she will not welcome it, so she attacks what seems to be causing it – Kim. Her nature is not violent, so she takes the next best option and attacks him with strawberry gateau. It works. It stops the memories and gives her a sense of protecting herself but it has led her into a new and unwelcome situation – she is stuck on a bus covered in pudding!
Her instinct keeps drawing her back to Kim and when she finds him with the Principal, all she can think of is that she must help this woman. She discovers a new ability that she is not ready for, she rejects it but not before it has done some good. She is well on the way to being whole.
About Fiona Mordaunt
After attending school for model-making, Mordaunt started Image Casting in 1998, specialising in customised body castings. Over the course of 13 years, she worked on such films as Atonement and The Wildest Dream, as well as for personal clients like Lionel Richie. In 2012, she relocated to Botswana with her husband and daughter where she currently resides.
Book & Buy Links
Title: The Frog Theory
Author: Fiona Mordaunt
Genre: Drama | Fiction
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: 14 February 2017
Review Format: N/A
Other Formats: eBook
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | iBooks