Sunday 10 May 2015

Guest Post: Money in A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install.

Money in A Robot in the Garden
by Deborah Install

I chose to make Ben financially solvent for one initial reason: I didn’t want his and Tang’s journey to be clouded by money worries. I didn’t want the reader to spend half the book thinking ‘how is he affording all this?’ so I chose to give him and his sister, Bryony, a large inheritance and a mortgage-free house. As time went on, though, this feature of Ben’s life fed into his and Amy’s characters more and more. The money became almost a hindrance to Ben’s recovery from grief than a help. He didn’t need to work so when he lost his place on a veterinary course and therefore his career choice he had no impetus to find work.

Because he grew up comfortably off, Ben’s attitude to money is rather cavalier. He is not profligate nor boastful though, money just doesn’t occur to him that often. But for Amy the opposite is true. She is one of many siblings whose family had stretched resources, and has always felt in competition for praise. Moreover, she never really felt like she got it, however hard she worked. She is a lawyer because of this hardworking character trait, and because it is a job that traditionally attracts large incomes. She is absolutely a product of her upbringing, as Ben is his.

When Amy meets Ben she has just reached the Bar, so is riding high at the peak of her career so far. Regardless of her own success, the fact that Ben comes with a large family house offers her security and a different life for any children from the one in which she grew up, and though she tells Ben when they meet that she never wants children deep down she doesn’t mean it. I feel that she said this because she feared the damage it might do to her career. This is a very real problem far too many women today have to face. I plan for Amy to have to deal with this problem head on, should I be lucky enough to get to write a follow-on!

With this backstory in mind, I have tried to include references throughout the novel in support. Ben hardly ever questions the cost of something, whereas Amy does, particularly in a flashback scene to the couple’s honeymoon.

So there we have it: you try and write a book where money is no object, and it ends up being a thread all of it’s own!

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