“The Harp’s Call” has its roots in the second story I posted on this site. In Part III of “Reverberations,” the main character, Adrian, runs into his favorite tram driver, Teri, at a local eatery. With Teri is a little girl, her niece. The niece, whose name is never mentioned, also appears in the wedding scene in the conclusion of the story. After finishing up “A Hand to Hold” in January, I needed a subject for a new story, and I thought developing Teri’s niece might be the basis for a cute tale.
Of course, at that point, I had to figure out a few things, such as:
- What’s the little girl’s name?
- How old is she?
- What, exactly, is the plot of the story she’s starring in?
Eventually, I decided her name was Cari, she was twelve years old, and her favorite person in all the world was her wonderful Aunt Teri the tram driver. So far, so good, but what about the plot? That was the hard part; what was she going to do? Eventually, I decided she would be haunted by some ancient spirit, and we’d get to watch her solve the ghostly mystery with her wits and courage. Along the way, we would learn a little more about her as a person.
Combining the plot and developing the character satisfactorily in a short story turned out to be challenging! Cari wound up being a mix of imagination, my own daughters, a little Beverly Cleary, and advice from an old friend, who told me that adolescent girls are “unquestionably awkward and self-conscious.” (I told her adolescent boys are the same way.) I tried to capture that aspect of her personality, along with her deep admiration for her Auntie – hopefully some of that comes through in the story.
All in all, the story has five parts, which can be accessed below:
By the way, the picture of Cari’s street in modern-day Solitude is actually a street in Ely, Cambridgeshire, UK, while the other city scenes are recent photos taken along Crystal Drive in Arlington, Virginia. The shot of the Thalmor Embassy is actually Tynemouth Priory and Castle in Tynemouth, Tyne and Wear, UK.