Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Fictional Characters in Panto: Liz Harris likens A Western Heart to Cinderella

When I was trying to think up ideas for this year's blog festive feature, I eventually decided to try and do something a little different and emailed authors asking whether they'd like to do a guest post based around pantomimes and I'm pleased to say that a few were up for the challenge...

The first Fictional Characters in Panto feature is brought to you by Liz Harris.

Christmas is the time of goodwill, so I’m relying on you being good-willing enough to let me take liberties when likening my novella, A WESTERN HEART, with the pantomime CINDERELLA.

Why Cinderella? Well, it’s that a moral of the Cinderella story is that while it’s an advantage to have intelligence, breeding and common sense, even these may fail to bring you success without the intervention of a fairy godmother. I think we can include fairy godfather in that, too. Yes, first liberty!

So here is my cast of characters:

Prince Charming: Will Hyde
Think Clint Eastwood, years ago in his lean, good-looking cowboy days. A taut, tanned young Clint Eastwood with sun-streaked hair. Oh, yes!

Cinderella: Rose McKinley
Deep down, we all want to see ourselves in the Cinderella role as she gets the prince.

And we can. Any one of us could be Rose. After all, we are all slender and stunning, aren’t we, with hair that does what we ask and falls with tantalising tendrils around our face? And like Rose, we’re even more alluring and appealing when drenched in rain; not red-nosed and pinched, with hair stuck in lank wet strands against sodden cheeks.

Wicked Stepmother: Complacency
Cinders’ stepmother kept her away from the Ball. For Rose, it wasn’t a wicked stepmother that stopped her from securing her prince at Hope Town’s annual celebration of the start of summer, it was her own self-blindness and complacency. It was as if Complacency had cast a spell over her.

The Ugly Sisters: Cora McKinley & Mattie Hyde
Ugly Sister, actually; aided and abetted by her friend, Will’s sister. And not that ugly, either: Cora was very pretty outside.

It was a weeny bit of ugliness inside her that made her scheme against Rose and cast eyes filled with yearning towards Will. Yes, Will! The man whom Rose had thought was going to be her prince!! And unfortunately, when Will looked at Cora, he couldn’t see what lay beneath…

Divine Godfather: Nate Galloway
I kind of prefer ‘Divine’ to ‘Fairy’ as it’s definitely Richard Armitage, no less, for Nate.

This is Nate ‘…like Will, he was tall and lean. But whereas Will’s skin was the colour of liquid gold and his eyes as blue as the midday sky, the visitor’s skin was only lightly sun-browned. And whereas Will’s hair had been streaked fair by the sun, the visitor’s hair was as dark as his heavy-lidded eyes. Whatever the stranger’s business, he certainly wasn’t out on the range every day in all weathers.’

Nate makes Rose question what she feels, or doesn’t feel, for Will whom, she’d always thought, had been cast by Destiny in the role of her prince. It was Nate who –  Stop!

That’s me stopping me. If I don’t stop, I’ll give you a spoiler, and I don’t want to do that so I’m moving on.

Pumpkin: Buggy
That’s a very easy one. The girls would go by horse, wagon or, most likely, they’d take the buggy. Will Hyde’s ranch was a good ride from the McKinley ranch, so the pumpkin that would take her to the man she’d always considered to be her prince-in-waiting was a buggy.
Slipper: Cora’s bracelet
That’s not such an easy one. However, the lost slipper proved that Cinders was the woman the prince had lusted after (delete that) had desired from the moment her met her, which made the slipper a device, if you like. And Cora’s ‘lost’ bracelet was the device whereby she hoped to win the luscious Will for herself.

And so to round off by returning to the theme where I started, A WESTERN HEART, set in Wyoming 1880, shows, as does CINDERELLA, that despite your personal advantages, you might need outside help to get what you dearly want out of life.

On behalf of Rose; thank you, Divine Godfather Nate, for seeing that Rose ended up with Prince Right.

And thank you, Shaz, for inviting me to join in with your Christmas blogs. This has been great fun to write, and I hope your readers enjoy reading it. A Happy Christmas to you and to all of your readers.


  1. Many thanks for your comment, Tanya. It was a really enjoyable blog to write. Thinking of a Wicked Stepmother was the most difficult part, and I almost thought of changing my novel from A Western Heart to A Bargain Struck, where there is am obvious candidate for Wicked Stepmother. But then I remembered the role that complacency plays in so many of our lives, and Complacency stepped into the role. :-)

  2. Many thanks, Sharon, for allowing me to take part in this highly enjoyable series of blogs. It was great fun to think about, and then write. And anything that allows me to cast an eye over the features of Richard Armitage .... Well, what more can I say! :-)

  3. Loved reading this! Great idea for a series in the run-up to Christmas. Quite a challenge, I imagine, but a fantastic and unusual way to find out more about your book!

    1. I, too, thought it a fun idea, Clare. I also thought it would be easy. Not so! I really had to think about it.

      Many thanks for your comment.

  4. Oooh, well, if the 'divine' Richard is starring, where do I book the tickets?? Great idea, ladies. Thanks for sharing. :) xx

  5. I'm afraid you'll have to get in the queue, Sheryl. I head the queue (I've more potent elbows than most!), Margaret James is behind me, with Kate Johnson behind her, and then you appear. :-)

  6. Very amusing post although by choosing Richard Armitage for Nate I'm afraid Will wouldn't have got a look in where I was concerned!
    Angela Britnell

  7. So you're another one, Angela!!

    I'd like to have reversed it, but Will has sun-streaked light brown hair and a golden tan, so what cold I do!! :-)

  8. Great post Liz. I liked Clint in the Dollars films - mmmmm.

  9. Its a brilliant idea - and a lot more difficult than one might think!