Adept Charles Babbage and his gravity-defying clowns
The creation of a character, dressing him with attributes, beliefs, motivations,and a physical presence is a task I savour. Sometimes a character is fashioned to suit the scene or the movement of plot. Sometimes a character will develop over time, eventually finding his proper slot in the proceedings. But with Charlie Babbage it was different.
Babbage wasn’t around during the planning stages. The original story skeleton went from A to Zee without him. It was only upon reaching a certain point in the first draft that Babbage appeared from nowhere, fully formed in both motivation, beliefs, and physical presence. He shuffled right up to me, gobbed a great load of snot at my feet and said “Don’t forget little old me. I’m imperative!” And when I stopped to consider this apparition, I saw quite clearly that he was right.
Drawn from the real life Charles Babbage (1791 – 1871), he simply had to be there for the calculations…he was, after all, the “father of the computer”, a genius of calculus credited with inventing the first mechanical computer. There is no doubt in my mind that this genius would have become an Adept on Heart, and so Mr Babbage was brought back to life. Incidentally, Mr Babbage’s brain is on display at The Science Museum in London alongside a working example of his difference engine – the first computer. It is believed that Babbage never built his machine, and that this example is the `original` constructed from his plans. But as readers will know, Babbage did once build his own and it remains on Heart among the cases of stuffed crows in his dusty lair. Babbage became a grotesque but absolutely necessary kingpin, and boy did I enjoy writing him.
Babbage’s five gravity-defying clowns were just as forthcoming, appearing to me merely minutes after Babbage himself had materialised. Solemn clowns slipping through the air with whispery ease around their slobbering master conjured an overpoweringly scary image and I loved this sweet ensemble from the off.
The clowns have their own science, history, and reasons for being, but remain a mystery within the pages of Kimi’s Secret. Although I will say that they are connected to Babbage’s bedroom wallpaper and that all is revealed in the sequel Kimi’s Fear.