Beneath a Winter Noon is a novel in progress. Each episode, as it is published over time, can be accessed via Amazon’s Kindle Vella platform. The novel opens with the 16-year-old narrator, Phoebe Whittaker, traveling to the farm of relations she barely knows, but they have asked for her help and she believes it is the decent thing to do. It is 1910, and a beastly hot day in July. Phoebe feels ready to see more of the world, although cooking and cleaning for ailing relatives wasn’t what she had in mind. To pass the time, she reads from her favorite book and envies the adventures of that “trouble-sporting” boy Huck Finn.
In this work I bring together two of my favorite characters, from among the many I’ve created. Whit Houndstooth is a character in a concurrent work in progress. So far Whit has played small roles in two pieces and is the main character of another. He shows up briefly in “The Widow’s Son” (published as part of First Kings and Other Stories by Wordrunner e-Chapbooks) and in “Midianites” (forthcoming from 9th Story Studios for their Extra Wicked and The Wicked Library podcasts). Whit is the central focus of a piece titled “The Buzite,” which is still looking for a home. Phoebe, the narrator of Beneath a Winter Noon, is essentially transplanted from my novel An Untimely Frost (2014). She has a small, reoccurring part in that book, which is set in London, and is generally known only as “the waif.” Even though she is a minor character, I enjoyed writing the scenes that she is part of very much. For a long while I’ve been thinking of putting “the waif” front and center in her own narrative. Phoebe Whittaker is a slightly older, American version of “the waif.”
When I discovered the Kindle Vella platform earlier this summer, I thought it offered an opportunity to bring together these two beloved characters — Whit and Phoebe — and see what would happen. I’m looking forward to finding out.
The first three episodes, “The Market,” “The Visitation,” and “The Night Sky,” are now available. Link to Beneath a Winter Noon.