Saturday, January 3, 2009

Amber Dale

Sally's People are characters I invented for books, short stories and poems. Their creation spans the last three decades of the 20th Century and (so far) the first of the 21st.

We first meet Amber Dale in "Down River", which I wrote in the late 1970s. She is twelve then, a pretty and self-assured red-head who is a contrast ot Kerry, her stocky shaggy-haired sister. Amber has charm and magnetism, and effortlessly attracts Kerry's friends. She can be snappy and autocratic. She has a very brief appearance in "Time Off". and is the protagonist of "Winter-Spring Garden". Her self-assurance takes a beating when a lingering illness takes her out of the loop of many activities, and faces her with a challenge she can't win. Amber was the first of my characters to change through experience in this way.

In "Another Good Friend", she faces another challenge. Now fifteen, she joins a script-writing team for a school play and has to deal with an unrequited crush on quiet Dominic while fending off the exuberant Herrick. Another challenge hits in "All the Sea Between", in which she competes for the lead role in the school play.

Amber's latest appearance to date is a little odd, as she appears under the name of "Linnet Valerian" in a book named "Peri". I wrote the story and then an editor asked me to edit it so it would fit an existing "Surfside High" series. Since this series is set in Queensland and Amber is Tasmanian, I simply renamed the characters. Thus Dominic became Duncan, Helen became Debbie, and Amber, Linnet. I often wondered if anyone would comment on the similarities of the characters... but no one ever has.

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