Friday, January 2, 2009
Anna Bailey Kelly
Sally's People are characters I have invented over the course of nearly forty years. They feature in my books, stories and poems. This blog profiles these characters, more or less at random. If you would like a character profiled, send me a Comment!
Anna Kelly, nee Bailey, is the first protagonist of my book, "Anna's Own", published in the mid 1990s under my pseudonym, Tegan James.
I named Anna to reflect her times. She is a 19th C servant, the daughter of a deceased schoolmaster and a barmaid. Many names popular at that period are common now (it's the early 20th C names that sound dated to us), and to me Anna was simple, pleasing, neat and restrained, rather like the girl herself. At fourteen, Anna receives promotion to temporary lady's maid... and attracts the wrong kind of attention from her mistress's brother. Her terrified reaction brings her to trial for attempted murder, and a sentence of Transportation to the colony of New South Wales. Anna is a survivor, quiet, self-contained, loyal and implaccable. Through love and loss, fire, epidemic, disgrace and other crises, she survives. I had it in mind to write a sequel to be named "Shepherd's Rest", but although Anna's story was popular with many readers (the local swap shop owner told me she "couldn't keep it on the shelves" and the library copies were almost always all out), it didn't sell enough copies for the publisher to commit to a second book.
C'est la vie, but I have always regretted that.