The Characters of 20 Years Later Have Their Say

Before we start, I’d just like to thank Miri for inviting us into her house, it’s most kind of you, what with times as they are. You are surely, very busy. And to everyone else, thank you for taking the time to stop by and answer a few questions.

My first of those questions, is to Miri, I was wondering what your thoughts were about you son’s friendship with The Bloomsbury Boy’s before the events depicted in the book, and what the best and worst things about it were?

“Let’s talk in the kitchen shall we? Zane, watch the fire.” Miri closes the door.

“I’ve been living here for almost twenty years now, and I’ve watched the Bloomsbury Boys go through some really difficult patches. Now that Jay’s in charge of them, they’re doing better than ever, and he does keep them in line as best he can, but it’s not the same as the way I look after Zane.

That makes his friendship with them a mixed blessing. On the one hand, I don’t like him going over there, hearing the way they talk, and they play so rough. He went through a phase of trying to talk like them, when he was about 8, but he grew out of it.

The good side of it is that he has someone else to talk to. That’s why I’m so pleased he and Titus get along – he’s not in the Bloomsbury Boys – he’s a quiet, clever boy who won’t get Zane into trouble. I don’t mind Dev I suppose, he’s harmless, and Zane’s a good boy, he knows what he should and shouldn’t do. Unlike most of them.

Does that answer the question? Let’s go back in the front room where it’s warmer then. I’ll make you a cup of tea if you like.”

Mmmm, A very fine cuppa, thanks Miri.

Now my second question is to Zane, Titus & Erin. Without revealing who you’re talking about, please use one word that best describes one of the remaining pair?

The three look at each other for a moment.

“Soft,” Erin says.

“That’s me, isn’t it?” Zane asks and then says “Clever.”

Titus finally says “Tough.”

“That’s Erin,” Zane says as Titus frowns. “We’re not supposed to say,” he mutters.

Zane, as you’ve been in the area the longest of the three of you, could you tell us a little about The Red Lady?

Ignoring Erin’s groan, Zane smiles broadly. “She’s amazing. She’s in charge of all the strongest men and women in London, and they all do what she tells them to. And she’s got blonde hair and the greenest eyes you ever saw, they’re the same colour as the underneath of a sycamore leaf and she’s beautiful.”

“She’s dangerous,” Titus says.

“He asked me,” Zane reminds him.

Now to Jay. As leader of the Bloomsbury Boys, you must know a thing or two about this particular area of London you all live in, could you tell us a little about it?

“You go over that way,” he points through the wall with the fireplace, “straight down the road, first square you come to is my patch, that’s Russell Square. You see these blades?” He taps the two knives hanging from his hips. “They’re painted on the walls at the edges of my patch, it’s my sign, so no-one goes into my patch.

Me an’ my boys, we got all that square, and the buildings round it, so don’t you go thinkin’ you can stay there. This here square though, the one with the garden, this is Miri’s patch, an’ what she says goes.

Further south you got Soho, where the Weavers are an’ you got Covent Garden, that’s a scummy place, that’s the Gardners’ patch. Ol’ Ma Gardner is a mad cow, an’ her boys are nasty pieces of work, so don’t you go wanderin’ down that way.

The Red Lady is East, I don’t like ‘er hunters, she keeps to herself, I keep to meself, that’s the way it is. And west and north of ‘ere is no-man’s land. No-one I know of holds any patches there, so it’s more dangerous. Dogs are a problem, and the Sweepers sometimes. You don’t wanna run into them either.

You’re too old to be in my gang, I’m the oldest, and that’s the way it stays. You wanna stay round ‘ere, you better speak to Miri.”

Er… That’s okay Jay, I need to be moving on before nightfall anyway.

Miri, as one of the few adults here, you’re one probably one of the best placed to remember events, so I was wondering if you could tell us about ‘It’.

Miri’s eyes flick to a photograph of a couple on the mantelpiece. “I’m sorry, I can’t,” she whispers.

“Mum doesn’t talk about before,” Zane says, putting a hand on her shoulder.

Right, okay then, Moving on. Callum, what would you say is the hardest thing about living in London these days?

Callum shuffles in the corner. “Well, the canned food is sparse in this part of town now, so we all have to look further out, and as Jay says, that’s dangerous. But I think London is as it always was; the hardest thing about living in it is the people. The Gardners in particular. Jay’s right, best you stay away from Covent Garden. Nothing good happens there.”

In the interests of impartiality, I was going to ask The Red Lady for some input, does anyone know where she is, did she get the invite?

“Oh, Luthor sent a note,” Erin says, handing it over. “That’s my Dad, he’s the Red Lady’s Champion.” It reads:

“The Red Lady will consider your request should you bring the appropriate tribute to her gates.”

“It’s very hard to speak to the Red Lady,” Miri says. “I’ve only spoken to her once in all these years.”

“But she likes speaking to me,” Zane adds with a smile.

20 Years Later is published by Dystopia Press and out in hardback later this month.

London, 2012: It arrives and with that the world is changed into an unending graveyard littered with the bones, wreckage, and memories of a dead past, gone forever.

London, 2032: Twenty years later, out of the ashes, a new world begins to rise, a place ruled by both loyalty and fear, and where the quest to be the first to regain lost knowledge is an ongoing battle for power.

This is a place where laws are made and enforced by roving gangs – the Bloomsbury Boys, the Gardners, the Red Lady’s Gang – who rule the streets and will do anything to protect their own.

The Four: Zane, Titus, Erin, and Eve. Living in this new world, they discover that they have abilities never before seen. And little do they know that as they search post-apocalyptic London for Titus’ kidnapped sister that they will uncover the secret of It, and bring about a reckoning with the forces that almost destroyed all of humanity.

Buy: 20 Years Later by Emma Newman from The Book Depository.

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