6 Aug 2012

Blog tour: Debutantes - Guest post

Character profile
Poppy Derrington

Poppy Derrington was born in India on the 11th October 1906 and so she is sixteen-and-a-half in ‘The Debutantes’.

I picture Poppy as an extremely beautiful girl. Her appearance is very striking as she has long red hair and amber-coloured eyes.

Favourite music: Jazz.

Favourite animal: A hound called Satchmo. (The jazz player, Louis Armstrong was known as Satchmo)

Favourite female: Her sister, Daisy.

Favourite colour: Wine-dark red.

Favourite Food: Spanish Omelette

Poppy is a strange girl. She has a one-track mind, and that one track is devoted to jazz. She seldom quarrels, but seldom sees things from anyone else’s point of view. She and Daisy get on very well, as they are, although twins, so very different.

Poppy was her mother’s favourite because they shared a great love of music and when her mother died when Poppy was ten years old, she had a sort of nervous break-down. She would not eat or sleep and she just sat there, cuddling a tiny violin, which was her first musical instrument. Her father was so worried about her that he got a musician to teach Poppy a new instrument, the clarinet and somehow this allowed her to forget the past a little and to move on from her sorrow over her mother’s death.

In the beginning Poppy, like any young lady, played classical music on her clarinet, but then, when she was just thirteen years old a new chauffeur came to Beech Grove Manor. Bob Morgan was a very able man and he could probably have got a much better job than that, but he was fanatical about the new music, jazz, and he owned a set of drums. Now the chauffeur at Beech Grove Manor had a small cottage of his own as living accommodation and that cottage was built in the middle of the beech woods, well away from everyone else – the ideal place for a man who wanted to play the drums. And Morgan taught Poppy to play jazz on her clarinet and soon gathered a group of local young people, Baz, Simon, Edwin to form a jazz band.

Poppy’s great friend is Baz. Theirs was a boy-girl relationship but now it seems to be turning into something a little more serious.

Baz is the same age as Poppy. His father, like hers, is an earl, but as Baz (christened Basil) is a younger son, he will not inherit his father’s estate. However, a grand-father has just died and left Baz, the favourite of his grandsons, a small house in the centre of London. Poppy and Baz have plans to turn it into a Jazz Club where all the smart people of London will come and then they will make lots of money. 

It’s 1923 and London is a whirl of jazz, dancing and parties. Violet, Daisy, Poppy and Rose Derrington are desperate to be part of it, but stuck in an enormous crumbling house in the country, with no money and no fashionable dresses, the excitement seems a lifetime away.
Luckily the girls each have a plan for escaping their humdrum country life: Rose wants to be a novelist, Poppy a jazz musician and Daisy a famous film director. Violet, however, has only one ambition: to become the perfect Debutante, so that she can go to London and catch the eye of Prince George, the most eligible bachelor in the country.
But a house as big and old as Beech Grove Manor hides many secrets, and Daisy is about to uncover one so huge it could ruin all their plans—ruin everything—forever.

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