Henry Worthen & The Union Jack

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My husband, Ryan, created the Flying Furniture images several years ago.  They began as sketches which he refined as digital art pieces.  Everywhere we took them, people were intrigued.  With each new sketch, I grew more and more eager to give them a story.  The first of them was The Union Jack, a quirky but wise Queen Anne chair with a worn gilded finish and a large balloon of crimson and gold.  He proudly flies his namesake, the Union Jack flag, as his banner.  He is a proud sort of fellow but loyal and steadfast.  Jack enters Henry’s life at a pivotal moment.

Henry Worthen has always been without an identity.  His father was a Captain in the Royal Navy but always somewhat of a joke amongst those in London’s high society and the ranks of the British military.  Henry’s mother married a wealthy aristocrat and inserted herself into elite society, something she had coveted since being married to Henry’s father.  Henry has no desire to be a part of his mother and stepfather’s world.  He cares nothing for debutantes, fancy dress or titles.  He is a dreamer and inventor, much like his father.  He knows, in the back of his mind, that he might possibly be meant to do something extraordinary but a childhood accident left him with a slight physical handicap.  His rather progressive views on politics and social welfare make him even more of an outcast.

Enter Jack…  when a mysterious crate arrives at Henry’s dusty old clock loft, he is curious and completely caught off-guard by its contents.  Jack brings with him such magic and a connection that Henry has been desperately seeking for as long as he could remember.  Jack leads him on a quest for lost artifacts and introduces Henry to a secret world, hidden just out of sight of the normal folks that carry on with their day-to-day affairs.

In creating Henry Worthen, I did not want a traditional hero or protagonist.  He is not without flaws.  He is riddled with self-doubt, a weakness Jack must help him overcome.  He has allowed a physical handicap to make him feel unworthy of positive attention, of being proud, and of love, especially Lucy Martin’s. Henry is reminiscent of Adam Ewing in David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas; the reluctant hero.  He is not particularly strong, more cute,fellow-next-door looking than smolderingly handsome and is a bit of a nerd.  In subsequent novels, readers can expect to see a darker side of Henry as certain secrets about his past are revealed.  I gave him life, constructing his character from bits and pieces of people I have known but also from bits and pieces of myself and my husband. He is very dear to me and felt as warm and alive as the person sitting next to me on the tube as I wrote.  He and Jack had to compliment one another but not always agree.  Jack pushes Henry’s boundaries as far as what is safe and comfortable.  He forces him to grow into a man with honor and integrity who is willing to fight for what is good and just instead of a wandering spirit, searching for some meaning behind his existence.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a storyteller.  Much like my late grandmother, I enjoy a good story; tales of mystery and intrigue.  I am also bad about tangents!  My husband stays irritated at me about my ability to get from point A to point B in a conversation without taking a side trip to a whole other alphabet.  I did not want straightforward relationships between the novel’s characters.  I like the tangents, the web where everyone is connected in some way to the other, whether directly or round the block three times and back again.  I am beyond excited to finally share them all with the world.  Please consider pledging to the novel’s Kickstarter Campaign through October 24th and follow Flying Furniture Adventures for more character profiles and excerpts from the first and second novels.

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