Characters and locations in ‘The Stoker Connection’, with some extra info.
There are two principal storytellers in ‘The Stoker Connection’, Dexter Mitchell and Morgan Davis, but there are other characters who are just as important. There are also locations, real and invented, so here are a few fun facts about some of the characters and locations that you may not pick up from reading the book.
‘Dex’ as he prefers to be called, is 17 when the story starts and turns 18 on the day he meets Morgan. Dex is hoping to go to university to study English and Drama and has been in a few school plays. He played John Proctor in ‘The Crucible’ and, at the end, had the audience in tears when he passionately cried out, ‘Because it is my name!’ He loves theatre which is why he volunteers for ‘The Folkestone Sneeze’ as he calls it. That’s the ‘Friends Of The Folkestone Theatre Group – FOTFTG is the acronym, which, when you try and say it, sounds like a sneeze.
Morgan prefers not to have a shortened name because “Morg… Well, it sounds like a morgue.” He’s very particular and organised, straight acting and straight-laced at times. Inside, however, is a passionate desire to be loved by another boy. His dream is fulfilled when he meets Dexter on their shared 18th birthday. Morgan hadn’t had a sexual experience with anyone until Simon entered his life, he had always kept very quiet about his sexuality. His is out to his mother (a sex therapist) and his younger sister and, thanks to Mrs Davis’ openness, he can be ‘out’ when he is ‘in’ (at home) but is ‘in’ when he is ‘out’ – of the house.
Tim is Dex’s best friend and has been since before they can remember. He’s a tough, fit but slightly dim farmer’s son with ambitions to be a farmer with sons of his own. Tim’s straight, but he loves Dex to the point that he is willing to do anything for him. Almost. Tim is actually based on my best friend at school between the ages of nine and 13. He was a farmer’s son, and he was called Tim, he still is, and, like the fictional Tim, he now runs the family farm. Tim (the character) learnt to drive when he was ten by driving his dad’s farming vehicles around the fields. He has long dreamed of owning a 4×4 of his own, is into sports and has several girls after him (so he says).
Simon arrived at Morgan’s grammar school in Wiltshire at the start of their last year. He is only a few weeks older than Morgan, but only a little more secure about his sexuality. He’s the other gay character in the novel. Simon has had a difficult time with being gay because he’s never hidden it. This led to bullying which led to him changing schools. He’s a loyal guy, has had the hots for Morgan since day one, and expects all the other boys at his school to be straight, but willing to try gay sex once.
Morgan’s mother, the sex therapist. She is based on a friend of mine for a long time ago. She was also a young mother, a sex therapist, and spoke exactly as Mrs Davis speaks in the novel; frankly, and is often embarrassingly shocking. Mrs Davis’ husband was a successful doctor but died young. This left Mrs Davis with a large house, plenty of money and two children. She doesn’t need to work but enjoys her job too much. She’s a great fan of reality TV and rock music as she finds that both require no thought to watch or listen to.
As for locations…
The theatre that Dex volunteers at is in Folkestone, on the Kent coast (UK). It exists. Well, it is no longer a theatre but the building is still there, and it was an old-fashioned repertory theatre when I worked there years ago. It’s been an inspiration for me for a couple of stories.
This is fiction, and it comes from Bram Stoker and his novel ‘The Jewel Of Seven Stars.’ Because, in ‘The Stoker Connection’ there is a link between ‘Dracula’ and ‘Seven Stars’, I thought it would be good to reinvent the Jacobean mansion on the Cornish clifftop and so part of the story is based there. I didn’t copy my description of it from Stoker, in fact, I chose not to re-read ‘Seven Stars’ so that I wasn’t influenced. Instead, I made up the details of Kyllion, though it would be great if there was such a place.
Is a real place and was used by Stoker in ‘Dracula’ as a location. Of course, I had to have it in ‘The Stoker connection.’
New Slains Castle
This ruined house/castle sits on top of cliffs, above Cruden Bay in Scotland. Stoker often holidayed in Cruden Bay and, it is said, wrote much of ‘Dracula’ there. When you see the plan of the old fortress and read the first four chapters of ‘Dracula’ you start to see how the castle in Scotland inspired the Count’s castle in Transylvania – even down to the octagonal room which I have used in ‘The Stoker Connection.’
Moremarsh is made up, although it is based on the Romney Marshes, in Kent (UK). I invented the area as an aside in my thriller ‘The Saddling’ (released under James Collins), also set on the marsh. It is also the setting for my MM romance, ‘The Mentor of Lonemarsh House.’
‘The Stoker Connection’ is a mix of fact and fiction. If you own a copy of ‘Dracula’ (one that is numbered and printed to represent the original pagination), you can find the references as Dex and Morgan do, and see for yourself the clues that are in the book. Whether those clues point to the location of the original diaries and journals of the real Jonathan Harker and others, well, that’s up to you to decide.