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Wednesday 6 April 2016

E is for Evergreen in Red and White

Click Here for a list of other A-Zers
Evergreen in Red and White

Throughout April I have invited 26 authors who had been selected as Editor's Choice by the Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews
 to help me out with the 2016 A-Z Blog Challenge...

Except to be a little different I interviewed 
their leading Character/s...

Today's Character is from :

HH : Hello! I believe you exist in Steven Kay’s  novel – The Evergreen in red and white. Would you like to introduce yourself – who you are, what you do etc?
Now just hold up. I don’t know how you’re doing this. I never went in for all that hokabens – y’know old Romany folk looking into the future – just a money making trick. I’ve been dead for nigh on eighty year, lass! But anyroad, I’ll try my best, like I allus do. They call us Rab – Rabbi Howell – them newspaper types they sometimes called us “the terrier” or “the evergreen.” I were one of the best half-backs in my day – some days the very best in England. Played right up to when that lundy sod from Burnley broke us leg – they heard the crack all round t’ ground.

HH : Where and when are you? Are you a real historical person or did your author create you?
Oh right, I see. I were real enough. I were born on a hill just outside Sheffield – a gypsy see. When were it? – I dunno – a fair while back – an’ I started playing for the United in 1890. Before that I were a hewer – down t’pit. Becoming a professional footballer were one of the best things that happened to us – that and meeting Ada. That were in 1897 – what a year that were, eh?

HH. In a few brief sentences: what is the novel you feature in about?
What I just said, lass – that year when I met Ada. It were a bit awkward – ’cause I were already married – an’ it were a bit of a scandal, an’ football clubs back then were right strict about stuff like that – run on strict Methodist lines – “nobody ever gets lost on a straight road” was the watchword. Well my road weren’t that straight sometimes, shall we say. The United won the Championship that year – they wouldn’t have wi’out me – but carryin’ on got us the sack, an’ I were already a Liverpool player by t’ last day o’t’ season. Only time they’ve ever won it an’ all.

HH :  I ‘met’ my pirate, Jesamiah Acorne on a beach in Dorset, England – how did your author meet up with you? 
He says he first read about us back in 1989 and spent the best part of 20 year – daft sod – wonderin’ if what were written about us were true – they said I were sacked for match fixing – I’d’ve swung for anyone who accused us of that: my only crime were to fall for Ada.

Rab Howell 1895
HH : Tell me about one or two of the other characters who feature with you - husband, wife, family? Who are some of the nice characters and who is the nastiest one?
Well there’s Ada of course – wi’ her beautiful blue eyes an’ red hair – Irish lass. Then Selina, the missus, and the kids: Lizzie, Little Selina, Little Rabbi and the baby. And the United team, and Victorian Sheffield – can that be called a character? Nastiest ones were the Philanthropist or the Tooth-yanker maybe – them what got us sacked.

HH : What is your favourite scene in the book?
Well I’ll let yer know summat for nowt – it’s mostly made up! That Kay fella – cheeky sod – reckons to know what I were up to, but, leastways, the football’s authentic – that game against Villa were a cracker. Me an’ Ada at the theatre – he makes us out as bein’ a right soppy sod – I never were really. Not me – not Rabbi Howell. Hard as nails me.

HH : What is your least favourite? Maybe a frightening or sad moment that your author wrote.
I didn’t like being reminded about that nightmare in Sunderland – where they said I scored two own goals – and them Sunderland fans! It were a tough year right enough. He might have made stuff up, but I reckon it were a half-decent stab at it. I don’t come out on it too bad do I? You can see fair enough why I had to leave my family?

HH : What are you most proud of about your author?
Proud? Nah – not proud on him.
He does what he likes. Nowt to do wi’ me. But gi’ him his due – me and Ada were buried in an unmarked grave in Preston, an’ they’d even got Ada’s name wrong in’t book – had us buried with a stranger it sempt. Now I’ve got a right grand headstone – fit for an England International – that’s down to him an’ his book. So that’s not bad, eh?

HH : Has your author written other books about you? If not, about other characters? How do you feel about your author going off with someone else!
Aye. He says he’s on wi’ stuff. Full of daft ideas if you ask me. Summat about a copper – another story from back in my day, and another about a miner of all bloody things. Says he’s sending stuff to agents but not to get him started on that. 

HH : As a character if you could travel to a time and place different to your own fictional setting  where and when would you go?
Tell you what, though, I wouldn’t mind playing football these days – most I earnt were four quid a week – more than a miner, granted – but only just. Imagine if I were playing for the United or Liverpool now, eh? And another thing: you know Liverpool an’ all their money – they contributed nowt to my headstone: not a brass farthing. Preston and Sheffield Untied were there, but bloody Liverpool – they insulted me, and my gypsy curse is on them!

Thank you that was really interesting!
Now where can readers of this A-Z Blog Challenge find out more about you and your author?

you can find out more about Rab Howell Here
Here is the company we will be keeping on this 
A-Z Blog Challenge!
A 1st  Friday - Aurelia  - Alison Morton
B 2nd Saturday  - Bloodie Bones - Lucienne Boyce
C 4th Monday - Man in the Canary Waistcoat Susan Grossey
D 5th Tuesday - Dubh-Linn  - James Nelson
F 7th Thursday - Fortune’s Fool- David Blixt
H 9th Saturday - The Love Letter of John Henry Holliday - Mary Fancher
K 13th Wednesday - Khamsin- Inge Borg
L 14th Thursday - Luck Bringer   - Nick Brown
N 16th Saturday - A Newfound Land  - Anna Belfrage
O 18th Monday - Out Of Time  - Loretta Livingstone
P 19th Tuesday  - Pirate Code  - Helen Hollick
Q 20th Wednesday - To Be A Queen – Annie Whitehead
R 21st Thursday  - The Spirit Room - Marschel Paul
U 25th Monday  - A Just And Upright Man - John Lynch
X 28th Thursday – The FlaX flower – AmandaMaclean

So call back tomorrow 
To meet the next exciting Character! 
(unless it is Sunday - in which case, I'll have something different 
but just as interesting !)


  1. Thanks for a great post, Steven. This sounds so interesting - especially as I studied in Sheffield! Sounds like there should be a TV adaptation...who would play Rab I wonder?

    1. Thanks. It would have to be a little fella: he was only five feet five!
      (Sorry for not replying earlier: busy day at work)

  2. I agree with Lucienne, it would make a great TV adaptation. And I'm not even a footie fan - er, sorry. What a cracking interview though.

    1. Hi. Thanks for reading this and for your comment. My book does suffer from people thinking: "I'm not a football fan, so don't think I'd like this." No one says: "I'm a townie, so I'll not like 'Tess' or have never sailed a ship, so I'll not like a tale of sea-faring." Hey-ho! the trials of an indie author!

    2. Yup, but I think this book will appeal to non-footie fans as well. Some books set around football are very heavily into the games, but yours sounds as though the game is just part of a balanced whole.

  3. A great theme, Helen. Very supportive of fellow writers!
    Rosa Temple writes...

    1. Thanks Rosa - I like helping other authors (we all need to help each other!)

  4. It's very heartwarming to know that your interest in him, and subsequently your book, led to he and his wife having a proper headstone. Also, writing in dialect captured not only his personality but lent an immediate feeling of time and place. Which is pretty cool, considering I've never had the pleasure of traveling across the pond — well, at least not yet.

    1. Thanks Alexandra. I worried about how the dialect would travel, but felt it necessary to be true to the character. Unveiling his headstone was a very special day: the power of fiction?

  5. The power of fiction and a determined indie author... : )

  6. Love your accent, Rabbi, but don't be so hard on your "poor sod" author; not only did he give you a proper burial but he brought you back to life for the world to get to know you better!

    I truly enjoyed the interview, Steven.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Removed because of a typo. Thanks Inge. I appreciate your kind words. I had a tricky relationship with Rab: I don't think he would have thought much to me.

  7. I found this fascinating - only five foot five! Messi would approve. And how fantastic that by writing the book you've made him truly 'evergreen'. Good luck with what you're writing now.


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