MORE to BROWSE - Pages that might be of Interest

12 December 2016

...And the Best Supporting Role is: Zilda Gilespie

Join a selection of fabulous authors and their
Supporting Role Characters
Twitter  #SupportingRole

We all know the protagonist is the hero (or anti-hero!) of a novel. He or she usually has a companion main character, often the ‘love interest’ or maybe the stalwart side-kick, but what about that next rank down: the supporting role guy or gal? You know, the one who doesn’t get Best Actor, but Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars. I thought it time that some of these supporting cast characters had a chance to step from the shadows of novels and have a turn in the limelight.

So, a rousing round of applause please for… Zilda Gilespie
a Supporting Role Character from Satchfield Hall
by Pauline Barclay

Helen: Hello, I believe you appear in Pauline Barclay’s novel Satchfield Hall? Would you like to introduce yourself?
Thank you, but you might be talking about a novel, but it is my life you are asking me to discuss here. I am not complaining, just putting things straight for you. Right, my name is Zilda Gillespie. I am married to Robert and we have one son, David. For many years we have been close friends of the Bryant-Smythe’s at Satchfield Hall, indeed my husband has joined forces with Henry on several business ventures and it is through these associations it was rumoured David had been involved with Celia Bryant –Smythe. Believe you me my son knows better than to sniff around Bryant-Smythe’s daughter.

Helen: what role do you play in the novel?
Goodness, this is not a play, it is real life. However, I will humour you because I can see you mean well so I will play along. My role in this heart rending story is an important one. I support my husband and run our household. David, now grown up, is like his father, confident and independent and more than able to take care of himself whilst seeking the life he desires. At least that was what I believed, but events took an unthinkable turn and we found ourselves plunged into a nightmare almost breaking us emotionally.

Helen: No spoilers. But are you a ‘goody’ or a ‘baddie’?
Let me say that I have my say to protect my family which at times has caused unsettled feelings. At the end of the day, I want what is best for those I love. How I am viewed by others I really don’t know and care less.

Helen: So you support the lead character? Who is he or she and tell us a little bit about him or her?
A difficult question because whilst Celia Bryant-Smythe is the leading character in this sweeping saga, my son should also take centre stage at times too. Celia is a young wealthy lady who is adored by her mother, however, her father’s views changed dramatically, with devastating consequences, once he learnt what she has been up to behind his back. It is 1943 war or no war there is no excuse for moral standards to slip whatever the circumstance.  My son, David found himself being caught up in all the nasty business. War, wealth and power can turn unpleasant people, like Henry Bryant-Smythe into evil beings and you cannot always escape the fall out as we were all to learn to our cost.

Helen: Now be honest – what do you really think of this lead character!
A liar and trollop, if I am blunt, but what really happened found me having to reconsider my judgement on every level. I’m not always right, but I am never wrong, except this time I could not have been further off kilter.

Helen: Do you like being the ‘supporting role’ or do you wish you could have a lead part in a book of your own?
Supporting or leading role, call it what you will, but had I had a leading role as you put it, I would have dealt with Henry Bryant-Smythe long before he went out to destroy everyone else.   

Helen: What is one of your least favourite scenes?
During the years there are moments and events that cause my heart to miss a beat, but the one that will stay with me forever is the moment I learnt the truth; it was heart breaking.

Helen: and your most favourite?
Pains me as it does to admit it, but knowing I was wrong.

Helen: Thank you – that was really interesting
Thank you to my surprise it was fun and at the same time therapeutic being able to reflect on that time.

Helen: Now something for the intrepid author to answer. You can invite six fictional characters (not your own!) to Christmas Dinner – who will they be?

Captain Jesamiah Acorne from the Sea Witch series by Helen Hollick
Dylan Scott from the Dylan Scott Mysteries by Shirley Wells
Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses
Mrs Slocombe from Are You Being Served
Oliver Twist
Mrs Bucket from Keeping up Appearances

I think this would be a Christmas dinner no one would forget or maybe they wouldn’t want to remember! *laugh*
 (Helen: goodness I've no idea what Jesamiah will make of your lady guests - he'll get on well with Del Boy though! ) 

Instagram @paulinebarclay

Come back tomorrow to meet the next Supporting Role Character 

Here's the full list of authors and their characters  - links will be added as each character makes his or her entrance

6th     Inge H Borg and Vergil
7th    Matthew Harffy and Coenred
8th     Alison Morton and Lurio
9th     Regina Jeffers and Viscount Stafford
10th   Anna Belfrage and Luke Graham
11th   Christoph Fischer and the Countess
12th   Pauline Barclay and Zilda Gilespie 
13th   Antoine Vanner  and Fred Kung
14th   Annie Whitehead and Queen Alfreda 
15th   Derek Birks and Hal 
16th   Carolyn Hughes and Matilda Tyler 
17th   Helen Hollick and Claude de la Rue


  1. When a lady claims, "I am not always right, but I am never wrong," you know she has great fortitude; wonderful character, especially when she survives having to change her stance.
    As to the dinner, I fear Jesamiah is going to put on a few pounds; but I am sure Mrs. Bucket will expound on table manners, with Mrs. Slocombe "being unanimous in this."
    Thanks for a great interview, Pauline. It is so much fun to meet all these different characters and authors--thanks to Helen's own fortitude.

    1. Yes I've noticed a bit of a paunch on Jes already ... he'll work it off in the next book Gallows Wake....

  2. Hello Inge, thank you for meeting Zilda, she did have a great deal to cope with, it would have broken a lesser person. As for the dinner party I can imagine it would be great to be a fly on the wall :) Have a lovely day and thank you again.

  3. I must say, Pauline, that your Zilda has piqued my interest. I must have her acquaintance and very soon.

    1. She does sound a very interesting person doesn't she?

    2. Hello Regina, thank you. Zilda needed to be strong!

  4. "War, wealth and power can turn unpleasant people, like Henry Bryant-Smythe into evil beings" Great line. And I love the name Zilda.

    1. Pauline has a wonderful insight into her characters - I often wonder if she bases them on real people she knows. Sssh - don't answer that Pauline! LOL

    2. LOL! Helen :) As for the name Zilda, Alison it took from a friend of mine whose daughter's mother in law's name is Zilda. It was perfect for my character.

  5. Talk about character assassination: A liar and a trollop. LOL. Zilda does not seem to have a problem with being very direct :)

    1. No Anna, she doesn't, but she has standards and Celia Bryant-Smythe had let hers slip beyond sight!

  6. This sounds very well worth a read, Pauline. One for my TBR list, I think.

    I would love to be a fly on the wall at that particular Christmas dinner party, lol.

    1. Jesamiah is going to love talking to Del Boy - and of course Oliver Twist will learn much more about picking pockets from Jes than he ever did from the Artful Dodger (who also isn't a patch on Jes's abilities.) Mrs Slocomb will adore Jes, but I fear Hyacinth may be a tad appalled - well until Jes tells her he has enough room in his estate's garden for more than one pony... (which will be a reference lost on non- Keeping Up Appearancres audience though! LOL)

    2. Love your reply Helen and I am giggling! Thank you Loretta, though I do have to warn you, you will need tissues. *sniff*


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