These 48 stories take you into the interior worlds of soldiers, artists, undercover agents, explorers, daredevils, spies, and interstellar smugglers.
A young pop singer and an operatic tenor duet over their balconies in lockdown London.
An uptight journalist comes face to face with an ancient ancestor in a cave in the Carpathians.
Mata Hari meets the love of her life aboard the Orient Express.
And in the title story, two women on the run from the FBI guard a unique infant.
Boyter’s pocket-sized tales encompass whole worlds, transporting you from the melting Greenland icecaps to New Orleans in the 1920s or the far depths of interstellar space. Meet Victorian ghosts, revenge-taking seamstresses, Vincent Van Gogh, and an obstreperous goat declared mayor of a small English village.
Many of these tales were generated by a unique process of random ideation. Their running theme is connection, and the new hope that comes from unexpected meetings of minds.
Targeted Age Group:: 25-55
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
In lockdown I rediscovered the art of short story writing, having concentrated on memoir for some time. I used the site textfixer.com to generate five random words and began to write daily 1000 word stories using and inspired by those words, without the power to veto anything that the website threw up. Many of these tales were published in literary magazines, and I also read many of them out on my YouTube Channel, Gavin Boyter's Unforeseen Tales.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I don't – they appear to me and I describe what I see, hear and feel when I inhabit their worlds.
Three months into lockdown Stella had settled into a comfortable, and comforting, routine. Stuck in her compact third floor flat in a line of Victorian terraces in West London, she was concentrating on writing songs for her debut album.
Her day began at eight am with coffee and toast and some vocal warm-ups before she kept her voice in shape with a few covers, performed to backing tracks she’d found online. Stella would video some of these for her YouTube channel which gratifyingly had received a spike in subscribers in the last few weeks – she had recently celebrated her ten thousandth follower. Eclectic in taste, her three biggest tracks were Al Green’s ‘How Can You Mend A Broken Heart’, ‘No Surprises’ by Radiohead and Adele’s ‘Hello’. Her own songs tended towards the melancholy, particularly since her break-up with boyfriend of the past five years, Tony.
Two weeks ago, as Stella had been preparing to record a version of ‘Let’s Go Out Tonight’, a little-known heart-breaker by cult Scottish band The Blue Nile, when she heard a rich, velvety voice from the flat next door, singing something operatic and Italian. Singing remarkably well, despite the accompaniment of an occasional crashing she could only imagine was the sound of a large, clumsy man putting pots and pans away. In part this image was aided by the fact that Stella had a couple of times bumped into her new neighbour a week or so before the pandemic started, both times in the hallway outside their flats.
On the first occasion, the man, in his early fifties and very overweight, had been struggling upstairs with an armful of plants. From the nearby garden centre, Stella guessed. He’d fought to fish his keys out of his pocket and Stella had been too slow to offer to help. The second time she’d seen Mr Adamson (Stella had seen his name on his mail) he’d been rushing downstairs, immaculately dressed in a tuxedo and white bow tie. Stella had offered ‘nice suit’, in passing, a daft understatement meant as a genuine compliment. Her neighbour had grinned, taking the comment in the spirit in which it was intended.
Now, listening to Mr Adamson sing, Stella suddenly understood the meaning of the tuxedo – her neighbour was an operatic tenor, presumably on the way to a concert, in the vintage Alfa Romeo she’d seen parked outside.
Now, as she listened to the tenor’s aria, a melancholy floating, drifting melody, she later discovered was Donizetti (after much Googling), Stella’s initial annoyance that her latest video couldn’t be recorded gave way to grudging admiration. Mr Adamson could really sing. Her Googling had not thrown up any famous tenors of that name, so she guessed, like her, he was firmly in the category of gifted amateur, albeit one able to play the kind of gigs that required dress shirt and tails. Someone she had first dismissed as an eccentric old goat was recast in her imagination in an entirely new light.
The following day, Stella heard Mr Adamson doing her own warm-up exercises, a series of rising and falling scales in a variety of keys. She wondered if, like her, he had perfect pitch, or whether he used an app or tuning fork to hit the right starting note. She found herself falling into unison with him, rising and falling in sync with his notes, albeit a register higher. After a few minutes of this, Mr Adamson seemed to stop mid-scale. Had he heard her? Stella decided she didn’t care and finished the set of scales anyway.
Later that afternoon, Stella heard Mr Adamson singing the same Donizetti aria on his balcony. She felt a little too shy to step out there to listen, so she stood behind the billowing curtain in the overheated room and listened to the street applauding his efforts. Even the workmen digging up the street below had downed their tools, Stella could see, peering through her curtains. Of course, she added her own applause to the impromptu audience’s.
Suffering as she did from both Crohn’s Disease and a mild form of agoraphobia, Stella had scarcely been out for days, but later that evening, she decided to venture out onto her own balcony, which she mostly used for drying laundry. Pushing the rack of skirts and skimpy tops to one side, she closed her eyes, leaned against the doorframe, and sang ‘If You Go Away’, the English lyrics of the magnificently over the top Jacques Brel song she’d played on constant rotation in the week following her break-up. The street outside was quiet and Stella didn’t really care if anyone was listening or not.
Halfway through the song, a strange low descant seemed to join her voice. Stella realised it was Mr Adamson, humming a low accompaniment, above which her own voice floated, like a seabird drifting upon a dark ocean. It was strangely self-effacing, given what Stella knew his voice was capable of, but it really added a powerful under-score to the song. After the last ‘if you go away…’ faded, a rapturous applause followed and Stella opened her eyes to see, with astonishment, a small gathering of people on the balconies across the street, or on the pavements below. All were looking up at her and clapping. Stella turned to applaud Mr Adamson, who was standing beaming broadly on his own tiny balcony.
“Take a bow, my dear, you were magnificent,” he said, making Stella’s day.
Thus, they finally broke the ice between them and began chatting, daily, between their balconies, about music, performance, lyrics, work, and many more unrelated topics. Mr Adamson gifted her one of his plants, a small rosebush. In return, Stella loaned him the cookery book in which she’d found the recipe for cheese scones, after he commented on the delicious smell wafting out of her kitchen window (she later passed over a Tupperware box containing three scones).
They began to duet, across their balconies, on pop songs, after Stella confessed that she couldn’t read music. “What a shame,” Mr Adamson said. “I have the perfect Donizetti duet.” Stella was flattered but bemused by the very idea of singing opera. After all, she had no formal training in such music and knew little or nothing about it.
“Hush dear, you’re a natural,” her neighbour said, “but we can stick to Simon and Garfunkel if you prefer.”
They essayed ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’, ‘The Boxer’ and ‘America’ before moving on to Cole Porter, ‘Something Stupid’ and ‘Body and Soul’. Stella didn’t try to foist anything too modern on Mr Adamson, whose popular music tastes didn’t extend much into this millennium, and Mr Adamson didn’t try to push any Italian opera on Stella, although she loved hearing him sing it.
Like Stella, seemingly like a lot of people in the transient neighbourhood of Earls Court, Mr Adamson lived alone, and presumably he was also having a hard time with this period of self-isolation, being a confirmed bachelor (Stella suspected he was gay and that there was tragedy in his romantic history, but she didn’t pry). Knocking on his door to offer him a cup of tea might be forbidden but they could at least converse across their respective balconies, in words, and via their shared love of song.
Links to Purchase Print Books
Buy Running Coyote and Fallen Star Print Edition at Amazon
Links to Purchase eBooks – Click links for book samples and reviews
Buy Running Coyote and Fallen Star On Amazon
All information was provided by the author and not edited by us. This is so you get to know the author better.