Danielle Walker is the primary character in Cherri Red (currently under construction). I promised an update on progress and information about the characters appearing in the book, so here it is. As a change, I’ve presented this in the form of an interview with Dani. Over the course of the next weeks and months I’ll add other interviews with the characters as they develop and progress, and post short sections of the novel.
Dani Walker is eighteen when I interview her here. She has finished high school and returned from her first summer camp as a counselor. We sit out back at her parent’s house in east Los Angeles drinking iced lemonade and eating pasta made by her mother. Dani looks slim and healthy, tanned from the summer, with a cute sprinkle of freckles across her nose. Her long dark hair is thick and glossy and she smiles a lot as we talk, obviously happy.
Tess: Dani Walker, you’ve just got back from your first summer camp as a counselor. Tell me something about how that went.
Dani: Well Tess, it was completely awesome. Going to camp in earlier years was pretty great, but being a counselor is something completely different. Different and wonderful. You meet so many people, and most of the kids are just outstanding.
Tess: You say most of the kids. Are some not so great?
Dani: Yeah, well, I guess you always get a few who are pains. You’re gonna get that wherever you are. But I can honestly say for every little nightmare there were twenty wonderful kids. Truly wonderful.
Tess: Did you make any new friends over the summer?
Dani: New friends? God, yeah! There was this boy – well, a young man really – called Jack and we kind of started going out together. Not like real dating, just a summer thing, I think. And a girl called Cherri – yeah, I know, weird name or what? Her real name’s Cheryl Redmond but she wants to be called Cherri Red. She plays guitar and sings and writes her own songs and she is wonderful – really, really good. She’s real short and real blonde and on first sight you think she’s a kind of bimbo and then when you get to know her you realize there’s all kinds of things about her that make her just so deep. And I guess she got to be my best friend over the summer.
Tess: So you and Cherri are friends now. And Jack?
Dani: Oh sure. Real good friends, I think. Cherri lives a ways off, but Jack lives in L.A. so he’s kinda local and I guess we might meet up again sometime. I’m not sure, but it would be cool if we did.
Tess (laughing): So is this Jack the one?
Dani (also laughing): Shit no! I’m eighteen, for christ sake – there’s not gonna be a one for a while yet.
Tess: You were taking photography classes, I hear. How did that go?
Dani: Pretty good. Some of the kids took some great pictures. Not everyone’s gonna be an Ansel Adams but I think I managed to knock a little technique into a few heads.
Tess: So what’s on the agenda now? College?
Dani: Yeah. I start at Boston in a couple of weeks.
Tess: Studying photo-journalism, I hear?
Dani: That’s going to be my major. I’m still deciding on what else I’ll be doing.
Tess: Following in your father’s footsteps then?
Dani (laughs): I think his boots are too big for me to fill, Tess. I want to try and be as good as him, and I will try, but he’s some act to follow.
Tess: Any particular area you want to specialize in?
Dani: Nothing that leaps out and grabs me yet, but I’ve got a few years yet to work that out.
Tess: So you don’t have a specific picture of yourself ten years from now?
Dani: Nothing special, no. I hope I’ll be doing something with photography, but I may turn out not good enough, who knows? But I’m pretty flexible. I like to think I can turn my hand to all kinds of things if I have to. Ten years though? That’s a long time, isn’t it? Who knows what any of us are going to be doing ten years from now?
Tess: Well, maybe we’ll find out. How about I give you a call in ten years time and you update me?
Dani (laughing): Oh yeah, sure. I’ll just pencil you in my diary now.