Seagulls are a controversial (this is putting it mildly) topic in Whitby.
They are frequently the subject of heated debate. Some people love them and think that they add to Whitby’s seaside charm. Some people loathe them; considering them to be overly aggressive at times. As soon as I had decided that Whitby was the setting of Black Eyed Boy, I knew that the book would heavily feature the divisive and contentious gulls. This also gave me the opportunity to imply, early on in the story, that something strange and foreboding might be about to happen. I have used the gulls, all the way through the book, to highlight the changes occurring within Emily’s life.
Here are a few examples:
When I woke, something was different. Something had changed, but I couldn’t put my finger on it during my first few sleepy morning moments. As I pulled my dress over my head, I realised it was the silence, so wrong to my seaside town ears. There were no hungry screams and manic squawks of the seagulls.
The full moon looked beautiful in the sky. It was a serene night, but perhaps a little too serene for my liking, as I missed the sound of the gulls.
I noticed that a few intrepid herring gulls had dared to return to the harbour and I felt pleased.
We chose a seat which overlooked the whole of the east side, which still looked old-fashioned with the collection of red pan-tiled rooftops. The lights shone on to the water and the seagulls soared, squawked and circled, waiting for that dropped chip. I still had Dylan’s jacket on and I could smell him on the fabric, musky, masculine and enticing.