My new book “Conditions” is about to be released in a few weeks’ time.
As I’m thinking of drumming up some publicity for it this morning I suddenly remembered with shock a meeting with Joe Dunthorpe, author of “Submarine”, at my local book store, two years ago. He mentioned in his talk that his real life mother was getting fed up with his readers, many of whom believed that she was like the mother character in his book. A comparison she seemed to find un-flattering.
Now my book is about two brothers with a difficult relationship and since I do have a real life brother I’ll put it on record that the book has nothing to do with me and my brother.
Maybe a good moment to talk about what the book is about and to shed light on the origins and sources of my characters, how I write and create them.
The idea for “Conditions“ originated from a funeral I once attended that stayed with me for a very long time. I tried to imagine where the hostility that I experienced there had come from. I envisaged two estranged brothers as the cause and gave them supporting figures that I thought would suit them. This is where it became fiction.
What I hope to capture in my books is the essence of some of the people I have met in my life. Catherine, Tony, Sarah, Ruth, Clare, Anna, Rose, Charles, Martha, Elaine, Edgar and Simon each have become an imprint of people that I have met over the course of my life. Usually not people I was very close with because if I knew them well it would leave me with little ‘artistic freedom’. I am much more fascinated with the people whom I met briefly, who left a fleeting but lingering impression on me yet who also leave me the opportunity to fill in the gaps with my imagination. A stranger sitting next to me on a train, a person in the queue ahead of me…
As I write my stories I can see some of these people in the eye of my mind at a bar in a sunny location and remember their face, their pain, their weaknesses and their strengths. Suddenly one of those images will take over the character of Catherine or Martha or Simon and become part of the dynamic writing process. From then onwards they dictate what happens or what has happened to them.
I’ve met people with mental health issues, been to mental hospitals as visitor, I’ve known quite a few people with drinking and co-dependency issues, marital problems and dependent relatives … I had plenty of inspiration from life. Some issues I’ve encountered only once, others time and time again. “Conditions” is about some topics that left their mark on me with characters that grew with me over the numerous rewrites from first draft in 2008 to publication in 2014.
I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it and I hope the characters come as close to you as they have to me.
The book will be out on October 16th
You can also find it on Goodreads