Happy Monday, everyone.
I am pleased to announce that today is the return of Blog Tour Monday – HUZZAULES I hear you all cry!
The fantastic Kerry Hadley has handed me the baton (and unwisely asked me to run with it – we all know how much I like to waffle) for this week. Kerry is an author of incredibly real and dark fiction set in The Black Country (and a fellow person of the Midlands which makes her doubly ace!) I have just spent a week in Inverness with Kerry – and thirteen other writers – getting drunk, eating our body-weight in everything, writing, and playing games like Psychiatrist and Granny’s Knickers.
Kerry was handed the Blog Baton from Mike Clarke, a short story writer, who has had two stories accepted and performed by the Liars’ League, and Lisa Goll invited him to take part in this Blog Hop. She is organiser of the very successful London Writers Café Meetup Group and her entry on this Blog Hop was published a couple of weeks ago. I have met Lisa before after having attended a few of the London Writers Cafe workshops during my stint in London.
Anyhoo, there are three Blog Hop questions for me to answer, and I am going to be talking about LOL, my current novel in progress.
1. When and where is the story set?
LOL is set in rural England for half of the novel. Alcester, Warwickshire to be precise and it is based – in part – on my own experiences growing up in a sleepy, country, teeny-tiny town. I love the cliquey, stifling nature of small towns and the fact that everyone knows everyone else and their business. I’m also fascinated by small town attitudes to secrets. They don’t get kept for very long and get spread very much like in a game of Chinese Whispers.
The latter part of the novel is set in Manchester where I used to live for nine years. Apparently I like writing about places that I know, and more notably, places where I have lived. I love Manchester. I love everything about it. I wanted to let my main characters free in a city environment so that can see and feel the difference between the two places. I also began writing the novel when I was still living in Manchester which played a huge part in the decision making process.
And the when? Its set in the here and now. In ordinary everyday, snoresville England. It could be happening to someone you know right now.
But would you ever find out?
Would anyone ever tell you?
Who exactly are you living next door to? **Twitches curtains**
2. What can you say about the main characters?
My main character, Andy, is a fifteen year old girl with a secret. Although she doesn’t know what that secret actually is. She lives with her mother and older brother, and briefly speaks to/visits her father who has left the family home and area after a marital breakdown.
So far, so normal modern family.
There are secrets in every family but these secrets are even more potent, poisonous and pervasive. Everyone in the family is affected by this secret, and their own. This is an entire family in complete and utter deterioration. Andy is naive and young for her age compared to her more streetwise ‘friends’ at school. She keeps plodding through life, a ghost in the school corridors, until she meets Kyle, a popular but very unhappy boy. I can’t say too much about the characters as they are pretty much integral to the plot but I can say that Andy is possibly unreliable as a narrator.
We know who she is, don’t we? Or do we? Does she know who she is?
I will say this though – watch out for the character of Uncle Rob **shudder**
3. What is the main conflict?
There are several conflicts in the novel – between family members, internally, publicly, psychologically – but the main conflict occurs internally in the character of Andy. We experience everything from Andy’s point of view, see everything through her eyes. She is plagued by dreams – or memories – but isn’t sure what they represent.
Can we trust her? Is Andy who she leads us to believe she is? Is she a quiet, good school girl or is she something else entirely? Something far sinister. As the novel is essentially about secrets, conflict is created by the gaping holes in people’s stories – the disparity between truth and lies.
As the novel progresses, Andy begins to learn all these surprising things about who she is, who her family are and exactly how terrifying the skeletons hidden in the family cupboard can be!
So that’s me done then! Unfortunately no-one took the bait this week so I don’t have another blogger to pass the baton onto. What I’m going to do is place it firmly in my desk drawer and wait for someone willing to come claim it.