Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Next Big Thing

John Simmons, of the UK based writers group Dark Angels, asked me if I minded being tagged as part of a project called “The Next Big Thing” by the Scottish writer Kate Tough. The project is a way of spreading news around of what writers are up to in their writing lives by blog, facebook, twitter, email. Basically each writer who is tagged has to answer ten questions regarding their next personal writing assignment. Here is John’s blog on the topic. Here’s a link to Kate Tough’s site Anyway, here are my ten answers to ten questions regarding my next writing project: What is the working title of your next book? Stockholm Syndrome Where did the idea come from for the book? Working on a clients brief a few years ago. It was for a very well known denim jeans brand and I came across the phrase Stockholm Syndrome at the time and for fun wrote a radio play around the idea. Then I put it on the shelf for five years. What genre does the book fall under? A black comedy / thriller. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? Actually someone like Robbie Williams, the singer – never seen him act- but he has the right ego and chemistry. For the female lead it’s a Swedish version of Julia Roberts – about the age she was in Pretty Woman. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? An advertising man’s personal life, career and business falls apart in a single day and he has six days to fix it- and ends up changing his whole life and beliefs. Oh – and he ends up saving the world. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Much prefer self published- why hand over responsibility to people who are largely redundant nowadays. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? For the book version – about two months- started it when I took off for a round the world trip in January and February 2010. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? The Adventures of Goodnight And Loving – Leslie Thomas. Love that book. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? There’s a big love interest- the whole plot takes place in Stockholm Sweden and there’s a major international crisis going on at the same time.

Celebrating the City (Part 1)

As people who know me will tell you, one of my personal passions in life is Liverpool football club. Anfield, the kop and that song by Gerry Marsden always stir me. And Liverpool itself is a great city going through a dramatic urban renewal. So why was it that two weeks ago I was in the stands at Fulham watching them play Everton? Well firstly to see Everton (who are Liverpool’s local rivals) hopefully lose but secondly I have a bit of a soft spot for Fulham. Maybe it’s their colours (I’m a bit black and white in most things in life). Maybe it’s Craven Cottage, which is a rather friendly little ground on the banks of the Themes. Or perhaps it’s just the fact that you can actually get tickets fairly easily. Probably it’s a bit of all of these, but it’s also the fact that Fulham is situated in London a city I love. Now London has always been a great city, but when I was growing up in the 1970s it was not exactly a pretty place. The architecture consisted of either dusty Victorian relics of a successful era long gone, or awful second rate Le Corbusier like concrete blocks. It was grim. Nowadays however London has found a renewed vitality and dynamism when it comes to architecture and urban renewal. Visit Docklands. Or the area around Chelsea Harbour. Or look at the Shard, the Millenium bridge or the O2 arena. The city is positively brimming with dramatic architecture, positivity and most importantly life. I had a day or so down in Docklands recently and it’s become a mini modern 21st century city in its own right. Go across the river to the O2 arena and take in an event there. The restaurants are full and buzzing and the area feels vibrant and alive. Head back down river to Chelsea and walk around the harbour or just watch the cities skyline. The whole city from east to west is vibrant. Olympic Effect? The question is has the Olympics had a significant impact? Well in terms of tourism and visitor numbers everyone will tell you the Olympics has both a positive and negative effect. Positive in terms of the focus and attention the city gets during the games. Negative in terms of other regular tourists tend to stay away to avoid the potential traffic chaos and high prices. But there’s another more important effect that might just be worth the nine billion pound price tag. And that’s the effect it has had on Brits themselves. From the opening ceremony Britain suddenly seemed to have discovered its identity again, an identity they have probably been seeking since the days of empire and the dramatic changes that brought about. The opening ceremony, Isles of Wonder, so brilliantly staged by Danny Boyle, seemed to capture the essence of modern Britain. Quirky, creative, humorous, multi cultural, different. The Times described the Ceremony as “a masterpiece” with The Daily Telegraph saying it was “brilliant, breathtaking, bonkers and utterly British”. London has always been a great city, but a great city that’s been through highs and lows. This summer might just have seen its re-emergence as leading the world.