Sunday, 26 April 2009
I had a shock a couple of months ago. A friend of mine announced that he had written a novel.
I wasn’t surprised by this because I knew that he had been attending a creative writing class for some time. However, the next bit of news floored me; a publisher had accepted the novel.
As happy as I was for him, I was also envious. No, that’s not correct – I was insanely jealous. Why? Because writing a novel and getting it published is one of my ambitions and he has achieved something I dream of doing. Yet I am still delighted for him, so much so that I offered to contribute to his success in a tiny way by posting about his achievement and giving him a little free publicity here.
My friend’s name is Andrew Duggan and his novel is called “Scars Beneath The Skin”.
The inspiration for the novel came from a major incident that occurred on 15th June 1996. I remember the day well. I was at home, getting ready to watch England play Scotland in Euro ’96, a major European football tournament. This was a huge match for everyone in England and Scotland.
The phone rang and it was my mum, who lived in Walsall, sounding rather worried.
“Are you alright?” she asked.
“Sure, why?” I replied.
“A bomb’s gone off in Manchester City Centre,” she said.
I reassured her that my (ex) wife, my two young sons and myself were all fine. I switched on the TV and was totally shocked by what I saw. A massive bomb had exploded in the centre of the city outside the Arndale Centre, a large shopping centre in the heart of the city. The police had received a call from the Irish Republican Army, or IRA, warning about the bomb an hour or so before it exploded. Thankfully the police recognised a codeword used by the IRA and took the threat seriously enough to start clearing the area. Bomb disposal experts had begun their examination of a suspect van when it exploded. Thankfully, and incredibly, nobody was killed. Two hundred people were injured.
You can read about the bomb here and here
Andy was downstairs in a record store when the explosion occurred and when he left he found himself in the vicinity of the devastated city centre, close enough to witness the aftermath of the incident first hand. It had a profound effect on him, inspiring him to write about the experience ultimately turning it into “Scars Beneath The Skin”.
But don’t take my word for it; you can hear Andy talking about the experience in an interview with BBC Radio Manchester (by clicking here).
The book is released on May 1st and will be launched in Manchester City Centre on 3rd June at the Central Library at 18:30.
I will of course be attending with Mrs PM, where I hope to enjoy a glass of wine and get a free signed copy of the book (only kidding Andy, though if you are feeling generous …). I am also, of course, looking forward to reading the book.
Details of where you can buy the book can be found here.
You can also find details about Andy and his book here.
As for my own aspirations, I have actually written two books myself. Unfortunately they are travelogues that are too personal (and too amateurish) to see the light of day. The first is a chronicle of my exploits on a two week trip to China in 1999; the second was a gift for Mrs PM’s mother for taking us to Australia and recounts our experiences on that trip. I may post a few excerpts to let you judge for yourself. No publisher would be interested unfortunately.
If I want to follow in Andy’s footsteps I will have to knuckle down, find some time, defeat procrastination and just get going.
I will also probably have to learn to write something better than the hogwash I frequently post on this blog.