Sunday, 26 April 2009

Scars Beneath The Skin


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.

9 comments:

Andy Duggan said...

Thanks for the free plug, Dave.

I need all the publicity I can get, since it's difficult for an unknown first-time author to get stocked in bookshops.

Cheers,
Andy

The Plastic Mancunian said...

No probs, Andy.

Cheers

Dave

Pia K said...

Let's just say that I'm close to insanely jealous of the first time author too, as I too belong to that huge group of people who aspire to write a novel. One day.

Good luck to Andy, today is the day, May 1st!

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pia,

Yes, indeed. I'm sure Andy is very proud today.

Cheers

PM

Andy Duggan said...

Not quite yet, I'm afraid.

Went to see the publisher, Will Mackie of Flambard Press, up in Newcastle yesterday and it'll be another couple of weeks before copies are available. I think precise release dates are hard to keep to.

So, a bit more patience required.

Cheers,
Andy

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Andy,

Well I will be waiting until June anyway to guarantee getting a signed copy. When you're the next "John Le Carre", signed first editions will be very valuable.

:-)

Cheers

Dave

Anonymous said...

Hey congratulations Andy - I didn't realise you were a radio star as well....

Hope to read the book soon.

Oh yeah and hi Dave I've enjoyed reading your blog. Maybe I should start writing too. ho hum.

John Hare

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi John,

Long time no hear! How are you?

Go for it, mate. Writing's good fun (even though most of what I post it drivel).

:-)

Cheers

Dave

Andy Duggan said...

Thanks John,

I believe it's any day now. My Mum ordered in a local bookshop and they reckoned they'd have a copy in by May 12th.

Hoping to arrange another interview with BBC Radio Manchester once the book's out.

Cheers,
Andy