Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Cracking on with the novella - ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF JASON DEAN

Hi all :)

Well, with the hard graft of the ABIDE WITH ME Book Tour out the way for the time being, the book getting some great reviews, and the sequel taking shape in me head, it's time for me to get cracking on with something else.  And that something else is to finish the novella I started a few months back.

I was comissioned to write the novella by the legendary Byker Books publishing house over here in Old Blighty - purveyors of the Radgepacket series and all manner of fine stuff.  I'd never written a novella before, and was not too confident I knew my way around having a crack at it, to be honest.  Twenty-thousand words was the remit.  ABIDE WITH ME is sixy thousand, and most of the short stories I've written are between eight hundred and fifteen hundred words.  Apart from that, I had no idea what to write.

But then, the same thing happened as always happens when I sit down and focus for a bit.  The characters start talking.  In this case, the words I heard were 'You bastard, you ain't even give me a name yet.'  A pleasant introduction if ever there was one.  The voice turned out to be the main character from a story I'd written for the brilliant OFF THE RECORD anthology, put together by the super talented Luca Veste.  The story in question was called Down in the Tube Station at Midnight, from THE JAM classic of the same name.

The unnamed narrator of the story is a hit man with a penchant for literature - specifically, in this story - fine poetry.

I knew I couldn't avoid him.  I mean, to be fair, he was right.  Was pretty rude not to give him a name, wasn't it.

'All right,' I said.  'Come on in.  What have you got?'

He started talking.  I started writing, and within a very short while we were getting on famously.  The novella length still bothered me, but it became very clear this is what Jason - for his name is Jason Dean - had come to teach me.

'One day,' he said.  'Just one day, that's all I need'

One of the books that has inspired me throughout my life is ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, so the title of the novella sort of spelled itself out.

Having met Jason in the short story, I was expecting some literary references, but I never expected him to start with one.  I mean, he hadn't even told me his name yet.  Getting his own back, I suppose.  Here are the first words he said to me:

'Sometimes a Great Notion' – what a book that is. Ken Kesey. Everyone knows Kesey from 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' – those what've read it, that is. And if you ain't read it, I fully advise you to do so. It's a fuckin cracker. R.P. McMurphy – Jack Nicholson in the film – he's some character, he is. Switched on, but sort of sad. Empty. Complex, you know. Like there's a whole world of pain he ain't got words for. And that bit in the book where the Indian lifts up that sink, that big old fuckin sink and . . . Shit. I've gone and spoiled it for you now, ain't I? The Indian liftin up the sink bit. Still, hard fuckin luck. You should have read it in the first place.

My name is Jason Dean. And I'm lyin in bed. Beth, that’s me missus, she’s lyin next to me, far away as she can get, snorin gentle like a baby. Love watchin her sleep, I do. Even though she hates me fuckin guts.

Can't stand this time of the mornin, just before the sun comes up. Fuckin hate it. It's like if the world was ever gonna end, it'd feel like this. That tension, you know, where everything you've known all your life is about to change forever in a fuckin heartbeat, and it won't never come back. 

Some people say when the sun comes up of a mornin, it's a whole new world. 

Me, I reckon that's bollocks.  Give me the dark any day of the week.'

So, it weren't gonna be a bundle of laughs, then.

As Jason continued to tell me his story, I began to realise the pain this main was in - the reason.  And the reason broke my heart.

But he had a job to do, Jason.  A busy day. And a busy day for a hitman is bound to get a bit . . . messy. 

I'm just a couple of chapters from the end, now.  If all goes well, hopefully ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF JASON DEAN should be available on your Kindles some time later in the year.

Sorry, got to go.  He's just put on  a bit of Shostakovich.  He always does that when he's a bit upset.  Calms him, you know.  He'll be all right in a minute.

Look after yourselves, everyone.


1 comment:

  1. Liking the sound of this one. Looking forward to reading it.