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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

To Write You Must First Experience Life

The time has finally come when I can say my second book will be out very shortly. If all goes well I am hoping to release it over this weekend. During the past two weeks it would be fair to say my stomach has been on a rollercoaster, full of ups and downs, as I prepare to take the next step in my writing career.

In a weeks' time all my work on my second book will be over. Of course, I'll do the odd bit of promotion here and there but it's important for me to keep in mind that nothing sells more books than writing more material.

You may be wondering what my third book is going to be about. Until now I have managed to keep it under wraps as I wanted to make sure I had finalised the idea before hinting at the plot line. But now I can say that it will be a true work of fiction but based on an event which happened to me as a child.

Having a major brain trauma is a huge life changing event for anyone, no matter what their age. When people have injuries to other body parts they usually make a full recovery. But when these injuries occur in the brain or spine the long term consequences can be devastating. After all, the brain controls all bodily functions and when that is damaged other areas will be affected.

My book will be about a young woman in her late-twenties who has had a brain trauma. The timing of this event will be catastrophic as she has just established her high flying career as a doctor. The impact of her injury is so severe it forces her to take a look at her own life and reassess certain things. I suppose the main theme in this book will be about how I view my own life. It will force my character to be aware you can take nothing for granted, and in order to live life to the maximum, you must make the most of every opportunity.


  1. There are various levels of experience though. You might think that firsthand experience is the best and it can be but a writer could get very messed up if he or she insisted on experiencing everything their characters went through. I’m reminded of a famous quote attributed to Laurence Olivier: To put himself in the mindset of a man losing control whilst filming Marathon Man Dustin Hoffman didn't sleep for days at a time and let his body become dishevelled and unhealthy. Finally, after all this work Hoffman notices his co-star Sir Laurence Olivier sitting comfortably on a stage chair without a care in the world. Surprised that he is the only one on set who has gone to such rigorous lengths, he asks Olivier how he's able to make his performance look so real. The confused Olivier stops, takes a breath and calmly responds, "Dear boy, it's called acting."

    I think there are two schools of writer too, method writers, for want of a better expression, and people who simply make things up. I’m often astounded by the lengths historical novelists will go to to make sure their books are as accurate as they can be and the majority of us never notice or even care that much.

    I had bacterial meningitis when I was a little boy. My brother, who is three years younger than I am, had viral meningitis three years after me. Our sister, who is three years younger than my brother, had nothing but they watched her like a hawk. I have no idea what damage, if any, the meningitis caused. I joke that it’s what made me a writer although I’m only half joking. That might be due to the fact my mum dropped me on my head as a baby. (She didn’t actually drop me on my head; she left me on a table and I rolled off.)

  2. You are quite right there, Jim. I believe Tom Hanks wanted to get into character for the film Castaway so he spent some time alone on an island. It's extraordinary what lengths some people will go to but this is what makes the world turn. Thanks for commenting.