My novel Terror Trip has taken many years to complete. From its inception, to its execution and finally to publication. From the initial idea and its themes, to its diligent watering and tending, its budding and flowering and its slow growth and propagation. A novel is a hard task-master, one that demands rigour and imagination. The phrase or saying, “blood, sweat and tears” applies to writing a novel in spades! It is not a task to be taken lightly. Neither should one underestimate the imagination, work and shear effort and determination it takes. Not only to write, edit and finally publish, but the book’s voyage out into the world as your “baby” should be taken into consideration.
As is often the case, the story of writing the story could almost make a novel in itself. The idea came to me “all-of-a-piece” so to speak after I had the idea of a disparate group of people travelling together on a train. I had just finished a degree in English at Goldsmiths University back in 2007 and was all fired up to write a novel. It was around a year later that inspiration actually struck. The idea flashed into my mind of a train full of passengers who are strangers to each other but are forced by events to communicate took hold. As the idea took shape, it was not a leap conflate this with the fact that in the UK there is a very strong class system which is divided by the way we speak and is clearly defined by it. Accents and dialects are efficient and clear indicators of our background, status and class. This of course is changing, but it still holds as a general indicator. As one of my characters Nelson says, ” Ya see Brotha youz speak about segregations and divisions an such…Well, dere be nothin in this here world more dividin than how a Brotha is talkin Man…” (page 82 of chapter 6) Division is a major theme in Terror Trip and this is articulated here by Nelson in his own dialect or slang.
Anyway, that is how the idea germinated and it grew from there. Rarely do class issues, race issues or political themes for that matter feature in novels these days. In literary novels in particular, it seems that only one class is featured and that is because of the readership of that genre of novel. That seems a real shame and a great omission. How is it possible as a serious novelist to write about contemporary life and only feature one class or group of society? In Terror Trip I try to portray contemporary urban life in London which includes a range of classes and races by their interaction on a train.
The story which is situated in a confined train carriage, seemed to be well placed to explore contemporary themes; ranging from Division to Extremism, Terrorism and it’s exponents. What a melting pot for a writer to set the scene for a story of an explosive situation! I feel (and I have been lead to believe by my readers) that I have handled the ambitious undertaking in my novel very sympathetically. Please read it and find out for yourselves by buying the novel as an eBook on Amazon. In doing so you will be supporting the Independent writers and publishers of original novels.
This is something that the traditional publishing houses run scared of and rarely do today. After all, it takes a very large budget to print, distribute, market and publicise a novel. If you are a publishing company you would most certainly want to collect a good return on your investment. If a novel is not commercial enough or is considered too risky, then a publisher will not gamble with anything that attempts to push boundaries of any sort. Consequently, most of the fiction today is recycled and safe story telling. Unfortunately, it is mostly the Independent writers and self-publishers of novels who will push the boundaries now. That is what I have done in my novel, ambitious though it is. There are good writers who self-publish, but you won’t find them lauded by reviewers in the Broadsheets or their magazines. However, that is the subject for another blog. Bye for now.