Somethin’ Else started life as a doodle on a pad of paper on a train journey to London. I already had an idea in my head, a feeling about a story set in an in-between sort of time. I wanted to write about a character in limbo, full of ideas but almost too afraid to jump, and I wanted a setting to match it. I loved the idea of rock n roll, of the fifties and early sixties, but I didn’t quite want the glamour and optimism of that time. I wanted the hope and the belief in the future to be there for the characters, but only at finger tips length – almost out of reach.Somethin' Else is now out in paperback and eBook formats.
The book is a kind of dance for the main character Jim, who is caught between the future and the past – or rather between two different visions of his future. He’s eighteen years old, stuck in one of those towns that line the train route down through the English Midlands to London. Less than a hundred miles from the capital but it could be the moon for all the use it is. Except that Jim lives on the cusp of a new era – it’s 1960 and he has had a free education and if he could get away to university then maybe it could all be different – at least that’s what he tells himself as he sits hunched over his books in a freezing bedroom on a windswept and bleak post-war housing estate. His mum and dad want him to get a job and settle down – his mum would love him to be a bus driver, and his dad would just like him to bring home some money. Jim’s contemporaries are going steady and getting married, making babies and learning trades, and he dances towards that vision of his future and away again. He imagines marrying his pale and quiet girlfriend Andrea who works in the local bakery, but he also imagines buying a guitar and combing his hair back and being Eddie Cochran. He has too much imagination and not enough, he’s decent and aware, and terrified that his exit strategy will fail.
I think I was remembering something about myself when I wrote the story, something about the other side to being a teenager. There is hope and passion and a sense of the future – but all those things can frighten as much as thrill. I wanted to capture those contradictory feelings, and I wanted Jim to love and to lust and to dream.
I wrote the first chapter on the train down to London, in pencil in my notebook like I always do, slightly sick with the adrenalin rush and the prosaic rattle of the train. I had too many drinks in a pub in Soho and said to my friend – ‘I’ve had this idea for a character…’
To find out more about the book: Amazon/ Barnes and Noble/ Goodreads
And be sure to enter my giveaway for Somethin' Else HERE!