This week I finally published a book! It was a long and tiring process but I finally managed to get it out. It’s a book of short stories about people living on a fictional council estate in London, it sets the background for my first novel Liar which will be out in the middle of September. I had been living in China for nearly six years before I came back to Ireland and lived like a hermit for the last nine months getting the books down on paper and eventually published.
The Unwashed is a book of nine short stories, each one is based on a different character but they all live in the same place. Council estates are often used to define the people that live on them, lumping them all together and people forget that they are places full of individuals who all have their own stories and have been through different things in their lives. They are also communities, something that is often disregarded, not just crime ridden dens of iniquity as they are often portrayed in the media.
When I write, I try to allow the reader to create their own image of the characters and the places that they are living in. I don’t often read fiction anymore because I find that it is far too descriptive and doesn’t allow you to use your own imagination.
Writing The Unwashed was difficult, it was emotionally draining, a lot of the characters are based on people that I have known throughout my life and a couple of the stories are based on my own life experiences. When I write I live the character whose story I am telling. A few times I just couldn’t write, not because I didn’t want to but because I knew what would happen in the story and I knew how the person in was feeling.
I was asked a couple of days back which was my favourite of the nine stories and I couldn’t give an answer. ‘This Time’ the story of an alcoholic who is battling with himself while trying to give up drink cold turkey was written from my own experiences and was probably the story that had most meaning to me personally but I enjoyed writing all of them. ‘Jules and Giles’ the story of two upper class Englishmen opening a juice bar on a council estate was the most fun to write but it also has a deeper meaning as gentrification in London is something that I don’t agree with.
Although the stories are based in London and there is quite liberal use of London slang and grammar, the stories are relevant to people anywhere. I based it on London because it’s where I grew up, it’s my home and it has a massive place in my heart. I travel often and there’s nothing that cheers me up more than hearing a London accent. I also know that London isn’t just Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, there’s so much more to it that people never see and I wanted The Unwashed to show that.
It was released on Tuesday and the reaction to it has been incredible, far beyond what I expected. So many people have said that they lived the characters and that is what I wanted to achieve, allow the reader to make their own judgments and not be led by me. I’m really looking forward to the release of Liar, it was hard to write too and it has a lot of emotion in it but I am sure that people will enjoy it.
Finally I want to say thank you to all that have read it, you’ve been amazing. I know I keep saying it but I am genuinely grateful when people take time to comment and let me know what they thought of the book. I would also like to say thank you to all of my WordPress followers, I’ve neglected my blog lately but it was on here that I first started writing publicly and it gave me the confidence to carry on and publish the The Unwashed. There’s a link below to the Amazon Kindle version of the book, it is going to be released in paperback very soon too and will also be available on iTunes in the next few hours and I’ll update with the link. If you have read it I hope you enjoyed it and if you are going to read it enjoy!