Well, here I am, about to become a published author at last! I still have those moments when I think it’s been one mammoth mistake, or I’ve dreamed the whole thing. But yes, it does actually seem to be happening, and you could say it’s a lifetime’s ambition fulfilled. Ever since I learned to read, I’ve wanted to write my own books, and don’t ask me to say how many years have flown by in between – you’ll have to work that one out for yourself…
I’ve talked enough about the book at other times, in other places, so I thought I’d tell you a few random things about Gus and Millie, my main characters, things you won’t necessarily find in the story but are nevertheless ‘true’; I know that because I’ve spent so much time with them.
Millie’s first boyfriend, at sixteen, was a quietly-spoken, blond boy called Jerry, who earned her mother’s willing approval by bringing her home by 9 pm every Saturday night. It turned out he was an inmate of the local hostelry for young offenders, and was under curfew. Millie loves colour, and indulges her passion for needlework and tapestry by filling her home with cushions, curtains and covers in all the colours of the rainbow, and beyond. She’ll take more delight in a bit of vintage china from a charity shop than in anything new. She enjoys a weepy, romantic film, especially on nights in front of the telly with her friend Charmaine, but she really prefers a good laugh and owns the whole set of Carry On films on DVD. Marshmallows and popcorn are her favourite treats, along with a nice glass of wine, of course.
Gus doesn’t remember his exact first girlfriend, as there were a number of likely candidates among the fifth form of the nearby girls’ school. If pressed he would probably say it was a pretty but rather prim and proper girl called Margaret who always inspected his teeth before she let him kiss her. Gus is more likely to give stuff away to a charity shop than buy anything from one. He doesn’t set much store by possessions; when he breaks his last mug, he will buy another, not before. His favourite fictional character is Ian Rankin’s Rebus. He also has a secret penchant for Shaun the Sheep which he reckons is the best hangover cure ever, along with a nice fatty bacon sandwich and a mug of builder’s tea.
Do Gus and Millie get together by the end of the book? Well, you’ll have to read it to find out, and if you do, thank you for that. But it’s not all about the romance. It’s also about family, identity, and forgiveness. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Remarkable Things will be published on 5th May by Crooked Cat Publishing.
You can order your copy here.