10 Feb 2013

The madness of ‘Never Let Go’

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My upcoming novel, Never Let Go, is scheduled to be published in April, 2013 and is (hopefully) a high-octane thriller/love story. It tells the story of a famous author who loses his young daughter in a botched kidnapping. Shortly after her death, and as the author prepares to take his own life, a stranger arrives at his gate. Before leaving in a hurry, the anonymous man speaks briefly into the intercom and slips an envelope inside the mailbox. The envelope contains a single white card. Written on the card are six words.

 I can bring your daughter back.

What’s interesting to me is that while Never Let Go is quite obviously a work of fiction, it is also something else. Something which, rather bizarrely, only occurred to me recently. Allow me to explain.

As a father of two young girls, I’ve grown increasingly concerned for their safety. A concern which, over the past five years, has driven me to the corner of Despair and Paranoia – a particularly unpleasant intersection where my car promptly broke down. Trapped in this place, my psyche has apparently been hard at work because Never Let Go is, unquestionably, the product of my obsession with my daughters’ wellbeing.

So as much as Never Let Go is a novel, it is also a sort of coping mechanism for its author. It’s my mind’s way of trying to deal with the unthinkable. The absolutely unfathomable. What if something happened to my children?

Interestingly, I have very little memory of writing the book. In fact, I’m not even sure how long it took to complete. My two nearest guesses are about five months apart. Which, I suppose, should worry the pants off me. But, somehow, it doesn’t. The simple truth is that bringing Never Let Go to the page was as close to an out-of-body experience as I’m ever likely to have. Some days it felt like someone else entirely was sitting in my studio, churning out the pages.

Which, in its own way, seems a pity. Because I’d like to have a word with that guy, and maybe shake his hand. I’d like to tell him how much I enjoyed what he did on those pages. And I’d like to thank him.

Because, somewhere along the way, he managed to get my car going again.




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