Friday, November 18, 2005

So I've written a novel. Big deal.

Actually, it is a big deal for me. I'm really excited about it. Especially now that it's up on amazon. It's real. It exists. I exist. I do exist. My name, and a book I seem to have written, is listed on amazon.

I also seem to have written a whole load of other books that I don't remember anything about, also available on amazon. Hmmm. I can only assume all those political books that come up when you click on my name were written by another Roger Morris. Did the same Roger Morris also write the books about sailing boats? Maybe every single Roger Morris-authored book is written by a different Roger Morris.

That's a frightening thought. Well, it is for me. Probably not so much for you.

Click here to check out my amazon ranking. I accept you might not be as obsessive as me about doing that. It's terrifying to imagine what I'm going to be like when the book is actually released.

Anyhow, here's the cover:

Here's the blurb:

Rob Saunders just wants to feel safe, but the world is a dangerous place.

It's Rob's first day in his new job. On the way to work, he sees a student throw herself under a tube train. Acting on an impulse, he picks up a file she dropped as she jumped. Over the next few days, he's witness to other disturbing events, some more serious than others. From each one he takes a 'souvenir'.

Through these objects, he hopes to keep at bay the dangers and terror that threaten him. The more terrible the tragedy an object is associated with, the greater its power.

As Rob's behaviour becomes increasingly obsessive, he crosses the line between witnessing disasters and seeking them out.

Events begin to spiral out of control when he makes a frightening discovery while jogging in the woods.

Atmospheric, tense and stylistically bold, Taking Comfort is an exploration of identity and desire told through multiple viewpoints. This contemporary urban novel has as its theme the anxieties and survival strategies of a post-9/11 world.

Here are some of my own thoughts on the book:

The central character, Rob, is outwardly in control and on the surface things go quite well for him. But he is deeply anxious inside. Like all the characters in the book, he seeks meaning and comfort from the various objects that make up his life; from consumerism, in other words. I was interested in exploring ideas of identity, how people define themselves by the purchasing decisions they make. I wanted to push this idea as far as I could. I was also interested in the connection between desire and identity (we are what we want) and so the idea of having Rob choose between two very different women seemed to come quite naturally out of that.

Although I realise the book is unconventional – even experimental – in many ways, I always wanted it to have a strong story that would pull the reader along. I wanted the drama to come out of the main character’s actions. It’s a kind of tragedy, in some ways, in that Rob is ultimately responsible for what happens to him.

I wrote the book very quickly in an intense burst. Quite a lot of the writing was done early in the morning. I would set my alarm for six and then leap out of bed and head straight for the computer. I was still half-asleep, half-dreaming, I think, which meant that the writing had an unexpectedness to it, even for me. I seemed to be accessing things that I don’t think I could have got to if I’d written it any other way.

I expected to have to do a lot of editing because I thought the writing would be raw. But I realised that what I had produced had a kind of energy that would be lost if I worked it over too much. I did do some editing, of course.

The novel is structured around a series of objects, which have some kind of importance or significance to the characters. I use the real brand names for these objects. I have also pasted in real advertising copy taken from a number of sources. I was aiming for a kind of collage effect. (I even included some copy I wrote in my day job as a copywriter.) What I am trying to do here is build up a ‘texture’ of the novel, as well as somehow accessing the inner heart of the characters, paradoxically, by focussing on the surface of the objects that mean something to them.

There's that cover again.

And just in case you want to, you can pre-order it here.

Do it for my kids, if you can't bring yourself to do it for me. There's shameless for you.

Hey, I've been interviewed! Read it here.


Alexey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anne Marie said...

Very interesting to read your comments about the writing process. Thanks for that!


Steve Kane said...

Obssessively checking your Amazon rating? Ah, that's only natural. You're looking at a guy here who obssessively checks the web traffic statistics to his website every damn day.

I keep telling myself that the novelty will wear off evetually... but it hasn't yet.

Linda Donovan said...

Hello, Roger! Your humor is delightful. It's nigh impossible to balance self-promotion and humility, but you have managed that difficult task very nicely. I think it's the humor that makes the distinction.

Will you be writing more about the process of selling your novel? Are you planning to do book signings, etc.?

I'll come by occasionally to see what's up. I try to spend as little time on blogs as I can, because as you know, it eats up our own writing time.

roger said...

Thanks Ani, Steve and Linda,

What an idiot I am! I only just realised these comments were here waiting for me to moderate.

I really appreciate you guys looking in.