Roll up, roll up.
Release date: 5 November, Unthank Books
What a curious feeling, to see an image put to something that has existed in your mind for about 5 years. To think about what it represents.
Yesterday, I was visiting the parentals, and I drove under the bridge in Wigan which, in my mind, was the setting for the murder scene at the top of the novel. (Nicked and warped and transplanted to a whole other place). I got this jolt. An uncurling of sadness, even. God, that’s where Daniel died.
It was a bright burn of a day as I passed under that bridge. Just as it was in the novel. The day Daniel died.
But Daniel wasn’t really murdered there. Daniel doesn’t exist. And yet he does, in various forms, in various people that I and maybe those who read this book will have met and loved and lost in their lifetime.
But looking at that bridge was as strange as looking at this cover image. That little bridge coming out of the town centre has taken on a bizarre significance. It isn’t important, but it is. It isn’t real, but it is. I can see the killer stalking Daniel through the clearing next to the bridge, which is ‘dense with midges’. I can see the pond, spotlighted almost. The scene of the crime.
When I finished this novel, I was sent a link to an article from a couple of people who’d read it. It described another teenager dying in another Wigan pond, in a similar way. I think about that boy. He’s not Daniel, but he could be, in a way. And that strange feeling returns; this novel wasn’t just what I wanted to write. It won’t just tell the story I meant to relate. It could be yours, too. And that’s what’s so exciting.
I hope this doesn’t come across as arse-achingly self-involved. It might. That’s okay. But really all stories are just humble tales passed down, right? Camp fire, stuff.
‘Here, once, I knew this lad. He drowned and my life was never the same. I’ll tell you why…’
I know what this story means to me, it’s so interesting to wonder what it might mean to others. I hope you might like it and that by the end of it, you’ll know who Daniel is to you.
(Also, right, there’s a lot of sex and death and crime. You might like that too).
In other news: Sarah replants her lettuce.