I was inhibited as a writer from an early age, being informally mentored by J.R.R. Tolkien, who lived nextdoor to my grandparents. I sent him my puerile attempts at authorship, he wrote back so generously, with full critiques, which didn’t pull their punches to a girl of ten-going-on-preening grown-up.
Fast forward through University (studying authors, not being one) and a fun career in book publishing, where I took out all my writing hang-ups on editing other writers, and telling them what to write (very passive-aggressive).
Leaving that role and going into education, I managed to shake off some of the shackles of my authorial insecurity, and published books for teachers and educationalists (on the able child, literacy and thinking skills, and other riveting topics). There was a bit of journalism, too.
But my real love was fiction, with the rich fantasy inheritance of J.R.R. still goading me on. Two and a bit novel manuscripts later, I was still no closer to fiction publication until on a writing holiday on the Greek island of Skyros, thanks to my writing tutor, the idea for ‘On the Far Side’ suddenly came to me. I won’t say why or how. For that, you’ll have to read it – and my blog, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter and more …
On The Far Side, There’s A Boy
Martine Haslett feels fine: happy and fine. A sensual, thirty-something 1980s London woman, she plays hard on the fringes of the drag club scene, works hard and dates hard. Then one particular night with a new man prompts her to sign up to a charity and write to a young Sri Lankan boy, with consequences far and long.
Meanwhile in Srti Lanka, a young girl is compelled to help her little brother Mohan with a task she’d rather do for herself. Struggling with change and tragedy in her family life in rural Kandy, the girl embarks on a foolish course.
In 2013, Martine has returned from the beautiful Kandyan mountains. But even now there’s much of the journey and her past that Martine knows she still avoids. There are still letters in a box that she won’t touch, a nocturnal dream that she longs to dream to its conclusion, and she’s unsure about a foreigner who’s soon arriving to stay.
Martine knows she must overcome the history of her hopes. But all this time she has been bound to the Sri Lankan girl by the young boy Mohan, and the moon that shines on them both. It’s just that Martine is unaware how much.
This is an exotic fable for anyone who has ever longed to have, or adopt, a child.