How to Write my BookWhat do I have to do to write my book?
Maybe it's because I wrote a semi-autobiographical novel about my life as a young banker in town, but I really believe that the best novels are composed by those who have been breathing the breath of life, who have been breathing the breath of their personalities and - even if only for a short period - living the life of their personalities.
That doesn't mean that you are confined to just write about your daily grind (although you can certainly; you'd be amazed at how interesting your own lives could be for others). I have learned, however, that if you place your books in a realm that is not your own, you have to get to know it.
I say it again, because it's really important: get to know this wonderful underworld. If you read a news item about migrants in Kent, it does not make you qualified to read about living as a British national. From Alesha' s point of view I was decided to type Feral Youth in Alesha's vernacular, with Alesha's southern London language and manners.
I was a 32-year-old bourgeois boy with no previous work or education experiences and needed help. I soon had an inkling of the problems my heroine and her brothers might face, but I was still a long way from knowing what was going through her head, how she was living her own lives, what she was spending her days doing, and finally[Spoiler Alert], which made Alesha take the chance of jail by getting caught up in the upheaval.
Writing research is extremely useful, but it is not enough for a truly foreign age. And I had to get into the mind of a hooligan - and in general I had to pass my free moments with youngsters. I' m calling on the professors, community service staff and charities in my community to see if they could (a) speak to me about their experience and opinion and (b) bring me together with some youngsters.
The honesty and openness about what I wanted to accomplish (and where I started) was perhaps one of the reason why folks were willing to help - and youngsters, they helped. If I hadn't lived one day in an Upper Norwood with a 15-year-old girl grade, how would I have known that teens were spending their days driving busses and smokin'?
If I hadn't given phone-tic writers' studios with brilliant, impolite teenagers, how would I have been able to write about it? That might seem insane, but I've also been spending a great deal of my life in Peckham, just sitting around looking and hearing and sniffing it out.
When I heard the mixture of reggae, doubstep and gime, I got a sound track to the hairdresser where Alesha and JJ were spending their night. Now even when I smelled oily roasted chickens, I found myself back in Rye Lane and watched the lengthening of my coat and crispy packs whirling in the wind, and felt furious and disappointed, just as Alesha might have felt.
After a while Alesha and JJ and Twitch and Ash were there, struggling for a place in my mind and died to tell their tales. I hardly had to limber a hand when it came to composing the text.