What made you come up with the idea for Six Months to get a life?
I am not sure I came up with the idea really. I think it came up with me.
I have always enjoyed writing. My writing career has had a few false starts. While I was at school I wrote science fiction nonsense that I didn’t dare share with anyone. I wanted to be a journalist but didn’t have the necessary ‘get up and go’.
In my 20s I dabbled with crime fiction but too many hours spent staring at blank pages and reading Patricia Cornwell books convinced me that I didn’t know enough to allow me to get anywhere near creating my own equivalent of Kay Scarpetta.
In my 30s I mostly wrote boring work-related web content and the occasional acerbic complaint letter to the council, the postal service, the dog over the road and my electricity company. OK, so maybe it was more than the occasional letter.
And then my 40s came along. Sometimes it takes a life event to set you off on the right track. ‘Six Months to Get a Life’ was ultimately triggered by my own personal circumstances. My marriage gradually reached a natural conclusion (as opposed to consciously uncoupling). My head was filled with a variety of emotions that seemed to me to be looking for a way to escape. Eventually, I did what I do best. I started writing.
Over the course of the Spring and Summer of 2014, my furious typing eventually moulded itself into ‘Six Months to Get a Life’.
How much of the story is base on your own experience?
To start with, a lot. And then through various moments of realisation (including ‘people will slit their wrists if they read this crap’ and ‘my ex will go ballistic and she would have every right to’) the book evolved. I invented a new ex – one who the principal character, Graham Hope, had met at a sexually transmitted diseases clinic. I invented some new friends for Graham, some totally new scenarios for him to get caught up in and, without giving too much away, I invented a love interest.
Whilst I found it hugely therapeutic to get my own personal emotions out of my head and on to a computer screen, I actually enjoyed writing the made up stuff even more. It made me smile and even laugh out loud at times. I know you shouldn’t admit to laughing at your own jokes, but I just did.
The more astute amongst you will notice that I haven’t said anything yet about reinventing the lead character. That is because Graham Hope is essentially me. I know I won’t sue myself for misrepresentation, so, with Graham, I thought I would stick to what I know.
Graham does his best to have a positive outlook on life, as do I. Graham craves human company, whether it’s going out for a few beers with his friends or something more intimate. As do I. Graham hates nightclubs and is hopeless on the dance floor. As am I. Graham gets tongue-tied around attractive women, as do I. According to Graham’s ex, Graham has a big ego and a small penis. Next question.
If Six Months was made into a film, who would you imagine playing the part of Graham?
As I have said, Graham is pretty much me. So I’m thinking Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp or Jude Law… Cough.