I'm worn out from this blog touring business. Anyway, this is the final stop. If you'd like a chance to win an ebook from me comment on their website. I'm talking about where the secondary characters came from in Escaping From Him and listening to music while writing.
Liam answers some questions… There are quite a few secondary characters in Escaping From Him, where did they come from?
Darryl’s social life with Chris is quite restricted, because, reasons. He only really has Lena, his Swedish friend to talk to. So when he leaves, I wanted Darryl to become the fully sociable person he truly always was. When he went to the new places in Scotland I knew he’d quickly make friends, and integrate himself into a new family.
I try to make my secondary characters interesting, so if wanted, I can write their story in a separate book. I also think who wants to read about boring characters, when you can make them quirky, odd, interesting, just like real people are. As usual with my characters they’re a mix of elements of people I’ve met or know as the centre of the character, then I build from there from my imagination. Why not have a big hairy bear of a gay man who’s really into Kylie? I know I’ve met plenty. I don’t understand this gay shame thing, where people say things or people are ‘too gay’. No one says straight people’s taste is ‘too straight’, so why be ashamed of liking a bit of Kylie or anything a bit camp if that’s what you enjoy? Gavin’s obsession with The Contest came from a friend who always used to hold parties that night, and who’d travelled Europe visiting the host countries. This friend took it very seriously, so Gavin’s obsession built from there I suppose.
Chris’s prejudice about certain things being too gay is my way of exploring how some people really do feel that way. I had a friend whose boyfriend told him he couldn’t hold a plastic carrier bag by the handles as it was ‘too gay’, and he never watched any musicals, or Eurovision Song Contest, or kissed gay friends on the cheek to greet them, all because it was ‘too gay’. Yet, there he was, sleeping with my friend, living with my friend for years. I don’t understand this. I think it’s really a bit of prejudice against camp, gay men, and anything that is camp, which I’ve blogged about before. http://www.liamlivings.com/blog/why-does-society-still-have-a-problem-with-camp-men
Lena – I have a thing for Abba (again, no shame, no guilt, I love it) and the deliberate accent, and how as a culture Swedish people do darkness and melancholy very well, leading to all sorts of wonderful art. Bjorn Ulvaeus once said in an Abba documentary, ‘I think it is good to be sad.’ I wanted Lena’s creativity and ability to make the best of darkness to inspire Darryl to change.
Do you listen to music when writing? What kind?
I normally listen to Enya while writing, (I’m listening to it now as I write this) as it’s quite relaxing and the lyrics aren’t something I have to listen to. People can be very snobby and dismissive about Enya. I don’t care. I love it; she and her soothing tones have been with me since Mum heard the first album on the radio and bought the record. I’ve bought every album since then.
Sometimes I write in silence as I need to be with the story, with the characters and no distractions. However, while writing almost all the first 30,000 words of Escaping From Him, I listened to I Love It by Icona Pop, and watched the video too, pretty obsessively, again and again. Look it up on youtube, it’s a great song! This song was the original thing that sparked the idea of the story, so while I was writing it, I wanted to stay with the song and the feeling it gave me to write the initial parts when Darryl escapes from his life, the high octane running away and throwing things in a black bin bag to escape his life. And the song really got me into that place well.
Extract Darryl and his boyfriend are talking in bed just afterwards
We lay on the slightly broken futon, laughing and panting together. He propped himself on his elbow, kissed me and asked if I wanted some water.
“I really should tidy up in here. I can hardly see the floor. How long do you think it’s been since I did laundry?”
He looked at the floor, hardly any carpet visible for clothes strewn everywhere. “Judging by those pants you were wearing today, I’d say about two to three weeks.”
I slapped his chest gently. “They weren’t that bad were they?”
“They’d seen better days; they were Superman ones – the first time round, so Christ alone knows how old they were.”
“True though. What do you think I wanted them off a ya so quick?”
He ran to the bathroom down the corridor, wrapped in only a towel and returned to the bed with a glass of water each, which we greedily gulped before falling asleep.
Escaping From Him is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com