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It’s Not My Fault ~ It Was Drake

A couple of weeks ago I posted a kind of Christmas ad for my new book on Facebook. I wrote that I had received an email from a very nice elderly gentleman (with a weight problem and a questionable wardrobe) who suggested that my book The Woman in White Marble would make an excellent Christmas gift. He further encouraged me to include a “special offer” whereby I would mail people a signed copy of the book while significantly undercutting Amazon’s best price. I realise Facebook friends don’t want to be harassed by people trying to sell them goods and services, but I thought it was a bit of fun and might even make me a few quid. As it turned out, a few quid was spot on. However…

Rosalind, a friend who lives in Wigton, one of the towns featured in the book, did email requesting a signed copy at the breath-taking low Christmas price. She also said that she would happily try and sell copies to people in Wigton and Silloth, Silloth being the town where my protagonist lives, and where I once lived years ago. I told her she could try, but that she had better read the book first. I further noted that other friends who had lived next door to me in Silloth, friends who have read the book, told me that if I ever wanted to visit Silloth again I’d need a couple of big strong body guards. A couple days later Rosalind emailed again saying she had only read the first three chapters but that now she understood.

Poor Silloth. My protagonist, Drake Ramsey, really doesn’t like Silloth. He had come to this small northern England town from the San Francisco Bay Area. The contrast between the bay city and a Victorian town sitting on the windswept Solway Firth is striking. It was California sun versus northern England wind and rain. Drake mocked Silloth throughout the story, but as I said to Rosalind, when it comes to a certain kind of mockery Silloth is low hanging fruit.

The thing is, Silloth isn’t as bad as Drake makes out. OK, it’s obvious. I was from the Bay Area and ended up in Silloth. It was culture shock. And yes, while Drake certainly isn’t me, I wrote him into existence. To me, Silloth was a sad little Victorian town that told stories about how Queen Victoria had almost visited Silloth but went to Blackpool instead, but if she had...Though people worked hard and had hopes for the future, when I was there the region’s economy wasn’t great and I wondered how the kids in town would ever get out. They didn’t have a lot of bootstraps to pull up. And the weather in Silloth really was horrible (the year I moved to Silloth was the year I gave up running because of the almost constant pounding winds). But the people there were great to me, took me in and accepted me. Some of the best friends I’ve ever had I found in Silloth. So why, discounting the weather, was I so mean to poor old Silloth?

Silloth, CumbriaFirst, I wasn’t. Drake Ramsey was. I’m pretty sure that if you haven’t written fiction you won’t buy that. But it’s true. It’s a work of fiction. Drake’s bitching about Silloth, and his use of bad language, are part of who he is as a character. Trust me, he wouldn’t be near as much fun if he hadn’t loved to hate Silloth. On the other hand, the people he meets in his fictional world, he likes, loves and respects.

Second, the Silloth in the book doesn’t exist. It’s a fictional town in fictional world. Yes, yes, yes. There is a real Silloth that I experienced and a couple of the scene in the novel actually happened to me. But fiction grows out of life experiences, it does not replace them. I’ve never met Drake Ramey or Zuri Manyika and I never will. I made them up. The Silloth they know is not the Silloth I knew. Still, some might suggest that I as the author who gave Drake his thoughts and words was pretty damn mean to the good folks of Silloth.

I’ve heard authors say that you can’t worry about offending people, that if you do, you’ll never write anything. There is always someone out there to offend, particularly now when being offended is so much in fashion. The Woman in White Marble is a fun book that has fun with its main character. There was a point towards the end of writing the last draft, when Drake was getting ready to leave Silloth for good, when I almost had him say that Silloth wasn’t so bad, that indeed it was a nice little place after all. I resisted the temptation because it would not have been Drake Ramsey. It would have been Dale Rominger. I'm glad I resisted the temptation for Drake to be nice. It would have been out of character. Me, on the other hand, I like being nice, especially to nice people. Did I set out to offend people? Of course not. Am I sorry if I did offend some people? It depends.

Copyright © 2014 Dale Rominger

References (2)

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    The Back Road Cafe - Café Talk - It’s Not My Fault ~ It Was Drake
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    Response: agen bola
    The Back Road Cafe - Café Talk - It’s Not My Fault ~ It Was

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