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What’s In a Story Within a Story?

When Drake Ramsey arrived in a small northern England town on the bleak western coast, he had one aim in mind. To write the great Proust-in-outer-space science fiction novel in six months. Drake chose the particular town precisely because it was small and isolated. No distractions taking him away from his writing. Or so he thought.

Of course, the whole idea of a Proustian sci fi novel was pretty silly, and from the very beginning Drake had trouble finding his way. What would be futuristic madeleine sponge cake be like, for example? Would anyone get the madeleine sponge cake reference anyway? And having never travelled through the galaxy in a spaceship himself, Drake had trouble relating. Not surprisingly, he found distractions at every turn, from the foot-faulting doctor tennis player he watched from his upstairs front window to the miserable weather. Things only started to come together when he got caught up in the murder in the Skinburness Hotel. I suspect if Drake hadn’t had a murder to solve he would never have written his novel and would have ended up back as a report on the Fremont Argus News in Fremont California, instead of moving to New Orleans.

It was always my intention that Drake’s novel would be a story within the story of my novel. The purpose was simply. To have a little fun and to reveal Drake Ramsey to the reader. I like Drake and his Proustian sci fi novel. It was nothing but fun to write about his novel as it reflected his experiences on the wet, windy coast of northern England. Drake’s protagonist is Chad Steel, and as Drake met and fell for Zuri, Chad Steel meets and falls (if Chad Steel can fall for any woman) for Rashida. As it turns out, Zuri is quite a strong person who you don’t want to antagonise. So, one of my favourite lines in Drake’s novel about Chad Steel and Rashida is: “Rashida was always packing heat on her right hip, and on her left, hidden steel.”

I make no apologies. The story with the story was my way of having fun, exposing Drake for who he is, and, hopefully, entertaining the reader. As for taking a shot at Proust. Well, have you read In Search of Lost Time - all of it?

Copyright © 2015 Dale Rominger

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