I came up with the idea for Memories one day while sitting in the bath. I have had a couple of ideas for stories come to me while lying in the bath. Perhaps it is because the warm water is so relaxing.
Memories is a novel featuring two main characters, and told across at least two different time zones. One protagonist is a memory man in London in the first years of the twentieth century; the other protagonist is a young man coming out of a coma following a road accident. Their destinies become entwined, despite the fact that they are a century apart; and the novel deals with how they untie their destinies from each other, trying to restore their lives to what they are supposed to be.
The book came almost complete to me, while I sat in that bath. I had the beginning, and I knew what the final sentence of the book could be. All that I would have to do is to flesh out the middle of the book – oh, yes, and write the damned thing. But that was really only a matter of time. As I had the ending I knew that I would complete this novel, having already completed so many before.
Extract from Memories
Memories are made of this…
“Roll up, roll up! Come and see the Amazing Mr Memory. Be astounded at his feats of recollection! He is the eighth wonder of the world. Ask him a question – yes, that is any question, sir – and he will recall the correct response! Roll up, roll up…”
A barker, wrapped up against the late January chill. A muffler around his neck, a large duffel coat protecting his stentorian chest. People queue up to get inside the music hall. But the barker was not interested in them. He was only interested in those walking past. He would like to capture some of those, as well.
“Roll up, roll up…”
The vast absence of the stage behind: bare boards, apart from the sign announcing that he is The Amazing Mister Memory. A thousand pairs of eyes glittering in front. London, The Canterbury, Westminster Bridge Road.
The twenty fourth of January, 1904. Exactly three years and two days after Queen Victoria had died, god bless her soul (soul bless her god). She had been buried beside Albert in the mausoleum at Frogmore.
The lights above the gathering audience were dimmed; but still the shouts and catcalls came from the restive few among the horde. The show had just begun; and they have heard the spiel. They wanted to see how good this guy was. What is so special about memory, after all? And if he wasn’t good enough – well, this was the sort of audience who sometimes just liked to see new acts fail
“What horse won the Derby in eighteen thirty seven?”
“How old is my wife?” A titter from the audience, as some husband got poked with a rolled up umbrella.
“What is the capital of Canada?”
“Can you tell me where I was last night, cause I can’t remember?” Another titter, because this card was already clearly drunk. Will he recall, on the morrow, the fact that he has been to the music hall?
Memory: Mr Memory stared out at the audience and he couldn’t recall. He couldn’t remember who he was, or what he was doing there.
This was not stage fright.
More questions came, shouted out, some to which he should have known the answers, others not. He should have known how many runs W G Grace scored in his first Test innings against Australia. He should have known the name of the horse which had won the Derby in 1837. He should have known who the fifth emperor of the Roman Empire was. He should have known the capital of Canada.
He stood there, not knowing what to do next, because his memory has gone.
Memories is available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.