I'm nearing the end of the first draft of my new novel, About Us, so I thought now might be a good time to tell you about it. So here goes. This is the story of, About Us.
After I finished, Dan And Nat Got Married, I knew I wanted to write something a big different. It's an important part of being an author, I think, to keep challenging ourselves. Dan And Nat was a hugely enjoyable book to write. It was a straight forward romantic comedy and although it had depth and emotion and certainly pathos, it was essentially a comedy. I've written more dramatic work before. Sunday Dinners definitely had darker moments, as did Happy Endings. But I've never written a book that's essentially a drama and so this is it.
About Us, is the story of Rosie Willis and her marriage to Peter. The idea for the book came about as I was working on a few different ideas. I wanted to tell the story of a marriage from the beginning until the end - or at least until the point when we don't know what's going to happen next. I had a few different novel ideas knocking around inside my brain and this is a sort of hybrid of a few of them. Because the story covers twenty years of a relationship, it goes backwards and forwards in time. The main story arc is told in present day London, but every few chapters we go back in time to a different spot in their relationship. We see how they met, moved in together, got engaged, married, had kids, and went from being carefree young people in their late teens to unhappy people in their early forties.
I think a lot of the inspiration came from turning forty myself and really thinking back over the last twenty years of my life. When we're young we have so many aspiration, dreams, and things we want to accomplish. Of course as the years go on we don't always achieve all of our dreams and sometimes life takes us to places we aren't expecting and all of our plans and dreams go out of the window. I have achieved so many of my dreams and I'm so happy with my life, but I would never have imagined that I'd be living in America now. Life can throw us curve balls and it's these curve balls I really wanted to explore.
At eighteen Rosie has big dreams, but as the years go by and detours take the place of firm routes, we see her life unfold and how she changes. It's the story of her life and her marriage, about her relationships, her career, and the choices she has to make. I've called it a tragi-comedy because it is a drama, and a tragedy, but it does have lighter elements, comedic qualities, that make it, I think, a tragic comedy because that's what life often is. It's never all sad or all funny, but a combination of both.
One of the hardest parts of this book for me was writing about Rosie's mother. In the book her mum is dying from Huntington's disease and this was difficult because the same thing is happening in my life. It's a terrible disease and so painful for all members of the family. I've wanted to write about it for a while because it's a cathartic experience and it's something that's a part of my life and something I can write about with real passion and knowledge. It's probably the most tragic part of the book because she was so close with her mum before the disease took her away.
Despite the difficult and often dark subject matter, I wanted it to be a book with real hope and optimism. Maybe this is why I kept the comedy instead of just calling it a drama or tragedy. It's important to me that my books give my readers something. The most important part is to entertain, but after that I hope I can also give you something special you can use in your own life. Rosie goes through a lot in the book, but something she never gives up on is hope and that's a real theme throughout the book. Hope that life will get better. Hope that she can fix her marriage. Hope her children will be alright. Hope her mother won't suffer. Hope her father will cope when she's gone. Hope that all the decision we make will ultimately be good ones.
So this is it. About Us. It's about life. It's about love. It's about us. Coming August 24th.
Until next time.