Book Reviews

#BlogTour #GuestPost Me Mam. Me Dad. Me. By Malcolm Duffy @_ZephyrBooks @malcolmduffyUK

Today I would like to welcome you all on my stop on the Blog Tour for Me Mam. Me Dad. Me. By Malcolm Duffy and I would like to share a guest post written by the author, with all of you. Thank you very much to Jade for the invitation. Please do show some love to all the wonderful book bloggers on this blog tour by following and sharing their work. 🙂

Me Mam blog tour banner (1).jpg

51eMlmi2P+L.jpgPublisher: Zephyr
ISBN13: 9781786697646
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release date: 05 04 2018
Price*: Kindle £3.99 (GBP)/  Paperback £6.99 (GBP)
Kindle $5.09 (USD)/ Paperback $10.89 (USD)
Pages: ~ 320
You can get this book here:
Amazon UK
Book Depository

 

Description of the book: Humorous and heartbreaking debut novel with the fresh, funny, honest voice of a 14-year-old Geordie lad recounting the trials and tribulations of family life and finding first love. Nominated for the 2019 Carnegie Medal.

Danny’s mam has a new boyfriend. Initially, all is good – Callum seems nice enough, and Danny can’t deny he’s got a cool set up; big house, fast car, massive TV, and Mam seems to really like him.

But cracks begin to show, and they’re not the sort that can be easily repaired. As Danny witnesses Mam suffer and Callum spiral out of control he goes in search of his dad.
The Dad he’s never met.

Set in Newcastle and Edinburgh, this supremely readable coming-of-age drama tackles domestic violence head on, but finds humour and hope in the most unlikely of­ places.

Guest Post: How I write.

Writing is an art, not a science. There is no magic formula to get you from the first to the last page. There’s just an awful lot of work, and even more staring into the middle distance wondering where the next word is going to come from. So how do I go about writing a book, one that readers will hopefully close with a satisfied sigh instead of hurling into the bin after page four? The first thing I do is look for an idea. There are lots of books about how to write books, and while they include lots of interesting stuff about plot, sub plots, character arcs, tone, editing, what they can never give you is the thing you need most- a great idea.

Having spent many years as an advertising copywriter, under pain of dismissal, I’ve come up with lots of ideas. Unfortunately, ideas are now everywhere. The world is awash with them, like plastic they have infiltrated our lives, and, like plastic, most of them are total rubbish. So how do I know if the idea that’s taken up tenancy in my head is good, bad or indifferent? I like to live with it for a while before I make finally make my mind up. I ask myself do I like it, really like it, not just being British polite, but absolutely love it? Can I not sleep for thinking about it? Does it sound different/better than other ideas I’ve had? Do I simply have to write it? Only when I’m satisfied that the answer to all of these is ‘yes’ will I open my laptop, two fingers poised expectantly over the keypad, and start putting some words down.

I take a lot of time over the idea. The reason is that it’s probably going to take up a couple of years of my life. Not every second of these years (I do have other things to do) but enough to know that I’ve become slightly obsessive about it.

Having had my idea, I then look for another one. What, two, I hear you say? Yes, two. Let’s take Jaws. Idea one, that a great white shark gets a taste for American holidaymakers, is a good one. But it’s idea two that brings it to life. The great white is terrorising tourists and the holiday weekend’s coming. The last thing the mayor of Amity needs is fifteen-foot fish ruining the local economy. The beaches are staying open. Cue conflict.

The same thing happened with Me Mam. Me Dad. Me. I felt that the idea of domestic violence seen through the eyes of a teenage boy was a good one, but what lifts it is idea two- what the boy does next, namely tracking down the dad he’s never met to deal with his mam’s abusive partner. It was when I had that I realised that is was worth pursuing, that the story was worth writing.

Having had the idea, make that ideas, I then consider the tone. A book about domestic violence could be very bleak indeed. I didn’t want people to switch off before the story had even begun. It needed some lightness, wit even. Having a teenage boy tell the story allowed me to bring a fresh perspective to the subject, as well as naivety, and a dose of humour.

They say ‘write about what you know’. So that’s what I did. I could have set the story in Finland, but that would have meant learning Finnish and spending weeks in Helsinki (something I don’t think my wife would have approved of), and so I set the story on Tyneside, where I’m from. Danny, the main character, lives in Gateshead where my brother and Gran used to live, and he ends up in Blakelaw, Newcastle, where I used to live. I also knew a lot about domestic abuse from working with the Met Police and through my time with Comic Relief. Writing is hard enough without making it even harder by setting it in a place or about a subject which you know absolutely nothing about.

As a copywriter I’m always looking for something different. There aren’t too many books about domestic violence written in a Geordie dialect. So that’s what I decided to do. I don’t speak with a Geordie accent any more (I blame Surrey for that) but I do know how to speak it and write it. The Geordie accent not only gave me the title- Me Mam. Me Dad. Me. it gave me a distinctive voice with which to deliver the story.

Having got the blocks in place it was time to start building. I’ve heard about writers who sit at a desk until they’ve written 3,000 words or whatever. I like to be a bit more fluid. I never set any word targets. Some days it might be 500 words, some days 5,000. What is important is getting it down. Perfection can come later.

I like to write fast, especially when it comes to dialogue. People speak quite quickly, sometimes over one another, sometimes without really considering what they’re saying. I try to mimic this. I find if I put dialogue down too slowly it sounds written, and not spoken. It’s just what works for me.

Fortunately, I not only love writing, I love re-writing. Every time I rewrite things get a little better. The story gets tighter. The weaker bits get removed. The mistakes are eradicated. Me Mam. Me Dad. Me. went through about eighteen drafts. People ask me- why didn’t you get it right first time? That would have been nice, but the answer is that nothing is ever perfect. A timely moment for my favourite quote about creativity – a work of art is never finished, only abandoned.

I like to write in public places. I don’t like being locked away in some dusty garret, even if I had such a place. Thankfully coffee shops are everywhere, giving me an endless supply of make-shift offices. I like to be around people, hear people, watch people. It reminds me that the story is based in the real world.

That’s how I wrote Me Mam. Me Dad. Me.

In my desire to be different Book 2 will be written in a garret in one draft and set in Helsinki. Or perhaps not.

Malcolm Duffy. September 2018.

81N+ko7l+JL._UX250_.jpgAbout the author: Malcolm Duffy was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Having spent many years as a successful advertising copywriter he decided it was time to write something that didn’t have a pack-shot and logo. The idea for his debut novel came when he was working as Creative Director at Comic Relief. He visited a project that helped women and children who’d suffered as a result of domestic violence. The idea for Me Mam. Me Dad. Me was born. But the book doesn’t just focus on the heavy issue of domestic abuse. The story is about a boy’s love for his mam. A mam’s love for her son. And a dad’s love for his boy.

Website – http://www.malcolmduffy.com / Twitter – @malcolmduffyUK

*-the price was taken from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com on the current date. The price might change at the time of your purchase. The links used in this post for book purchases are affiliates.

3 thoughts on “#BlogTour #GuestPost Me Mam. Me Dad. Me. By Malcolm Duffy @_ZephyrBooks @malcolmduffyUK

  1. I loved this book and if it wasn’t for being invited on the blog tour I would never have heard of it… the author is working on his 2nd book now and I’m looking forward to it.
    Interesting about writing dialogue quickly… I’m going to try that when working on my own novel.

    Like

    1. I agree with you, if would’ve just seen it somewhere I would not pay much attention to it. But when got the chance to be involved in the tour I actually wanna give this book a read. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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