Every pimple, every character flaw. I was naked for a day; you will be naked for eternity.Geoffrey Chaucer (sort of)
One of the fun things about writing a book you think pretty much no one will read is putting all your friends and family in there and ending their lives in new and imaginative ways. Not in a ‘secret serial killer’ kind of way you understand, more in a ‘hey lads, won’t this be a laugh?’ kind of way. But when said book bizarrely comes to the verge of publication all those funny little in-jokes and tragic ends suddenly seem a little… odd. What is perhaps even more strange is calling your friends and asking them for permission to end their lives.
So, chaps. I wrote a book. It’s getting published. You’re all kind of in it. Some of you for longer than others. Are you all cool with me using your names? And, well, killing you?
Thankfully, I am blessed with excellent friends. Perhaps my favourite reply was this one…
What a legend! And they’re all the same. Everyone said yes. So friends and family are-quite literally in some places-littered throughout the books. What is interesting, however, is that I never once chose the name of a person I dislike (there aren’t that many people to be fair, but my Yorkshire-based stories leave little room for Donalds and Vladimirs. Perhaps I should have used Boris the bumbling oaf somewhere though?)
When Paul Bettany-in his excellent portrayal of Geoffrey Chaucer in A Knight’s Tale (loosely based on The Canterbury Tales)-hissed the wonderful insult,
I will eviscerate you in fiction!
he was going after the rogues and scoundrels. When I do it, I’m going after my friends.
Read into that what you will.
So when these books do eventually come out and you’re sitting there having a little read witnessing a particularly gruesome death (an evisceration perhaps?) Just think, that’s someone I love. And they don’t deserve it at all.
It’s a funny old world.