Worthing author Ben Ellis promises "something a little more fun"
Worthing author Ben Ellis tries something different with his third book How We Got To Today (Headline paperback £9.99; ebook £5.99).
Ben, aged 45, explains: “I had previously written two dystopian novels, sent them to agents and publishers but got no joy so I thought I’d better try something different. Instead of global corporations controlling populations and tracking them for data, I thought I had better try something a little more fun.
“So How We Got To Today is a contemporary novel and as it turns out, to my surprise, a romance.
“It’s uniquely structured in that the book is split into two halves, the first set a year ago following Sheridan getting dumped by Heidi, then the second half is set two years ago following Heidi and Sheridan getting together. The whole novel counts down month by month to today. I pitched it in my cover letter as a cross between One Day and The Rosie Project so if you liked either of them then maybe give this one a go!
“The first spark for this book was a random thought I had one day which was ‘what if someone couldn’t see their own reflection but wasn’t a vampire or anything supernatural, just a normal person?’
“From that initial idea I backtracked on how someone like that would be, what job they could do, what would drive them, how would they relate to others, then fleshed those ideas out.
“The idea of having someone not being able to see their own reflection then grew into a more metaphorical idea of how well do we know ourselves anyway?
“I can see my reflection but what advantage does that really give me apart from knowing if I have some jam on my nose after scoffing down a doughnut?
“We all appear differently to others. Everyone has their owns ideas about themselves, we change depending on who we’re with: colleagues, family, friends. Like the story of the blind people describing the different parts of an elephant, everyone will come to a different conclusion depending on what part they meet. There’s also dumb jokes in it too.
“It’s a stand-alone book, although I have been jotting down ideas if the pressure for a sequel ever becomes so overwhelming from the public and the publishing industry. So, no.
“This is my third novel but the first one to be traditionally published. My first two novels, both dystopians, will be rereleased by Headline in 2021 and 2022, so you can get your fix of global corporations tracking people for data then.
“I started writing in 2004 when I took an evening creative writing course whilst living in Detroit, USA.
“I’d always had the vague idea it might be something I’d like to do in the future but being abroad opened my eyes to a different way of life plus I had some time on my hands so I started the course.
“It’s a great way to start because it gives you homework, the need to find time to complete the homework, a deadline, feedback on your writing and giving feedback on the writing of others.
“It gets you out of that rut you can sometimes find yourself in when wanting to start something new.”