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Guest Post by Jared A. Carnie

The lovely Jared A. Carnie has written a guest post especially for this event.  His debut novel, ‘Waves’ was published in September last year and has been getting some really good reviews.

 

Island Inspiration

Waves, my recent novel, is set on the Isle of Lewis, where I used to live. Frankly, I find it amazing that anyone could live in the Outer Hebrides and not write a book set there. It’s hard to get across what a wonderful and unique place it is.

Here’s an example:

I was working for Western Isles Council doing admin work (the council is one of the only places up there for unskilled office workers to get a job). It was a Friday afternoon and I was nearly done for the day. I got a text from my friend Callum. It said do you fancy going out to Horgabost tonight? We can camp out. I’ll pick you up after work.

Horgabost is a beautiful, isolated campsite down on the Isle of Harris, which is actually the same bit of land as the Isle of Lewis. I know that’s confusing. I got told it’s like that because hundreds of years ago, when these places got named, the mountains in the middle of the two isles made it impossible to get from one to the other through any route except by boat, so they were in effect two separate isles, despite being connected by land. Today, they still have their separate names despite the fact that you can drive straight from Lewis to Harris. And if you’re ever up there, I recommend you do, as it’s an incredibly beautiful stretch.

Anyway, I told Callum I’d love to go camping and would see him in a bit. So, at half past four (because it’s an island and nobody has to work late) Callum picked me up outside work. We drove down to Horgabost, passing the sheep in the road, passing the glassy lochs reflecting the sky.

When we got there, unsurprisingly, we were the only people at this giant, white, impossibly clean, beach. Callum and I set up the tent ready for the evening. By the time we were done, a few of Callum’s other friends had started to arrive. One of them had brought some fireworks for later. He said he’d called the coastguard, and warned them that we would be setting off fireworks around 10pm, so that was when we would have to use them.

Callum had brought some burgers and after an hour or two of sitting around drinking we got a fire going to cook some of the meat. At that point, as it was starting to get dark, Mike arrived. I’d not met Mike before. Mike was just back from being out on his boat, and he’d brought some lobster he’d just caught with him. Now, I’d never had lobster before. So, this ended up being the way I had lobster for the first time: with six people, alone, on a vast, mediterranean-looking beach, by a roaring fire, with our own, private fireworks display.

And it was all pretty much free. And just down the road from my house. And at 3pm that day I’d expected to just be spending the evening at home watching TV. That’s the magic of the island. Things like that would happen all the time. My girlfriend and I would text each other at lunch sometimes and suggest a bit of the island we wanted to head to after work. We’d head out and find ourselves alone on other beautiful beaches or seeing whales off the top of the island or stumbling across deer on walks or eagles in the sky. Things people would pay thousands of pounds to do were just down the road for us. And that’s why, when people ask why I decided to write a novel set on the Isle of Lewis, I can’t help but think how could I not?

 

Links

‘Waves’ is available to purchase from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/waves/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Waves-little-book-beauty-escapism-ebook/dp/B01KP84V5G/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488655553&sr=1-1&keywords=waves+by+jared+carnie

Jared A. Carnie’s website – http://www.jaredacarnie.com/

Twitter – @jacarnie

 

Interview with Jared A. Carnie

I would like to welcome Jared A. Carnie back to my blog.  Since his last visit, his debut novel, ‘Waves’ has recently been published by Urbane Publications.  I asked Jared some questions.  I hope you enjoy reading my interview with him.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘Waves’ please?

Waves is a novel about someone who thinks their life is going one way, and then suddenly it isn’t anymore. It is set in the Outer Hebrides.

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

This is probably the question you get asked most when you have a book out. I wish I had a good answer for it. You know, 13 months and six days. Sixty packs of cigarettes. Something like that. To be honest, it’s really hard to say for sure. I did a lot of writing for Waves on the Isle of Lewis, but have done so many re-writes since then, and more recently been going through the proofs etc prior to the launch, that it’s really hard to think about when the novel began and when it really ended. It’s only now it’s out that I can really feel I’m done with it. This isn’t The Life of Pablo. Maybe when all books are digital people will keep tweaking them once they’re out. There’ll be a backlash against the way Game of Thrones ends, so they’ll change the ending and pretend it was always like that.

 

Can you relate to any of your characters?

I think to a certain extent I can relate to all of them. Realistically, as a writer, you probably have to be able to relate, in some way, to all your characters, even if they’re murderers or something like that. If you can’t get inside their heads, how are you going to write them in a believable way?

 

What would you do if your doorbell rang and one of the characters from your book was standing on your doorstep for real?

Well, are we talking about the characters as they are at the beginning of the book or the end? If Alex from the start of the book turned up at my door, I’d like to think I’d treat him the same way James does in the book. I think a key part of any friendship is being able to recognise when someone needs you to give them a kickstart. If Isobel turned up at my door, I don’t know what I’d do, probably invite her in and see what she wanted to do. She’s more interesting than I am.

 

What do you hope readers get from your book?

I’d hope that maybe people get a little bit of optimism from the book. Or a desire to go do something. Or maybe they’ll even see some of themselves in Alex’s more mopey, self-indulgent moments, and perhaps try their best to not be like that in future. I think it’s a slow-burner of a book. I don’t think someone is going to slam the book down and go ‘right! My life has changed!’ but I think it might come back to people for a while after they’ve finished it.

Overall I just hope that readers enjoy the writing. I believe strongly in clean writing, and if people are willing to enjoy just rolling with the book then I think they’ll get something out of it. If you’re into plot twists and crime thrillers and things like that, this book will probably disappoint you. And that’s ok. Not every book is for everyone.

 

How does it feel to finally be a published author?

It’s a strange moment the day your book comes out because nothing really changes. And I mean that with no lack of gratitude. The day Waves was released, I was on a train to work at 7am and didn’t get back home until 8pm. The only difference was that I was checking my phone a lot more during the day – seeing the Amazon page with my name on saying the book had sold out was pretty surreal.

I guess the most ridiculous bit is when people ask you to sign copies. That’s when you can’t deny that you’re a published author. I always have to be honest and let them know I’ve been practising a signature especially. I don’t want anyone under any illusion that I think being asked to sign something is normal.

 

Did you always want to write?

Recently my girlfriend and I were at my Mum’s house. We found a box of my schoolwork from when I was six or seven. There was one of those sheets with printed sentences on where you had to fill in the blank word. Things like ‘I live with my….Mum and Dad’. One of them was ‘When I grow up I want to…’. My answer was ‘write stories.’ That made us both really happy. I let that little kid down in a lot of ways so I’m glad to be able to say I pulled that one off for him.

 

What’s the best piece of advice that you have ever been given about writing?

Henry Rollins tells this story about when he met Hubert Selby Jr. Selby told him “all you young writers, you need to get your balls out of the way of your writing.” I always liked that. I prefer first person writing, as a reader and a writer, because I tend to feel more of a connection – and that’s what I read for. But it’s important to remember that you’re writing a novel for someone to experience, and there needs to be a voice for them to experience and go along with. You can’t just scribble out your own narcissism and suddenly you’re Henry Miller.

 

Can we look forward to anymore books from you?

I’m always writing. I’m currently working on a new book called Oranges. It’s different to Waves in just about every single way. I’ve got most of the pieces in place, it’s just a case of getting it all how it should be. And re-writing. And re-writing. And re-writing.

 

If you could live your life all over again would you still write?

If anything, I’d do it more. Hopefully I’ve still got a lot of time to make up for this.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Aside from reading and writing? I listen to an ungodly amount of podcasts. I love music more than anything. I watch my girlfriend build her business, BearHugs, in awe. I burden my friends with my anxious, jittery thoughts on things. That’s why there’s so many acknowledgements at the back of Waves. I’m very lucky to have people in my life who tolerate me when I’m pretty intolerable.

 

You are given the task of living on a desert island for three months and are only allowed to take five items with you.  What would they be?

  1. My girlfriend
  2. My dog
  3. A pizza oven
  4. Tom Waits discography
  5. A copy of Waves. Matthew at Urbane would be furious if I found an untapped book market on the island and didn’t try to sell them a new book

 

About Jared A. Carnie

Jared A. Carnie lives in Sheffield. He is a Northern Writers Awards winner. His debut novel, Waves, is available now from Urbane Publications. He can be found at www.jaredacarnie.com

 

Links

‘Waves’ is available to buy from Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/waves/

Website – www.jaredacarnie.com

Twitter – @jacarnie

Guest Post by Jared A. Carnie

I would like to welcome Jared A. Carnie back to my blog.  Jared wrote a guest post which I hosted on here earlier this year.  Here’s another one from him.

 

~~~~~

I used to think cynicism was important. I thought being cynical made me seem smart.

When you’re a kid in a room full of adults, the person who loudly and confidently declares how bad something is seems to be the one who has the most power.

But cynicism doesn’t save you. Being negative doesn’t help. On your deathbed there’s no redemption in getting to say ‘I told you this would all end badly’.

It took me a while to realise that the person who dismisses everything is usually the most bitter – and often the most afraid.

A lot of my novel, Waves, was written at a kitchen table on the Isle of Lewis. My girlfriend, Faye, was in the room next door. She was stuck in bed. She couldn’t sit up without getting dizzy. Her legs couldn’t hold her when she stood up and even reading or watching TV was too difficult. On some days she couldn’t hold a knife and fork or even chew food.

This was a challenge for my cynicism. Drinking a beer and pretending I was Bukowski wasn’t going to get me through this.

Faye, somehow, remained positive. If she had ten minutes a day where she was conscious and capable, she wanted to do something positive with it. She wanted to squeeze every drop of life out of days that she could. And slowly, through the internet, she found others. She found Meg and Sophia and Jenny and Charlotte and Pippa and Ali and Hayley and Sian and a thousand others who had illnesses determined to stop them and personalities too strong to let it.

These people became my inspiration. There was no point huffing or dismissing things as uncool. What did that prove? What did it achieve?

That’s why I was determined to have a character in my novel who reaches a positive conclusion – who leaves the novel feeling more excited about life than when they came in.

I always found a strength in Bukowski, in Hamsun and Celine. A sort of resilience and black humour that helped me through things. But it didn’t help me do things. It didn’t make me excited about life. It made me resigned to it.

I always assumed I’d try to write a novel basically ripping off those writers who meant the world to me then (and still do). But I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t write a novel wallowing in my own existential angst (not that that’s what those three writers did, but is certainly what I would have done if I’d attempted to copy them). I couldn’t do that when the person I loved had to put more effort into standing up than I’d ever had to put into anything. It would be self-indulgent, dishonest and frankly pathetic.

I’m very aware of how uncool eighteen year old me would find certain passages in Waves. And certainly, I would expect the enthusiasm for life Alex finds to not resonate with everyone (it was important to me that other characters, very validly, have different perspectives). But still, I can’t pretend anymore. I can’t pretend to be ungrateful and dismissive and as if my struggle is a great struggle that needs to be recorded in writing. It doesn’t.

I’ve met so many people who, despite being hampered by serious, debilitating illnesses, still only want to contribute positively to the world. I wanted to have a character who could learn the same lesson I had learned from these people – to be excited by life, and to take opportunities. And while it may not be very Chinaski. It is very Meg, it is very Pippa, it is very Sophia, it is very Faye.

And those are the people I want to be like.

Because, yes, this is all going to end one day. But that’s not a reason to despair. That’s the reason to be positive as much as you can, to be grateful as much as you can and to be excited as much as you can.

There are sparks of inspiration and joy in the tiniest of moments, and even if nobody else sees them, it’s important that you do.

Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child,

Listen to the DON’TS

Listen to the SHOULDN’TS

The IMPOSSIBLES, the WON’TS

Listen to the NEVER HAVES

Then listen close to me—

Anything can happen, child,

ANYTHING can be.

~Shel Silverstein

 

‘Waves’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Waves-Jared-Carnie/dp/1911129422/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452108300&sr=1-1&keywords=waves%2C+jared+a.+carnie

Jared A Carnie’s Website – http://www.jaredacarnie.com

 

Guest Post by Jared A. Carnie

I would like to introduce you all to Jared A. Carnie.  He has recently signed up with Urbane Publications and is having his debut novel published later this year.  Jared has written a thought provoking guest post for my blog.

~~~~~

Life is a series of mid-life crises.

It doesn’t matter what age you are.

A mid-life crisis is a fracture. A rupture in the balance between adventure and settling. The battle between youth and adulthood.

This is the situation as T.V would have it: You’ve finally bought a house. Maybe you have kids. Maybe you’ve found a job you’ll probably see through until retirement. Your parents have passed away. You realise you’re going to pass away too. Not in some abstract sense in an unimaginable future, but really, at some point, you understand that you’re going to die. And you panic. Is this it? Is this what I’m going to do for the rest of my life? Have I really done enough? What about all those things I always promised I would do? Wouldn’t the young me be disappointed in what I’ve become? And that’s when the cliches come. You get that sports car or get the old band back together or whatever.

So why is it called a crisis? Because that’s not what people want from you. People like you to be a fixed, finite entity. You’ve secured a house! You’re winning. You should stick. You don’t need to twist anymore. You’ve got a family and a job. There are millions out there who would give anything to have what you have. Why isn’t that enough for you? People don’t appreciate you acting out. People don’t appreciate you seeming dis-satisfied. They’re dis-satisfied, of course, but they don’t talk about it. They certainly don’t do anything about it.

Here’s the thing. That’s not just middle-age. That’s every age.

When you hit puberty and you discover sex and drugs and poetry and music it seems impossible and ridiculous that instead you’re forced to learn algebra. What does that have to do with anything? Don’t these people know we’re going to die soon?

By eighteen you’ve probably experienced some tragedy. A friend dying young or a family torn apart or any number of awful things you never could’ve predicted. You’re older now. You want to get out in the world and get started. But instead you’re told about university. You must get your grades. You must choose the right university and get the right degree or you won’t get anywhere in life.

So maybe you do go to university. You get that degree. This is it now, you’ve been held up long enough. Now you’re really done, right? You’re a qualified adult and you can do what you want.

Except, of course, now you’re in massive debt. Now you’ve got to get a job. And that’s not easy. It won’t be the job you trained for. It’ll be whatever you can find. It’ll be exhausting and unfulfilling and everyone will tell you how grateful you should be for it. At least it’s money, right? Maybe in a while you’ll be able to quit and move to South America. Maybe you’ll save enough to take time off work and just paint. But then there’s other people your age. They’re having kids and getting houses. Are you going to be one of those people who hit their thirties with no idea of what they’re doing in life? Potentially still living with their parents and no nearer to being able to afford a house? Everyone tells you: don’t be one of those people. Secure your future. You’ve got to.

Meanwhile, more terrible things are happening. Relatives are passing away at an alarming rate. People you went to school with develop unimaginable illnesses and you watch their deterioration anonymously and sadly on Facebook. There isn’t time. There isn’t time for this.

And suddenly you find someone. Sure, you’ve got a big mortgage now but at least you’ve got a place together. Your job isn’t what you dreamed but you’re doing well. The mortgage ties you down but at least you’ll have somewhere for the kids. And now the kids are here. And you’ve got to stay near the good schools and now isn’t really the time to start your career over with how tight things are. And now your parents are ill. And now your parents are gone. And your children are growing up quicker and quicker and your body is aching in ways it didn’t used to. Maybe now’s the time. If not now, when? Maybe we cut down on a few things this year. Maybe we finally pack up and move away. Maybe now’s the time to explore the world. And that’s when you’re ridiculed. That’s when the cries of mid-life crisis appear. Isn’t this enough for you? Don’t your family make you happy? People would kill for the job you have. Why would you risk all that? And you can’t quite shake the idea that they’re right. Besides, you’ve been paying into your pension all this time and when you retire you’ll really be free, right? That’ll be when it really happens. That’ll be the real freedom.

From childhood to retirement the battle stays the same. Life is long and life is short. You need to prepare for the future. And you need to live while you have the time. How do you strike that balance? When it comes down to it, what is your priority?

It is difficult. It comes dressed up differently but it’s a problem everyone faces. For me, there’s actually something kind of reassuring about knowing that every daring, brilliant thing that human beings have ever accomplished was done to a backdrop of people cynically saying “’yes, but what about your future?”

My debut novel, Waves, will be out Summer 2016 with Urbane Publications. Amongst other things, this is what I like to think it is about.

 

About Jared A. Carnie

Jared A. Carnie is currently based in Sheffield. He was awarded a New North Poets Award at the Northern Writers Awards 2015. His debut novel, Waves, will be published by Urbane Publications in Summer 2016. He can be found at www.jaredacarnie.com or on twitter @jacarnie.

 

Book Cover

 

‘Waves’ can be pre-ordered on Amazon:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Waves-Jared-Carnie/dp/1911129422/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452108300&sr=1-1&keywords=waves%2C+jared+a.+carnie

 

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