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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > March 2016 > SIMON KETTLEWELL

SIMON KETTLEWELL

The former NHS worker waited until his second novel to revisit his Midlands childhood, he tells Margaret James

It’s often the case that debut novelists write stories loosely or even closely based on their own lives. But Simon Kettlewell’s debut Bread for the Bourgeoisie is a dramatic thriller set partly in Romania. Simon’s very different second novel, however, is Dead Dog Floating, a black comedy inspired by his childhood in Derby.

Simon’s hero Derek is a sharp-witted but often confused and worried child who observes most of the adults around him behaving very badly, and who tries desperately to make sense of his own life, not always successfully. The novel took me back to my own childhood, a time when children were allowed out on their own and could get up to many kinds of more-or-less innocent mischief. I was reminded yet again that what adults do impacts on children in all sorts of ways, and that we ought to set children good examples rather than mess up their lives. But if all adults were perfect and – well – adult, we wouldn’t have novels like this one to enjoy.

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Slow down! Why word counts and targets aren't always good for your writing Synopsis secrets: The single page that will sell your book Top tips for every genre:- • Crime: Perfect pacemaking • Five ways to grow creatively as a children's author • Explore the new trend for genre-blending fantasy Masterclass: Study the style and stories of Henry Fielding, James Thurber, Rudyard Kipling and Roald Dahl Star interview: Anne O'Brien, the challenger to Philippa Gregory's crown WIN! A PC worth £600

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