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The Lightman System heads on Insta book tour

The Lightman System heads on Insta book tour

Roger Hyams’ debut novel The Lightman System is on an Instagram book tour thanks to @instabooktours.

Those reviewing the book are finding it a fabulous read. The tour began on July 19 and will run until August 5. 

We will obviously be following the tour and gather the thoughts of the bloggers right here.

 

“This beautifully written novel explores mental health & the impact it has both on the individual & their families.”@instabooktours

 

 

“What a read! Superbly written with amazing insight into mental health and its often devastating consequences, not just for those suffering but for those around them too.

“I very quickly became fully engrossed in this character driven story of Ellie and her brother Colin as well as supporting characters. As the story unfolds it looks closely at the dynamics of a family struggling to cope with the psychological and emotional breakdown of one of their own.

“Poignant and heart breaking The Lightman System is a fabulous read and will speak to anyone who has had similar experiences.

“I will definitely be recommending this one and look forward to seeing what comes next for Roger Hyams.”@dems_book_den (19/07/22)

 

 

“The author conjures up a wonderful sense of time and place. I did not usually like books that deal with mental health as I find them either patronising or just without much understanding. This book is different. Roger Hyams deals sensitively and with great insight into the effects of mental health issues, not only on the sufferer but on the wider family.

“The author also manages to illustrate the complexities of family relationships, particularly those between siblings. The author has a deft touch and draws his readers into the story and makes them care about the characters. A beautifully written novel that I would highly recommend.” – @book_mouse2020 (20/07/22)

 

 

“Now I know I’m meant to be reviewing this book today, however, I have not been able to finish it in time. I am however most of the way through so I can give you my thoughts so far.

“Now this book so far is brilliant. Books that touch on mental health can usually be hit or miss but this one touches on it perfectly. I really like the writing style and it’s been so easy to get into. 

“I don’t want to speak too soon but so far it’s on track to be a 4/5⭐️ read!” – @chloejreads (21/07/22)

 

 

“I enjoyed this book despite having very heavy subject matter surrounding mental health. It did take me a little while to get used to the story flicking between Ellie and Colin, bit once I got used to the writing style this wasn’t a problem.

“I liked the fact the author used key actions for headings rather than typical chapters.” – @Felicitys_reading_corner (22/07/22)

 

 

“I really enjoyed the book as it was slow paced and easy to follow. It’s a very well written book. The characters have a lot of struggles which had me engrossed in reading to see how they were or if they could overcome them. It’s a very twisty romantic story with wonderful perspectives on different relations.

“I would highly recommend this book as it’s a non stop read. ****/5. ” – @louisereading_differentbooks (22/07/22)

 

 

“One thing about this read is that it really thrives on the relationships built into the pages. Although events can seem peculiar there’s a lot of detail given and the writing is absolutely beautiful. You get a lot from the senses with this so you can really imagine what the characters see, touch, feel etc. I loved that the book was split into parts and I love that the time frame with this was set in 1974.

“The twist it has on romantic relationships is wonderful because you get two complete different perspectives. Let along a brother and sister falling in love for the same girl. The concept was beautiful. There’s so much passion and desire in this. It’s wonderful, literally reading about all of the similarities yet all of the differences at the same time especially between the siblings. The author really gives you a spectacularly formatted entangled read. I wasn’t expecting the paths to completely change direction and I didn’t know how to deal with it until I continued to further read. The growth continued with emotions constantly changing directions making this a completely addictive read.

“I would definitely recommend this it’s an extremely unusual plot for the timeframe. Epic.”@twilight_reader (25/07/22)

 

 

“When I started reading this book I was taken aback with all the explicit language. Set in 1974, the story follows Colin and Ellie and their daily adventures. There are different characters in different chapters that build Colin’s character. The school stories are funny and reminded me of the Inbetweeners.

“There isn’t much of a plot or twists it’s a slow paced family drama with a bit of romance. The love life of Ellie and Colin are written very well with good characterisation.

“The era moves to 1999/2000 and how Colin now has his own family. I will be honest I struggled with the book as the story is very slow paced. But I did learn a lot about Jewish family and traditions. It’s also a heartbreaking story of a brother and a sister.” – @pre4books (26/07/22)

 

 

Catch the rest of the tour here:

@Never_endingbookshelf (25/07/22)

@paradise_library (27/07/22)

@bookasaurusbex (27/07/22)

@mrsbookburnee (28/07/22)

@stratospherekawaiigirl (29/07/22)

@5star.books (29/07/22)

@courtney_in_a_book (01/08/22)

@penfoldlayla (01/08/22)

@craftandbookjunkieni (02/08/22)

@bethanysbookshelfuk (02/08/22)

@We.llallbecomestories (04/08/22)

@Chapmanschaptersandpages (04/08/22)

@girls_who_hike_and_read (05/08/22)

@Duckfacekim09 (05/08/22)

Praise for Roger Hyams' The Lightman System

Praise for Roger Hyams’ The Lightman System

Wrecking Ball Press published the debut novel from Roger Hyams – The Lightman System – on June 27, 2022.

The book has already received praise from Stephen Fry, playwright and actor Amelia Bullmore and the executive producer of hit TV drama Sherwood, Tessa Ross.

“A superb novel – beautifully, beautifully written and with such heart-breaking truth and insight. Time is both cruel and kind, chance is more cruel than kind, and trying to defeat both is hard. This novel is a supreme example of how fiction can tell this story.” – Stephen Fry

“What might it be like to lose your equilibrium and what might it be like to be close to someone who does? The Lightman System has two very different protagonists. Roger Hyams’s magic trick is that we understand them both, what shapes them and what stands between them, even while they can’t. The story uncovers the subtle workings of a family dynamic (the things withheld, the things inferred, the psychological and emotional coding) and even when events take a terrifying turn, the distinctive blend of restraint, vividness, humour and compassion make this a compellingly enjoyable read. I was moved to tears by the ending. The Lightman System is a deeply involving, wise, wonderfully-written book and Ellie and Col are unforgettable co-heroes.” – Amelia Bullmore

“I’ve just finished this wonderful novel and am totally floored by it. A devastating, very moving piece of work that rings true in every way. It won’t leave me quickly.” – Tessa Ross.

Roger Hyams will be in conversation with psychotherapist Albyn Leah Hall at The Owl Bookshop, Kentish Town Road, London, on July 27th at 6.30pm. Tickets, priced at £5, are available to order in store or over the phone on 020 7485 7793 or purchased online at https://owlbookshop.co.uk/talks-and-events/roger-hyams/

The Lightman System can be purchased direct from Wrecking Ball Press at https://wreckingballpress.com/product/the-lightman-system/

OUT MONDAY: The Lightman System

WRECKING BALL PRESS publish the debut novel from Roger Hyams – The Lightman System – on June 27, 2022.

It is 1974. Teenage siblings Ellie and Colin are on holiday when they fall for the same girl. From this strange meeting onward, Ellie’s musical talent takes her to new heights, Colin finds his own fascination in photography, and both seem set for fulfilment – until catastrophe overtakes Ellie and changes the shape of the whole family.

Years later, brother and sister must battle to understand what has befallen them.

The Lightman System will speak directly to those who have had similar experiences to Ellie and Colin, either as the sufferer of mental storms or those close to them.

But author Roger Hyams adds: “I think the last couple of years has laid bare the fact that this is not an exclusive group. So there’s something here for everyone who has had difficulties with their mental health, everyone who’s known someone who has, and anyone who’s interested in the way minds try to deal with the unmanageable.”

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Roger Hyams

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Roger Hyams

Wrecking Ball Press publish the debut novel from Roger Hyams – The Lightman Systemon June 27, 2022.
 
Roger Hyams was an actor for twelve years, appearing with the RSC, the English Touring Theatre and the Oxford Stage Company, Birmingham Repertory and the Traverse. He started working at the BBC as a script-reader, then a script editor, and after a couple of years as Head of Drama Development at Talkback Productions, began to work freelance. Along with his script consultancy he is a screenwriter, a filmmaker and a Visiting Lecturer at the London Film School and Central Saint Martins. He has written the book and lyrics for two musicals, co-directed two baroque operas and coached opera singers on performance. The Lightman System is his first novel, and he’s writing another.
 
We caught up with Roger to find out more about the novel and his writing.
 
Describe The Lightman System in a sentence?
A brother and sister struggle to come to terms with the fallout of her psychotic breakdown.
 
What prompted you to write The Lightman System?
It has roots in my own family’s experience. It’s fair to say that there was a need for catharsis, but that had to come from inquiry. There are mysteries that are unlikely ever to be solved, but the attempt is the point.
 
Who is the book for?
It will speak directly to those who have had similar experiences, either as the sufferer of mental storms or those close to them. But I think the last couple of years has laid bare the fact that this is not an exclusive group. So there’s something here for everyone who has had difficulties with their mental health, everyone who’s known someone who has, and anyone who’s interested in the way minds try to deal with the unmanageable.
 
What experience do you want your readers to have?
It’s a cliché to say I want them to laugh and cry, but it’s true. This is a tough story, but a human one: there’s no intention to create misery, just to portray it. I also want them to come away from the book feeling that their understanding of mental states, from the extreme to the apparently-normal, has expanded.
 
What is the importance of place to you as a writer?
Very important. A lot of my writing comes out of places; their special atmospheres, their existence outside human presence, especially those that are built entirely by humans. I’ve made several short films that explore this in one way or another. In The Lightman System, there’s particular attention to the magic and disturbance of places; from the texture of the Lake District to the temperature and light inside a psychiatric unit.
 
Music, and a cello, are constants in the book – what’s the importance of this?
For a musician like my character Ellie, her instrument is a way of both showing her skill and expressing her inner life. When psychological and neurological damage make it increasingly hard for her to handle the instrument, those vital outlets are choked. So the cello, which also has a humanoid shape and an exquisite sound, becomes a repeated motif in the book. Apart from gathering dust, the instrument stays pretty much the same throughout decades; yet the characters, over the same span, change in quite extreme ways. Music is a life-force for Colin, too; it speaks to him rather than through him, but it reflects and provides an outlet for his emotional life. It’s notoriously difficult to write about music, so I’ve had to confront that in successive drafts.
 
How would you describe yourself?
I write scripts and prose (and sometimes lyrics) and make films; I’m also a freelance script editor, and a visiting lecturer at the London Film School and Central St Martin’s. I used to be an actor, I’ve worked as a director in Baroque Opera, I’ve written the book and lyrics for two musicals and a short story for BBC Radio.
 
As a novelist I’m writing about things that delight and disturb me. I try to do that in the simplest way I can, as closely as possible to my characters’ experience. I feel the need to draw the reader into that experience, however limited, because that’s the way we live; limited by our selves as they are from moment to moment.
 
What was your route into writing?
Long and winding. When I was a kid I liked messing around with words, then wrote poems when I was at primary school, then love poems, then song lyrics – school bands etc. – and then I was an actor, so I had to be very sensitive to words. Typography, too, has always fascinated me. Later, while I was working as a script editor at the BBC, I began to write scripts. Nothing got picked up, but it led me towards screenwriting and filmmaking. And I began concurrently to find things in my own experience that suggested prose. I wrote a first novel, which has gone back into the figurative bottom drawer for now, and then embarked on The Lightman System.
 
Could you tell us more about your other work as a screenwriter and script editor?
Film is very important to me, so it’s thrilling and daunting to be writing it. The obvious distinction between that and what I’m trying to do in prose is that you can’t explore directly, except in voice-over, the internal movements of someone’s mind. And since I’m really interested in that, I have to find other – visual, aural, textural, dynamic – ways to express it. So I’m a bit obsessed with point-of-view; how it changes what the film looks like, how it suggests where the camera should be, and a lot more. I can go on about this, frankly, and I often do when I’m working with other writers. But my work with them is also a way of exploring. We have a conversation about their film that expands to theme and closes in on a single moment; we’re as likely to be talking about the writer’s own experience as we are with the rhythm of a dialogue exchange or a cut from scene to scene. With luck, this sometimes-sinuous path leads to greater clarity for the writer.
 
Was there a significant person in your life that encouraged you to write?
Several. My mum did, and I had a couple of very good English teachers at secondary school who were really alert to the fact that I was excited by language. Then, years later, I was working at the BBC and having a conversation with an agent who was also a writer; a fairly unusual combination. He told me quite bluntly that I should get on with it and write, and I’m very grateful to him. The producers Brian Eastman and Alex Thiele have put a touching amount of trust in me. Latterly, among all the many encouragements that I’ve received from friends, the one that pops out is from a writer called Albyn Leah Hall. I might not have written The Lightman System without her nudging.
 
Could you tell us something about your creative process?
I try to write enough that I don’t leave my desk annoyed at myself. That doesn’t necessarily mean a number of pages (though it’s always gratifying); it can just mean that I’ve done something I know will be useful. That could be some background exploration, such as notes on a character, or research, or it could be a walk – to let my thoughts reverse out of a cul-de-sac and wander more freely. Actually a lot of the little, significant realisations arrive when I’m cycling.
 
Who are your favourite writers? And which writers are you influenced by?
This is one of the most welcome and most difficult questions anyone could ask. The list, obviously, is much too long.
 
The writers I keep coming back to, the ones I believe get closest to the world as I understand it, are Chekhov, W.G. Sebald and George Eliot. George Saunders is, to me, a new but big discovery. I also admire Anne Tyler enormously, and during lockdown I discovered Sherwood Anderson. Geoff Dyer makes me laugh aloud. I want to go on. Actually I will go on for a second, because there are playwrights: Chekhov again, Shakespeare – as an actor I’ve been lucky enough to live with several of his plays for a lot of performances, and I kept hearing new things. And screenwriters, who tend to get lost behind the director’s name – so a quiet shout for Kôgo Noda, who worked with the great Ozu.
 
And lyricists! John Prine, Bob Dylan, Gillian Welch, Aimee Mann, Andrew Phillips, Cole Porter and Randy Newman.
 
As far as influence goes, with the understanding that influence isn’t necessarily discernible either in style or talent, I guess you could say that Hemingway was there before I read it. And Anne Tyler for sure: trying to stay simple so you don’t get in the way of the important things.
 
What is your favourite novel?
Another impossible question, but I’ll say Middlemarch and The Rings of Saturn because they both expanded my view without seeming to try. At number 3, I might say American Pastoral by Philip Roth. I know it was supposed to be just one, but sorry.
 
Why The Lightman System, now?
The simple answer is that I had to write it. A friend suggested that The Lightman System is ‘the story of a quest for understanding’, and that goes for me as well as for the characters.
 
I also think that, as terms like ‘mental health’ have become so much a part of everyday language, it’s timely. I wanted to write my way into the complex experience of two people whose lives are being changed, radically, subtly, by internal storms. Like any fiction, it doesn’t offer answers, but I hope it affects perceptions. On a similar note, I had great help in my research from an eminent psychiatrist, who described the book as being an incidental portrait of the development of modern psychiatry.
 
Do you have any thoughts about your experience of independent publishers?
Wrecking Ball is my experience, and it’s revelatory. Apart from sharing their name with a great song by Gillian Welch, they have a seriously intelligent view of book design, which is more than refreshing.
 
What else are you working on and what does the future hold for you?
I’m halfway through the first draft for a new novel, I’m hoping to make a short film I’ve written later this year, and I’m working on two feature projects. In case that sounds grand, none of it is commissioned, and films may be even harder to get off the ground than books.
 
What would you say to someone who was keen to write, and would like to see their words published?
It’s usually very hard to get published, but in the end this is not why you do it. It took me around five years, alongside other work, to go through several drafts of The Lightman System. It was, from the publishing point of view, a complete gamble. Lots of people said no, or ignored my letters entirely. But for the activity of writing, it went from tears, frustration and sinking doubt to moments of real freedom and revelation. I’m still writing, and I expect to continue that very uneven journey. Honestly, if you want to do it, you’re probably already doing it in your head; so welcome to the caravan!
 
I’m also privileged to be in a writing group – on the invitation of Albyn Leah Hall – which consists of several extremely talented writers, all of whom I admire and respect a lot. That means that the process I’ve described (all those drafts) was not done alone. Not only did I feel supported by my colleagues, but they were tough, detailed and frankly relentless critics. That meant I had the courage to continue, and the material with which to do so. So if you can gain a support network of people you trust, that’s a really great thing. I know some writers work in isolation, but there’s enough isolation in the process already without actually being cut off from intelligent views and kindly voices. I could not have written this book without those people.
 
What are your hopes and dreams for the book?
Of course I hope a lot of people will read it, that it will move most of them (well, all of them, naturally), and that it might gain some recognition beyond that. But mainly, I genuinely want it to expand people’s perceptions.
 
Anything else you’d like to add?
One thing in particular. I’m ridiculously lucky that my partner has stayed kind, insightful and encouraging through my many moments of collapse.
 
The Lightman System can be pre-ordered from Wrecking Ball Press at https://wreckingballpress.com/product/the-lightman-system/
PRESS RELEASE: Publication of Roger Hyams' wise, wonderfully-written debut

PRESS RELEASE: Publication of Roger Hyams’ wise, wonderfully-written debut

TITLE: The Lightman System

AUTHOR: Roger Hyams

PUBLICATION DATE: 27/06/22

FORMAT: Hardback

ISBN: 978-1903110904

PAGES: 336pp

PRICE: £16

“A superb novel – beautifully, beautifully written.” – Stephen Fry

Buy directly from Wrecking Ball Press at https://wreckingballpress.com/product/the-lightman-system/

WRECKING BALL PRESS publish the debut novel from Roger Hyams – The Lightman System – on June 27, 2022.

It is 1974. Teenage siblings Ellie and Colin are on holiday when they fall for the same girl. From this strange meeting onward, Ellie’s musical talent takes her to new heights, Colin finds his own fascination in photography, and both seem set for fulfilment – until catastrophe overtakes Ellie and changes the shape of the whole family.

Years later, brother and sister must battle to understand what has befallen them.

The Lightman System will speak directly to those who have had similar experiences to Ellie and Colin, either as the sufferer of mental storms or those close to them.

But author Roger Hyams adds: “I think the last couple of years has laid bare the fact that this is not an exclusive group. So there’s something here for everyone who has had difficulties with their mental health, everyone who’s known someone who has, and anyone who’s interested in the way minds try to deal with the unmanageable.”

Praise for The Lightman System

“A superb novel – beautifully, beautifully written and with such heart-breaking truth and insight. Time is both cruel and kind, chance is more cruel than kind, and trying to defeat both is hard. This novel is a supreme example of how fiction can tell this story.” – Stephen Fry

“What might it be like to lose your equilibrium and what might it be like to be close to someone who does? The Lightman System has two very different protagonists. Roger Hyams’s magic trick is that we understand them both, what shapes them and what stands between them, even while they can’t. The story uncovers the subtle workings of a family dynamic (the things withheld, the things inferred, the psychological and emotional coding) and even when events take a terrifying turn, the distinctive blend of restraint, vividness, humour and compassion make this a compellingly enjoyable read. I was moved to tears by the ending. The Lightman System is a deeply involving, wise, wonderfully-written book and Ellie and Col are unforgettable co-heroes.” – Amelia Bullmore, playwright, screenwriter and actor.

Author Details:

Roger Hyams was an actor for twelve years, appearing with the RSC, the English Touring Theatre and the Oxford Stage Company, Birmingham Repertory and the Traverse. He started working at the BBC as a script-reader, then a script editor, and after a couple of years as Head of Drama Development at Talkback Productions, began to work freelance. Along with his script consultancy he is a screenwriter, a filmmaker and a Visiting Lecturer at the London Film School and Central Saint Martins. He has written the book and lyrics for two musicals, co-directed two baroque operas and coached opera singers on performance. The Lightman System is his first novel, and he’s writing another.

For more information visit www.wreckingballpress.com

/ends

For review copies, images and interview requests contact Wrecking Ball Press at dave@wreckingballpress.com

OUT NOW: Persons Unknown - The Battle for Sheffield's Street Trees

OUT NOW: Persons Unknown – The Battle for Sheffield’s Street Trees

Persons Unknown – The Battle for Sheffield’s Street Trees has been published by Wrecking Ball Press.
 
In 2012 Sheffield City Council and the Department of Transport signed a twenty-five-year contract with Amey PLC to renew the city’s highways in a programme titled ‘Streets Ahead’, costing £2.2 billion of public money.
 
That contract has never been made publicly available. As a result of persistent Freedom of Information requests, we now know that it includes the following clause: Amey ‘shall replace the highways trees in accordance with the annual tree management programme at a rate of not less than 200 per year so that 17,500 highway trees are replaced by the end of the term’.
 
For three years residents took ‘non-violent direct action’ (NVDA) to prevent the unnecessary felling of healthy street trees. This is their story, a story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the service of their community. All the chapters consist of original first-hand accounts of events from the perspective of people who were involved.
 
Calvin Payne and Simon Crump have deliberately stepped back from an authorial role, allowing their fellow protesters to speak for themselves, and often the stark truths told are all the more shocking for that.
 
With a Foreword by Nick Hayes, Introduction by Paul Brooke and Afterword by Christine King.
 
AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Michael Stewart

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Michael Stewart

Bold, gritty and blackly comic, Michael Stewart’s new collection of short fiction, Four Letter Words, explores twin contemporary urban dystopias: work and home.
 
Stylish and unsettling with a seam of black comedy running throughout the collection,Four Letter Words is a baker’s dozen of modern urban noir that offers responses to a number of contemporary concerns such as homelessness, addiction and sexual exploitation.
 
We asked Michael to tell us more about the collection, which is published by Wrecking Ball Press this week.
 
Give us give us the elevator pitch for Four Letter Words?
It’s a short story collection. How about ‘for many people, home and work are the dominant spaces in their lives, this book looks deep into the darkest corners of these worlds’
 
How do you feel about the publication of this collection of short stories?
It’s my second collection of short fiction. Much grittier and darker than the first. I think it contains some of my best writing.
 
What prompted you to write this collection and how long has it been in the making?
I’ve been writing short fiction for a very long time. These stories are a culmination of work gestating over a twenty-year period. The collection started to form as a coherent unifying project, as soon as I realised it was a book in two halves, and that this would be the overarching organising principle. We go to work. Then we come home. For some people, there isn’t much else in their lives. What if neither experience bring solace or satisfaction?
 
Tell us about the themes of the collection?
Work and home, and within that: loneliness, alienation, exploitation, dependency and desperation.
 
Who is the book for?
For the lost and the lonely. For anyone who loves a good story.
 
What experience do you want your readers to have?
I want to immerse my reader in precisely imagined worlds where they will see through the eyes of my characters, hear their thoughts and feel their fears and vulnerabilities. I want my reader to empathise with my characters. I want to engage them emotionally, to make them laugh and cry, and look deep into the recesses of the human experience.
 
What is the importance of short stories?
A short story can be more experimental than a novel. It is a snapshot. It is a unified artform. We can experience a short story in one sitting. There is a totality of experience that is missing from longer narratives. It is not interrupted or compromised by episodic events. Like a painting, we can see it in its entirety. Characters in short stories are mysterious, and enigmatic, we don’t need to feed into the narrative elaborate backstories. They are strangers that we meet in one fleeting moment. But that fleeting moment can have a profound impact on the reader.
 
Some consider that short story collections are something that authors move through on their way to their next novel. What would you say to that?
The status of the short story has changed significantly over the years. It wasn’t that long ago that writers wrote short stories to make money and pay the bills. Novels were something they wrote out of love, knowing they would make no money from it. Now it is the other way round. Why this has happened is quite specific to our culture. Other cultures value the short story over the novel. The short story has much more status in Ireland and China for example.
 
What is the importance of place to you as a writer and in the stories gathered together here?
This is very much a northern collection. I write about the north. I don’t know anywhere else. It was where I was born and where I grew up. I am a product of this landscape, and these stories are the products of this northern landscape. Setting is crucial. A story in a forest is very different to a story in a desert for example. Setting is character and character is setting. A good setting is a metaphor for the central themes of the story.
 
What was your route into writing?
Long story. I was forceable removed by two security guards from the factory where I was working in 1992. I found a typewriter in a skip, taught myself to touch type and wrote a novel called Leeches.
 
Was there a significant person in your life that encouraged you to write?
Lots of people discouraged me. Mainly my teachers.
 
Could you tell us something about your creative process? 
I try and write every day. Sometimes for an hour, sometimes for three or four hours. I consider it to be a vocation.
 
Who are your favourite writers? And which writers are you influenced by?
My first influence: Edgar Allen Poe. Others: George Orwell, Shakespeare, Milton, Dante, Flannery O’Connor, Katherine Mansfield, Emily Bronte, Kafka, Knut Hamsun, Raymond Carver, Sylvia Plath, James Baldwin, William Blake, Samuel Beckett, Cormac McCarthy, Angela Carter…
 
What is your favourite novel?
I have to say Wuthering Heights, but Nineteen Eighty-Four is a close second. As is Kafka’s The Trial, as is McCarthy’s Road, Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho, Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, Knut Hamsun’s Hunger.
 
Why this collection, now?
During lockdown home and work merged. We became prisoners in our own domiciles. Post-lockdown we are reconfiguring those spaces. Redefining them somehow. This book is part of that re-examination.
 
Do you have any thoughts about your experience of independent publishers?
My first four books were all published by independent publishers. I have a deep respect and love of independent publishing. I am editor-in-chief of an indie (Grist Books). I think what indies have achieved over the last ten years is remarkable. I liken it to the indie music scene of the 80s. The world of independent publishing is a very vibrant place.
 
What else are you working on and what does the future hold for you?
I have a poetry book called The Dogs which is being published by Smokestack in June 2023. I have a new novel called The Last Wolf which is under consideration with a publisher. I am working on two new books, one a new novel called Surrounded By My Enemies, and a hybrid memoir called Walking in the Shadows.
 
Tell us more about your work teaching creative writing?
I’ve been teaching creative writing for over 20 years. First in the community, then for the Open University, then for Leeds and Bradford Unis, and for the last 15 years, Huddersfield Uni. I run the CW department there. Grist, which I edit, allows us to publish our own students’ work alongside some of the biggest names in the industry. 
 
What would you say to someone who was keen to write, and would like to see their words published?
Learn your craft.
 
What are your hopes and dreams for the book?
I set a low bar. Sadly, short fiction does not get the attention it deserves in this country. I wish it were otherwise. If people read it and enjoy it, I’ll be happy with that.
 
The publication of Four Letter Words was made possible by Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grants funding. Buy Four Letter Words direct from Wrecking Ball Press at https://wreckingballpress.com/product/four-letter-words/

We’re hiring: Join the Wrecking Ball team as Bookseller

Applications for this opportunity have now closed.

Wrecking Ball Music & Books is hiring! We have an exciting position as Bookseller based within our city-centre independent book and music shop on Whitefriargate. This is a great opportunity to join a growing team at one of Hull’s most exciting retail outlets and venues.

Initially offered on a six-month, fixed-term contract, and with a competitive salary, we’d love the right person to join us in March 2022 and interviews will be held at the beginning of March.

For more information, read the job description below. 

Wrecking Ball Music & Books – Bookseller

Purpose

Wrecking Ball Music & Books’ Bookseller has the knowledge and enthusiasm to drive book sales forward, engage with the public and increase sales. 

Based at the large, independent Wrecking Ball Music & Books shop in Hull city centre, our dedicated Bookseller is responsible for providing guidance and literary insight to customers wishing to learn more about the books on sale, an extensive range of books from UK independent publishers.

In addition, the Bookseller will be responsible for arranging promotional events, such as in-store signings, author readings and in-store literary events.

Specific Duties and Responsibilities of the post

Your primary concern as a Bookseller is customer service, but you’ll also need an excellent knowledge of the UK’s independent publishers, the shop’s stock and the wider book market in general. You’ll help customers locate titles and offer information and advice about different books that are available. You’ll also be heavily involved in selecting, ordering and displaying stock, as well as working with publishing companies and their representatives.

Our stock of literature encompasses all forms and genres and our Bookseller is expected to have a deep understanding and knowledge of the widest possible range of literature and should be a self-confessed and proud bibliophile and poetry lover.

Our Bookseller needs to be confident when talking and communicating with the public, publishing companies and their representatives and writers involved in delivering events and activities. You should also be experienced and comfortable in the use of social media platforms as a marketing and promotional tool. A self starter, you will be brimming with ideas for potential events and in-store literary activity and relish the opportunity to have a lead role in organising events, supported by Wrecking Ball team members with extensive event experience.

Responsibilities

  • serving a range of customers
  • dealing with enquiries and identifying customer needs
  • offering advice and recommending books where appropriate
  • maintaining up-to-date knowledge of current titles and changes in the market
  • organising in-store events with authors and poets.
  • promoting in-store and venue events and activities via social media platforms
  • undertaking bibliographic work using computer or print sources to identify and locate titles
  • processing customer orders and book reservations
  • dealing with mail order, email and web-based orders
  • handling payments by cash, card and using book tokens using electronic point of sale (EPOS) technology
  • buying from catalogues and publishers’ representatives 
  • negotiating prices with sellers
  • processing book deliveries and returns
  • stock-checking books and other merchandise
  • creating in-store and window displays
  • maintaining commercial awareness including identifying business and promotional opportunities
  • liaising with other external account holders, for example schools, councils and companies
  • reviewing sales performance 
  • a range of administration tasks
  • undertaking general housekeeping duties, such as unpacking, stock replenishment and tidying.

This position is funded by Arts Council England.

Wrecking Ball Music & Books now on bookshop.org

Our sister company Wrecking Ball Music & Books now has a ‘shopfront’ on bookshop.org. Bookshop.org is an online bookshop with a mission to financially support local, independent bookshops.
 
Bookshop has created an easy, convenient way for you to get your books and support independent bookshops at the same time. By purchasing your books from the Wrecking Ball Music & Books bookshop.org shop, you will be supporting us, as we will receive a percentage of the cover price. Your order is sent straight to your address, and all in-stock items arrive in 2-3 days.
 
Our bookshop.org shop includes recommendations by the team at Wrecking Ball, along with lists of the books that have inspired our writers. While we will be shining a light on the books that we stock in our ‘bricks and mortar’ bookshop in Hull, and Wrecking Ball Press titles, readers will also be able to purchase books that we don’t stock, and support us, and other independent bookshops, at the same time.
 
Below are some of our lists of recommended books. Happy shopping!
 
 
 

National Poetry Day 2021 – Vicky Foster’s The Constant Parade

Hull’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) and Humber Mouth Literature Festival have partnered with Wrecking Ball Press to commission Whitefriargate’s poet-in-residence for 2021, Vicky Foster.

Drawing on the street’s rich history and its long-standing role in the story of the city and the people who live and work on Whitefriargate, Vicky has written ‘The Constant Parade’.

Launching on National Poetry Day on Thursday 7 October, this short film of Vicky reading the poem, made by Wrecking Ball Press, will be seen on the big screen in Trinity Market Food Hall.

The poem will also be stencilled on the pavement at six locations along Whitefriargate.

The project has been funded by Historic England as part of Hull’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) and forms part of the Community Engagement Plan.

Vicky Foster is an award-winning writer, performer and poet who has broadcast extensively across the BBC. She has published two collections of writing and is currently working on her first novel whilst studying for a PhD in English and Creative Writing. She won The Society of Authors’ Imison Award at the 2020 BBC Audio Drama Awards for her Radio 4 play ‘Bathwater’, and last year her Radio 4 documentary, ‘Can I Talk About Heroes?’ was reviewed in the national media. She has written poetry for radio, podcast and TV, delivered writing projects and creative writing workshops for all kinds of organisations, and performed at festivals and events across the North. She is a writer-in-residence for First Story, working with schools to help young people write their own stories.

Find out more 

Wrecking Ball Press: 

https://wreckingballpress.com

https://twitter.com/wbphull

https://www.facebook.com/wreckingballpress/

Humber Mouth: 

http://humbermouth.com/vickyfoster/

https://twitter.com/humbermouth

https://www.facebook.com/humbermouthliteraturefestival

Historic England: 

https://historicengland.org.uk/services-skills/heritage-action-zones/regenerating-historic-high-streets/