Three Years Since Our Endless Numbered Days was Published

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I can’t believe it’s been three years since my debut novel, Our Endless Numbered Days was first published. The book has introduced me to some wonderful people, and has given me amazing experiences. Here are 10 things you might not know about me and this book:

  1. I can’t play the piano (there is a lot about piano music in the book), but I can just about read music thanks to a year of oboe lessons when I was fourteen.
  2. My mother is German, but like the mother in the book she never taught me German. (That’s the only resemblance my mother has to Ute.)
  3. The book was originally going to be called The Great Divide, and then Briar Rose (after Sleeping Beauty), until I decided on Our Endless Numbered Days (from the album by Iron and Wine whom I listened to while writing).
  4. I chose the name Reuben for one of the characters because that’s one I had on a list of possible names for my son before he was born. (He ended up with Henry.)
  5. When I was writing the book a friend shot me a squirrel and kept it in his freezer so I could see what it would be like to skin it, cook it, and eat it. (It went rancid when it was defrosted and I never even saw it.)
  6. As a child I was as obsessed with the film of The Railway Children as Peggy is. My sister had the album and I listened to it so often I can still quote it.
  7. The book was inspired by the real-life story of a teenager who turned up in Berlin saying he’d been living in the German forests for the previous five years.
  8. At the UK launch we had a chocolate cake in the shape of a cabin. It all got eaten. (Very Hansel and Gretel.)
  9. I am much more aware now of disaster preparedness and will sometimes buy more cans of beans than we actually need.
  10. I didn’t go to Germany for research, but I did walk the woods near where I live in England. I wanted to spend the night alone in them, but when it came down to it, I was too frightened.

 

Buy a copy of Our Endless Numbered Days via these outlets.
Read an article about what I’d learnt a year after Our Endless Numbered Days was published.
Watch a video of me drawing the cabin from Our Endless Numbered Days.
Contact me to ask me about the book, or if you’d like a set of book club questions.

Short story: When we were seventeen

006“Mary-Anne, do you remember the tree by the river, when we were seventeen?”
“Who is this?”
“It’s me, of course,” said the man on the telephone.
“I don’t know who you are.” I said, but didn’t hang up.
“I recall you complained about the sun in your eyes, and that the dappled mare was baring her teeth. I told you she’s only jealous, so I could see your smile.”
“How did you get this number?”
“I know you haven’t forgotten. I know you think about it often,” he said, laughing in that infectious way he had when he was alive.

***

This piece of writing was inspired by the picture prompt provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for the Friday Fictioneers writing group. She is also our kind host for all our stories. Each week writers from around the world attempt to write 100 words (or so) and this week I’m spot on. This week I owe a huge debt to the musician Iron and Wine and his song ‘The Tree by the River‘.

I’d love to receive comments and constructive criticism. Click here to read other people’s stories inspired by this picture or to join in.

Short story: Cut in Cursive

Dust motes danced in the early morning light that filtered through the closed shutters. With a table fork I carved the name ‘Ruben’ into the wooden dresser, low down, where it wouldn’t be noticed. It took a long time before I was finally happy with the cursive letters.

Later, at breakfast with my mother and Oskar, I watched the name out of the corner of my eye. It looked lonely and I thought that maybe tomorrow morning, when everyone was still asleep I would come downstairs again and carve my name beside his.

***

I often listen to a piece of music when I’m writing and this time it was Iron and Wine’s Muddy Hymnal. If you want to hear it, here’s a link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=vR3jQQH9sYg

I’m writing a novel and I use the 100 word (or so) prompt for Madison Woods’ #Fridayfictioneers as ideas for scenes. So this piece of writing was a combination of novel, picture and music.

I’d love to receive comments and constructive criticism. Click here to read other people’s stories inspired by this picture, provided by Raina Ng.