Stories behind the Stories

A series of small interviews with the authors featured in The Route Book at Bedtime has been posted on The Route Book at Bedtime (Route 22) is a book of 12 stories that aims to capture those moments of deep emotional significance which return to us in our dreams. But what is the story behind the stories? In this feature, 10 of the authors talk about the inspiration behind the work. Here are a few samples.

M Y Alam on Smokes and Dust
I’d completed a draft while my father was in hospital for nearly three months. He recovered for a couple of months before relapsing. It’s not that I felt obliged to write anything about or even for him, but the love of the word was something he cultivated in me from an early age, sometimes without even knowing it. Unlike me, the writing was a much deeper part of who he was. Writing kept him alive, I used to think, but like everything else, even that left him. Barely able to hold a pen, he wrote his final poem, one of the most beautiful pieces of verse I’ve ever heard, a few days before he died.

Pippa Griffin on Crush
I wrote the first draft of ‘Crush’ during a two-week writing retreat in Devon. I was flicking through my notebooks and found notes for a story about a crush, and there was something there niggling at me, so I thought I’d better write it. I wrote the story quickly – ideas for Frances’s experiences coming quicker than I could write them down, memories of my own childhood crushes and how they felt never far away.

Sam Duda on The Parrot
I had just left a job, a girlfriend and a city, and gone to live in Cornwall. I scratched around for a while before finding a job on a beach. The only other worker was a Czech boy, Milan. I was anxious, self-aware and obsessive. He was carefree, hedonistic and unflappable. I drank with him all summer, trying to parrot him – not just to impress, but because it seemed an easier, more enjoyable way to live. The following year I moved to Newcastle and found myself slightly more carefree, hedonistic and unflappable. That’s when I wrote the story.

Cally Taylor on Imagination Avenue
‘Imagination Avenue’ was inspired by students using ‘For Sale’ boards to sledge down my street during one particularly snowy winter. They were so full of joy and glee they reminded me of children. I started to think about other occasions when I’d seen adults play – normally board games at Christmas – and the way even the most ‘grown up’ of faces lights up as they get lost in the moment. There’s something about playing that temporarily frees us from our day-to-day responsibilities and worries but, as adults, we’re far too self-conscious most of the time.

Click here to see the full list of interviews.

Click here for more on The Route Book at Bedtime

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