Origins of Gunboy

March 4, 2017

Hello, gentle readers.

 

When I started the book in 2013, it was because I didn’t know if I could write a book. It was a worthwhile question to put to myself. In 2015 I was about to self-publish, and my editor Siobhan recommended it to my now publisher Gary Compton. I don’t think I can ever thank her enough for this chance.

 

Now the date has been set. I will be published on March 7th (that’s this Tuesday) for everyone to read - or not. And that is a terrifying prospect. I expect most of you reading this will be a bibliophile or enjoy writing. Either that or you’re keeping up with hot new deals on Amazon.

 

Yes that happened, on the first day of pre-purchase. I don’t know how the algorithms work but I have to say it felt pretty good. If not short lived. On the following day I’d been usurped by a deluge of low priced erotica novels.

 

Strangely enough if you type in Gun Boy (with the space included) into Amazon’s search engine you’ll get some rather interesting titles. This is something to keep in mind if you’re conjuring up a book title yourself.

 

I can’t tell you precisely where the ideas for Gunboy came from. It’s fiction, a patchwork of truth, elaboration, desires and fears. My first intention for the story was a film, and that’s how I crafted the story: 120 pages of dialogue and scene direction.

 

The first scene conceived was of this young boy, bouncing off walls like a pin ball machine to some crazy drum and bass tune – probably something by 65 Days of Static. Each bullet fired from his guns would play into the music as he battled his way through a mob of goons to his final kill.

 

I thought it was the bees-knees and was a little more than surprised when the scene didn’t feature in the screenplay. Writers will agree: characters rarely do what you want. And this kid, Bo as I came to call him, disagreed with everything I had planned.

 

At the end of the first draft I had too many characters and not one of them was a lead. So I did what every blog and book on writing told me to do. I killed my babies, not since Governor Tarkin ordered the Death Star to fire on Alderaan have so many cried out in terror and suddenly been silenced.

 

The story had more red on it than a Tarantino flick and amongst the carnage I found my hero. Evan Bell was no more than a bag boy who bought it in the act; standing too close an injured woman who’d been turned into a living landmine.

 

But with Evan I had a desk jockey thrust into a situation well above his head and skill-set. I won’t spoil the story, only to say this: on the first draft I had a plot, by resurrecting Evan I had a story. Internal and external, I had a progression and I believe I’ve executed it. Of course, the final judgement isn’t mine. It’s yours.

 

Leighton Dean

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