Blood Ties by Peter Taylor-Gooby
I am thrilled to be taking part in the book tour run by Love Book Group Tours for the launch of @PeterT_G Peter Taylor-Gooby’s third novel, Blood Ties published by Matador books @matadorbooks. Peter has taken time out at this busy time to chat with me. This is the result of our interview.
Thanks for joining me, today. What inspired you to write your book?
The belief that even silly, thoughtless people can do good things – in other words – hope!
Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
Ritchie, because he keeps screwing things up but he never lets it get him down. He doesn’t stop trying.
What was the first story you had published?
Apart from school magazine etc it’s my first novel “The Baby Auction”. I’ve wanted to write since I can remember but always been too nervous about the outcome to publish. Now I think “What the heck? The worst thing that can happen is no one reads it: win-win – they don’t waste their time and I’m not embarrassed!”
Do you have another story planned or in progress? When can we expect to see that?
Yes – several! The one I’m working on at present is about the conflict between young and old and how love and care between generations cuts across it. Give me at least a year.
Who is your favourite author?
Sir Kazuo Ishiguro. “Never Let Me Go” still has the power to make me cry.
What do you like to do when you’re not planning or writing your next book?
Walk in empty places, the Highlands, Dungeness, the Cumbrian coast.
When did you know you wanted to write novels?
Do you write novels in other genres?
Yes “The Baby Auction” is a science fiction fantasy with a contemporary edge. I’ve always really wanted to write what I call “Social Science Fiction” – novels that are fantasies but are rooted in real societies and the real issues that confront us in our everyday lives.
What do you like most about being an author?
Freedom! You can take your character anywhere. It’s exciting!
Do you have a specific routine for writing? Is there a special place or particular tool you use?
No. I plan everything carefully over a period of months, then write in bursts as the ideas rush out and onto the page. Then I spend more months drafting and redrafting as I discover my original plan is now junk.
What advice do you have for other writers?
Write! Start out by imagining a character and then putting them in situations, especially conflict and tension (a job interview, meeting new people at a dinner party, discussing your novel will a potential publisher) and discovering how they develop. I’m sure they will surprise you and that’s what’s so exhilarating.
If your book were to be made into an Audiobook, who would you choose to read it?
Sir Ian McLellen, because he is so brilliant.
If your book were to be made into a movie, who would you like to play main character’s name?
Ritchie Gervais – he makes me laugh.
Ritchie’s life is shadowed by the death of his wife, Cat, in a car accident twenty-two years previously. He was the driver. He loves his children – Nic, who is bi-polar and often impulsive, and Jack. Both are active in the campaign to welcome asylum-seekers and refugees to Britain. His life comes to a crisis as he realises how much his children despise his trade in advertising and how much the loss of Cat still means to them all.
Ritchie abandons his career but achieves new success in driving Britain’s treatment of refugees up the political agenda. This earns him the respect of his children but brings him to the attention of Makepeace, the populist Home Secretary. Nic, his daughter, strives to show she can overcome her disorder. She infiltrates a people-trafficking gang but is arrested as a criminal. Makepeace uses this to blackmail Ritchie to help him in his political schemes. Ritchie is horrified to discover that his task is to sell the reintroduction of forced labour, modern slavery, to the public. As a result he is once again rejected by his children.
Ritchie has reached rock bottom. He is desolate but believes he can outsmart Makepeace. Blood Ties shows how he finally resolves the situation, embraces the causes his children hold dear and reunites his family.
I enjoy talking to my children, holidays, hill-walking and riding my bike. I’ve worked on adventure playgrounds, as a teacher, as an antique dealer and in a social security office in Newcastle. Before that I spent a year on a Gandhian Ashram in Vijayawada, supporting myself as assistant editor on a local English-language newspaper. In my day job I’m an academic but I believe that you can only truly understand the issues that matter to people through your feelings, your imagination and your compassion.
That’s why I write novels. My first novel, The Baby Auction, 2017, is a love story set in a fantasy world where the only rule is the law of the market. That someone should help another because they care for them simply doesn’t make sense to the citizens of Market World, any more that auctioning babies might to us. My second, Ardent Justice, 2018, is a crime story set in the world of high finance and city fat-cats, where money rules, but greed can trip even the most successful. My third, Blood Ties, 2020, is about the ties of love in a troubled family, and the bonds of debt that chain illegal immigrants to people-traffickers, and how they can be broken through self-sacrifice. I hope you enjoy them.