Part One: The Road Home by Rose Tremain
I’ve discussed the inspiration for A Missing MC elsewhere, but I view my influences as something altogether different.
Take what I happened to be reading when I started to work on the novel, my first attempt at such an endeavour. As it needed my full attention and started to occupy my every thought, what I was reading at the end of a day’s work was always going have a role to play.
I make no apology for these accidental influences. As I’ve hinted in posts below, I was trying to find my style, my method, my voice. For those of you who have read A Missing MC (or are just about to), I couldn’t pretend otherwise.
I’ve picked out three books that I remember most vividly from that time. First up, The Road Home by Rose Tremain.
This triumphant, epic novel tells the story of Lev, who travels to London from Eastern Europe to find work. Fabulously written, The Road Home encouraged me to stick to my guns and keep Chris Ready’s flashbacks to his past heyday within the present narrative. I was considering creating standalone chapters about Ready’s past and why it is so significant when we pick up the story, but The Road Home convinced me this would have killed the tempo.
I was also intrigued by a peripheral character, Lev’s straight-talking friend Rudi. Giving Lev his opinions from back home in Eastern Europe, Rudi’s expressive voice can be vividly heard through the telephone line. His presence is strong, and gave me a good starting point for trying to do something similar for Strait, the beleaguered ‘missing MC’ himself.
Both Rudi and Strait are almost like ghosts; they not in the here and now of the story, but considerably effect it; Lev looks to Rudi just like I wanted Ready to look to Strait. It’s up to you to decide whether I made that work.
The Road Home won the Orange Prize in 2008. I thoroughly recommend it, just look at some of the reviews on Goodreads!
Click here to find out about the inspiration behind A Missing MC.