Tag Archives: Jonathan Bailey

TALKING GRIEF – Somewhere Beyond the Sea

When I was writing Somewhere Beyond the Sea, my Dad suddenly passed away. How do you write a book with grief as a key theme when you’ve just lost someone you love?

This is an intensely personal vlog, but I wanted to talk about the experience of what I learned about my own grief while putting Seren and Jack’s grief on the page. Also, how hearing my words spoken back to me, in a key scene read by the actor Jonathan Bailey in the audio version of the book, made me realise what I’d written.

This was tough to film and hard to watch back, but I think it’s right to share it. We don’t talk about grief, which is one of the main reasons I wanted to talk about it in Somewhere Beyond the Sea. Often books like mine are dismissed as ‘light’ and wrongly criticised for shying away from the issues that really matter. I hope this demonstrates how wrong that assumption is.

Thanks for watching x

New vlog series – WILL IT BE A FILM?

It’s the question I’m asked more than any other as an author (and the one I secretly love…) – if Somewhere Beyond the Sea was made into a film, who would I cast in the lead roles?

In this mini-vlog I talk about why having a film or TV adaptation of your book is every authors’ dream, tell you who my original Jack was when I was writing the story and reveal why my casting choice changed when I heard the audio version of the book, read by Clare Corbett and Jonathan Bailey

Who would you cast? I’d love to know!

Happy watching! xx

Magic moments – listen to this!

(I’m not singing this time, promise!) I’ve just been sent the finished audiobook of Somewhere Beyond the Sea and it’s absolutely blown me away… 

On Monday I went down to the studio in London to record some author bits for the audiobook and I could tell from the team that they were excited by the work Clare Corbett and Jonathan Bailey have done reading Seren and Jack’s chapters in the book.

But I wasn’t prepared for how amazing it would be.

Here’s the thing: probably most people don’t know that I studied Drama at university and for a long time my ambition was to be an actor. It didn’t happen (two awful auditions put paid to that idea – remind me to tell you about them some time…), but I have never lost my love of drama, film and theatre. When I write, I see it in my head like a film. I remember a writer telling me once that writing books is the best way to fulfil a secret acting ambition – we give ourselves all the best lines through our characters. In my case I think that’s true! So where I couldn’t appear on a physical stage, I create a stage – a TV screen, a film screen – on the page instead.

When words on the page are brought to life by performance, magic happens. I read all my books aloud when I’m editing – particularly when I’m doing the final proof edit. If the rhythm is wrong, especially for dialogue, I always work out the right one by speaking it first. I write with a particular rhythm in mind – it’s very similar to writing music. The beats have to be right, the light and shade placed correctly, otherwise it clunks and is difficult to read.

So when I listened to the two opening chapters featured in the Soundcloud clip below, I knew where all the beats were. It’s scary waiting to see how someone else has interpreted your words! And what happened next was magical. Every beat, every rhythm, every point of emotion and humour, wistfulness and pain were hit perfectly – and there was more, too: nuances in the dialogue that I hadn’t anticipated, moments where I was drawn closer to the characters as they spoke, moments that made me giggle. It was like hearing my story for the first time and I couldn’t believe I wrote that. I wrote that! Wow!

I dream of one day writing a script that’s produced as drama, either for TV or film. Listening to Clare and Jonathan’s performances of my words has made me think that it might yet be possible. Somewhere Beyond the Sea is written from Seren and Jack’s alternating perspectives and is the closest to a monologue/Talking Heads-style story I’ve ever written, so to hear it spoken and performed so perfectly has made me so proud of what I’ve created.

Being very British I’ve often downplayed pride in my work, but I’m changing that, starting now. Somewhere Beyond the Sea is my heart and soul and I’ve poured everything I’ve got into it. I am so utterly proud of it. And the way that Clare and Jonathan have not only respected my words but illuminated them, given them breath and life, is an absolute gift. Often as an author the mountain-top moments are few and far between, but this is one of those pinch-me-I’m-dreaming moments where it all comes together.

Want to hear what’s reduced me to tears and made me grin like a LOON all afternoon? Click this link to hear the first two chapters of the Somewhere Beyond the Sea audiobook, starring Clare Corbett as SEREN and Jonathan Bailey as JACK. Prepare to fall in love!

Clare-Corbett

CLARE CORBETT as SEREN

jonathan-bailey

JONATHAN BAILEY as JACK