Review of Boy & Girl

Go over to Amazon and read Ginger Dawn’s review of Boy & Girl on Amazon. Here’s a snippet from the end of that.

… Boy & Girl is an entertaining and intricate novel. It offers a message about interpersonal relationships and importance of free will/choice. However, it never overwhelms the characters or the story. I understood this very well when I was shocked and screaming “No!” at the end. The epilogue is a wonderful gift from an author who truly understands his relationship with his readers….

Unfortunately, in the mean time, Ginger has decided to delete all her reviews.

Healing in Boy & Girl

art

An important aspect of Boy & Girl is the ability Peter and Kaitling develop to heal people from within. I wrote a short story based on that idea, called Inside Out. Here is the beginning:

It seems so strange to our eyes, but at the time they couldn’t see things otherwise, the healer explained, talking mind-to-mind to a handful of apprentice healers around the world. In those days, they came at the body from the outside. It wasn’t simply that they didn’t have our techniques to enter the body with their minds. Their whole attitude was extrinsic. All their knowledge about the body resided outside of it, buried in books, in scientific papers and in data gathered by machines. They only dimly grasped what was going on. They kept new healers away from people in need of healing. Instead, they had them study books and photos and films. They would have been horrified if anyone had tried to heal others without all that knowledge. For them, it made medicine legitimate and efficient. In reality, the accumulated knowledge blocked access to what they really needed to know… (Read on)

50’000 words and still writing …

I have just passed to 50’000 word mark on the follow up novel to Boy & Girl, that’s just under half way through the book. Here’s a short extract from around the fifty thousand mark:

Andrew did not immediately reply. He seemed caught up in his own thoughts. “It is only appropriate that I should go to say my last words to him dressed as a girl. He hardly knew me any other way.” Andrew turned to Peter. “Would you agree to sing if I play piano?” he asked, adding as an after thought: “I’d very much like you to be dressed as a girl like me.”

Peter was hesitant. The idea of appearing as a girl in front of a larger number of people many of whom might well know him was worrying. But his main concern was his voice. He wasn’t sure it would hold out.

Ambiguity on Pinterest

Ella

As part of preparation for my novel Boy & Girl I collected photos related to gender ambiguity on a Pinterest board (*). It was not easy to find suitable material. For some reason, many males who dress as females often feel a need to exhibit their masculinity in a way that is not suitable for the wider audience. Others go in for derision which doesn’t fit with the preoccupations of Boy & Girl either. Peter, one of the main characters in the story, wanted to look like a girl not parody them.

In Boy & Girl, Peter struggles with his desire to dress as a girl, at a time when such behaviour was seen as homosexual which in turn was illegal in Britain. Both in Boy & Girl and in the subsequent In Search of Lost Girls, Peter tries to come to terms with what cross-dressing means for him with the help of some extraordinary people he meets.

For sample chapters from Boy & Girl and In Search of Lost Girls, click on the titles.

The photo above is of Ella who went to great lengths to look like a girl and was very successful at it. She wrote extensively about her situation and about her desire to transition to being a girl. There’s a link to her webpage on Pinterest.

(*) Note that Pinterest deleted all my content and my account without the slightest explanation.

Pre-order Boy & Girl now

Girl & Boy Front cover

Peter glanced at the date pinned to the school notice board: Friday, May 13th 1960. For a Friday 13th, he’d managed to escape the worst so far, but who knew what catastrophe might be waiting in ambush…

Read the 1st chapter of Boy & Girl.

Pre-order Boy &  Girl

You can now pre-order Boy & Girl which will be published in September 2012. Go to the online shop.

Boys and reading

A report out today, quoted by the BBC, underlines the difficulties boys have with reading. It notes however: “…there is evidence that the literacy gender gap has been around for some time, with girls outperforming boys for perhaps as long as 60 years.

Back in 1960, Peter, in Boy & Girl, also had problems with reading. Here’s a glimpse at his thoughts as he entered his English classroom only to discover he had forgotten his homework.

It wasn’t that he disliked English, it was one of his least boring subjects, apart from maths that is. Rather, it was English that disliked him. How many times had his teachers told him he was clueless? His spelling was atrocious, they moaned, his compositions wild and incoherent and when he tried to read out loud, he stumbled over even the most common words. At such times his guts shrunk to half their size in humiliation.

And here is a short conversation with his English reacher, after class is over.

“How often do you read?” she asked.
“From time to time.” Rarely would have been a more honest answer. He liked stories, didn’t he tell himself stacks of them, but reading books wasn’t the same.
“Do you have any books at home?” she asked.
“Two,” he replied.
“Apart from Shadow the Sheepdog, what’s the other one?” she asked with a tired smile.
“Peter Pan,” he replied, blushing.
“You could go to the library,” she suggested, sounding sceptical about her own idea.
He shrugged. How could he tell her it wasn’t personal? He just didn’t enjoy reading.
Extracts from Boy & Girl, Chapter 1.

Epilogue

I am some ten chapters from the end of my latest novel, Boy & Girl, and up to yesterday I still had no idea how it would end. Then suddenly in the evening everything fell into place and the end was clear and startling and brutal. Maybe it was because I could not leave the story on that note that I awoke in the middle of this night with all the words of an epilogue tumbling into my mind. I got up and wrote those one thousand words and then could go back to sleep content.

Peter

No, not Peter Pan. Peter is the code name for Alan McCluskey’s latest novel which is currently being written. Read a short extract from the beginning of the book and see a map of the island of Drailong which figures later in the book.

The island of Drailong