Thursday, July 7, 2011

Guest Blogger Roger Lawrence

This has been an amazing summer for me because of my guest bloggers.  I love seeing the answers to their questions and their blog.  This next guest is an author from England I recently met on Shelfari.   I have been very impressed with his works.  I don't believe he gets as much attention as his writing deserves.  Besides his fun stories, he is a kind person and supportive of his friends, and he has a great sense of humor. If you aren't already following him, I know you'll want to:  Take a look at his blog and see for yourself.

Roger had to be away for work so he was able to answer the questions.  He has also allowed me to use part of 'Three Hoodies', which is one of my favorite stories of his.  So, let's get to the questions:

1. I've noticed on your website, all of your writings have a touch of humor. Is this a natural part of your writing, or do you work at humor?
I've tried to write in a more serious way. In fact I wrote four novels without any intentional comedy. Unfortunately even I could see that they just weren't very good. Certainly not good enough to send to a publisher or agent. But more to the point I didn't enjoy it. My friend's all think that I'm slightly strange but after a number of years spent in the Royal Marines, in places where life was very grim, it was humour that saved me. And as I enjoy writing it I see no reason to change. It reduces my potential market but ultimately I write because it's fun. If that were to end I'd just have to find another hobby.

2. Three hoodies is very interesting. Do you think it will be your favorite writing? If not, which one is?
Three Hoodies is my favourite because it was the first series I began. I have almost finished the third of four. There is another series about four old men who never really grew up and rampage through time causing all kinds of accidental mischief. It is their cynicism as opposed to the boys' naivety which makes it fun. I really like both series' equally because it requires a different frame of mind to switch. 

3. If you could live on any planet besides earth, which one and why?
I wouldn't like to live on any particular planet since I have the attention span of a gnat. What would really thrill me is a ship that would allow me to cruise around the galaxy, and then as soon as I got bored I could hit the Warp Drive and simply find another.

4. Did you have a favorite show growing up that influenced your life?
Star Trek. When I was about six the TV was full of ads promising us this new show from the US. Then for some reason it was postponed for nearly a year. I was devastated and was a much more world-weary seven by the time it finally arrived but was well worth the wait. Coming from a very racially mixed part of Birmingham there was always a lot of tension. The idea that we could all live in a world where race had absolutely no bearing was a revelation.

5. If you could meet any famous person, past or present who would it be?
Leonardo da Vinci. That man was so ahead of his, and possibly our time. To meet such a brilliant man would have been the most thrilling thing I could or ever imagine

I have reprinted just a portion from Chap 1 of 'Three Hoodies'.  Sadly, my system refused to open much of the document.  Here, at least, is a sampling of his fine writing.

‘She bought you an actual star? Big deal.’
    It had taken a lot of work but David’s image in the mirror was just right. Blue eyes gazed coolly out at the world the way he’d seen Vin Diesel do so many times. The Tee shirt he’d stuffed down the bottom of his bed nearly a week ago was impressively creased. And just to add extra polish, his freshly torn jeans were faded in just the right places, even if they were so baggy that the waist band kept slipping below his hips making him waddle like a penguin. It didn’t matter. A week of not washing it had made his unruly blond hair achieve exactly the right greasiness. It itched a bit, but all the others said that was cool, and soon he’d be old enough to start getting spots. A final pump of his Hydro-Pneumatic Air-Trainers and he fled the house.
    He was fairly pleased with his new hoodie. His mum had got it right for a change. It was better than the last one which must have been designed for a gorilla with a hump. The hood had been so big that it had kept slipping over his face causing him to bump into things and look like a complete plonker. He didn’t even like wearing them but everyone said it was like a uniform, and if he didn’t he would automatically join the group at school whose days were spent in terror of the spectacularly nasty tricks which school kids were so good at. The idea of extracting his head from the toilet held little appeal; and as to what it would to his credibility didn’t bear thinking about..
    His one insistence at individualism that made the ‘uniform’ bearable were the half dozen lurid badges of imaginary US fighter squadrons he’d found at a boot-sale. All in all, just the biz. Normally the stuff she got for him was about eight eons out of date. Last Christmas she’d actually bought him a pair of flairs!
    Saturday awaited.
    Two whole days until school so there was a lot to do. Two days could last for ever when a really inventive mind was put to work, and if he was anything he was inventive. Aunty Joan had recently said that in the deliberately annoying tone adults usually adopted when they didn’t really want you to know what they were talking about. And although he’d never been entirely sure there wasn’t some kind of slur lurking within the remark, it sounded good provided you didn’t actually think about it too much. Anyway, who cared?
    But this star thing his mum had given him. It was just a white dot in an endless sea of other white dots. He might not even have been looking at the right one. And why had it required a few clumps of his hair to pay for it? She was probably just winding him up. It wouldn’t be the first time. His mum’s sense of humour was sometimes as unfathomable as that of all adults; which is to say, not funny at all.
    The glossy five by eight photo now lay in the wardrobe with all the rest of his treasures; junk mostly that he knew should have been chucked out years before, especially the stuffed frog. That was getting a bit pongy now. But it was also the one thing he couldn’t throw away because he’d given it to him. Still, he was fourteen now and if the lads ever found out they’d never let him live it down.
    First stop, Edna’s Caff, the nearest thing they had to a burger bar in this wilderness so far away from anywhere even remotely resembling civilisation. His friends would be waiting, both eager to know what his birthday had brought in the way of stuff. And Sad-case, well he’d be just like he always was when someone got something he’d never had: scornful and unimpressed.
        David would confidently have staked a year’s pocket money on how Sad-case would react to his news. On what he would say and exactly how he would say it. Even though he was one of David’s two best friends he was a real pain at times. If David’s birthday present had been the Empire State Building he’d have laughed scornfully and say he had two. Nothing could ever impress him since he had, and knew absolutely everything; or claimed to, anyway. He’d seen the film and bought the tee-shirt; although he hadn’t read the book. In fact any book, ever, as far as David could recall.
    It wasn’t that he was thick or anything. Sad’s fundamental philosophy was: if there was time to do anything even remotely constructive, like homework, then why not use it to antagonise a girl, or, better still, annoy a grown up. And with his unusually large and heavily muscled body he usually got away with it. David had heard the science teacher whisper to someone a couple of months back that he was either a mutant, or a throw-back. He had no idea what either meant but guessed they probably weren’t compliments
    Sad-case wasn’t his actual name of course – even his parents didn’t hate him that much. But such was his loathing of his real name and his complete refusal to respond to it even from teachers regardless of how many lines or hideous punishments they meted out to him, David had pronounced him to be a terminally Sad-case. His new friend had seized the tribute with a strange pride and thus he had become. 

Thank you so much, Roger, for taking the time to guest blog for us.  I know all of us want to read more of this story.


Beth said...

This is great! Hi Roger!! And, yes...I want to read more of this story. See you at Shelfari.

Mike said...

Hi Roger, great story so far! :-)

Elizabeth Maginnis said...

Roger, you're a talented writer. I enjoyed reading this excerpt! Keep at it.

Lena Winfrey Seder said...


I enjoyed reading your excerpt! Very intersting. Good luck with your writing!