Guest blog from the awe - inspiring William George Sutton.
The premise of your latest work
Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square:
A new constable is summoned to Euston Square where a hydraulic crane has burst: a man lies dead, but it’s only a tramp, and nobody seems to care.
1860. They’re building the first Underground line. Sounds normal now, was mind-boggling then. Simultaneously they’re building the sewers that transform London from a stinking morass into today’s city.
But if you were one of those dispossessed by the march of all this progress, how would you feel about the gleaming banquet at Farringdon Station scheduled for opening day? Mightn’t you wish the odd prince to choke on his Chablis?
What led you to write?
Is there a key person or group that has inspired you in the process of writing?
I got immense help from Jason Bermingham in São Paulo. We used to sing in pubs. (Jonny Cash and the Beatles: “You’re so exotic,” they said, which just shows that exotic is a relative term.) Jason’s a writer and has a brilliant ear for language. Invaluable advice; great writing companionship.
These days I get a lot from performing with friends through the ReAuthoring project. They’ve sent me to write in fields, shout on poop decks, play in restaurants and act weird in libraries. After that, sitting at home writing ain’t so hard any more.
How do you envision your work will impact your readers?
They will hear choirs of angels singing the square root of minus one and be elevated to a higher plane of being.
What was the overall message you wanted to convey to your audience?
I wanted to tell a story about love and loyalty. If someone you admired was doing something you couldn’t accept, how far can you be loyal? If they wanted to shock the world out of its lethargy with a violent act…
What process did you go through to build the narrative of your book?
I tried to pull apart several novels I admired. Not just old ones (the Moonstone, Great Expectations, Heart of Darkness), but recent ones too (Iain Banks’ Complicity, Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, Paul Auster’s Leviathan). To look at the characters and how that emotional network drives the action.
I wrote a massive detailed synopsis, frustrating when you just want to write the book, but it proved crucial. Having the shape of the narrative took the pressure off and allowed me to have more fun.
Can you describe the pivotal event that led you to write your book ?
I was living in Brazil. My landlady was an Anglo-Brazilian lady fallen on hard times: hence the dodgy lodgers, and she only had the maid in occasionally. One day the maid didn’t turn up, but her daughter came in instead. I asked why. The maid had been killed in a car crash, my landlady told me. I didn’t speak Portuguese well and I asked how to say I was sorry to her daughter. My landlady told me, but frowned and added, “But really you don’t need to. These people, they don’t feel these things so much.”
Are there any tips you can share on what parents can do to foster the love of reading and books?
Read books. Enjoy books. Put down your phone. Read books you enjoy. Don’t lecture about it.
What aspect of life do you want your readers to know about?
Describe the role books played in your own life.
Large, loud, looming, lovely, lolloping, lubricious, grounding, groovy, gratifying, goggly, googly, giggly, grand.
Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square
William Sutton is a writer, musician and Latin teacher who lives in Southsea.
“Genuinely funny.” Michael Gardiner Scotland on Sunday
“Thoroughly enjoyable.” Allan Massie The Scotsman
"First-rate Victorian crime fiction." The Herald