Can you tell us what the book is about?
It’s about a man, he’s getting old, feeling kind of lonely, bored after the death of his wife, kind of useless. So rather than sitting around he decided to get out and do something.
Do you feel it touches on some universal themes?
Well, I don’t want to overdo it, it’s only a short story really, but I gave it the structure of a novel. I think it certainly addresses concerns that are common across different countries and cultures – aging, mortality, these are things that affect all of us. The book was longer originally, but I cut it down because I was initially going to try and get it published in a literary journal.
Who is it aimed at?
Everyone who feels, who thinks, who wonders! I think it resonates with, especially, I know a lot of men as the get older, they tend to withdraw into themselves, particularly after they have retired. Women can become more active in older age. There’s this great thing, Men in Sheds, which gets older men in the UK out of their houses and in the company of other older men, I think it’s wonderful, and in my story, I touch on some of those themes, what it’s like for a man to feel redundant.
And did you send it to any journals?
I sent it to a few, but it got rejected. That didn’t put me off though, it was more that I don’t think the story really fitted into the kind of things these journals publish. A lot of the stories in them seem a bit bleak, they are all about exploring the spaces and silences between people, whereas I am more interested in the things that connect people. Life certainly can be bleak, but I don’t really enjoy reading about that kind of thing. I think, except perhaps in the darkest parts of the world, there is always humour and warmth to be found.
Who would read it then?
Well, I think people who are older would find it interesting, both men and women, but also the generations before those older ones, the people who are now starting to see their parents get older, have health problems, pass away. That is my generation, and suddenly it hits you, “oh, I’m not immortal after all”. There are hints, little things before then, but I think it’s not really until you get into your forties that most people really start to realise that, they start to see that they are finite beings, and so are the people around them, that they love and care about. It’s a powerful thing.