Patrick Gale was recently in our fantastic independent bookstore, The Falmouth Bookseller, at the beginning of his book signing tour. It was an unticketed event (unlike many on his tour), and when I was there, there was only a chap ahead of me. I had a short, but enjoyable conversation with Patrick about the book, the tour, Cornwall… I said that the tour must be a blessing and a curse, to which he replied, “but I get to meet my readers”
Writing can be an isolating choice, and reviews can be dispiriting but in a book signing tour, you’re generally going to meet those enthusiasts. It must feel very affirming, as well as doubtless meeting some contractual obligation with a publisher. In my own small way, it struck me, I love hearing that someone has appreciated (let’s not say enjoyed) my book “Hurt”. Imagine my delight yesterday when someone took the trouble to phone me having just put the book down. It’s not someone I know well, so it gave me even greater pleasure to hear someone not only praising the endeavour (and therefore recognising my passion and drive to make the book happen) but also the writing. That’s the little bit of me in the process. I felt that it was a real act of kindness to call me, and I appreciate it.
This week I’m still ploughing on with the words (15,000 to date) and have resisted going back and editing it. I need to look at some sermons today, as my priest needs to start ranting and thumping the lectern, and it’s beyond my experience (and I do want that to be authentic as I write it). I’m revising an article for Sailing Today (I’ve been told it will be in the next edition, presumably not the one that will be released in the next few days), and then I really want to tout for an article looking at the watershed of Savile/Operation Yewtree and the publication date of Hurt. Ideas floating around, which need to percolate and then be pinned down. I’m so enjoying writing at the moment.
When I was researching Hurt, I read a lot, spoke a lot, and thought a lot about paedophiles. I felt I needed to in order to write with any authority about the sexual abuse of children. In the opening chapter ‘ the unspeakable truths’, I wrote about the myths surrounding paedophiles. The media, at the time, would have us believe that they are gruesome monsters, grotesques. I was challenging that view in my introduction, exploring not the possibility, but the reality, that in most cases paedophiles are nicer than nice.
Here we have the sordid truths unveiling of how prolific sex offenders get away with it. By hiding in the open. The archetypal wolf in lamb’s clothing. The case of Jimmy Savile is well documented today, as people struggle to reconcile this magnanimous, generous, popular figure with another aspect – that he was a sexual predator of children. The same is true in the US, the football coach Jerry Sandusky. This time, it was a case of manipulating his role in sport to access children. Like Savile, his persona and work for charity was a cover. Sandusky was sentenced in October 2012 to a long term in prison (30-60 years) for sexually offences against minors following decades of abuse. There can be no case brought against Savile. His death has saved him from prosecution.
In my work at Mosac, a common theme would be the cry of “how did I not know”, from the non-abusing parents. This cry has been echoed down the helpline phone lines, and reverberates around the therapy rooms. They did not know because the paedophiles were not grotesques, they did not present as demons, but as caring, warm people. Grooming of the parent is as much a part of the manipulation in order to sexually abuse their child or children.
It is my hope that in exposing Jimmy Savile as a prolific child sex offender that the general public may stop looking in the shadows for those who steal the childhoods from our children, and start looking in the open.
Yesterday I signed a contract with Live It Publishing and publishmybookonkindle.com for the move of Hurt to the Kindle platform. I am so excited about this. I wrote Hurt so that the stories of the families of children who were sexually abused could be heard – to give a voice to this voiceless section of society. Sales of the paperback book have been steady, but not staggering. It has been frustrating that the voices aren’t being more loudly heard – although I know that Hurt is reaching those that need it. By going on Kindle, a different marketing strategy can be applied, and it has every potential to go viral. So, go Adam (publishmybookonkindle.com) do what you can to accelerate Hurt up the Kindle sales list. Watch this space for details….