By Kate Bulpitt
Purple People is a jolly dystopia, telling the story of an outlandish scheme to curtail crime and anti-social behaviour - by dyeing offenders purple - and the news-loving lass who investigates it
Sunday, 23 July 2017
Hello, pals of Purple People!
I hope this finds you all well and dandy. And firstly, a massive, neon-lit thank you for pledging. It really is hugely appreciated.
With this being the first official update (woo!), I thought I'd share a couple of brief tales with you as to how the book came about - and found a home with the ace folk at Unbound.
Some moons ago I lived in New York, where I'd keep up to date with the news back in Blighty, increasingly astonished at the crazy, random crimes people would commit. During one visit home, a friend told me about a close shave she'd had with some tricksy types, and I thought: why do people do such pointless, upsetting things to others - and what could (in a however loopy, hypothetical way) be done to curb such despicable behaviour?
I'd already been percolating on an idea for another novel, which involved curtailing a very specific sort of anti-social behaviour, employing a method I'd seen in a film in the 80s which had stuck in my mind (I'll say no more - no spoilers here!). I realised I could transfer that method to this new story, resulting in the branding of criminals, and thus 'Purple People' was born.
Having spent many years writing the novel, I then started to send it out to agents and publishers. I had some great, encouraging feedback - but folk either wanted a typically dark, merriment-free dystopia, or they liked it, but couldn't imagine which publisher would adopt it. I'd been a fan of Unbound for many years (my first pledge was for the sublime 'Letters of Note'), and had been pondering on sending them 'Purple People'.
Last year I'd pledged for an excellent satire via Unbound - Sam Smit's 'The Serendipity Foundation', and in his bio there was mention of the Port Eliot Festival. That wasn't a jamboree that I'd heard of so, intrigued, I checked their website, and found they had my dream line up - as though they'd curated it after clambering into my tangled, pop magazine-loving, curiosity shop-affiliated brain. Thus in July, my friend Kate and I gadded forth to Port Eliot - where not only did I meet two former Smash Hits writer idols (swoon!), but went to a talk on cheerfulness*... where I encountered none other than John Mitchinson, one of the founders of Unbound. I hopped overexcitably towards him, told him I'd found the festival thanks to one of Unbound's marvels - and said I had a book which I promised was good, but that, being a bit wonky and seemingly not like all the other books, was still trying to find a home. With comradely sympathy and enthusiasm he said to send it to him... and here we are.
Anyway... I'll pipe down now. But thank you again, so much, for pledging. Being published by Unbound and experiencing the generosity and enthusiasm of others in helping 'Purple People' come to life is an extraordinary treat.
* = at this talk I learned that the merry greeting 'watcha!' derives from the old expression 'What cheer?'. There's a party fact for you!