Thursday, 16 January 2020
Salt Lick is on the Starting Blocks
Welcome to the page for Salt Lick. I’m delighted that Unbound have agreed to publish my second book and look forward to making lots of new connections with readers on the way.
To help you get to know the book here are ten things about it.
1. The first spark was an image of a man in prison thinking about the inside of his body.
2. When writing I made the journey Isolde takes on foot by car once (my first visit to Suffolk) and by google street view several times, overlaying the route on maps of predicted sea level rises.
3. It was originally going to be called Wetlands, because a character pictures the interior of his body as a landscape that he explores, but that is already the name of a high-profile novel so I changed it. I think Salt Lick is better.
4. One of the main influences was a song by The Handsome Family called Peace in the Valley Once Again.
5. The idea for including the dog, Mister Maliks came from talking to a fellow volunteer, Mick, at the St Anne’s homeless service. He said there was something about a boy and a dog, and I realised it would be a great way to structure Jesse’s story.
6. The cow chorus was going to be stray dogs for a while. I’m so glad I decided on cows.
7. When asked to come up with comparator books I finally came up with Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel, and Elmet by Fiona Mozley. Both are books I admire and loved reading - not easy to put myself in such company, but both too have an interest in the landscape that really resonates for me with what I wanted in Salt Lick.
8. The first version only included Isolde’s part of the book.
9. The thing I like best about it is the cow chorus. And I love the idea of the kids repurposing an empty close in the village as a play area.
10. Throughout writing the book, I have been thinking about membranes, the transition between things, paper absorbing liquid, skin, fabric, embroidery, fraying, knotting, making twine. I made some experimental bits of nettle twine over the summer. I nearly planted a patch of flax to make twine or thread but when the impetus hit it wasn’t seed sowing time.
All the best for now, please have a look around and see if you think you might like to help Salt Lick become a book.