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A memoir

For the last two years I have been ‘writing a book.’

It was going well. It even had a couple of jokes in it.

And then Brexit happened.

Shortly afterwards, Trump happened.

I wasn’t surprised by either result.

However, it totally put the kybosh on Josh Joshi and the Great Divide.

It’s not that I couldn’t ever write it, it’s more I can’t write it now.

The upheavals are so dramatic, so game changing that none of us have had enough time to absorb the possible consequences.

I’m not even saying the choices the British and American voters have made are bad.

Well, okay, the Trump isn’t going too well for the rest of the world, he is a pitiful, insecure narcissist bully with enormous power but who knows. He may be just the thing the world needs.

You see, it’s so crazy we can’t even be sure just how crazy it is.

And Brexit, either the most sensible decision ever or utterly bankrupting xenophobic disaster, who knows.

So, I’m in a pickle.

I have launched this book on Unbound with every intention of writing it, quite a few people supported it and that drove me on, but then, like many, I got ‘Trump stumped.’

However all is not lost, well, let’s hope so for the entire world, but in the microcosm of Unbound and my next book, all is also not lost.

For the past several years I have been gathering notes, old diaries, pictures and ideas for a light hearted but occasionally philosophical autobiography.

A couple of years ago, after a Christmas Day family dinner, my wonderful son scrawled a drawing of me which he titled, ‘Some Old Bloke.’

I kept the drawing, it’s not flattering, the description of his father as some old bloke made me laugh so much I almost choked on my mince pie.

Some Old Bloke.

It felt right, it fitted like an old coat. It may change, but at time of writing that’s the title of my autobiography.

I didn’t want to write an autobiography that is published just before Christmas because Auntie Maude will buy it for young Kevin because he might like Red Dwarf or Scrapheap Challenge.

Glance at the book offerings at any supermarket the months before Christmas and you’ll see rows of such tomes with pictures of people off the telly on the cover.

I’ve also never sailed around the world single handed, climbed Everest for charity or had a massive drug problem and been through re-hab.

I’ve never dated models or snorted cocaine off a prostitute’s bum.

But I’ve done quite a lot of odd things around the world, been to amazing places, seen incredible things, survived, learned from my mistakes sometimes, endless repeated them at others.

I did publish ‘The Man in the Rubber Mask’ back in the mid 1990s but it was very specifically about my experiences on Red Dwarf and not much else.

However, since I’ve turned 60, I’ve had to accept that I have learned quite a lot.

I’ve forgotten most of it as you do, but that’s where my copious diary keeping comes in.

So now I’m very confident I can write an interesting, challenging, funny, revealing and insightful autobiography.

So here’s the choice for the amazing people who put their faith and money in me and Josh Joshi.

No one is going to think badly of you if you say, ‘Screw that, I want my money back.’

But just before you do storm off in a huff, here’s the bit I hadn’t mentioned.

I have written about 20,000 words of Josh Joshi and the Great Divide and I will include that. I am converting it into a short story which will be at the back of the book.

I will also include several other book ideas I’ve worked on but never revealed or published.

The man who hires a private detective to spy on himself to stop him philandering. It goes horribly wrong of course.

The woman who suddenly becomes wealthy when she discovers her recently deceased husband was a ‘pre-investor’ with a Russian cyber-bank, (sales pitch to be delivered in a thick Russian accent, ‘You cannot go back in time, but your money can.’) Shortly before he died he bought properties back in the past for peanuts which are now worth billions.

I will also include, and this is deeply humiliating, a work diary I have kept from 1986 to the present day.

A beat by beat history of the painful process of putting on plays, writing books that never got published, some that did get published, sudden explosions of interest from film companies that came to nothing.

Dozens of pitch meetings and re-writes and rejections.

It’s a revealing insight into the struggles of a largely self-educated writer and the endless pitfalls, rejections and half-baked mistakes I’ve made.

If nothing else, it reveals the truth that with bottomless determination and perseverance, even a thicko like me can eventually get a book published.

So, I hope you’ll consider it.

Robert Llewellyn is an actor, novelist, screenwriter, comedian and TV presenter. He drives an electric car and writes under a rack of solar panels in Gloucestershire.

Robert Llewellyn commented on this blog post.

Some Old Bloke Sample

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

I should have posted far more, I've been neglecting my Unbound book pitch due to filming stuff for the BBC and Fully Charged, I am twisted up with guilt and remorse but I have been writing the book.

I wrote a bit in a hotel in Liverpool last week, some more on the plane from Paris on Saturday. I like fitting in bits of writiung in an otherwise stupidly over-busy schedule.

But I've cleared the…

Josh Joshi and the Great Divides. Chapter One. Audio version

Saturday, 15 October 2016

As part of the writing process I record and listen back to chapters of the book I'm working on. Normally these recordings are just for me. I listen to them and then change words, names, re-write paragraphs, throw whole sections out and occasionally cringe at what I've written.

I've decided to release the first chapter, the finished book will undoubtedly be different to what you hear, but hopefully…

Balkanised Britain- Josh Joshi and the Great Divides

Sunday, 24 July 2016

I have been through a crisis with this book.

Nothing new, I go through a crisis with just about every book I write at some point but this one has been a doozie.

A story set in a possible future where London is a city state seperate from the rest of the country. Preposterous fantasy, it'll never happen.... and then it was June 23rd.

As you will shortly see, I have completely re-written the…

Josh Joshi and the current climate.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

(There is an audio version of this above)

I set the ‘News’ trilogy 200 years into the future for a very simple reason .

I wanted the human race to have moved on from our present day anxieties, in 200 years we will be mere history, fascinating but not immediately impactful.

Equally importantly I didn’t need to take into consideration any particular contemporary event.

I was of course, blessed…

A Little Update

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

This book, more than any other I have written through Unbound, is developing as I write it. That's not really surprising, it's just what happens, however on re-reading the synopsys on the launch page, it's getting a bit embarrassing.

With all three previous books I'd either written most of it by the time Unbound started (News from Gardenia) or had a very clear idea where it was going before we…

John-F. Chmiel
John-F. Chmiel asked:

What is the difference between the 20 and 50 pledge?

Robert Llewellyn
Robert Llewellyn replied:

It's called teething trouble. The book was launched this morning and not everything is 100% yet. In fact as I sit and write this, it says £20, then £50, then £20 again, so I think it's fair to say it's being updated. There will be a difference between the two pledge levels soon, promise.

Anthony Butcher
Anthony Butcher asked:

Hello Robert,

I enjoyed the Gavin Meckler books, as this story is also set in the future, will it be part of a trilogy or is this a one off ?

Robert Llewellyn
Robert Llewellyn replied:

This is a one off, not a continuation of the 'News' trilogy.
I regularly wish I could come up with a long running sword and gore series like 'Game of Thrones' but I have accepted that just isn't me.
This will be a stand alone story.... I think.

Neil Melville-Kenney
Neil Melville-Kenney asked:

Sounds intriguing! My wife and I were just saying the other day that we would love to plump for the "lunch with the author" option on your next book... but doesn't seem to be one this time. Did they not go well? :-)

Robert Llewellyn
Robert Llewellyn replied:

They went very well but they were very difficult to arrange. Dozens of emails and phone calls and diary clashes, it took months to sort out each one. The actual events were fun but it was deemed too time consuming and difficult. Shame, we had some nice lunch :-)

Martin Alexander
Martin Alexander asked:

In the 2012 London Olympics Yorkshire gained seven gold medals, two silver and three bronzes, placing it twelfth in the medal table if regarded as an independent country. It beat Jamaica, Spain, South Africa and the 2016 hosts, Brazil.

Yet is the County with more acres in it than letters in The Bible (3,906,940 acres -3,566,840 letters) even mentioned in your book as even existing in your future world?

I hope so.

Martin Alexander
Bradford

Robert Llewellyn
Robert Llewellyn replied:

Hi Martin,

I'm very happy to hear that and yes, I will now further balkanise the country to include a slightly extended Yorkshire as another independent, proud and successful country. I love the acres/Biblical letters comparison.

Many thanks

Robert

Andy Daniel
Andy Daniel asked:

Hi Robert I was wondering if there is any correlation between amount funded and amount completed?
Is the book being completed at roughly the same rate as the funds are coming in?
I think it was about 15-20% funded when I pledged, but that wasn't too long ago.
Does the writing come in spurts rather than being steady (slow beginning and end with a steady middle?).
Here's hoping that its all going to schedule and we get the finished book soon (would be better if you didn't have to answer such banal questions as mine of course..)

Regards for now and the future
Andy

Robert Llewellyn
Robert Llewellyn replied:

Hi Andy,
That's a great question, never been asked that before. I don't think there's any correlation between funding level and word count. I know I'm approaching half way through the book so the funding is slightly ahead. I put days aside for writing long in advance, then I discover the car has a puncture or the dog has a limp and other stuff happens, but I'm getting there.
I will make a big push soon to try and get to 100%.

In the meantime, many thanks for your support

Robert

James Pritchard
James Pritchard asked:

Hi Robert, How do you go about recording the audio books? Do you do the reading all at one time, or spread it out? What preparation do you do before a reading?

James

Robert Llewellyn
Robert Llewellyn replied:

Hi James,

Sorry, meant to reply sooner but things happened, as they do.
The final audiobook is usually recorded in one long session, but all the way through the writing process I use audio recordings to edit, polish and re-write. Listening to myself reading the book is always an unpleasant experience as the mistakes, repeated phrases or badly constructed sentences jump out and punch you in the ear.
Those audio files are deleted, no one wants to hear me struggling and swearing as I read through the first draft of each chapter.
The only preparation I do before reading the final book is load it onto an iPad (no page turning noise) and have a cup of herbal tea. I've read many dozens of audiobooks for the BBC so it's something I've been doing for years.

Philip Boot
Philip Boot asked:

Hi Robert.

Just wondering what's happening with your book? It's all gone quiet and I've noticed it's only 67% funded. Is it still going ahead?

Thanks, Phil.

Robert Llewellyn
Robert Llewellyn replied:

Hi Phil,
I'm currently finalising the re-launch, slightly delayed as I'm presently working in Australia. There will be a big update coming very soon which will explain everything.

Megan Halligan
Megan Halligan asked:

Hey Robert, I'm even more excited about Some Old Bloke, and I'm looking forward to reading the short story version of Josh Joshi. Have you ever published an anthology of short stories? Also, will you still be offering the opportunity to name a character in return for a donation? If so, the name is "Megan" and I would like to be a bad guy. Muhahahaha! Thank you for all your great work and inspiring perseverance. I hope to one day be able to say I've written as many books as you have.

Sincerely,

Megan (evil stare)

Robert Llewellyn
Robert Llewellyn replied:

HI Megan,

Scarey evil stare! I hadn't considered doing the name a character thing for the new book, basically it's all changed so much I'm not sure what to do about that. I'll consult the genius folk at Unbound, they always have a solution for such things and will get back to you.

Joel Manser
Joel Manser asked:

Hi Robert,

Is there any chance of a tier just for the audiobook by itself?

Cheers,
Joel

Robert Llewellyn
Robert Llewellyn replied:

I wish there was, I will see, we are in the middle of complex negotiations with audiobook distributors, we'll work something out soon I hope.

Greg Hurst
Greg Hurst asked:

Hey Bob
Just pledged for a copy. Good luck with the writing. Can't wait to read the finished product. Love ya work!!!
Oh, just realised none of that was a question. Um........what is your favourite colour?
Best wishes
Greg

Robert Llewellyn
Robert Llewellyn replied:

Thanks for the support and it's a particular shade of purplish blue, commonly found on Afghani wedding attire, it must be a natural dye and I may discuss why this colour has a relevance in my life in Some Old Bloke.

Frank Galpin
Frank Galpin asked:

Hi Robert,

This is not a question for you, as it is to Unbound. As of today 29/4/2017 the book is 76% funded. Are all book given the same 100% funded goal? 76 % of what? In other words, on other crowdfunding sites, (Kickstarter, Indigogo etc) there is a number for a goal. This would be great if some generous donator wants to finish funding the book in one fell swoop. I've read around the site and I can't find anything to answer this question.

Also, maybe it would help if there was a Tweeter and Facebook button on every page. It would help old feeble minded people like I am that are funding projects to help get the word out. I always forget something, so it would help when I DO remember when my soup is cooling, soaking my feet, waiting for paint to dry, etc. I'm trying to help you Robert, but sometimes the mechanisms involved aren't that simple.

Robert, I've enjoyed reading your books, and afterwards using them as drink coasters while reading more of your books and I am looking forward to read "Some Old Bloke." I can relate.

Keep that Tesla Fully Charged,
Frank

Unbound
Unbound replied:

Hi Frank,

Thanks for getting in touch. We don't show the total amount of money needed to raise in order for us to publish the book because, due to the way that the levels and algorithms for costing these projects work and the costs for fulfilling certain pledge levels can vary, the total can change depending on who supports the book at which level. Therefore a percentage, rather than a fixed cash amount, is shown in real time based on the amount raised so far and the average level supported.

Authors do of course have access to how much their funding target is as well as the amount that has been raised, and this is discussed with them before a project goes live on the site. I hope this helps!

We'll also take your points about social shareability on board - this is still being improved after our website redesign.

Best wishes,

Caitlin - Community Manager

Mark Keogan
Mark Keogan asked:

Morning Robert

Just thought I'd drop in and see how things are progressing with the book. Has it made it to the editors yet?
I'm hoping there are lots of insights on how a humble actor/writer metamorphosed into the EV/Renewables evangelist you've become. Did you have a single Damascus moment, or was it a gradual evolution?
By the way, I'm loving all the FullyCharged videos, particularly the ones from Orkney - they really seem to have their act together! It's a pity the rest of the UK aren't getting there faster.

Hope you & the family are all well.
Mark (@Splatsoft)

Robert Llewellyn
Robert Llewellyn replied:

Hi Mark,

I sent off the 'finished' manuscript last week. I'd promised it to the Unbound team by the end of September and only just made it. Of course ever since I sent it all I'm thinking about is how I would like to re-write everything, change everything and start again.
Very normal, but yes, hopefully it will shine some light on the stumbling mess which could be described as my 'journey.'
Really thrilled to hear you're enjoying Fully Charged, it's taking up an inordinate amount of my time but I'm really enjoying making it. Keep watching, there's loads more juicy episodes to come. And thanks for your support on Unbound, there is a book and it is coming!

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