Three friendships torn apart by one chance meeting. By autumn 1984 Sharon and Pip are in their final years of school and on the verge of adulthood. Best friends for as long as they can remember, the two young women befriend their badly bullied schoolmate, Gavin.
Their futures are bright until a chance meeting leads to a path of corruption, anger and malicious betrayal. Sometimes, when we can’t rely on those we love, our only hope is in the kindness of strangers. All three teens are driven from their homes to follow very different paths. They face dark times of heartbreak and new temptations.
But there may be ways out and better futures, if they are willing to take risks. What will they choose, and will they ever see each other again?
The Wild Roses is a coming-of-age drama for all ages that speaks honestly of love, loss, jealousy, coercion and self-discovery.
D.B. Carter has joined me today to chat about writing contemporary drama and romance and the challenges he faces. Over to you.
With two published novels, The Cherries and The Wild Roses, I’m starting to accept I may use “author” to refer to myself. I’ve worked in many sectors, including art, computer sciences, and business, but I felt I had come home to the place where I was meant to be when I started writing. My parents were artists and a creative drive runs deep in my psyche, but it took nearly half a century for fulfil my lifelong desire to write the kind of drama-romances that I’ve enjoyed for so long.
I’ve always enjoyed listening to people’s true-life stories. They give so many fascinating details and perspectives on society that the history books will never tell. When I was a lad, I would go with my mum to visit my grandmother, whereupon I’d be presented with a comic (generally the Beano or Dandy) and sent to read in the corner of the room while they chatted about life or reminisced about the past; even then, I realised how many anecdotes they had to relate and how many of life’s pleasures are to be discovered in small details. Since then, I’ve stored away decades of chats and reminiscences and they help me remember the rich assortment of people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing.
I hope I’ve carried these observations into my work as a writer. I’d never replicate anyone’s true story, but I draw inspiration from them. It seems to me we tell most about a character from how they react in a situation – the remarks they make or the tears they shed are testaments to their very souls. To me, the people who inhabit my books are real, and I often miss them when I finish writing.
I get so many kind messages from readers of my books, some of which touch me deeply. It’s a wonderful thing when someone says your writing has helped them in some way. I often cover difficult subjects, but I hope I do so in a compassionate and respectful manner, and I believe creating believable and relatable characters helps foster empathy.
Sometimes I will be approached by someone in the street who knows me, at least by sight, and asked a question about an event or person in my stories. I’ll be asked about what happened to someone after the end of the book, and whether there will be a sequel – it’s a wonderful feeling. However, on one occasion, I met a lady who fixed me this a steely eye and interrogated me until she reached her point: How could a man have written The Cherries? How could a man create realistic female characters? I was taken aback, but it made me think. I grew up reading whenever I could and devoured Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters as readily as Dickens or DH Lawrence. I’ve always admired Thomas Hardy’s novels; he created some of the greatest female leads of literature despite the impediment of being a man.
A myriad of questions flashed through my mind. Was it truly unusual to have a man wanting to write about believable, independent women? Did someone question JK Rowling or Sue Townsend when they wrote about a teenage boy? Are people suggesting we cannot accurately represent people who live different lives?
If anyone does believe it, I hope and believe they are wrong. Human imagination binds us and leads to mutual understanding and empathy, and imagination lies at the heart of the reading experience. A book is the gateway to understanding and I hope my characters may continue to give glimpses of other lives and foster understanding.
He lives with his wife of 30 years in rural Devon, England. A lifelong bibliophile, he loves reading classical literature, including Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Thomas Hardy and Anthony Trollope; a childhood of Saturday afternoon black-and-white movies added to his appreciation of sagas and drama.
His world view is, “If we look for the good, we will find it.”
Say hi on @dbcarterauthor on Twitter.
Click to view The Wild Roses on Amazon UK.