Thursday 18 January 2018

The Feed by Nick Clark Windo @nickhdclark #NeedTheFeed @headlinepg @Bookywookydooda

Tom and Kate's daughter turns six tomorrow, and they have to tell her about sleep.
If you sleep unwatched, you could be Taken. If you are Taken, then watching won't save you.
Nothing saves you.
Your knowledge. Your memories. Your dreams.
If all you are is on the Feed, what will you become when the Feed goes down?
For Tom and Kate, in the six years since the world collapsed, every day has been a fight for survival. And when their daughter, Bea, goes missing, they will question whether they can even trust each other anymore.
The threat is closer than they realise...

The Feed by Nick Clark Windo is published in the UK by Headline in hardback on 25 January 2018.

As part of the Blog Tour, I am delighted to welcome the author here to Random Things today, he's talking about the books that are important to him in My Life In Books.

My Life In Books - Nick Clark Windo

I’ve spent my life reading indiscriminately. Maybe that’s not the right word, because I would never pick just anything up – there had to be something attractive about it – but I’m unsure what that discrimination was ever about. It might have been the author, the cover, the blub that initially attracted me… One thing’s for sure: I’ve always read irrespective of genre.

In terms of books that have had a lasting impact on my life, I think a lot is simply to do with volume. So many books by Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Elizabeth Strout, Tim Winton, Margaret Atwood…that amount of words is weighty, all those stories have gravity and collectively create a lasting impact without you ever quite realising it. That's partly the beauty of books, isn’t it?

But enough evasion. In terms of trying to pinpoint specific books that have been important to me…here are a clear ten.

Anything by Roald Dahl. By saying that I realise I’ve already blown my ten. But I read them all so many times as a child that they must have melded my brain somehow with all their wonder. If I had to specify two, it’d be Matilda and The Witches. I re-read them a lot. Maybe it’s because those books are about extraordinary things being embedded in normality. In The Witches that had terrifying consequences, and being scared can be a creatively healthy thing as a child. In Matilda, how amazing it was to read about an ordinary child who could do extraordinary things. That gave me hope, I think – again, a pretty healthy thing to have as a child. Also, I had Matilda as a hard-back book and that felt seriously special.

Anthony Horowitz’s Pentagram series left a lasting impression because it was so dark. It felt like really bad things could happen to its young protagonists. Only four books of the five were published, though I understand everything was reworked later in his Power of Five series. Again, there was something powerful about these books as things. The front covers of The Night of the Scorpion and The Silver Citadel especially made these books treasured objects: things to look at and be absorbed by.

Doctor Who. I hold my hands up and confess that I’m entirely dodging being specific about things here. And this is a TV series, of course. Except there were a whole lot of original Doctor Who novels written during the series’ screen hiatus. And they were often brilliant. Like the TV show, it’s imagination unbridled: adventures that can happen anywhere, any-when, and at their heart is heroism: a deep sense of right and wrong (and the grey areas between).

Iain Banks was amazing. With or without the M, he was a supremely effective world creator. Big sweeping situations, built logically and presented vividly, and within them great characters and devious plots. Excession is a stand-out.

Red Earth and Pouring Rain by Vikram Chandra was a book I came across by accident and was completely absorbed by. It’s a master-class in storytelling in a story about storytelling. And then it leaps genre. That knocked open a whole world of possibilities for me. I didn’t know that a writer was allowed to do that: to dip into different cultures, to have his characters span different worlds. I’ve never read it again for fear it won’t live up to my memories of it.

Straw Dogs, by John Gray. These books don’t have to be fiction, do they? Because here I found the stuff of fiction…in a political philosophy book. And not just fiction, but science fiction: how he predicted technology might affect how we live, our societies, the very nature of our humanity. It’s profoundly terrifying…but maybe being scared can be a creatively healthy thing for an adult.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, Atonement by Ian McEwan, Engleby by Sebastian Faulks and Canada by Richard Ford. I’ve thrown keeping this to ten books out of the window. Here are four books that, at various different points in my life, knocked me between the eyes. High quality – ‘literary’ – prose with seriously engaging – ‘commercial’ – plots, twists and characters. There’s such a huge challenge in reading great books, and the very exciting sense of being granted permission somehow to have a go too. I don't buy into different genres being on different shelves. Sci-fi, crime, thrillers, fantasy…fiction is fiction.

David Mitchell. I love what he’s doing with his novels individually and collectively. (Surely when his many characters span all of his books I don’t have to specify a single favourite book, do I?) An engaging novel is a work-out for the brain: stretching our thoughts with huge stories and varied characters, expanding the boundaries of our personal knowledge and allowing us to empathise with people in situations out of our experience. For me that’s when books become exciting, emotional and thought provoking: when they inspire my imagination which, in turn, changes me. That's the gravity of books, and how they have an impact – on my life, at least.

Nick Clark Windo - January 2018

Please look out for the other stops on the Blog Tour which will feature more guest posts and reviews:

Nick Clark Windo studied English Literature at Cambridge and acting at RADA, and he now works as a film producer and screenwriter. Inspired by his realisation that people are becoming increasingly disconnected from one another, and questions about identity and memory, The Feed is his debut novel. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.

Follow him on Twitter @nickhdclark 

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