From memory, which is hazy when it comes to things like this, I wrote The Straight and Narrow in 2012/2013. The only thing that stands out in my memory during the writing process is that the first 170 pages of the first draft came rather easy while the last 80 pages were a nightmare. Not really a nightmare, per se, but it took a long time to finish. When I say a long time, probably four months between putting those first 170 pages in a drawer to gather dust. Four months is a long time when you're talking first drafts. As Stephen King once said, it should only take three months to get the full first draft completed. I agree with that.
The final 80 pages were surprisingly concluded via pen and notepad on the train to and from work over a two week period. I’d never written this way before, but surprisingly it really worked for me, to the point where the story progressed with ideas in point form, which then formed sentences, and so on. From there I was able to elaborate and stretch the story out to the point where the first draft was completed.
After rewrites, the pages spent the next 18 months in a corner gathering more dust. Last year I finally got it edited thanks to the help from Australian eBook Publisher. If you ever want to self publish then let the fine people at AEP help you on your path. They seemed to really get what I was going for which made the whole process quick and painless.
So, to the story. I tried to continue the theme of the farcical soap opera of Borrowed Time, which I hope people will get. Due to one of the characters, some will see a loose association with Sons of Anarchy, but like good old Sons..., there’s a “big dumb” aspect at play here, which will hopefully keep the real bikies in this country off my doorstep! Despite some dark moments, hopefully my characters don’t try to come off as too serious.
I’ve always enjoyed writing about the larrikins and loose cannons which Australia has always produced. Sadly, I find this particular specimen somewhat endangered, lost in the mire of this country slowly but surely becoming Americanised, to the point where locality is being shoved aside in place of pretentiousness.
Without giving too much away, the characters in The Straight and Narrow spawn from various walks of life. It’s not uncommon here in Australia for different classes to mix regularly and, in fact, that’s one thing Australia has always been great at; its ability for cultures to intertwine. In the more recent times, capitalism and the great economic divide has sadly tested the resolve of this notion, but when I was growing up it wasn’t uncommon to have people from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds combine whether it was playing sport, having a beer or gathered around the dinner table. There was no us and them, and sadly, like our locality, I feel this is being lost. If you look past a bunch of questionable people doing questionable things to one another, then – subconsciously – the core of this story touches on this aspect.
What will make you read The Straight and Narrow? Well, those who indulged in the dry humour of cult classic films such as Two Hands or The Castle will hopefully take some interest here. I hope so, anyway. If you like Mills and Boon then it might be best to steer clear (just saying). The only thing it has it common with Mills and Boon is that it could be a good companion whilst on holiday amid a sun-bed and a few beers. There’s more of that gritty foul dialogue which made some people thrash and jerk during Borrowed Time, but paraphrasing what I said then, truck drivers and bikies don’t sound like Oscar Wilde, so why should we wipe the shine from their exterior when it comes to the written word? Doesn’t it reduce the purity of the character? I think it does, anyway.