Name of book: The Blinding Light
Date Published: 14th July 2014
Available in: ebook / print / audio
Other forms coming: Italian and French
What gave you the inspiration for the story? Inspiration was from three areas for this book. First, I read NR Walker’s Blind Faith series and fell in love with her characters. I was thinking (ie daydreaming) about blind people and the things they needed to help them in their life. My neighbour was having a bad patch after an organ transplant and she had daily help coming over – nursing staff, family, people to do her gardens. And the need for a housekeeper began to play on me.
Second, I wondered what a blind person’s house would look like – and envisioned it stripped of colour. I wondered what a housekeeper would need to do to make sure they didn’t move the furniture. And then I wondered what a rich, blind man would think if his housekeeper’s scent drove him wild – a housekeeper he never saw.
Then third, Jake’s shitty family life appeared to me and is loosely based around someone I know.
Suddenly I had a guy who was doing the best he could to get by, and a blind man in need of a housekeeper…
What was the working title? Very originally, my working title for this book was simply “Jake.”
Where did the title of the book come from? On the second last chapter, as Jake and Patrick are leaving the hospital, there is a scene about “the blind leading the blinded.” It was a blinding light moment for Jake, and suddenly I realised it was the perfect title.
What challenges did you face with writing this? I’m not blind, nor do I know anyone who is blind, so there was research to be done about how to live with a blind person.
At the time of writing this story, I had no idea of publishing it. I had sent Loving Jay to the publisher, but hadn’t heard back from them. The story of adoption was naturally woven into the plot as I have a brother and sister who are adopted, so it’s something that is familiar to me. However, I had to do a lot of research about adoptions these days.
Tell us about MC1 – where did the inspiration come for him? Jake is a lot like me. And also a lot like I want to be. I’m someone who keeps fighting, not matter what shit is thrown at them, or at least finds the bright side of a shitty situation (after I rage a bit). I’m also someone who doesn’t take crap from people. Although I wish I could say it out loud. Jake has more balls than me.
Jake’s family is based loosely on a family I know. The struggles of a single mum, the bad luck, the spiral into alcoholism. I hope for a good future for the real Jake and his sisters, but who knows?
Tell us about MC2 – where did the inspiration come for him? There were certain aspects of life that Patrick needed to fit the story – blind, no family, rich. I threw in good-looking as a source of irony – the best looking guy Jake had ever seen, and the guy didn’t even know it. Being a grumpy-arse was just my comedic flair. I love grumpy-arses who are handed their attitude straight back.
Is there anything special that happens in the story that you think readers would like to know about? I like to write happy stories, but I never like to sprinkle roses and stars everywhere and make the story too easy. We all have decisions in life we have to make, and we can’t know how it will turn out. Do you say yes to that date with a stranger you just met? Is he the love of your life? How will you know? Life never turns out how we want. People die, people cheat, people lie. These things happen.
Likewise l want to challenge my characters. Many readers of the story have complained about how Jake was forced into a situation by his mother. My answer, “Tough shit, Sherlock.” Sometimes we have to make hard decisions. Sometimes we do things we’re not sure of. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to.
The point of the scene was to put a character in a position where he could possibly break. Jake did what Jake always does – makes the best of a bad situation.
What is the best thing that has happened about this story, post-publication? Once again, I’m going to have to list two things, because I can’t choose one over the other.
First, this story went to #1 in its categories on Amazon and stayed there for a week. It was amazing, and I never expect to replicate that sort of success again. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this!
The second thing is one particular email that I was sent by a reader. They confessed their reluctance to read the story because they were the carer of a blind person, and were afraid I’d get it all so wrong, but went on to compliment me, not only on the story, but the blind aspects of it too.
Do you plan a follow up story? You Are the Reason was published in August 2015, so I guess that answers that question. **grin**