A wee blurb about Don’t Blink
It’s April 2017. Fletch and Billy are meeting up for their monthy bevy to catch up and reminisce on the good old days when their ex-best friend Fran bursts into their local – reviving old wounds and creating new ones.
In Don’t Blink, the reader is taken on a painted journey from the trio’s twenties back (2017) to their late teens (2012) and, finally, to the infamous last day of school (2008).
Along the way, you’ll discover the secrets these friends have kept from each other and from themselves.
These three linked stories, following three drunken bams through adolescence, can be read in their presented order or in reverse.
You can buy your own copy for £5 from Lulu.com.
How it all started
Don’t Blink started as a few incoherent scribbles around two years ago. When I started writing my creative writing dissertation for my honours year, I knew I wanted to revisit these stories and flesh out the characters I started creating months before.
My writing usually centres around two things – language and nostalgia. Writing in colloquial Scots can sometimes flow naturally and sometimes it can be a lot more challenging. Don’t Blink was a bit of both.
Once I had cemented my ideas for the plot, the stories flowed naturally. I originally wrote the stories from a third person perspective, but I quickly realised that it was too hard to create distinctive voices for each character when writing from this point of view.
Determined to create three separate narrators with their own unique idiosyncrasies, personalities, and turns of phrase, I re-wrote the series in first-person and found that I was much happier with the outcome. This perspective allows the reader to immerse themselves in each character to understand their behaviour and motivations.
Don’t Blink contains three linked coming-of-age short stories, each set several years apart, with a rotating narrative among three childhood friends. I hoped that the language and narrative structure would create a sense of realism to allow the reader to feel like they are getting to know these characters as they grow up.
Image credit: Abigail Wing.
When it comes to nostalgia, I’ve always enjoyed writing stories set in the past and I like to include references to music and events from that specific time. I hoped that these stories, especially the last day of school episode, would encourage readers to reminisce on their adolescence, the friends they had, the music they used to listen to, and the scraps they got into as teenagers.
The book also includes a critical commentary on my writing process and research which provides more detail on how these stories and characters were created.
I have used Lulu self-publishing a few times to create little collections of stories I’ve written over the years.
It’s a great platform for creating and customising your own print-on-demand books. You can choose the size and style of the print copy (Don’t Blink is an A5 paperback) and create eBook versions of your work, too. You can design a cover or upload your own artwork.
I commissioned my friend Kyle Smith to create the cover art for Don’t Blink. He was able to perfectly capture the personalities of each character in the illustration and I am delighted with the final result.
The only issue with print-on-demand self-publishing is making sure the placement of your cover is accurate. I went through a lot of different edits to get the bleed even, but the nature of print-on-demand is that the alignment of your cover might not always be 100% perfect. It takes a lot of trial and error to get it just right.
How to get your own copy
If you’d like your own copy of Don’t Blink, you can buy the book here for £5. Or, if you know me personally, give me a shout and I’ll set a copy aside for you (it saves you paying for delivery).
If you’re a book reviewer and you’d like to review a copy for your blog or website, email me at sophieamcnaughton.com or fill in the contact form below. I’ll be happy to send one your way.
You can also leave a review of Don’t Blink in the comment section below if you’ve already got your copy!