I’m delighted to be introducing you today to another first time author and member of Book Connectors. Offshore by Andrea Jones intrigued me greatly from the moment I heard about it, and I’m pleased to tell you that it’s fully available from today, for kindle and in paperback, via Amazon in the UK and US. Andrea told me more about the premise underlying the book:
In the Trump/post-Brexit times we’re living, I wanted to re-imagine offshore processing, and a world where rights get rolled back. Also, I wanted to write a book about a multicultural relationship; using it as a microcosm to contrast the social problems and psychological pain points of both Middle Eastern and Western culture; of men, and of women.
Here’s the book synopsis:
Kate Maddison ‘Leaned In’ and now she’s Burned Out. Lost and disillusioned, she volunteers in a Channel Island detention centre and meets Abra, a displaced Syrian detained after he’s caught trying to enter the UK in the post-Brexit age.
Two damaged souls meet and mend – or at least begin to. Because the secretive offshore camp they find themselves in isn’t what it appears to be.
But that’s fine. Neither is Abra. Or even Kate herself…
Andrea is joining me today with a powerful and challenging post about why we need writers in the current political climate…
Being a writer is frustrating.
You see things others don’t. You crave creative, insular introspection in a world that values and facilitates the quantitative showman.
And it´s shockingly easy to bend to their way; park that blog or chapter in favour of paying a bill, or hopping into a spreadsheet that the overlord wants.
Because at time when people like Donald Trump (the ultimate quantitative showman, and an anti-humanitarian bigot to boot) are making their voices heard in Western democracies, we can and should challenge them with our quiet, but killer, words.
Specifically, speculative and dystopian fiction now enjoy a fresh lease of life among us authors. Maybe because they are uniquely positioned to warn where we´re heading before we fall into a societal ditch. This kind of writing creates empathy, and allows us to step – and think – outside of the lines being drawn in public discourse.
To that end, I recently wrote Offshore, an East-Meets-West suspense novel that, in the post Brexit era, re-imagines the Channel Islands as a sinister, Guantanamo-style layover where time stops and rights get rolled back.
I looked around for others who were expressing themselves in the same way, and found a trend. Author Ben Winters was editing Slate Magazine´s Trump Story Project, where ten writers were invited to imagine the dystopian future of Trump´s America.
When I interviewed one of the participants, Edan Lepucki, she had a powerful message to us all:
Fiction is essential because reading it allows us, even requires us, to enter another person’s consciousness. This encourages empathy and expands our understanding of others.
This keeps us from seeing people as mere statistics, as faceless groups. Fiction is also political because it gives voice to people and experiences that might not otherwise be shared with others.
Art overall can jolt us out of cliché and tired language (´mistakes were made´; ´Make America great again´) to see the world as it truly is, or as it can be.
So remember: we are not just creating words on a page. What we´re doing is starting a movement. We have a power – and a duty – to write, document and re-define everything that´s wrong with the world right now.
So I´m calling on all of you: prioritise your talent above everything else. Write your frustrations, and share them. On the page, on social media, and out in the world.
It needs us.
Andrea, thank you…
Andrea Jones is a British journalist and author. Her novel Offshore is out April 24th. Read the book, review it, and #resist.