In 2017, I started Mind the Gap as an experiment, producing five podcasts with my own narration, character voices, sound effects and music. I was in contact with a young worldwide public via social media – and as each podcast came out, these listeners were letting me know what they thought of it. The initial five podcasts eventually morphed into a story, which I developed into the twelve chapters of the novel, as it is today.
I was startled to get feedback from so many people aged 18-35 in 25 countries around the world, but from others as well. Writing is a solitary occupation. When you get comments from new people around the world via social media, then you are drawn into an interactive process as you address a public of real men and women, and this makes it easier to find your voice as a creator. In producing the initial Mind the Gap podcasts, I heard back as each chapter was completed and before the next one was started.
Mind the Gap is available in print, e-book and audio-book versions. The audio-book version is not a derivative version. Why should the print version automatically be considered the original version? No, this is a hybrid creation. Before committing anything to paper, I could hear all these characters in my head; I could hear their laughter, tears, doubts, anger and dreams; their discoveries, music, anguish, poetry and prayers; besides, I could hear some of the characters tell the most extravagant lies!
Some people ask whether Mind the Gap is based on a true story, or whether I made the whole thing up! This is a work of the imagination – a dramatic comedy which has grown organically from an idea I had. I could never have predicted how things would end up. The characters took on a life of their own: they occasionally told me exactly what to write next, in my dreams and my waking hours. I performed all 45 character-voices myself, which means I had to enter the world of each character, and to respect each one. Of course, even a work of the imagination comes from somewhere. I prefer to let readers decide whether the situations are made up, or whether they are accurately portrayed from real life.
I have enjoyed producing this work, doing the sound design by mixing voice, sound effects and music in the audio-book version to create mindscapes, but also dreamscapes, emotional states and dramatic situations. This is a coming-of-age novel. It says a lot about life and illness and suffering and love – it says things that people, in the real world, would probably leave unsaid. No matter what life throws at you, there is always room for hope and laughter. I have produced Mind the Gap – just for you!