One of the joys of the internet is that one can communicate with so many people all over the world with such little effort; one of its sorrows is that such relationships, by their nature, are often fleeting and ephemeral. It was with some eagerness then, that, upon learning that author David Bowmore, whose collection The Magic of Deben Market is to be released this week, lived relatively nearby, I set out to actually properly meet him. This was no Herculean task, as he lives about 40 minutes way in Doncaster in Yorkshire, that area of England known as ‘God’s own country’ —and so, yesterday, I drove there.
Clarendon House has published the work of almost 200 authors over the last 18 months, including collections by such noteworthy writers as Steve Carr, Gary Bonn, R. A. Goli, Carmen Baca and Elizabeth Montague along with Justin Wiggins’ autobiographical book, but David was the first of its authors whom I have actually met in the ‘real world’. Suffice it to say, one afternoon was not enough to cover everything that could have been discussed. I began by giving my viewpoint of his forthcoming book — a topic upon which I could have dwelt for much longer, given that I believe it to be a masterwork — but the subject soon drifted on to marketing and books in general, writing and other authors, as well as our common experiences of Australia and the world at large.
I learned many interesting ‘secrets’ about Deben Market, the invented town upon the east coast in which the stories in David’s collection are set, including the name of the original town upon which it is based; I discovered that some of the characters and incidents are founded upon truth; I was able to find out how the collection came together imaginatively and which stories formed its core. Most of all, though, I learned what pleasant people David and his wife Jai are and how wonderful it is to talk to real live individuals about things that really matter.
(I also learned that their poodle Floyd is the real genius behind everything that occurs in that quiet house in Doncaster — I know that because he whispered it to me himself.)
In brief — as at this writing I am still finalising the proofreading of The Magic of Deben Market, and must return to that task forthwith — you as readers are in for a treat. I’ve described the book as a ‘quasi-novel’, and I think that’s true: its stories are varied in flavour, genre and tone, and you’ll find material within the book that will both shock and console you on several levels, but two fundamentals hold the collection together and make it one of the most entertaining I have read: the township of Deben Market itself, which strides into each tale almost like a character in its own right; and the layered structure of the thing as a whole, which plays with you as a reader to the extent that you are drawn into it, like a comet passing by a black hole, discovering as you get closer more and more powerful forces from which in the end you find you cannot escape. I’m not talking about a force like fear, or helplessness, which are often evoked by the horror genre — no, these are forces even more cardinal than those. These are the vacuums which tap into the psyches of readers on another plane, so that they engage with something more completely and totally, without fully understanding why on a logical or conscious level, but all the time willing themselves to go further in, knowing that they will not be disappointed.
Of course, I’m ‘selling’ Deben Market to you — I’d very much like all of you to buy and read it. But apart from my commercial incentives, I think you might also learn something as writers from the experience. Apart from being entertained by stories which often tend to jump in unexpected directions, as many of these do, the book is a bit of an education in the art of layering something imaginatively so as to glue readers to it.
As I write this, the book has to yet be published, but the link through which you will be able to get a copy will be the same: visit here.
Visit Deben Market and see if you want to leave…