“We’re all human beings,
and with a little effort and a willingness to put aside preconceptions,
we can all be understood”
Backstories by Simon Van der Velde is published today March 25th with Smoke & Mirrors Press. Described as ‘a unique collection of stories each told from the point of view of a famous, (or notorious) person at a pivotal moment in their lives. The settings are mostly 60’s and 70’s UK and USA, and the driving themes are inclusion, social justice and of course, nostalgia – but the real key to these stories is that the protagonists’ identities are withheld.‘ What makes this book so very original is that it is the readers job to figure out the identities, ‘leading to that Eureka moment when you realise who’s mind you’ve been inhabiting for the last twenty minutes.’
Sharing 30% of all profits from Backstories between Stop Hate UK, The North-East Autism Society and Friends of the Earth was very important to Simon as he is very passionate about all three charities and the causes they represent.
Backstories is garnering praise for its originality with the Daily Mirror describing it as an ‘ingenious idea, brilliantly executed’ and Trevor Wood, CWA award winner, calling it ‘brilliant…fourteen familiar souls stripped naked‘
Purchase Link – Backstories
To celebrate release of the book, Simon has created a challenge for you all and, if you guess correctly, you can to enter a competition to win one of three signed copy of Backstories. (full details below)
‘A thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking read. The theme is original, the writing intelligent and every story keeps you on the edge of your seat until the final line. If you want to know how to write short stories, then read Backstories. Truly, one of the collections of the year.’ – Graham Jennings, Henshaw Press
[ About the Book ]
Dreamers, singers, talkers and killers; they can dazzle with their beauty or their talent or their unmitigated evil, but inside themselves they are as frail and desperate as the rest of us. But can you see them? Can you unravel the truth?
These are people you know, but not as you know them. Peel back the mask and see.
For more information on the making of Backstories please click on the following link for a fascinating Q & A
Simon Van Der Velde – Smoke and Mirrors Press Q&A — simonvandervelde.com
[ The Challenge ]
Find this lost little boy to claim your reward.
No doubt about it, he was a bright kid, talented even. He was quick on his feet and with his mouth too, and he could smack a baseball out of the park. But he was a Jew, and he was short. I mean like really short. The kid was the size of your average third grader when he was twelve years old. When he was taking those first steps towards manhood. When it mattered most.
And this was back in the fifties, with Sinatra top of the charts, John Wayne High and Mighty on the big screen and New York thrusting itself into the heavens, one skyscraper taller than the next. It was a one-size-fits-all sort of time, but it didn’t fit him. If a girl laughed away down the street, he felt the heat in his cheeks. Even a simple smile was met with squinty-eyed suspicion. He felt like the whole world was laughing at him, and there was truth enough in that.
The other kids couldn’t resist. Let loose from class they could forget about their failures and rejections, their overbearing fathers and screaming mothers, their secret fears and pigeon chests. For that hour at lunchtime they could be free of themselves, laughing fearlessly while they pushed the little guy around the yard and asked him what he was doing out of kindergarten, or where he’d left Snow White. That was the best one. They banged away at it for months, with raucous renditions of ‘Hi-ho, hi-ho,’ booming across the yard, reprised with hums and whistles in the classroom.
There was only Arty that didn’t join in…
Think you know who he is?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your answer
The first three correct entrants out of the hat will receive a signed copy of Backstories.
[ Bio ]
Simon Van der Velde has worked variously as a barman, labourer, teacher, caterer and lawyer, as well as travelling throughout Europe and South America collecting characters and insights for his award-winning stories. Since completing a creative writing M.A. (with distinction) at The University of Northumbria in 2010, Simon’s work has won and been shortlisted for numerous awards including; The Yeovil Literary Prize, (twice), The Wasafiri New Writing Prize, The Luke Bitmead Bursary, The Frome Short-story Prize, The Harry Bowling Prize, The Henshaw Press Short Story Competition and The National Association of Writers’ Groups Open Competition – establishing him as one of the UK’s foremost short-story writers.
Simon now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, with his wife, Nicola, their labradoodle, Barney and their two tyrannical children.
Twitter – @SimonVdVwriter
Website – simonvandervelde.com