Tainted Love by Anna Chilvers and Competition Giveaway for the Northern Short Story Festival 2016

Tainted Love is Anna Chilvers’ new novel recently published by Bluemoose Books. She is appearing at the Northern Short Story Festival on Saturday 4th June at the Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds in an event with Michael Stewart. You can win 2 free tickets to this event. Full details at the end of this post.

anna-chilvers--tainted-love--paperbackTainted Love has a playlist printed at the end of the book. One of the characters, Mr Lion, is a northern soul DJ and these are songs he plays at clubs in the north of England. They are also the songs that inspired the plot of Tainted Love. Song lyrics are great for story lines. They tell us stories – My baby done left me – he’s a cheatin’ no good man – but they also carry the emotions of that story, distilled into a cry of sadness or joy – I’m gonna sing the blues or I’m on top of the world. Northern Soul and Motown songs are great for this. I was listening to them a lot and I began to think about a collection of short stories that were based on songs, and the characters from these songs started to come to life in my mind. I thought I might call it The Northern Soul Collection or something like that.

I made a cd and listened to it whilst I was washing up or cutting vegetables. I thought about my characters, heard their voices coming out of the speakers. Sometimes they made me cry. Or maybe that was the onions. I wondered what had happened to them to make them feel that way and stories formed around them.

But then while I chopped coriander and cleaned saucepans, the characters began to talk to each other. Across the songs they formed connections. Their stories touched and twined and became something else. I realised what I had wasn’t a collection of short stories but a novel.

That was a long time ago now and Tainted Love has been through many drafts and revisions. The great thing about being published by an independent publisher, like Bluemoose Books, is the hands on involvement they have at all stages. I showed my editors an early draft and they were encouraging, but it was a first draft and it needed rewriting.

That ended up being a huge job. I’d made the novel out of separate stories which came from songs, but it didn’t hang together as a novel. I dismantled it, broke it into pieces – loads of separate little files on my computer. The stories I’d started with were now a huge pile of rubble, not a novel. I had to start building again.

I was daunted. A friend of mine, Henrietta Bond, is a coach and I went to see her about it. I told her I’d smashed up my novel and I didn’t know what to do. She made me realise what I already knew. I had to start from scratch again. But not quite scratch, as I had the material. The stories from the songs were still there, I just had to tell them in a different way.

As I wrote, and rewrote, more songs found their way onto the playlist, and the original list of fifteen or twenty expanded to the 38 which are now listed in the book. At one point the song titles were used as chapter headings, but the novel began to stand up on its own – it no longer needed their support.

It was a couple of years before I came back to Bluemoose with another version. This time it worked. There were still some things to iron out, but what we now had was a novel, a novel called Tainted Love. I hope you enjoy it.

Tainted Love  is out now from Bluemoose Books and can be ordered here.

Bluemoose Books Reading Event with Michael Stewart and Anna Chilvers

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4.30pm -5.30pm, Saturday 4th June at the Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds as part of the Northern Short Story Festival.

Join authors Michael Stewart and Anna Chilvers as they read some of their short fiction and take your questions.

Tickets: £4. Click here to book, or enter our competition  for a chance to win 2 free tickets. Simply retweet this article and copy @NoShoSto on Twitter, share it on your Facebook page and copy @BigBookend or email us with “BlueMoose Books Event Competition” in the subject title to info@bigbookend.co.uk. The closing date for entries is 9pm, Tuesday 31 May 2016. The winner of the 2 free tickets will be notified on Wednesday 1 June and will be chosen at random.

Michael StewartMichael Stewart is an award winning playwright and author. His debut novel King Crow, published by Bluemoose Books, won The Guardian’s Not the Booker in 2011 and was a recommended read for World Book Night in 2012. His second novel Cafe Assassin was also published by Bluemoose Books in 2015. His books have been translated into several languages. Michael is senior lecturer in Creative Writing at Huddersfield University.

 

 

Anna ChilversAnna Chilvers is a writer based in Hebden Bridge. Bluemoose Books published her debut Falling Through Clouds in January 2010. It has been translated into Russian by Centerpolygraph of Moscow. Anna’s second novel Tainted Love is out now. Anna teaches creative writing for the WEA.

Bluemoose Books is a multi-award winning independent publisher based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.

 

 

 

 

Fiona Gell

Fiona is a lifelong reading enthusiast and book lover. Her career started as a bookseller and has never really veered away from the written and spoken word. It was a dream for her to be a founder member of The Leeds Big Bookend. Fiona is its Coordinator and Marketing Director of the Northern Short Story Festival.

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