Bexhill-born author pens his second novel months after first

Paul Read
Paul Read

A Bexhill-born author who was inspired to write his first novel after breaking both his legs in a hit-and-run has had his second book published.

Paul Read was confined to a wheelchair for two months and decided to write The Art Teacher, which was published last summer, while recovering from the road incident.

Now his second novel, called Blame, has just been released, published by Legend Press.

The story is set in the summer of 1989 when Lucas Marr witnesses an event that will tear his family apart. More than a decade later, his estranged father succumbs to a suspected heart attack. Lucas shuns grief and escapes to New York with his colleague Mariana, however a dark secret from his past threatens to re-emerge and destroy the burgeoning relationship before it has even begun.

Paul, who lives in Naples, Italy, said: “This was a novel I wrote a few years ago but then abandoned it after the death of my father. The subject matter suddenly felt too raw, but I came back to it after a while and saw the story was too good to allow it to wallow in a drawer. It certainly isn’t remotely autobiographical.

“It’s a novel which concerns the unreliability of memory, and the ways in which we find to cope with grief.

“The book is set in New York, London and a fictional south eastern seaside town by the name of Becksmouth. Some of the geography might be familiar to Bexhill residents, as might the made-up village on the outskirts of Becksmouth which goes by the name of Sinton (I grew up in Sidley).

“The book also uses extracts from the young Lucas’ diary to bring the story of the boy’s past into focus, complete with childish drawings and deliberate spelling and grammar errors.

“It was fun to write those sections, remembering the kinds of sweets for sale back in 1989, what was on television, the way kids spoke to each other in those days, and so on.”

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