Sunday 24 May 2020

Covid-19 Diaries - what stories will we tell after the pandemic?

How will Covid-19 change the stories we tell?

I haven't even begun to promote my new novel Tipping Point and I'm already wondering what I'll write next. What world should my new characters inhabit? A world where there never was a pandemic, one where it's still happening, or an imagined post-pandemic world?

When watching films I catch my mind interrupting with little observations. That shopping centre is too crowded, they wouldn't shake hands now, that nightclub is contagion-heaven... 

The creepy film Vivarium was popular during lockdown. In it, a couple gets stuck in this lifeless neighbourhood looking after a strange child. They try to leave but the road keeps taking them back to the same front door. I imagine it resonated with a lot of people. Perhaps it made them think, things could be worse!   

Would you rather fictional characters to have experienced the pandemic or do you not want to be reminded of it? Perhaps it would be more realistic if their back story included it.

I say back story but it's no one's back story yet. It's very much our present. I admit to feeling more anxious now than during lockdown. During lockdown, we kept very busy with our routine. It was very quiet and still. Now we are supposed to be moving forward, but I'm not sure how or where.

I don't know what kind of novel I will write next, but perhaps I'm over-thinking things. The storm isn't what makes the story but the consequent reactions and decisions made. It's the truth which is revealed in the midst of a crisis.

What stories will emerge after covid-19? The same ones. The timeless stories of loss and gain, love and hate, fear and courage. The pandemic doesn't define who we are, but we may catch glimpses of who we are more clearly because of it.   

George and Ellen have retired to sunny Mallorca. Social butterfly Ellen is itching to make yacht-owning friends while George's heart is set on a secluded farmhouse in the country. In fact, now that they're no longer living busy London lives, they're beginning to realise they have very different ideas of happiness.

Private investigator Salva specialises in cases of adultery. That's why it's particularly embarrassing that he didn't realise his long-term girlfriend has been cheating on him. He has no time to nurse a broken heart, since his family are the victims of a property scam they urgently need him to solve.

Robyn Chase is giving talks on her self-help book, No More Toxic Relationships - 7 Years, 7 Lessons. She's finding it awkward being a relationship guru when her own boyfriend is avoiding her.

The sun is shining in Mallorca and everything looks beautiful. But the residents of one particular apartment block are about to discover it all might be too good to be true.

Available now in ebook. Paperback out 1st June. 

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