Monday, April 3, 2017

Interview with David Clapham, author of The Special and the Ordinary

Inside the Book:

Title: The Special and the Ordinary
Author: David Clapham
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Coming of Age
Format: Ebook
John Haworth, despite innate shyness, has floated upward in a comfortable English home environment under the influence of much older sisters and their friends. After he begins a new school in the early fifties, the seven-year-old is looking lost when a classmate, Martin Holford, decides to take him under his wing. And so begins a long friendship.

Ordinary rules of life apparently do not apply to the confident Martin except, perhaps, when he allows his mischievous humor excessive free rein against the self-important. While on separate coming-of-age journeys, Martin and John get on fine, despite John's occasional resentment about Martin's ability to bounce back after perpetrating 'wrong notes' against the wealthy while John slaves away attempting to make new music sound modern. John, who has no desire to be to be an apathetic musician like his viola teacher, unfortunately lacks the talent, personality, and love of limelight to match his glamorous piano teacher or Katherine, the singer he accompanies on the piano. Now all he has to do is somehow find his place amid an uncertain career as a ghost composer where chances come as infrequent as success.

The Special and the Ordinary shares the unique story of two young people as they come of age and step into the future, each with a different idea on what it means to be true to themselves.

iUniverse awarded The Special and the Ordinary the 'Editor's Choice' designation. Here are excerpts from the enthusiastic editorial reviews:

"Definitely a worthwhile read, I recommend The Special and the Ordinary to lovers of literary fiction." - Pacific Book Review

"...heartwarming and uplifting." - Kirkus Reviews

"The writing is clear and refreshing, with clean sentences that move the story along at a brisk pace." - Clarion Review

                                            The Interview:

Could you please tell us a little about your book?

'This coming-of-age tale follows childhood friends, John and Martin, from their youth to adulthood as they grow up in the industrial city of Porterfield, Britain, during the post World War II eras of the 1950s and 1960...John's "ordinary" persona is shy, intelligent, musically disposed, and exudes a serious approach to establishing himself as a musician...But, on the other end of the spectrum is Martin, whose "special" persona is charismatic, intelligent, precocious and exudes a lax approach to his path in life...While John works diligently to become rooted in the world as a classical musician, Martin easily flits, from being an evangelist to a faith healer to the legal field...

Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?

Most of us encounter friends or colleagues, or have other members of the family, who are distinctly more talented or ambitious or charismatic than ourselves. What should we do about these 'special' people?

I wanted to discuss how 'special' people can get away with behavior that is unacceptable from ordinary people; and to present ordinary people finding satisfaction in their lives.

What cause are you most passionate about and why?

Maintaining liberal values at a time when they are particularly under threat.

Do you have any rituals you follow when you finish a piece of work?

I find a good editor to help rewrite the novel, particularly as regards the organization of the narrative.

Who has influenced you throughout your writing career?

Novelists I admire most combine a serious side with humor, like Dickens, Mark Twain, Evelyn Waugh, and Barbara Pym among others. 

What are some of your long term goals?

I am writing a more ambitious book, an historical novel about some pioneers of genetics. 

Meet the Author:

David Clapham grew up in in Sheffield, England and studied botany at Oxford. After working at the Welsh Plant Breeding Station in Aberystwyth, Wales, he moved to Uppsala, Sweden, where he still lives today. David and his Swedish wife Lena have two children. He has also published Odd Socks with iUniverse in 2013. 

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