Author Q&A with Adam Temple

Author Q&A with Adam Temple

Everybody Do What You're Doing is a great thoughtful and comedic read. Adam Temple introduces us to Brod, a Black alien from the planet Bodhavista who materialises in Flinders End, a shabby West London backwater.

He has one mission: to spread love, peace, and happiness in the UK. Upon entering the Butchers Arms pub, Kim the landlady befriends him, assuming he is a bewildered migrant. In a zest tale of greed, race, insurrection, home-brewing and karaoke the immigrant from another planet is pitted against a perverse cast of eccentric villains.

Adam has sent us a great piece all about his writing process, so we do hope that encourages people to get their hands on a copy and make friends with Brod! 

Tell us about your writing process...

I wrote the opening chapter about ten years ago. Apart from Brod the alien materialising at a bus stop in West London, entering a rough pub, befriending Kim the landlady, watching the football, and getting drunk, that was all. Occasionally, I examined it, recognising the location as my own re-imagined neighbourhood.

When the first lockdown started, I had to finish the story. Why not? It still haunted me. And I had plenty of time to consider why the alien came to Earth. I wrote every day for about four hours, usually around two in the afternoon. My persistence paid off. I scrapped the second chapter when it took a wrong turn before my one good idea morphed into Brod renting a room at the struggling pub, which encouraged his romance with Kim. 

Moreover, logically, I thought, he would try to save these beloved lodgings from the property developers who wished to eject Kim and launch a gastropub and boutique hotel. This idea must have lurked in my subconscious for years, especially as I live in an increasingly upmarket part of West London. I often overhear dodgy estate agents in coffee bars discussing their dubious acquisition schemes. 

I made good progress for a few chapters. I dried up for almost a week. I thought about character motivation, particularly Brod’s drive to restore his tattered reputation at home by bringing love and peace to the UK. Kim’s almost masochistic goal was to retain the pub her luckless family had run for over twenty-five years. And what methods should I employ for the baddies to eliminate her? Now I knew the ending, its build-up, more or less, and where I had to go. But odd twists I hadn't expected arose, so I added them. Making a detailed chapter-by-chapter plan is enviable, though I only did so for three or four impending chapters while on a roll.

When nearing the end, to add substance, and because she anchored everything, it was apparent that Kim's backstory must expand, running alongside the main story until the two finally merged. Again, I improvised, though that story's climax soon became clear.

A character’s name is vitally important. Brod’s because it sounds like that of an innocent; Kim’s because I hope it evokes sympathy in the reader. Once I knew all the characters, constructing the main players’ backstories as I progressed, the dialogue flowed. I spent a while fine-tuning and reading aloud. Especially the London and Irish slang, about which I sought a young friend’s advice. Some characters are a mix of people I’ve met in pubs, clubs, and everyday life. Others are completely foreign to me, but not to my imagination. Doris, Kim’s mother, was the closest to a real person. She contained a dollop of my mother, whose once-firey slipstream was like that of a comet, often leaving awestruck beholders in its wake. And she, too, was cursed with Alzheimer's. Whatever their origin, I tried to make the characters universal.

The first and last pages I rewrote about fifty times, maybe just a word here or there, until they felt right. Of course, all chapters were reworked, but a novel's first and last pages are tricky. The first is the hook; the last is what lingers. I finished after fourteen months.

As for a follow-up, who knows? Of course, I would love a bestseller that is turned into a feature film or a related series. It would be even better if I was involved. But aren’t all stories ripe for interpretation? Despite my love for the characters, the book should be a one-off. Often, follow-ups are encouraged for financial reasons and lack the original zest. Nevertheless, if asked, what a great position to be in! 

I hope the reader will feel the power of community while mourning its decline, have a good laugh along the way, and hopefully close the book with a wistful smile.

Everybody Do What You're Doing was released 28 November 2023, go and grab your copy now!

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