Ever been to Hell and back? I have. Literally. As you might expect it’s near an airport. But you might not expect to find it so close to the Arctic Circle. It actually does freeze over during winter. Glimpsed through a misted bus window in passing, it looks like it gets very boring. Nevertheless, over the next few months I’ll tell you how I got there. And back.
In the beginning
By 1997 my suspense novel The End of Tobago Street had been doing the rounds of publishers and agents for far too many years with very limited success. In big letters that means no real success at all. But there had been interest, as they say.
Then Franc Roddam, director of the film Quadrophenia, picked it up, and suggested I make some adjustments. But there was no money on the table, as they also say. And rather too often from where I’m sitting.
However, having inherited enough money to keep me going for a couple of years it seemed as good a time as any to pack a rucksack and head off to the north of Norway to complete the task. Like you do. It was during that journey the germ of Pedersen´s Last Dream began to take form. It was as much by accident as anything. Once again, literally.
Being half-Norwegian, I’d had a crush on the country since my first visit as little more than a baby of two-years-old. Further buoyed by The Independent showing an interest in, and publishing, a couple of my articles on Edvard Munch, painter of The Scream and Knut Hamsun, winner of a Nobel prize for literature, it seemed like a great opportunity. I’d be able to see parts of the country I’d never seen before. And get paid for it. That’s how the theory went, at least.
My mother had been born and raised in Oslo, I had family in the city, and knew it very well. And that’s where the accident happened. But we’ll get back to that later.
In a few months, I had more than enough pages and notes to consider a novel. But there lies the rub; apart from the few times I got back to it now and again, the first draft has been gathering cyber dust in my hard drive ever since.
Last year, I realised I’d been putting the final draft on hold for far too long. No more excuses. With that in mind I’ve set up this blog dedicated towards putting an end to the bloody thing. Not only will it result in Pedersen’s Last Dream being completed, but along the way I intend to tell the story of how it came into being, as well as record the journeys involved in those early days.
A story in itself, I blame Pedersen for taking me from Armenia to the most northern part of Norway, to France, back to Norway, to Sweden, to Portugal and then the south of Spain, where I now live. More or less he did. Much of the first draft was written on the tiny island of Værøy in the Lofoten Islands, some in Hertfordshire, and a lot more in Andalucia.
At almost 100,000 words, there’s an awful lot of work to be done on that first draft. And I’m at the intimidating bit: the start. My intention is to post a new part about once a month. At the same time, alterations will be made to posts already existent, when and where I consider it necessary. Readers can also play a part by posting comments. I hope to have the project complete before the end of 2013.
As I said, the story itself was initially inspired by an accident. A Norwegian cousin and I were in the middle of a pedestrian crossing in a bright, sunny day. Visibility was very good and there was hardly any traffic on the road when we were hit by a BMW. As I flew into the air I thought I was going to die, It was almost mundane. Events like that can change lives. It certainly got me thinking. I began to look at the world through different eyes.
Knut Pedersen was born and raised in Trondheim on the west coast of Norway. He moved to Oslo not long after dropping out of university to try to get a job in journalism with limited success.
He is recovering from a road accident when he wakes up to a world he detects is not quite the same as the one he fell asleep in. Then he wakes again to yet another slightly different scene. And again, until he becomes unsure of which is the real world.
By the way, Hell is a small town to the east of Trondheim in Norway, I was on a bus from the airport with Robert Plant, former lead singer of Led Zeppelin and his entourage, when we passed by. Oh no, I wasn’t, that was later, and it wasn’t a bus. We were all on a plane to Tromsø in 2000, where he was doing a gig with his oddly named band, Priory of Brion. Just before he suddenly got famous again. Those days are such a haze. I was actually on my way to the most northern town in the world, that time, home of the delightfully named Polar Bear Club, Hammerfest. My Norwegian grandfather was born there, and his grandfather before that, and his before that.
And that reminds me, despite many adjustments, Franc Roddam never did get back to me on The End of Tobago Street. Obviously didn’t like it so much, after all.