Introduction

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.

The novel

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.

Real Hell

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.

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7 thoughts on “Introduction

  1. Bryan, you are a VERY engaging writer. The opening line is just great. When you say ‘literally’, I’m like mm’hmmm? And then you say it’s an actual town! Love how you said it does actually freeze over – very funny.

    Bryan, this is so terrific. So you’re doing it once a month? And is it about the real you – I mean, after that BMW accident, did you really experience waking in different “states’? Intriguing.

    Damn, you write well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not to give too much away, I did go through some strange experiences after suffering my own accident in Oslo, and I diid wake up in a similar way to Pedersen several times. The experiences made me question what might happen to someone in a more fragile state of consciousness. Might they get to the stage where they weren’t quite sure of whether they were awake or in a dream?

      Lucid dreaming can be a little like that, but is usually the reverse, where someone is aware they are dreaming and actually manages to make decisions, to a certain extent, about what happens in the dream.

      One quite odd thing was a recurring nightmare I had when I was a child. It involved trying to cross the road in front of the small house we lived in at the time. A vehicle of some sort was bearing down on me, and I couldn’t get my legs to move me out of its path. It was terrifying. But the nightmare never got to the bit where I was hit, whereas reality did. I use that in a slightly different way in the novel, as his nightmare pursues Pedersen beyond childhood.

      So basically, the novel isn’t about me, but I do intend to accompany it with articles and stories about my trips, and some about my life where I think they might be relevant in some way. They will be completely separate and will include photos. Thanks for your constatnt encouragement, it means a lot, as you know from your own experiences.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bryan, it’s easy to encourage you. I just cannot figure why you’re not more widely published than on a blog. It’s all of the reason I wonder if my pursuit is worth anything – not for a pay cheque at the ‘conclusion’ of a book, but for all of the satisfaction that a (professional) editor has deemed you worth sharing with the world, and all that comes with that. Your writing is excellent Bryan, truly.

        Then you get that 50 Shades book which I haven’t read as the theme sounds average, but the writer is a zillionaire or something? What I’m saying is – actually, I guess same is seen with Freshly Pressed – is it’s astonishing how some people, average, “make it” to an audience, and some really engaging writers like you…. don’t understand. All I know is “that’s life”, oh SIGH!

        I enjoy your work Bryan – my pleasure 🙂

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  2. We’ll follow your blog with interest as we are also presently blogging a book. Ian is the author; I’m the editor. We have several books published and more to come. This is our first attempt at blogging a book. Will follow your blog with interest. By the way, I also have an interest in Norway. My late husband’s father was from Porsgrunn and my daughter is now married to a Norwegian and living in Hedmark. Keep up the good writing! Best wishes, Gayle Moore-Morrans

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  3. “. . . 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.”

    Just recently, Bryan, we watched a movie with the title ‘Train to Lisbon’. Maybe you’d like to have a look at it. We thought it was a very interesting story line. The movie is based on a novel with the same title, and Peter is reading it now on kindle and tells me a lot about it, but I plan to read this book very soon too. The author writes about it how certain incidents can totally change your life in an instant. —
    Bryan, when we saw the old streets of Lisbon in the movie, we thought about the place where you live now. We were then wondering why you had not published anything for a while. At last we could not remember having seen any of your posts recently. We were away for a few days at our son’s place. I had no computer for about a week. When I was able to open my WP Reader a little while ago after having returned home this afternoon, surprise, surprise, your new post glanced at me!
    And now I came to this page of yours. Reading through this what you did write some time ago, it feels to me, I would like to continue reading more!! I hope I’ll get to it before I get too distracted with other things. There is always so much on the internet that is of interest, that sometimes it is very difficult to make the right choices before one runs our of time.

    So, here is a good write up about this movie on Google:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_Train_to_Lisbon_(film)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your interest Yuta. I’ve had a few problems here and there, and too much on my plate to write for WordPress, but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up completely. Julian Assange’s imprisonment is far too important not to try and give it as much publicity as possible. It’s not just about him, but about all of us and our freedoms. Having said that, being confined to a room for seven years does amoung to psychological torture and that alone has driven me to write about it.

      I’ve seen ‘Train to Lisbon’ twice. It’s an absolutely brilliant film. Tom Courtney is one of my favourite English actors from the 1960s – the list is a long one.

      I was in Portugal in June 1970, a few weeks before Salazar died. Though his premiership teminated in 1968, his legacy still stalked the streets of Lisbon and Porto. I even wrote a short story based on my visit. Though it isn’t autobiographical, many of the details are drwn from actual observations and aquaintanceships in Porto. Here’s the link:

      https://bryanhemming.wordpress.com/312-2/

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Great to hear, Bryan, that you like the film and have seen it twice already. Peter found the film now on YouTube for free. We are looking forward to seeing it again. Our son and daughter-in-law watched the film with us a few days ago. It was their second time that they saw it. We did discuss with them a lot about it . And thanks for the link, Bryan. I might send it on to Peter and Martin (our son).

    I was thinking how seven years in confinement may have effected Julian Assange. My main worry is, that no matter where he is going to live, he might be in danger of being assassinated. Nelson Mandela had been imprisoned for 27 years. And after having been imprisoned for this length of time, he was able to achieve great things!

    I recently looked up Emma Herwegh, a German writer. This quote of hers:
    “Let nothing bind you in the world other than your highest inner truth”, I reckon this is very well said. The lying that goes on in the world I find absolutely abhorrent.
    Anyhow here is the llnk to Emma Herwegh in case you want to have a look:
    https://auntielive.wordpress.com/2019/03/08/emma-herwegh-german-writer/

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