Just stumbled on this piece, published in a free local magazine and copied onto Laurence Anholt’s website. It’s a short piece of autobiographyat the end of which Laurence celebrates having two full-length novels accepted by Penguin Random House, the first of which is due for publication in July 2016.
A few years ago I began to write two full length novels: ‘The Hypnotist’ and ‘Love Letters’. If picture books are hard, a novel is like building a house single-handed! But to my amazement, both books were accepted by the newly merged Penguin Random House. The Hypnotist is about prejudice and tolerance – In essence I have transposed Dickens’ Great Expectations to the Deep South of America in 1963. My protagonist is a young black orphan making his way against the background of Segregation and the dreaded Ku Klux Klan. The events are seen through the very strange eyes of an Irish hypnotist, Dr Jack Morrow who has started work at a new university. There’s a slice of history, a sprinkle of magic realism and a twist of humour. The Hypnotist will be published in January 2016.
My mother, Joan was a wise and wonderful woman who died too young. Joan was a teacher of English Literature, especially Hardy and Wordsworth and although she was a Christian, she was fascinated by Eastern philosophy. It must have influenced me because I became a member of the friendly Buddhist community in this area. If I had more pages I would gleefully expound on the benefits of mindfulness and meditation, but one central concept of Buddhism is that our thoughts become our reality – a person who thinks negative or prejudiced thoughts creates a dark claustrophobic world for themselves; conversely those who train themselves to be positive and open-hearted find the world opening around them. Life is challenging, but life is beautiful too. We are profoundly privileged to walk briefly on this extraordinary bluegreen planet, revolving slowly in space.