We love Gavin Extence and his new book ‘The Mirror World Of Melody Black’ (it’s on order) is the next featured book on Simon Mayo’s Drivetime Book Club on Monday February 23rd.
Abby is an aspiring journalist, an indifferent daughter, a cohabiting girlfriend; a ‘normal’ woman in her mid-twenties. But something sets her apart from everyone else. It allows her to achieve complete truth and clarity. Something that no one else could ever understand. But the very thing that sets Abby apart could destroy her. And then she meets Melody Black.
Gavin Extence draws upon his own experiences to depict an unsettling, at times hilarious, but most of all truthful account of what it’s like to live with bipolar disorder. He brings to the fore questions like where is the line between sanity and insanity? At what point has someone gone off the rails? And what is the difference between passion and mania?
Gavin was born in 1982 and grew up in Lincolnshire. He was a keen chess player as a boy, winning several national titles. He began writing his first novel after he had completed his PhD in Film Studies and was unemployed. His debut novel, The Universe Versus Alex Woods, was a Radio 2 Book Club choice in 2012.
Gavin says: When I write, I like to work with the cat on my knee. It started with my debut. When I was writing it, I couldn’t afford to run the heating, so she’d sit on my knee all day and we’d keep each other warm. Since then, I think we’ve probably clocked up several thousand hours working together. It’s an arrangement that suits both of us.
If I hadn’t become a writer, I would have wanted to be…a librarian. I love being surrounded by books. It makes me feel very grounded. I also love being able to recommend a great book; if I really enjoy something, I immediately want to share it.
One thing that people don’t know about me is I crashed the car on my first ever driving lesson, about two minutes after starting the engine. I pranged another car – a parked car – at about 5mph. I’ve never told anyone that because it felt too embarrassing. But this seemed like a good place to unburden myself. The book that inspired me to write is A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. (Or that’s one of them. There are about a dozen!)
If I could be any cartoon character, I would be… …Wile E. Coyote. I admire his persistence. You need a lot of that to write.
The thing I love most about words is they can create an entire world out of thin air.