One of my clients, Ben Graff, has his first book, Find Another Place, coming out on March 28. I worked with Ben helping him find the structure for the book, which as it says on the cover is: An autobiographical meditation on family, focusing on childhood, parenting, the passage of time, loss, love, faith and memory. I encouraged Ben to dig deeper into himself, writing additional chapters and finding the essence of material, a complex tapestry of autobiography and family history. I’m very proud of the resulting volume, and I know Ben is too. Find Another Place (Amazon link) will be published by Troubadour, priced £11.99. Here is the text from the back cover: “Families are their stories,” said my grandfather Martin that late autumn day in 2001, as he placed a clear plastic folder containing his journal into my hands. Part historical meditation on people now gone, part detective story and journey of discovery, the book speaks to how we remember and re-assess what has gone before and how we make sense both of our here and now and the future. My grandfather had always wanted to be a writer and he gave me his journal shortly before his death. After many endings, paper often remains. Letters from my parents written in the 1970s before they were married, together with a handful of poems, extracts from diaries and other materials all form part of this reflection. It is possible to get to know people better, even after they are gone. A family’s interactions with the Isle of Wight, in war and peace, happy times and sad, run through the narrative. As does a relationship with literature, the desire to write and a passion for the game of chess. Anyone who has ever lost a parent; had a child or reflected on the fragility and beauty inherent in everyday life will enjoy this book.
In May last year Adrian Besly set out to cycle around the world. He kept a diary along the way, and when he came back he wrote a book about his amazing adventures. And then I edited it, and I’m delighted to say that Do It – Cycling Around The World For A Laugh is published this week. A print edition will follow soon. Adrian really has a way with words, and the subtitle is entirely appropriate. Throwaway lines like ‘I have a photo in my wallet of my kids where my money used to be’ regularly made me laugh, and if you find that amusing then this book is for you. It’s not all fun though. Adrian came close to death on several occasions on some of the world’s most dangerous roads and his journey ranges from the surreal to the frankly hair-raising. The Kindle version is available from 1 September in the UK (Do It) in the US (Do It), and at other Amazon sites around the world. Here is the official blurb from Amazon: ‘Don’t dream it, be it,’ they sang in The Rocky Horror Show. So Adrian Besly quit his job, bought some cycling gear from Tesco, Aldi and his local bike shop and kept pedalling west until he came home from the east nearly a year later. During this epic journey he got drunk with Aussie cowboys, ate dog and cat in Vietnam, met ‘The Only Gay in the Village’ in Andorra, did a bungee jump in New Zealand, nearly ran over a dildo in Argentina, danced with a pirate in Gibraltar, ended up on stage with drag queens in Sydney and stayed in a Brazilian brothel. Not that it was all plain sailing. He was attacked by a hornet while having a pee in Spain, outwitted muggers in Indonesia, was attacked by Hitchcock-inspired birds in Australia, and chased by dogs in nearly every country he visited. He coped with dangerous drivers, ‘Bali Belly’ and people throwing bottles at him. Worse, he had four crashes, and was admitted to hospital in Malaysia with exhaustion. These subjects don’t lend themselves to dainty language, and Adrian describes events colourfully. Against all odds he cycled over 14,000 miles, and developed possibly the world’s sorest backside. Do It – Cycling Around The World For A Laugh may be the type of travel diary that Michael Palin wants to write, but the BBC won’t publish. About the author Adrian Besly left home at 16 and has done dozens of jobs. He has worked on farms, in factories, been a driver, kitchen porter, circus worker, film extra, drug tester, printer, pest controller, door-to-door salesman, courier and most recently, a staff nurse at Southend Hospital Accident & Emergency Department. He has had two booklets published; Bash The Fash about fighting against the BNP and NF, and The Couriers Are Revolting about organising a trade union for motorcycle despatch riders. Despite being a hard worker he has the unusual distinction of having been on strike in four different industries. Apart from following QPR, his sporting passion is judo. He is a 3rd Dan black belt and still trains, coaches and competes. He has represented Great Britain. Adrian performs Britain’s most talented harmonica/comedy routine, although Simon Cowell does not agree. He has two wonderful children, Kevin and Laura, and is married to the gorgeous Sharon.