Over two years ago I was doing research for a book series that I was working on at the time. One of my main characters was going to Afghanistan as a foreign correspondent and although I didn’t want to focus in any depth on what was happening there I did want to get a flavour of what life would be like for a foreign correspondent.
I bought and read Christina Lamb’s book “Small Wars Permitting: Despatches from Foreign Lands.” I didn’t only read about Afghanistan but she also revealed about her time in Brazil. I read about children who lived on the streets, hundreds of thousands of them, and they were treated like vermin. People stepped over these bundles which held human life as though they were unimportant. What the were, though was an embarrassment to the authorities and a major inconvenience to local businesses. My blood ran cold when I learned that their solution to this problem of homelessness amongst children was to cull their numbers, to kill them.
Out of the horror I felt, came a nugget of an idea about twin babies born in Brazil and orphaned. One would be adopted into a life of luxury and the other would face the brutality of the streets until they were reunited twelve years later. The story of these children fought for precedence in my head as they demanded that their story should be told. I told it. ‘A boy from the Streets’ was released in April 2017. In that time I have sold over 500 copies of the book which isn’t too shabby for an Indie Author who doesn’t spend much time or money on advertising.
A Boy from the Streets has had much praise and I am proud of all the four and five-star reviews it has received, it also won an Indie book award from ‘Chill with a Book’ and the beautiful cover which was designed by JC Clarke from The Graphics Shed also won a cover of the week prize. I’ve made people cry, ‘feel the feels’ and I’ve been told that people couldn’t put it down, reading into the night. Hearing that kind of feedback has been phenomenal, every author’s dream. But the book has also got itself a few haters, or me as a storyteller, which I’m pleased to say is in the minority at the moment which is something that you have to accept when you put your work out to be judged by the public.
What came out of this feedback though was that people wanted to know more about some of the other characters, in particular, Martinez. What made him bad? My brain came alive once more with possibilities and the series was born. What started as a standalone book has now become a series of five books and I am about to release book two on Thursday 17th May which is called ‘Sins of the Father’ and follows the story of Carlos. All of these books can be read as standalone but for a richer experience, I suggest you start from the beginning. The characters are whispering in my ear continuously as they want their five minutes of fame. 🙂
If you haven’t read ‘A Boy from the Streets’ yet here is a little excerpt to tempt you. Jose is the twin who was adopted and when he is twelve he returns to Brasil where he learns that he was adopted and has a twin, Jose runs away to see if he can find his brother.
(Please note the spelling of Brasil has been used deliberately for authenticity)
Aimlessly I walked, caught up in my thoughts and unaware of my surroundings. My wandering had turned me around so many corners that I couldn’t have found my way back to the hotel, even if I wanted to go. With this dawning awareness came fear. I had no sense of direction; back in England I was never allowed out alone. A pang of homesickness seized me while I contemplated the home I’d never see again.
I pushed on; the streets were becoming more crowded. People jostled each other, and I shied away from their contact. Perhaps it was my imagination, but the crowd seemed more menacing, less civilised. I shivered despite the blistering heat. My steps slowed as I placed one cautious foot in front of the other. There was no other choice but to go on now. The streets were twisty and winding, like a rabbit warren or something out of the Shire from The Hobbit. I thought of Bilbo Baggins’ reluctant adventures then remembered he’d had friends with him, and a ring that made him invisible. My task didn’t involve reclaiming Dwarf gold from a fire-breathing dragon, but it was equally daunting. Until this moment, I hadn’t considered that my twin—should I even find him—might not be welcoming. Hardened from street life, would he resent me for the luxurious life I had lived? Or would he teach me everything I needed to know in order for me to survive in his life?
A commotion in front of me caused my mind’s meanderings to cease. A tall, lanky boy stood before me holding a broken bottle, the edges jagged and lethally sharp.
After taking two steps back, I hit a barrier—of the human kind. Hoping to be saved, I spun around and found myself looking into a pair of glacial eyes, the lightest shade of blue–almost opaque. A vile smell emanated from the pair of boys who’d boxed me in. Both wore shorts and t-shirts, more like rags, barely held together by any material.
“Give us your money, rich boy.” He waved the bottle in front of me, the sharp edges slashing the air. He hawked up and spat a huge glob of green phlegm down beside my feet.
“I– I– I have no money…” I started in English but switched to Portuguese when I saw their confusion. Looking him square in the eyes, I wasn’t being brave; indeed, I feared I would shame myself with tears, or worse.
I’ll leave you with a tiny teaser from ‘Sins of the Father.’