In the novel my three stage characters – innocent Dorothy, prim Miss Ross and worldly-wise Joan (we shouldn’t forget Tiddles, the cat!) – are joined in the care home by an array of others who bring with them a huge mixture of subplots, surprises and secrets. When the new owners substantially increase the fees the residents band together to fight against what they see as injustice, which results in confusion, conflict with authority and attention from national media.
‘Do you believe what’s happening here will be the catalyst for pensioner riots similar to the Poll Tax Riots of 1990?’
The subjects covered in the novel are also greatly expanded. Although still essentially a comedy revolving around the antics that the residents get up to, the novel examines several serious topics such as prostitution, sexting and grooming, as well as sex lines, the latter being part of the storyline in the stage version.
In her desire to help Dorothy, who faces having to leave the home, Miss Ross gets sucked into a seedy world of which she has no knowledge. It’s a scenario that is only hinted at in the play, something that occurs ‘off-stage’. The book provides the opportunity to tackle this head on, as it does with several other serious issues … humour and tragedy running side by side throughout.
‘Every step she took along the pavement was like a stab to her soul, as though an invisible knife was cutting off parts of her with each yard covered. A sliver of morality fell off while going over the zebra crossing. By the post box she left a hunk of dignity. At the grocer’s shop, a slice of sensitivity rolled away, coming to rest in the gutter.’
Many themes central to the play are also key to the book – friendship, loyalty, loneliness and sacrifice, about never giving up and how reaching out to strangers can completely change our lives.
Casting Off will be published during September 2016 in paperback (£7.99) and ebook (£2.99 ) by Black & White Publishing, one of Scotland’s leading book publishers. The title will be available via bookshops and Amazon. You can buy the novel "Casting Off" from Amazon here.
I’m involved in several talks, readings and signings during October. The details are:
Saturday 1st - 2.00 pm
Talk/reading and book signing.
Sunday 2nd - 3.00 pm
Dornoch Social Club, Dornoch
Talk/reading followed by book signing, tea/coffee and home baking.
Friday 7th - 10.30 am
The Old School, Beauly
Friday 21st - 7.00 pm
Nairn Bookshop, Nairn
Talk/reading followed by book signing, tea and biscuits.
I’m delighted that these events linked to the launch of Casting Off will form part of Luminate - Scotland’s creative ageing festival. Luminate is an annual festival that takes place across the length and breadth of Scotland each October, offering the chance to celebrate creativity, share stories and to explore what ageing means to all of us.