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Simon Van de Velde
Works of: Fiction
Can you find the famous person hidden in every story? And once found, can you understand them?
‘Ingenious idea, brilliantly executed’ – Daily Mirror
Backstories – ‘the stand-out most original book of the year’ – is a collection of stories each told from the point of view of one of my personal heroes, (or villains) back when they were just another Jew or black, or queer – back when they were nobody. Bullied, assaulted or psychologically abused, their road to redemption was never easy, and for some there would be no redemption, only a descent into evil.
These are the stories of people you know. The settings are mostly 60’s and 70’s UK and USA, the driving themes are inclusion and social justice – but the real key to these stories is that I withhold the protagonists’ identities. This means that your job is to find them – leading to that Eureka moment when you realise who’s mind you’ve been inhabiting for the last twenty minutes.
I should also add that this is a book that operates on two levels. Yes, there’s the game of identifying the mystery activist or actor, singer or murderer, but there is then the more serious business of trying to understand them. This in turn leads to the challenge of overlaying what you now know about these famous people onto what you thought you knew – not to mention the inherent challenge to your moral compass.
These are people you know, but not as you know them. Peel back the mask and see.
‘Humanity shimmers at the heart of every tale…and it is this that resonates, long after each mystery has been solved.’ – Caroline Ward Vine, winner of the Costa Prize.
This book is dedicated to the victims of violent crime, the struggle against discrimination in all its forms and making the world a better place for our children. That is why 30% of all profits will be shared between Stop Hate UK, The North East Autism Society and Friends of the Earth.
Simon Van der Velde January, 2021
Backstories is published by Smoke & Mirrors Press.
MY BACKSTORIES QUEST
“Whatever happened to, all of the heroes?” The Stranglers 1977
was twelve years old when I first heard this song and although there was something in the feral tone that grabbed me, I didn’t really understand it. I do now. I get the angst and the loss and the emptiness, which is why, in Backstories, I aim to answer the question.
I’m not interested in simplistic tabloid truths. They clung on too long, drank too much, lost their looks and their charm and generally reminded us that we’re all getting older. That’s not what I want from my heroes.
What I want is to find the spark, to dig down into their pain, their passions and their imperfections, and show you our heroes as they truly are.
So join me on my quest. Let’s bypass the obvious, the tedious, and the dull, and brave the deeper, darker paths where the treasures can be found – and together we’ll uncover the fears and doubts that made our heroes what they were and perhaps catch a glimpse of ourselves along the way.
Whatever happened to all of the heroes? They turned out to be human beings, in all their diverse glory.
Simon Van der Velde January, 2021
The Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal, 2021
Self publishing Review Awards, (short-list), 2022
Other books by Simon Van de Velde
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