Today, I am incredibly happy to introduce an immensely talented young author. Rahul has already completed three works of non-fiction, spoken at conferences for young historians, and now is about to enter the historical fiction genre with his new novel – Another Brick in the Wall. He explains in this post the motivation behind this novel and I’m sure you’ll agree, that it is a fascinating concept and a incredibly original idea. So without further delay, I will pass you over to Rahul…
Thomas M D Brooke
J.K. Rowling conceived the Harry Potter series while on a train from Manchester to London. What has that universe turned into? A multi-billion dollar entertainment industry that includes everything from books to movies to merchandise. The only word I have for that is wow! It is amazing that a simple idea, created in the most mundane of ways, has morphed into this massive worldwide phenomenon.
I am an author, and no I am not enjoying the success of the likes of Rowling. But, I was struck by an idea which I believe is a topic that has thus far remained untouched. Where did I get it? An essay topic. The topic read: ‘the life of a brick.’ I never wrote the essay. The topic somehow stayed with me as I began to formulate questions. Can an inanimate object like a brick see? If so, what does it see? If it can see, then surely it can form opinions, right? If so, then what opinions would it make if it were in the wall of a room where a woman and her child has just been abused by her husband. The possibilities of what this objective narrator could do became endless even with the blatant absence of movement, speech and thus omniscience of the brick.
But, wouldn’t it be too repetitive if I focused on the brick’s viewpoint of one room. It would see the same constant conflict. The action in the novel would be non-existent. I happen to be an author of British history. This seemed to be the perfect solution. Why don’t I strategically place that single brick in various buildings across various pivotal moments in British history?
This opened yet another floodgate of ideas. The brick could see the Roman expansion into Britain, the barbaric Anglo-Saxon conquest, the Danish conquest, the Norman conquest, Thomas Becket’s assassination, the signing of the Magna Carta, Henry VIII’s many wives, Queen Mary’s head rolling on the castle flagstones as her hair is exposed to be a wig as it is cut off her neck, the Protestant Reformation in Britain, the Union with Scotland, the rise of the Commonwealth and the beheading of Charles I, colonisation under Queen Victoria, the two World Wars, the Cold War and finally the first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
I could go on with the ideas. I could make an epic story about the Hundred Year’s War and the War of the Roses. I could dramatize the conflict between the Lancasters and the Yorks. I could go on about how evil Henry II was and how virtuous Richard III was. Well, one of those would be wildly misconstrued. Or, I could romanticise the Virgin Queen’s wild escapades with her dashing courtiers.
This monumental idea allowed me and is still allowing me, to bring history to the masses while making it thoroughly enjoyable. However, what it has really allowed me to do is to make sharp criticisms of fundamental human characteristics like greed, power seeking, love, hatred, religion, and war.
I must admit, it has been difficult. How was I to take this brick to all the pivotal moments? How would I take it to Canterbury Cathedral, to Newark Castle, to Hampton Court Palace and Windsor Castle? Well, since the book has yet to release, I can’t very well tell you that. I can, however, offer a piece of advice (or a sly promotion of my other books *wink wink*): check out my books on Hitler and the British Monarchy. It will provide you with the refreshingly accurate yet surprisingly concise historical knowledge to anticipate exactly what the brick will see as well as how. These two books will be either free or on sale every Sunday and Monday until the 26th of December. This is leading to the release of my next book on the Holocaust on the 26th of December. Be sure to check this all out on my website here. Also, remember to subscribe to my newsletter to get updates on the brick’s activities in history. Finally, follow me on Twitter @RahulGandhi_18 and enter the competitions relating to the brick on my blog; you will find that I am quite responsive. I would love to get to know all interested readers and share some valuable historical insight.