About Me

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Ripon, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Gary Dolman was born in the industrial north east of England in the 1960s, but grew up in Harrogate in Yorkshire, where he now lives with his wife, three children and dogs. His writing reflects his fascination by the dark places of the human mind.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Good Grief, Mr Chips!

            July 2012 sees the printing of my debut novel, The Eighth Circle of Hell. It’s classified by the publisher, Thames River Press, as historical fiction, which it undoubtedly is, being set in the 1840s and ‘90s. But it is also literary fiction, both in style and in the way it parallels Dante’s Divine Comedy.
Last week, Kamaljit Singh, the driving force behind Thames River Press, told me that he had entered it into the Costa Book Awards as a first novel and that he intends to do the same for the Man Booker Prize. Heady days indeed!

I was never particularly good at English at school. The fact that I was placed firmly in Set 4 at my comprehensive school perhaps illustrates this, as does my achievement of a grade B in English Language at ‘O’-Level and the scraping of a ‘C’ in English Literature.  So I wonder what the reaction of my old English teachers will be if they find out about all of this. The fact that I’ve written anything without a gun to my temple will astound them; that it’s been taken up and published by a traditional publisher will send them reaching for a cold compress.

Very much, Good Grief!

What has changed for me is that my family has been through some real dark days over the past five years or so. Death, illness and mental disorder have a way of really squeezing the creative juices from the most dry and shrivelled fruit. And looking back at the time before then, I am a much better human being for it. I am far less judgemental and a lot kinder. In a way, and for me, (I certainly would not have wished it on any of the other family members) it was good grief.

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