Today I am welcoming author Billy Moran to give us a little insight into his debut novel Don’t Worry Everything Is Going To Be Amazing.
Chris Pringle: simpleton, casualty or local hero?
Propped up by biscuits, benefits and a baffling faith in his plan, he lives in a world where every day is obsessively the same: wedged in his recliner, watching murder mysteries, taking notes. Until the day a serious and peculiar crime stumps the local police – and Chris announces he can solve it.
Accompanied by a loyal crew of chancers, committed to making amends, and pursued by a depressed Detective Inspector, trying to join the dots, Chris heads back to the raves of his past, where a heartbreaking personal tragedy lies abandoned. But what exactly is Chris Pringle looking for? Has he really worked out the way to find it? And what will happen if he does?
A quirky, nostalgic, heart-warming mystery for fans of Gail Honeyman, Agatha Christie, Jennifer Egan, Ian Rankin, Matt Haig, Irvine Welsh, Ben Aaronovitch, Dave Eggers, Jon Niven, John Kennedy Toole, Belinda Bauer and Harland Miller
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Don’t Worry Everything Is Going To Be Amazing will be published on the 15th September 2020.
Life, books and why I love to be thoroughly puzzled by Billy Moran
From watching the game show ‘3-2-1’ and reading the Ian Livingstone books as a child, to trying to unpick the lyrics to my favourite song or work out just why Alan Partridge is so funny as an adult, I always consumed art, books and pop culture like it’s a mystery to be solved – and it’s something that’s very much reflected in my debut novel, Don’t Worry, Everything Is Going To Be Amazing.
DWEIGTBA is a detective mystery set partly within the evocative nostalgia of the early ‘90s, and the Madchester era rave scene. A detective mystery which also asks if someone can become a detective, purely by absorbing all of the lessons to be learned from the wonderful world of Columbo and Strike, Miss Marple and Montalbano. But it’s not novel about rave – you won’t find a gratuitous list of song titles and reference points which prove I was there with my glowsticks back in 1992 (even though I was!). And it’s not a novel about my TV obsession either – not only do I watch far too much of it, but I’ve worked in television for 25 years, inventing and making my very own game shows to watch, and now writing on Horrible Histories.
Instead, DWEIGTBA is about how pop culture and hedonism can be misused as props, in exactly the same way as work or faith can – to avoid the big questions in our life. These things can – and should – of course all be enriching, but it’s not a given that they will be, and as my twenties turned into my thirties, I personally found myself using them to block out the nagging questions that needed answering in my life, rather than to help explore them as I’d grown up doing.
I had a difficult few years, and coming out the other side, I resolved to confront how I felt about things, rather than pushing it all away. I think I’d fallen out of love with books and music and TV too. The real value in them is not just escapism, it’s the mirror they hold up to your own soul, the questions they force you to ask of yourself. That’s how I enjoy them again nowadays, and I’m happy I’ve got that back – whilst writing a novel can be an even more direct (and at times brutal!) route to who you really are, if you allow it to be.
I think the point is, there’s some work involved in getting the most out of life, and the most out of books. Not work as in effort, a chore, a task to be put off – just that the best art invites you to examine your flaws, your toughest memories and generally what on earth you are doing with yourself. I love the ‘what happens next’ play-along feel of great detective fiction. I’m beyond excited about the new Strike and Rebus books just launching, and can’t wait to get lost in the vague blur of soaking up a plot without thinking too hard, then finding myself running over it all in my mind when my head hits the pillow each night, and seguing into thoughts about my own experiences. I know if that’s what happens, the story is doing its job, and I’m doing mine.
DWEIGTBA is a neat, circular story that all ties up in the end, but should also leave you with some unanswered questions – that was very deliberate, and I hope readers get as much rip-roaring, problem-solving, soul-searching fun out of reading it, as did sticking it down on paper.
Billy Moran is an award-winning television writer for shows including Horrible Histories. He grew up in the West Country, where his teenage years were rudely interrupted by the Second Summer of Love. Since then he has been embracing mysteries, craving solutions and writing lots of lists. He lives in London and has two children, two cats, one football team and several favourite detectives. Don’t Worry, Everything Is Going To Be Amazing is his debut novel.