Today I am hosting an excerpt from Wilson Indeed.
In The Market Square, the fantastical setting for all his dream activities, Wilson Armitage is able to take night classes on any subject and absorb a wealth of knowledge from just a few hours of sleep. As though logging into a wifi of dreams to download information. As his childhood passes, both wary of and reticent to acknowledge his extraordinary ability, Wilson attempts to lead a normal life and stay beneath the radar of family and friends.
At the age of seventeen however, his cover is blown by Daisy Meadowcroft. During a chance encounter in The Market Square, they agree to meet the next day and are propelled from a dream world into the reality of a coffee shop in the centre of Manchester. Enthralled by their shared gift, they strike up a close friendship and encourage each other to seek a rational, scientific explanation for their unique talents.
“I do hope you followed my request last week for home study on the style of the Post Impressionists, because today children, it’s time to put that knowledge to the test. Take note of the various textures and the balance of light in the composition. You have paper and brushes, so let’s begin.”
With that, Mrs Hope returned to her desk to mark a pile of poems handed in by Year Four the previous day.
It goes without saying, that a limited palette of school grade paint was unlikely to facilitate even a passing resemblance to Van Gogh’s Sunflowers but in enthusiastic hands, the forging began.
Wilson was soon lost in his work. A mix of yell ow with a hint of brown made an exact shade replica of the burnt ochre Van Gogh used to paint the sunflower pot. A little more red with a touch of yellow gave the pot a feeling of depth and a blend of blue with white and green made the perfect hue for outlining the pot just as Van Gogh had done. Even to a trained eye, the developing composition was beginning to look like a masterly, school paint portrayal of the real thing. With a sparsely bristled brush, Wilson moved on to re creating the rich complexity of the sunflower heads and the tangle of spidery petals that surrounded them.
Half an hour later, an uncharacteristic stillness descended on the art room and perceiving the absence of the normal din as the unmistakable sign of mischief, Mrs Hope put down her green pen, lifted her eyes from the wretched poem she was marking and surveyed the scene. For some reason, the entire class had decided to abandon their work and, more significantly, their desks and had converged in the vicinity of Wilson Armitage. Much jostling and pushing was accompanied by whispering:
“Come on, let me see.”
“No, you move.”
“Class, what the devil is going on?” Mrs Hope rose from her desk and strode towards the
scrummage surrounding Wilson.
“Wilson, what on earth are you doing in there? Class, move back, at once!”
Just as the irate teacher was about to reach the hub of the slowly parting children, Wilson clumsily dropped his brush in a pot of water causing it to tumble and release a sea of milky brown opaqueness all over his artwork. In a split second, all the detail in his masterpiece had been flushed away.
Had he not been so absorbed in the challenge of faithfully replicating the twists and turns of the sunflower stems, Wilson would have noticed the interest the entire class was expressing in his artwork. In which case, he would have released the localised flooding earlier. Unfortunately, the teacher came close enough to catch a glimpse and in the brief moment before the painting was obliterated, what she saw, left he r almost speechless. As speechless as if Van Gogh himself had sat at Wilson’s desk and improvised his own poster paint, post impression.
For twenty years Steve Walsh honed his skills in prose as an advertising copywriter; the ‘ideas’ man in a Manchester based marketing agency that carried his name.
In the late 1990’s he stumbled into the world of the dotcom entrepreneur and his claim to fame is as the creator of the hotel booking service, laterooms.com and the first car insurance comparison site, easycover.com. So, the birth of Meerkats, a Welsh opera singer and being confused.com might be considered as down to him, for which he apologises.
He now uses his vivid imagination and gentle Mancunian wit to write visionary fantasy novels with bold concepts. Wilson indeed, the first book in his trilogy The WiFi of Dreams takes the reader on a richly imagined, fact meets fiction adventure story to which we can relate and feel we can touch. A whimsical interrogation of the inexplicable and fundamental tenets of our lives – the role and meaning of dreams, the nature of the hereafter, hard and soft science, a love story – what more can you want?
Butterfly Assassins, the second book in the trilogy, will be published in Summer 2021.
In a recent survey, 85% of people said yes to the question: “Do you believe there are things out there that science can’t explain?”
If you’re one of those 85%, you’ll love The WiFi of Dreams series.
Born and bred in the north west of England, Steve Walsh has three children and likes to fly fish in his spare time.