My new (and first) novel is launched two weeks today, and this is an open invite to anyone who loves to read. Booksellers, journalists, reviewers, you’re all welcome. The launch is taking place at The King’s Cross, Mill Lane, Cardiff, CF10 1FF.
Enjoy this extract…
Ste sat down and started leafing through the sheets of paper that were on the desk. ‘What’s next, then?’
‘Well,’ Willem began, giving up on even considering a fourth chair, ‘I want you to take notes, make sure we get everything said down. Don’t want to slip up on this. I’m still finding it hard to believe that Kurt would try to scam me like this, it’s so not a Kurt thing. And yet the evidence…’
‘… Pretty much says string the idiot up by the short and curlies,’ Ste said, all trace of humour gone. ‘And haven’t you learned from last night that people often step out of character?’
Willem thought back to last night on the webcam, and nodded. Yep, that was definitely new for him. ‘Maybe, but there are character types that people usually fall into, read about it on Wikipedia. Let me see; melancholy, sanguine… erm…’
Ste nodded slowly at this. ‘Right,’ he said, even slower, ‘and we all know that Wiki is written by experts in their fields. Only, you know, not. People are not like characters in a book, dude, you can’t define them so easily, slotting them into particular personality types. People shift and change their attitudes, their desires, everything, all they need is the right… incentive.’
There was distant smile on Ste’s face as he said this, but Willem wasn’t sure he wanted to know the why of that. Instead he kept his tone light. ‘You really are the insightful professor of life, aren’t you, Mr Krueger?’
‘What can I say, Will, I’m multi-talented. And you know, there’s plenty going on in my world you’d not believe even if I did tell you. Not unless you experienced it yourself.’
Willem narrowed his eyes. ‘Is that an invite?’
‘Don’t know, dude, wouldn’t be up to me. I’d have to ask Robin.’
‘Right, the mysterious Robin. Anyway, what did you say the other day about your mixer menu?’
‘True that.’ Ste nodded, lips pursed in thought. His face broke out into a wide grin. ‘Maybe I’ll have to speak to Robin. I know he wants to meet you.’
‘You two talked about me?’
A dark shadow passed across Ste’s features, but an instant later it was gone. He leaned forward. ‘Anyhow, I meant what’s next with you and Charlie?’
‘Oh. Him,’ Willem said, waving a hand as if Charlie was the last thing on his mind. Ste was clearly not convinced by this attempt at indifference, so Willem sat down in the chair he’d prepared for Kurt. ‘Gonna meet up with him this weekend.’
‘Ah.’ Ste sat back and steepled his fingers, with a smile on his lips.
‘Nothing, just glad to see you’re doing something about this. Been a long time.’
Willem nodded. He couldn’t argue with that, really.
‘Yeah, that’s right. Jacen.’
Willem whistled. ‘Now there’s a name I haven’t really thought about in a long time.’ And it really had been a long while, Willem realised, a good three years in fact. Jacen and Willem hadn’t worked out too well, obviously since they were no longer dating, mostly because Jacen couldn’t deal with Willem’s commitment to his work. Jacen wanted to go off and do stuff, experience the world a little, and he wouldn’t have it when Willem tried to explain they’d have plenty of time for that later when they were financially secure. Jacen had quickly found someone else, quite an adventurous guy from what Willem had since heard. ‘I wonder where he is now?’
‘Probably off doing what you should have done a long time ago, Will,’ Ste said, and let out a gentle cough.
‘Still not too sure, though,’ Willem said, wondering what it was about Ste that made him want to open up so freely. ‘I mean, Ren’s fucked off again and I’m stuck with Curtis tonight. Not that I mind, since I love spending time with him, obviously, and better him being with me than around Jimmy, but what happens when I’m away? She can’t just knock on my door whenever, then.’
‘So?’ Ste held his hands up to ward off the words that were about to erupt from Willem’s mouth. ‘Seriously, it’s not your problem. You have your own life, and every once in a while you need to remember that.’
‘That’s a selfish attitude there, Ste.’
‘Probably, but as someone once said, once in a while you need to give yourself permission to be selfish. You can’t carry everyone all the time. Eventually you’ll buckle, and I hate to break this to you, Will, but you’ve been buckling for a while now.’