The second of December’s indie author spotlights is for Chantelle Atkins, Author. Today i am promoting her new book A song for Bill Robinson. She has shared her inspiration behind it and also an excerpt, enjoy!
Blurb Tensions are building on the notorious Holds End estate.The local community centre is fighting for survival and the murder of 15-year-old Lewis Matthews remains unsolved…Wannabe teenage singer, Bill Robinson, just got out of hospital after surviving a vicious attack. He thinks he knows who attacked him…and why. When a violent feud escalates between him and local thug Charlie McDonnal, Bill vows to find the killer and help save the community centre by taking part in the local singing contest.Can music bring a shattered community together? And can Bill keep his own demons at bay long enough to win the singing contest and find out who killed Lewis Matthews?
A large crow landed on a branch in the tree and seemed to be staring right at him. Bill stared back. It hopped from one branch to another, flapped its wings and make a squawking sound as another bird swooped down to join it. Staring dully, Bill watched the birds hopping and flapping their wings. Behind them, the estate was a shadow of shapes and lines, and as he slouched further against the wall, he narrowed his eyes until the birds and the trees appeared huge, like monstrous puppets against the dying light, and he realised that there was some kind of tragic, gasping beauty in everything.
Finally, he was too restless to bear it and jumped down from the wall. He walked into the kitchen and opened the fridge. His dad had a six pack of beer on the bottom shelf. He would notice if any of them went missing. Bill slammed the fridge and stalked into the lounge. He went to the drinks cabinet which served as a surface for his mother’s record player. He crouched down to open it and then rummaged through the half empty bottles until he found vodka. His dad hardly ever touched the spirits these days. It would take him ages to notice.
Bill took the bottle into kitchen and poured some into a glass. He topped it up with orange juice and sat out on the back doorstep to drink it. He thought back to what Summer had said up at the lookout and realised she was right; he wasn’t as scared of McDonnal as he should have been, which was why he was going to youth club tonight despite the dead meat warning. Despite everything. Despite dead boys in alleys and kissing his best friend and everything else. He knew it was suicide, but he also knew that you couldn’t just stay home and keep your head down and hope for the best. You had to do the opposite. You had to get up and look them in the eye and hold your head up. He was scared, just not enough to give in or give up. Once you did that, you were dead. You were Lewis Matthews.
The Inspiration Behind The Book
The inspiration behind A Song For Bill Robinson actually came from the film The Commitments. I watched it when I was sixteen and thought it was absolutely brilliant. At that age, a lot of my writing involved inspiration from books, films and music I was into. I wanted to write a book about a boy who wanted to be a singer, but was also a fairly anti-social, grump with some family drama going on. I first wrote the book aged sixteen but I never wrote the ending. In 2016 I discovered the original hand-written manuscript in an old dusty suitcase under my bed. I had completely forgotten about the book but as soon as I started flicking through it, I knew I had to rewrite it and finish it.
A lot changed when I rewrote it. Some characters were cut in place of new ones and some had their names changed. The storylines also changed and developed as I wrote it and the characters kept throwing up sub-plots I had not seen coming. The main storyline however stayed the same. Bill Robinson is a grumpy sixteen year old from a broken family, who only really comes alive when he is singing. He becomes embroiled in a bitter and violent feud with local thug Charlie McDonnal when he suspects Charlie is behind the unsolved murder of a local 15-year-old. Bill, like his father, is attracted to a drink or two and doesn’t quite know when to stop.
New storylines included the community centre being threatened with closure and the manager putting on a talent contest to help raise funds to save it. And a love triangle between Bill and his two best friends, Adam and Summer. I also didn’t expect the book to evolve into a trilogy, but it did. The second book is written and I hope to release it in the next six months, and the third book I am writing at the moment.
About The Author
I am a mum of four, and I have been writing stories/books since I was a child, but its only been the last few years I have had the courage to share them with people! My first book The Mess Of Me was published in May 2013,by Autharium. This was soon followed by The Boy With The Thorn In His Side, and its sequel This Is The Day. Other books include This Is Nowhere and short story collection Child’s Eye. My work has been described as gritty and gripping and character driven. I hope to have a new YA book The Tree Of Rebels out next year.
Personal Interests Gardening, self-sufficient-ish!!
Dogs – foster rescue dogs
Lurchers – best dogs ever
Music – Indie, Rock, Grunge, 60’s, everything!
Favourite books The Catcher In The Rye
Vernon ‘God’ Little
Chaos Walking Trilogy
To Kill A Mockingbird
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
On The Road
Ham On Rye
Social Media Links Facebook https://www.facebook.com/chantelleatkinswriter/ Twitter https://twitter.com/Chanatkins Blog https://chantelleatkins.com/?fbclid=IwAR18QX1Ba_VFArYrLLJAgFO4QPIm0GzEuZT6hVzQ8PdJFr8V7UMimZTCssE%2F Instagram https://www.instagram.com/chantelleatkinswriter/?hl=en
Thank You Chantelle for a great insight into the idea behind the book and an excerpt i think will have people hooked and wanting to read the book.
Big thank you to all the indie authors for taking part this year. It has been great getting to know all of you and i hope that these spotlights have brought you many new readers.
Thank you too, to you my followers and those that take the time to read my posts.
Happy New Year!!! #iheartindieauthors