How I came to write: “Bang Bang You’re Dead” (by Nick Quantrill)
Having spent the last four or so years writing almost exclusively about one character, Joe Geraghty, a small-time PI operating in my home city of Hull, the chance to write a novella for Byker Books’ “Best of British” Kindle series came as a nicely timed challenge.
The chance to support Byker Books is a welcome one for me. Quietly going about their business for some years now, their annual Radgepacket series, now up to volume six, is an essential round-up and opportunity for both new and established writers to display their Brit Grit credentials. More personally to me, they were amongst the first to show some faith in my writing, so when I was asked to consider writing a novella for them, I was only ever going to agree.
And a great challenge it proved to be, too. It was the chance to try a new voice. The central character in the novella is Sam, a young man recently released from prison. He wants to provide for his young family, but Hull is a city with few opportunities. And there are even fewer in the area Sam lives. He’s a young man who only really knows the place as he experiences it. He’s not well travelled, even within the city. So he gets himself involved in a drug deal organised by his mate Jonno. It inevitably goes wrong, but the ensuing chaos gives Sam the chance to get to the truth about his brother’s overdose. It proved to be a fast piece to write and a lot of fun, but it also surprised me - I found myself thinking about unexpected issues - how do young people survive when they’re offered nothing? Are people rooted into places and unable to change or adapt?
I’ve always written about Hull and I suspect I’ll continue to do so for a while yet. “Bang Bang You’re Dead” gave me the chance to look at the city through different eyes. It also gave me the chance to look harder at my home city and discover that although the backdrop to it may be grey and concrete, there are good people and beauty everywhere.