Why not let people slow down and be with each other for a while. Allow them a chance to step away from the pursuit of bigger and better and be something else. Let the people rest a while. A new era...
- the age of sleep.
I currently work as a Communications Manager at the RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), which mainly involves copywriting, website editing and helping my team with marketing/tech solutions for the many and varied projects we run.
Prior to this I completed an MA in International Relations with a focus on Middle East politics. After spending some time travelling in the Middle East, I became interested in the role of storytelling in political conflict, and it was this that prompted me to start writing a novel.
I’ve recently finished a contemporary coming-of-age novel called The Age of Sleep, which I’ve been working on since 2013.
Set in London and the Middle East, the book begins on the day that twenty-year-old Ada Hart meets Jake Saunders—a funny, clever medical student with whom she becomes infatuated. Over the next six years, while trying to win Jake’s affections through the (then) alien realm of social media, Ada finds herself caught up in the 7/7 bombings, cast adrift in a global recession and increasingly embroiled in damaging relationships. Confused and desperate, she embarks on a trip to the Middle East in search of answers and a different life, only to find there is one person she can’t escape.
Enjoy the extract below -
Ada sat quietly on a wooden chest in the corner of the room, while the bald, fleshy man opposite prepared another pot of tea and muttered something or other about heroin. Or at least that’s what she thought he said; the congealed phlegm in his throat was holding every other word captive. She checked her phone once again and glanced around for escape routes, hoping that it wouldn’t come to that.
Since her arrival at the station an hour earlier, the man had relayed a number of bizarre, improbable stories about the comings and goings across the border. Much of it was incomprehensible, but amid the rambling one uncomfortable truth had come to light; drug trafficking in Syria was punishable by death. Shifting slightly on the dusty box, she helped herself to another date biscuit and mentally impelled the man to stop talking about drugs. He probably meant well but she had no desire to travel alongside someone who didn’t know when to shut up.
For the moment, Ada was trapped in that draughty, alien space where one country attempts to blend into another. Basic infrastructure seemed lacking compared to other parts of Turkey, a detail that made her skittish. The small room in which they were sat was part of a large, derelict complex that certainly did not look like a bus station in the sense that she understood it. There were no offices, no means of producing tickets, and so far, no buses. Her host was probably right; it was smuggling territory.