On August 11th, my seventh book, The Girl You Forgot, will finally be released. It took two years of stops and false starts and another two of actual writing to get there – 4 years in total – which has made it the most challenging book I’ve written to date. However, the idea which inspired it remained the same throughout. It came from an article I read, a personal account written by a journalist who’d studied neuroscience at University. One day, his class were discussing how a tutor, diagnosed with a brain tumour, had walked into the sea rather than risk lose all his life’s memories which went to make up ‘who he was.’ A classmate had made the observation that the tutor would still have been ‘himself’ even if without all his memories… and that set me thinking: how much of our identity is gleaned from our memories and stories we tell about ourselves. How much of it would endure, even if we lost those memories?
In essence, the story is really about the soul. It’s about Identity. It’s about what makes us who we are, above and beyond all the outward trappings of who we appear to be, to the outside world. It’s about a girl who struggles to help her man reconnect with his lost identity so that he will reconnect with her. His heart is the doorway that leads to that golden goal… only, it’s not a path she can navigate without peril! It’s a story about Truth and about the lies we sometimes tell ourselves in order to keep our fragile sense of who we are, intact… until the day comes when my protagonists can’t do that anymore.
As I said, It took me a long time to write. Not only is the structure of the novel complex, all the issues contained within it felt overwhelming at times… curiously prescient of the strangely changed world we were about to step into in 2020. I can’t help but feel that the issues in the book are very live and relevant at this moment. With so many of us having seen much of our daily routine, basically, much of our lives, stripped away, leaving us bare… what endures? How much will we recognise ourselves in the weeks and months to come? How many of us will grasp the courage to move beyond despair – or even mere acceptance – and take the golden kernel of all that we are, into the years that lie ahead?
I struggled with this story. But now, as it’s about to be born into the world, I love it! It turned out to be a story of hope, and I feel quite triumphant that I achieved it. I feel… excited about what lies ahead in my journey with my new publisher, Boldwood, and grateful to all the readers who’ve patiently stuck with me and are waiting to see what I came to at the end of this journey.
My hope is that you will enjoy it, maybe even love it too. My hope is that it will make you think, make you feel, and most importantly help you to remember what it is you truly love about being alive. It’s where hope lies.