Tuesday 30 July 2019

#BlogTour Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie

Today it's my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie. Don't miss the fantastic

About the Author
Luan Goldie is a primary school teacher, and formerly a business journalist. She has written several short stories and is the winner of the Costa Short Story Award 2017 for her story 'Two Steak Bakes and Two Chelsea Buns'. She was also shortlisted for the London Short Story Prize in 2018 and the the Grazia/Orange First Chapter competition in 2012, and was chosen to take part in the Almasi League, an Arts Council funded mentorship programme for emerging writers of colour. Nightingale Point is her debut novel.

Follow @luangoldie on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Instagram, on AmazonBuy Nightingale Point

About the book
On an ordinary Saturday morning in 1996, the residents of Nightingale Point wake up to their normal lives and worries.

Mary has a secret life that no one knows about, not even Malachi and Tristan, the brothers she vowed to look after.

Malachi had to grow up too quickly. Between looking after Tristan and nursing a broken heart, he feels older than his twenty-one years.

Tristan wishes Malachi would stop pining for Pamela. No wonder he's falling in love with the wrong crowd, without Malachi to keep him straight.

Elvis is trying hard to remember the instructions his care worker gave him, but sometimes he gets confused and forgets things. Pamela wants to run back to Malachi but her over protective father has locked her in and there's no way out.

It's a day like no other, until something extraordinary happens. When the sun sets, Nightingale Point and its residents are irrevocable changed and somehow, through the darkness, they must find a way back to lightness, and back to each other.

Q&A with Luan Goldie
Before we get down to business (i.e. talking about your book) I would like to ask a set of questions I call 'Breaking the Ice.'

The last book you read? (Inquisitive bookworms would like to know) Lauren Groff’s collection of short stories Florida. It’s absolutely amazing. You can dip in and out. My only issue is that each one isn’t a full length novel or film.
I’m also lucky enough to have a proof of Sairish Hussain’s The Family Tree, so far it’s definitely one for reading at home unless you want to ugly cry on the tube!

The last movie you watched, which you felt left a mark (in your heart, soul, wallet...you name it)? Always Be My Maybe. Look, I know rom-coms can be cheesy and naff, but this one is really well done. It’s cool, funny, nostalgic and cute. I genuinely wanted the on screen couple to be a couple in real life (I even wiki’d it after).

Writers or books who have inspired you to put pen to paper? Like most writers I’m also a huge reader. But when it comes to writers who actually make me want to write I’d have to say Zadie Smith is up there. I actually met her at an event on the same day I saw my hardback for the first time. I wanted to be cool when I spoke to her but instead I think I came off as some emotionally unstable fan-girl.

Which famous person (dead, alive, barely kicking) would you most like to meet? Hmm, some famous people are very disappointing in real life so I can’t really say. I remember meeting Busta Rhymes when I was a teenager and he was so rude. I was a ‘professional’ autograph hunter back then and most stars were so friendly (Lauryn Hill gave all her waiting fans roses once). But Busta shouted at us.

A famous declutterer a la Marie Kondo has decided to help you organise your home - you have to get rid of all but three of your books (the ones you have written yourself are exempt) which three would you pick and why? Jeffrey Eugenides- The Virgin Suicides- Because I like to pick it up, read at random points and marvel at how brilliant it is (it’s my all-time favourite novel). Nigella Lawson- Domestic Goddess- For photos of cake and lines like ‘Malibu is quite useful for baking’. I’ve had my copy since university and various people have annotated it with opinions on my baking. The word ‘inedible’ appears frequently.

Finally, Michael Rosen- We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, the first book I bought and read to my daughter.

All of the above questions are actually a pretty elaborate pysch evaluation disguised as random questions. Have no fear here come the real ones. Let’s talk about Nightingale Point.

I loved the approach. It’s bold, gritty and fresh. Live-action with an urban feel to it…

Tell us about your inspiration for this story.
My husband is Dutch, so we regularly go to Holland. One day we were driving around and a friend pointed out the Bijlmer and described it in a way that reminded me of where I grew up in East London. An area that was once ‘no go’ but was now gentrified. He then added ‘it’s where the crash happened’. He said this so casually that I couldn’t quite believe it and had to go home and look it up.

Your focus is on the characters, the interactions and the dialogue between them instead of the event, was that intentional? Definitely, because we’re dealing with a tragedy, so it had to be about the people rather than the event. I purposely stayed away from the bigger picture. I wanted readers to feel like the characters could be them, their friends or family. You wouldn’t be talking about the event then would you? You would be talking about the practicalities of what to do next.

The connection between Tristan and Elvis plays a pivotal role in this story, especially towards the end. The reaction and base nature of humans in a time of great confusion and trauma – is that what you want readers to take away from Tristan and Elvis? Friendship can be found in all sorts of places! I know they are an odd pairing but they both go through so much. They are also, on paper, the characters that don’t usually get much love in books, the single ginger man with learning disabilities and the anti-social, rapping black teenager. They both start of as stereotypes, almost caricatures, and then you stay with them while this terrible thing happens and see them come out the other end. A few early readers have requested a spin off with just these two, can you imagine?!

I really enjoyed the choice thrust upon Tristan regarding Malachi and Pamela. I can imagine many readers will wonder whether they would make the same choice. Is ignorance sometimes bliss? What you don’t know can’t hurt you kind of thing? Poor Tristan, he had a really tough decision to make. I don’t know if I would have done the same thing, but I understand why he did. For him it was his chance to do something right, to protect his older brother for once. Whether he was right or wrong, he understood he would have to live with this forever.

I was intrigued by the event and more so by the event you based it on (purposely not going into detail, so other readers can enjoy the element of surprise). Why this one? It is based on a real event, but when I talk about this event, which happened in Holland in the early 90s. Most people here in the UK don’t remember it and I guess unless it’s part of your national history you wouldn’t. It was such a tragic accident, really horrendous for all involved. It was also something that should never have occured, no one expects something like that to happen to them. So it makes you think doesn’t it? You feel like you never know what’s coming; you just can’t control anything, no matter how careful you are.

I think the story is carried completely on the strong linking of characters - a kind of six degrees of separation meets hyperlink cinema with multiple interrelated plots. Was this planned or did it happen spontaneously as you wrote the story? No, it was planned in great, painful, detail. I knew how everyone would be connected, but the logistics of it was a nightmare. I had diagrams of the block and where everyone was and at what point. I needed to make sure the timings worked, so that everyone was exactly where they needed to be at that pivotal point in the book. 

Thank you so much for answering my questions!

I loved the approach. It’s bold, gritty and fresh. Live-action with an urban feel to it. The author puts all the focus on the characters, the interactions and the dialogue between them instead of the event. The result is the feeling of the story taking place in a snowglobe or a vacuum without the outside penetrating the atmosphere.

Nothing exists bar the building, the people and the moments between all of the characters. It's non-linear with multiple storylines taking place simultaneously with characters linked to each story, which gives it a chain-link six degrees of separation feel to it.

I am purposely going to avoid talking about the event that takes place, because that is exactly how Goldie has structured the story. It happens on the periphery, which adds to the shell-shock atmosphere. Imagine the aftermath of a catastrophe. The seconds, minutes just after it happens. The silence, the dust and the disbelief. The moments before reality sets in and people begin to react.

It's based on a true event, which the majority of people won't remember or perhaps won't even realise that it happened. I remember. I lived on the German-Dutch border and wasn't that far away at the time. I had forgotten all about it until I read this.

Anyway I digress.

As I mentioned above, I really enjoyed the way the author told the story. It felt as if the most important and humane elements of our existence were brought to the table, albeit with small interactions and perhaps insignificant relationships. Those insignificant moments grow exponentially when the surroundings or circumstances change. That is the message at the crux of this book.

I came away from this read thinking about how a few moments of my time can influence my life and that of others, which in turn can lead to something more positive at another point in time. You just never know what is around the corner and who will be there in your darkest and most vulnerable moments.

It's a gritty contemporary urban novel. For a debut novel this is a cracking read and I am sure just the first of many for this author.

But Nightingale Point at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ; pub date 25 July 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

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