Wednesday 13 July 2011, 18:03
Editor's note: Radio 4 Extra have been running a season of readings for the summer, Book at Beachtime. Each of the books in the series has been adapted in five parts and is broadcast on 4 Extra Monday to Friday at 2.30pm and is then available to listen online for seven days afterwards. This week's book is To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal who introduces it on the blog - PM.
First of all, I'm thrilled to have To Be Sung Underwater on Radio 4 and just wish my publisher would fly me over and put me up in the Lake District cottage where my wife and I spent our honeymoon so I could listen to the reading at my leisure. Joking, of course. Mostly, anyhow. Well, not completely.
To Be Sung Underwater began with Willy, who is loosely based on a childhood pal who never quite got over the woman that dropped him cold. My friend never forgot, and his girlfriend never looked back.
The great thing about writing fiction is that you get to change things, so I gave Willy what my friend deserved: a more interesting and less self-absorbed girlfriend who, years later, would remember Willy.
Northwest Nebraska is where my mother was born and raised and where I spent my childhood summers even though I was raised in Southern California. I've lived in Nebraska as an adult, and it has the same effect on me that it has on Judith: she breathes more easily there, her senses dilate, sounds and sights seem slightly amplified.
She, like me, is drawn to the place, and yet it isn't her home. It thus seemed to me like the right place for Willy and Judith to meet, fall in love, separate, and come together again one last time, and also the right place to examine what makes a good marriage and a happy life.
Tom McNeal is the author of To Be Sung Underwater
Sunday 10 July 2011, 12:10
Wednesday 13 July 2011, 20:00