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Leicester author Dan Tunstall had just published his first novel based on two teenagers who get sucked into a world of football violence in a search for belonging.
Dan clearly remembers his first football match in September 1978 when he watched Leicester City claim victory over Brighton and Hover Albion with a massive 4-1 win, "unfortunately I've been hooked ever since".
He still attends every home game and is happy with City's excellent last season, "I think Nigel Pearson has done fantastically well."
So to Dan it seemed quite natural to be writing a book so rooted in the beautiful game.
Listen: Interview with Dan Tunstall
BBC Leicester's Chris Baxter spoke to Dan Tunstall about his influences and expectations...
'Big and Clever' is based around two teenage boys Tom and Rakesh who make friends with Asbo Boy who takes them along to football matches.
What starts out as something seemingly quite innocent turns much more sinister when hooliganism creeps into their world.
Chris Baxter and Dan Tunstall
Dan says the book is largely about isolated people desperately wanting to belong in some way:
"And it's about the lengths that people go to to get that feeling of identity and belonging even if ends up with them doing something they know in their heart of hearts isn't the right things to do."
Things aren't quite black and white in the book; though vicious in one way, Asbo Boy is not stupid and has a certain charisma which gives his violence a glamorous edge:
"The book isn't advocating violence. I'm not trying to say the way to get ahead in life is punching people at football matches, but it does acknowledge that sort of experience is something that does have a buzz than can be almost addictive."
Although football hooliganism is often seen as a thing of the past, whilst researching for the book Dan was surprised how organised modern day hooligans use modern technology to organise themselves.
Down With The Kids
Working in the past as a teacher it was important for Dan to write fiction that appealed to young adults without, "sounding like groovy dad dancing at a wedding trying to show that he's down with the kids."
To help with this balance Dan took to people watching and making note of how teenagers interacted with others.
Although the story is set in an imaginary East Midlands town, Leicestershire residents are likely to recognise many features from the local area dotted throughout the work.
He hopes that his "meat and two veg" style of writing will persuade people who don't usually consider themselves readers to pick up his book.
It was a long process getting from an idea to a published book but Dan feels it was all worth it:
"Writing is always something I've had bubbling along on the back-burner. To have the potential to make a living from it is just fantastic."
last updated: 05/06/2009 at 11:03
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