As Freddy gazes at the majestic river gushing past him in the depths of a Scottish winter, he’s ready to jump in and end his life.
Welcome to the March 2nd stop on the blog tour for Secrets of a River Swimmer by S.S. Turner with Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, author guest posts, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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Author Guest Post
Creating characters is my favorite part of the writing process. It’s super fun because you can weave lots of real and imagined people together to create unforgettable characters you wouldn’t get to meet in the real world. When I’m creating a character, I make notes about that character before I start writing. This is a great starting point because it allows you to use your head to help create interesting and useful characters. But once I start writing, my heart takes over and all my initial character notes go out the window. I let this happen as this is how my characters grow into memorable characters. In my experience, it’s when you allow your characters grow into the story that they thrive within the story.
For example, when I was creating the character for Alice, one of the characters in Secrets of a River Swimmer, I initially envisaged her as having only a small role in the book. She’s the housekeeper for two of the other main characters, so I anticipated her being mentioned every now and then in passing. But once I started writing the novel, Alice’s character became fascinating to me because she was trying to carry others’ burdens on their behalf. And she also has this wonderfully no-nonsense way of speaking the truth in a funny way. So I soon realized Alice needed a much bigger role than I originally thought. She’s now one of the main characters in the book, and she’s most welcome. And she’s a great example of how creating characters is a fluid process.
About the Book
Secrets of a River Swimmer
by S.S. Turner
Published 8 Februayr 2022
The Story Plant
Genre: Literary Fiction
Page Count: 304
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
As Freddy gazes at the majestic river gushing past him in the depths of a Scottish winter, he’s ready to jump in and end his life. But what happens next is not what Freddy expects. From the moment he enters the river, Freddy starts a journey which is more beautiful, funny, and mysterious than he could have imagined. And through this journey Freddy’s story becomes interweaved with a cast of unforgettable characters who are equally lost and in search of answers. Eventually they all unite in their quest for an answer to the biggest question of them all: will the river take them where they want to go?
In the tradition of inspirational works of fiction like The Alchemist and Life of Pi, Secrets of a River Swimmer is at once a profound exploration into living with meaning and an affecting story of people on the cusp of change.
My thoughts drift to picture what life as a gillie must be like. I imagine you start the day by carrying all the fishing equipment your fat and wealthy clients will need for a day of luxurious and fully-catered fishing. You carry everything while they take it easy, and you locate the best spot to fish for the largest possible salmon. Your local knowledge about fishing spots has to be extraordinary. You then set up the fishing rod, position your client in the right spot, and talk them through what they need to do to catch that magic fish they’re all searching for. Of course, your clients are always searching for the largest catch of the season, so they can go home and brag to their friends and family about what skilled fishermen they are. It’s obvious to you, if not to them, that the subtext is being able to sing to the world that they have massive willies, bigger than everyone else’s.
Beyond fishing, you’re forced to listen to whatever the hell it is your clients want to talk about for the eight long hours you’re on the river. Your clients are all obscenely wealthy, so it’s more than likely you’ll hear a lot of moaning about all the small things in life they’d like changed. Many of them will complain about local wind farm developments, council plans to develop their neighborhood, and, of course, the big one: immigration. They all believe immigrants are responsible for all the problems in the world. These people are your quintessential NIMBYs, and will always complain about progress if it affects them in any way, no matter how minor. You do whatever you can to bring the conversation back to fishing because it’s an easier conversation for you, and less productive grounds for their complaining. They’re slowly sucking the life out of you with their negativity, so you carefully select your words to bring the conversation onto a more positive pathway. And, of course, your ultimate back-up plan, as it is for many British people, is to pull out the ultimate conversation filler when you’re at rock bottom: the weather. Yes, it’s a desperate move and the equivalent of holding up a white flag, but needs must.
About the Author
S.S. Turner has been an avid reader, writer, and explorer of the natural world throughout his life which has been spent in England, Scotland and Australia. Just like Freddy in his first novel, Secrets of a River Swimmer, he worked in the global fund management sector for many years but realized it didn’t align with his values. In recent years, he’s been focused on inspiring positive change through his writing as well as trying not to laugh in unfortunate situations. He now lives in Australia with his wife, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and ten chickens.
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