A story about finding friendship when you're lonely - and hope when all you feel is fear. Twelve-year-old Matthew is trapped in his bedroom by crippling OCD, spending most of his time staring out of his window as the inhabitants of Chestnut Close go about their business. Until the day he is the last person to see his next door neighbour's toddler, Teddy, before he goes missing. Matthew must turn detective and unravel the mystery of Teddy's disappearance - with the help of a brilliant cast of supporting characters. Page-turning, heartbreaking, but ultimately life-affirming, this story is perfect for fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Wonder. It is a book that will make you laugh and cry.
Before I wrote The Goldfish Boy I spent a lot of time making excuses about why I couldn’t write a novel. I worked my way through the usual list: I didn’t have enough time, my laptop wasn’t good enough, I didn’t have an ending and oh, I couldn’t possibly write without my own, soundproofed office and swivelling chair.
Obviously the reality is you don’t need any of these, well apart from the time which is a whole other article.
On social media, I ooohh-ed and ahhh-ed over other authors ‘writing areas’. There were neatly stacked colour coded notebooks, writing ‘mood’ boards, hi-tech monitors and chairs that not only swivelled they reclined when you needed ten minutes of plot contemplation. Well, I had none of these so there was simply no way I was ever going to be able to write a book.
Then I started reading other articles; there was a woman who wrote her book by hand as she lay in bed each morning with a cup of tea. Another who typed on a laptop on a packed train on her commute to work each day and a woman who lived in a tiny bedsit and used her ironing board as her desk.
I had a table, I had a chair and I had a dusty old laptop and I had to stop making excuses.
85% of my book was written sat at my dining table as seen in the photograph. When I write here I move my position quite regularly, working my way around the table and moving my mess with me (I’m a very untidy writer). I do this to change my view; I can either look out onto our small garden and see the birds or I can stare directly onto the side of the shed – surprisingly good for concentrating the mind.
Once I admitted to myself that I really didn’t need an exclusive area to write I began to become more mobile, and I started to take my laptop with me if I knew there would be an opportunity for a few hundred words. I wrote many chapters sitting in a cold, dark car in the winter when my son was at football training (it’s surprising how a laptop can double up as a good hot water bottle) and at the poolside during my daughter’s swimming lessons. I’ve written at my mum’s dining table at my sister’s dining table, at a dining table at a holiday home in Norfolk and my friends log cabin business where I used to work (at the dining table of course).
Not long ago I bought a little writing desk for a bargain price at a local auction. It’s positioned in the corner of my bedroom and is the perfect place to avoid distractions as I can’t see out of the window and I’m facing a blank wall. This was going to be my new ‘office’ and where I will write and edit book number two
However, although the little, brown desk is adorable I find myself wandering back to my usual spot at the dining table overlooking the garden. It works for me and, more importantly, the kettle and biscuit barrel are within easy reach.
Lisa Thompson worked as a radio broadcast assistant first at the BBC and then for an independent production company making plays and comedy programmes. During this time she got to make tea for lots of famous people. She grew up in Essex and now lives in Suffolk with her family. The Goldfish Boy is her debut novel.
The Goldfish Boy is available now, wherever books are sold.