Monday, October 1, 2018

For The Love of Writing. Obsession, Balance, and Time - A Conversation With Gabriel Blake.

This guest post has been a long time coming so, at the outset, I have to begin by apologizing to the author Gabriel Blake for my tardiness. 

Now that's been said, I am really pleased to introduce you to an outstanding British writer and genuine human being. I met Gabriel recently and was introduced to his gripping psychological thriller "The Mother Of All Things", which has quickly gone to the top of my best reads so far this year. 

Author Gabriel Blake (image credit Gabriel Blake).

Gabriel has been wonderfully supportive, both of me and a community of independent authors all around the web, sharing advice, hints and tips and generally helping others out with the minutiae of author marketing. He's actually one of the key reasons that social media remains something worth engaging with.

Before we get to the man himself, let me give you a quick look at the book that sprang forth from this brilliant mind.

(image credit: Gabriel Blake).

It was supposed to be a new beginning for Elaine Davis. Returning to her childhood home in North Yorkshire, she hopes to move on from a devastating past and rebuild her life with the help of her mother and children. Sometimes though, new beginnings in familiar surroundings can come with the stirrings of memories long forgotten. As Elaine’s mind begins to unravel, discoveries of deceit and betrayal reveal themselves and circumstances spiral beyond her control. Elaine must fight to hold on to her sanity; unless of course, she has already lost it?

When I reviewed "The Mother Of All Things" back in July this year, I praised it as an absorbing, disturbing and kinetic thriller that balances a tight rope between a conventional whodunnit and a Gothic horror. Blake commands this tome with a skillful hand wherein you're never quite sure what state of existence the real world lies. 

Elaine Bennett, Blake's tortured protagonist, is a fascinating character as the events in the story unfold and the deepening psychological disturbances she endures hint at a whole other subplot keep the reader engaged. Blake executes his mystery competently, and there's a satisfying interactivity to it that had me going back to check and double check a couple of plot points to see if I was putting things together. That, to me, was fun and it kept me invested. The action is taut, confronting to be sure but it kept me on the edge of my seat and had me looking over my shoulder once or twice in the darkness of my own living room. 

The Mother Of All Things is a worthy thriller off which Gabriel Blake should be justly proud.

So let me now hand you over to Gabriel as he explores the things that are common to us writers. 

First of all, I’d like to thank Dean Mayes for being so kind as to invite me to write a guest post on his website. I’d also like to wish him every success with his new novel The Artisan Heart, which I am looking forward to reading.

Obsession, Balance, and Time play a huge part in our lives. It has had a detrimental effect on my life. I didn't realise this until fairly recently when it was rightly brought to my attention. 
Looking back through my life, I have had this terrible habit of being all or nothing with no in-between. It’s not an easy habit to break and it can also become unhealthy. In the latter years of my job in property maintenance, I would leave the house before 5am and sometimes not return home until 10pm or later. All because I wanted to get an empty flat repaired, cleaned, and redecorated in one day. I’d go the entire day without a break and food was out of the question. Eating would take up too much precious time, time when more work could be done. Time was my enemy!

(image credit: Gabriel Blake).

I don’t know why I forced and pushed myself to do this. It would later be pointed out to me that this was a form of self-harm. I was punishing myself and they were right. It is something I have always done.

We don’t know the exact moment when our lives develop particular behavioural patterns. Unwanted traits that sneak up on us and become part of who we are. Among many imperfections is obsession, which can co-exist with addiction. Mingled together, the pair can be challenging to rectify. Obsessions can be either productive, unproductive, or destructive.

Unproductive obsessions stem from our anxieties, putting a block on the productive side of our lives. We let our worries, fears and doubts hold us back from the obsessions we would prefer to have. Wouldn't it be better to have obsessions about our interests and passions, those that fuel our creative side? 

(image credit: Ian Emes.)

I finally found the time in my life to write my first novel and do something that had always interested me. In writing, I found passion, fire, and a helping hand to fight off depression and anxiety. I’d like nothing more than to write all day and night if it helps me escape what I like to call the quiet noise inside my head.

This is where balance comes into play. We can’t simply switch off every other aspect of life. We may have a family, partners to consider, or household matters that have to be dealt with. As much as we wish they could, everyday issues, problems, interruptions can’t be ignored. Finding the balance and control of your productive obsession is the only way to prevent it from becoming a destructive obsession, which in turn will take you back down the unproductive road to where you began.

Time! I have always had a problem with time in general. How long something will take and setting myself unrealistic targets. Then my anxiety kicks in and I become a complete mess. I’m sure I’m not the only one who obsesses over time; at least I hope I’m not. This is one of my obsessive compulsions I’m trying hard to control. While writing my debut novel, I put myself under so much pressure, and for what! I had no agent or publisher to keep happy. 

There was no deadline. I lost count of how many release dates I announced. This is something I’m aiming not to repeat. 

My message here is simple:

For the love of writing or whatever your creative interest may be, never underestimate the power of obsession, balance, and time.

Purchase "The Mother Of All Things" here.

Visit Gabriel Blake here.

Tweet with Gabriel Blake here.