Hove author explores "the stories behind ordinary people"

The stories behind ordinary people are the inspiration for Hove-based author Sharon Duggal whose Should We Fall Behind is now available from Bluemoosebooks.com.

Thursday, 25th February 2021, 5:00 pm
Sharon Duggal
Sharon Duggal

Sharon explains: “Should We Fall Behind is a story about people who live side by side in a busy city but hardly seem to notice each other until one day someone called Jimmy arrives and things begin to change. He becomes a catalyst for their lives colliding, and inadvertently he draws these disparate people closer together.

“The idea behind the story was really about telling the stories behind ordinary people, people we walk past every day, those who for one reason or another seem to have had their lives thrown off track if you know what I mean!

“The characters in the book could in actuality be any one of us if things panned out just slightly different. As a writer, this is what I am interested in – the often hidden stories of people who could be any of us, people we walk past everyday, and the universal human experiences which connect us all regardless of who we are or what our backgrounds are – things like love or loss or joy and loneliness.

“I really hope people find they can empathise with one or more of the characters as a result even if they appear quite different on the surface to those they know in day to day life.

“The book is really about the characters so it would be wonderful if readers begin to care about them in some way.

“I am from a large Indian immigrant family and grew up in Birmingham in a very multicultural part of the city. Later, as a grown-up, I lived in Haringey, a very mixed part of London for many years. Living in these places, amongst people who have come from all over the world and made their homes alongside each other, was very much the inspiration behind the book.

“Another inspiration was once, over 20 years ago, finding a young man sleeping in my old car, which had been written off so was unusable but was still parked near my house as I waited for it to be removed.

“I thought a lot about this young man over the years, where he had come from, how he had arrived at such a low point in this life, how any of us could find ourselves in a similar position if something devastating happened in our lives.

“Jimmy, one of the main characters in the book, was created as a direct result of meeting that young man all those years ago.”

Sharon added: “Should We Fall Behind is my second novel and it follows my debut, The Handsworth Times which came out in 2016. Both books are published by independent publisher, Bluemoose Books.

“I was very lucky to have my first novel selected as the City Reads book for Brighton in 2017 which meant there was a mini-festival organised around my novel with events and lots of book groups reading it across the city. I really hope some of those people will read my second book as a result.

“I have always written, since I was a child really but I honestly never dreamed I would be published one day.

“Now my second novel is published, I am only just getting used to saying I am an author with any confidence when people ask me what I do. I still feel like a bit of an imposter!

“I started writing this second book around two years ago now.

“I have a day job and three children, although they were teenagers by the time I started writing this, so I did have to juggle writing with my other responsibilities and commitments just as I did with my first.

“However, I was awarded an Arts Council grant in 2018, which allowed me to take a short sabbatical from my job and that meant I was able to write the first draft of Should We Fall Behind much quicker than I would have been able to otherwise so I was very grateful for that.”