Monday 15 September 2014

GUEST BLOG: The Lies of a Father - Edward Cox

Here at Falcata Times we love to feature guest blogs from authors both new and established.

Edward Cox tells us how he smashed the ice when moving from a busy city to the country and how a lie can sometimes make a huge difference:

"As a responsible parent, I’m trying to impress upon my five-year-old daughter the importance of telling the truth. She likes to lie sometimes, as children must, so she can do the things she shouldn’t be doing and avoid getting into trouble for it. My daughter has lots of spirit. I love that about her and don’t want her to lose it, but she needs to understand the difference between right and wrong. She must learn to take responsibility for her actions.
“Always tell the truth,” I tell her, “and everything will be all right in the end.” She doesn’t believe me. She knows there are some lies that will make daddy very angry before everything is all right again. And I must confess to feeling guilty as I explain to her how lying is wrong, while knowing deep down that her daddy is a liar himself. Because daddy knows that some lies can be of immense benefit to a child, especially if that child is desperate to improve his social position. Even if that means telling a big fat whopper to an entire school.
When I was eight, my family moved from the squalid and sinister east end of London to the sprawling green freedom of a country village. For a city kid, the change of surroundings was perfect, and in my new home I thought I’d discovered paradise. This feeling lasted until I started my new school.
On my first day, the teacher stood me in front of the whole class and introduced me. “This is Edward,” she said. “He comes from London.” So far so good. But then she added a warning: “People from London are terribly tough, so you all need to be very careful around him.”
Outstanding work, right?
For the next two weeks I spent nearly every break time running and hiding from a gang of boys who wanted to prove themselves against this supposedly rough and tough kid from London. I ate lunch on my own, sat at the back of the class reading Tin Tin books, hoping that I wouldn’t get noticed or picked on. I had no friends, no one would talk to me, and all because of a stupid statement (itself a lie) spouted by the stupidest teacher who ever taught. It became clear that if my situation was to improve, I needed to take matters into my own hands. But how?
Salvation came the day Stupid Teacher was telling the class about meteorites, and an idea came to me. You have to understand that what I did next was driven by desperation and flawed logic. Firstly, I put up my hand and kept it in the air until all eyes were upon me. Secondly, with a straight face, I proceeded to tell everyone in that classroom that a meteorite had once landed in the back garden of my house in London. A big one, too, I assured them, as big as a car, and it crashed to the ground with a thunderous roar loud enough to break a window.
Outstanding work, right?
Now, I take responsibility for lying to every person in that room, but a part of the blame has to be laid at the feet of my teacher’s gullibility. She didn’t know that my only point of reference to meteorites was a Steve McQueen film called The Blob; she didn’t find it strange that I didn’t know meteorites weren’t just lumps of cosmic rock. She didn’t question the fact that I’d just described a strike by meteorite so large that it probably would’ve levelled a hundred mile radius, but, according to me, did no more damage than create a smoking crater in the back garden of a terraced house, which my dad contained with a bloody garden hose.   
No. Instead of calling bullshit, she acted like she had just struck oil. She couldn’t believe that one of her pupils had such a fascinating story to tell, and she demanded that I write it down there and then. A lot of what happened next is lost to my memory, but I do remember that my dubious tale sort of got away from me, uncontrollably snowballing until it reached the ears of the headmaster. Amazingly, he believed me too! And he was so impressed that he insisted I present my story at the next school assembly. I have to confess, I loved the attention, and Stupid Teacher looked so gratified while I stood proud and lied to the entire school.
Outstanding work, right?
But here’s the moral. After my school assembly gig, I admitted to the gang of boys who had been trying to beat me up every break time that my story was a lie, not a word of it true. Not only did they find that hilarious, but they also admired what I had done. The ice had been broken, I now had friends, was even a little famous, and school was so much easier from that point onwards. All because I solved my problems with a lie.
Nowadays, I like to think of that whole experience as the beginning of my development into a novelist. But one thing is for damn sure – it will be many years before I tell this story to my daughter.

Release Date:18/09/14
Publisher:  Gollancz

Magic caused the war. Magic is forbidden. Magic will save us.

It was said the Labyrinth had once been the great meeting place, a sprawling city at the heart of an endless maze where a million humans hosted the Houses of the Aelfir. The Aelfir who had brought trade and riches, and a future full of promise. But when the Thaumaturgists, overlords of human and Aelfir alike, went to war, everything was ruined and the Labyrinth became an abandoned forbidden zone, where humans were trapped behind boundary walls 100 feet high.

Now the Aelfir are a distant memory and the Thaumaturgists have faded into myth. Young Clara struggles to survive in a dangerous and dysfunctional city, where eyes are keen, nights are long, and the use of magic is punishable by death. She hides in the shadows, fearful that someone will discover she is touched by magic. She knows her days are numbered. But when a strange man named Fabian Moor returns to the Labyrinth, Clara learns that magic serves a higher purpose and that some myths are much more deadly in the flesh.

The only people Clara can trust are the Relic Guild, a secret band of magickers sworn to protect the Labyrinth. But the Relic Guild are now too few. To truly defeat their old nemesis Moor, mightier help will be required. To save the Labyrinth - and the lives of one million humans - Clara and the Relic Guild must find a way to contact the worlds beyond their walls.

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