My Author in the Spotlight today is Luke Carter who is chatting about his book The Gardener and Other Short Stories. Welcome Luke. First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
Hello, and thank you very much for having me. My name is Luke Carter and I am the author of The Gardener and Other Short Stories. Originally from South East London, I now work on the tiny island of Formentera, where I live for six months on a little boat and six months on dry land.
When I’m not writing, I teach English, take odd jobs and watch birds. Some of my other books include Palma: An Illustrated History and Deptford Tales: A Strange Poetry Book.
What inspired you to start writing?
The combination of a funny childhood and a bad memory, I think.
Why do I continue to write? I remember selling my first book, a little handmade one of short stories, and the money I got from that was a different money I got from washing plates or pouring pints or sitting babies. The money looked the same, but it had an extra value, it had importance. It was more than money, you know?
Tell me about your journey to publication
In a word: Crowdfunding. In another word: lockdown.
I began writing The Gardener and Other Short Stories in quarantine. I had gone to visit a friend in Formentera and got trapped there by a three month travel ban. We made this book together and when restrictions were lifted I never left. That friend is the book’s illustrator and now, excitingly, my girlfriend.
After that, the book was self-published with the help of a successful crowdfunding campaign, which pre-sold books and other goodies to help fund the cost of publication. It opened my eyes to a world full of talent and ingenuity and it was great to see and connect with so many people doing and making amazing things they believed in.
In a nutshell, what is your book about?
It’s a fun book of illustrated short stories, full of suspicious characters, surreal tales and worlds so packed with detail that it’s like reading ten short stories in one!
A postman is rewriting people’s letters; things keep going missing in the Town of Vanishing; and 5 lives are about to be brought together by a lost cat with one eye! Welcome to The Gardener and Other Short Stories!
How did you come up with the title for your book?
It’s the title of the very first short story in the book, The Gardener. It tells the story of an old man in his overgrown garden and the problems that begin when his neighbour offers to lend a hand.
How did you celebrate publication day?
I think I bought a bottle of whiskey.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
Yes! I’m currently working on a new book about the plants and animals of the Mediterranean. I’m also writing stories that will mix Greek Mythology with the lives of people living on an island. A mix of fact and fiction.
What one book would you recommend to a friend and why?
John Steinbeck’s East of Eden. It seems to have an answer to all of life’s great questions and is also an incredible journey through the generations of different families.
What are you reading just now?
I’m reading The Old Man Who Read Love Stories by the beautiful Luis Sepúlveda.
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
One Hundred Years of Solitude. I like stories and there are enough in that book to fill a lifetime.
Is there a book you’d love to see made into a film?
Maybe some of Roald Dahl’s adult short stories made into short films. Like Parson’s Pleasure, Lamb to the Slaughter and Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat!
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
You can find my work here at www.llcarter.co.uk
Or on Instagram @luke.l.carter