Friday, 19 October 2012

Guest Post: The Tale of Findo Gask

Thanks to Huw Thomas for my featured guest post today. Huw talks about the joys of writing about thieves in his book, The Tale of Findo Gask, which is free on Amazon until the 21st October.

There are many reasons to be a writer but one of the most basic, for me at least, is the sheer fun involved.

Creation is pleasure. Our chance to play god in a world of our own making and choosing.

If you’re a fantasy writer then it can literally be a whole world to invent - geography, culture, history, science etc. But even if you set your stories in the here and now then there’s still a lot of choices to make… and fun to have.

For my novel The Tale Of Findo Gask all I started out with was a name - taken from a road sign in southern Scotland.

I knew that Findo Gask was going to be an interesting character from the outset. The name sounded slightly Dickensian and definitely not conventional. He was clearly an outsider.

I quickly realised that Findo was a thief and that was where the fun began. I started to hatch all kinds of schemes and escapades that a young thief might get involved in - from raiding the local corner shop to stealing a tiara off an opera diva’s head!

It’s probably true that there’s a little bit of me in most of my main characters and that’s certainly the case with Findo. In many ways he’s an innocent, a bit na├»ve, a loner but also with a rebellious streak. Some might say bloody-minded.

As my ideas for the book began to coalesce, I thought more about why Findo was an outsider and - more importantly - whether his actions as a thief might be defensible.

The theme that developed started from a single question: do the majority of people obey the law because of their morals or because they’re scared of getting caught?

From that, I wondered whether we should really expect others to conform to our rules if they don’t have a stake in society.

You see: Findo is born into poverty. His mother is a drug addict; he doesn’t go to school and has about the most unpromising upbringing I could imagine. He’s never had any of the benefits most of us take for granted.

And so, in his eyes - those of a young boy growing up without no conventional moral framework - stealing is just a case of taking what he needs from a world that isn’t giving anything out for free.

But that’s the underlying theme of the book. Findo doesn’t stop to analyse what he’s doing: he’s too busy keeping his head down and trying to avoid the police, security guards and various rival criminal gangs.

As a young boy I had a tendency to get into places where I wasn’t supposed to be. Findo gave me an excuse to expand on some of those childhood escapades and take them to a whole different level.

The Tale Of Findo Gask follows his life from birth to late teens. A lot of thieving goes on but also a bit of heroism, a splash of romance - and a dash of social comment. It was a joy to write and I think Findo is still probably the character I’ve most enjoyed releasing onto the page. (I didn’t invent him - he does exist somewhere.)


For anyone’s interested in reading about Findo’s adventures, the Kindle version is free on Amazon until Sunday 21st October.

Findo Gask is a thief: born in a ditch, raised in a slum and educated by the underworld.
As an unregistered child with no official identity, Findo learns early on how to keep his head down, slip in and out of places unobserved - and run from trouble: perfect talents for a thief.

To begin with, Findo steals to survive but - as he gets older and his exploits more audacious - theft becomes a form of self-expression, a way of asserting his identity and shouting out his name to a world that doesn’t seem to care.

‘The Tale Of Findo Gask’ is a story about a boy who has no identity but a burning desire to prove himself; someone who does what others would love to do if they had no morals… or weren’t frightened of getting caught.

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