Long Sutton shop assistant Linda Fitch must be torn between pride and feeling flustered.
Pride in the fact that her solicitor son has just produced his first novel, tinged with a slight concern as to how she will discuss the book with any regulars at the grocery shop who happen to read it.
“I have to admit, the level of rudeness was not something I was expecting from my son,” said Linda after reading an advance copy. “But I have to say the story was gripping right to the end.”
Her son, who attended Spalding Grammar School from 1981 to 1988, is presumably not at all embarrassed by the rude bits, though he has taken the precaution of writing under a pen name, Carl Mason, for his book The Chant.
In fact it must be something of a relief to finally have the book in print as the idea for it has been rumbling around the writer’s head for more than 15 years.
Carl, whose parents and sister all live in Long Sutton, says: “It grumbled and skulked in my literary belly for a decade or so, fed only by the occasional scribble on a notepad. Just over four years ago the intrigue of what this story could look like became too much to bear, and so the writing began, initially in secret. Only when the word count reached 30,000 did I mention it to anyone.”
In fact the original idea of The Chant came out of a couple of old cases – Carl, who qualified as a solicitor in 1994, has practised within the courts, primarily in London and Norwich ever since, and as a mediator in commercial and other claims from 2005.
The two cases had long been consigned to the archive storage facility before Carl made the connection that, between them, they could form the basis of a decent story.
However, it was only when the frustration of not writing started to simmer that he picked up his pen and wrote the book’s skeleton, something he was used to doing from court cases.
Then began a slow process of ruminating over first sentences of the first chapter until the moment he sat down at the computer and started to write.
As to the ‘rude’ bits: Carl simply asked women he knew how they thought he should approach them, and got back the message, ‘Explicit is good’.