Andrew Towers is the author of Top of the House, a “brilliant, bold, hilarious and uplifting novel involving a golden monkey, a toy troll, a transvestite, his lover and a lot of bingo by the sea in the North East town of Deerpool. It’s a comedy, a love story, a thumping good heist and a life-affirming read”:
Maurice is down on his luck in Deerpool.
He’s lost his teaching job, the electricity in his flat has been cut off and the local hoodlums mock his transvestism and upload their exploits onto YouTube. To make things worse, he and his best friend and sometime lover ‘Divvy’ Karen have managed to pique the ire of Karen’s psychopathic and vengeful ex-boyfriend, Chunky.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. When he finds out that the Pentagon Bingo Hall, mecca of the north-west, is giving away a golden monkey worth half a million pounds he plans a heist that will make their dreams of escape a gorgeous reality. But there are numerous unforeseen complications…
Will Maurice and Karen win large, fulfill their dreams and ride into the sunset bound for Tijuana? Or will the murderous Chunky ensure that their number is finally up?
Today I’m lucky to have an amazingly funny guest post from the author himself. I loved reading this post and I hope you do too!
Why did I write a book?
by Andrew Towers
I wrote a book. A couple of people have since asked me, ‘Why did you write a book. Andrew?’ A reasonable question. Funnily enough, I’d never given it much thought. How strange. What a weird thing to do – just sit down and write a sixty-thousand word work of fiction, without really knowing one’s motivation. There must be a reason, and I’ve set out to find it.
Reason 1: I’m jealous of my sister’s baby
My sister had a baby. She made a beautiful human being. Perhaps I wanted to make something too. My sister and I were competitive when we were little. We had a ‘Fashion Wheel’ and her designs were always better than mine – stylish little numbers with ingenious vintage twists but a strong contemporary vibe. We were both Brownie Guides (I’m a man now, but I used to be a little girl, which meant for some reason I had to go to Brownies on Wednesday evenings) and she had far more badges than me. Drawing badges, cleaning badges, sewing badges she had. I think I had cooking badge, but that was just for making a chocolate rabbit by turning a plastic mould full of melted chocolate round and round to the tune of ‘Wind a Bobbin’. Brown Owl, the Brownie Leader, liked my sister better. Tawny Owl liked me better, but Tawny Owl was a slightly subordinate owl to Brown Owl (Brownie Guide leaders worked their way up through deepening shades of owl). Though come to think of it, I don’t feel competitive with my sister now. I don’t compare my book to her baby. I don’t think, ‘Dammit, my sister’s baby looks far better in a frog costume than my book does’. Though he does. He looks SO CUTE in a frog costume. Perhaps I wanted to leave a legacy in print because I won’t leave one biologically. I did just have a hysterectomy as part of my gender reassignment surgery. But a baby and a book are two very different things. Though they do both begin with ‘b’ and have four letters. I could have frozen some eggs before my surgery, but I never really thought of that. Some eggs from my ovaries, I mean (I could have frozen some hen’s eggs, too, but why would I have done that?) But that would require me to gestate my progeny in a surrogate, and that would be too much like hiring a ghost writer to produce my next novel. I’m sure I’m over-thinking this. That’s not it. I did not write a book because I was jealous of my sister’s baby.
Reason 2: I want to impress women
I’m not great with the ladies. My repertoire of skills isn’t tempting to a potential mate. I can make chocolate rabbits, but that’s about it. Maybe I think women will find me deep because of an apparent literary bent. I don’t think I’m particularly deep. I think some deep thoughts – I think a lot about the Mariana Trench, which is the deepest part of the world’s oceans and apparently contains creatures as yet undiscovered by humankind, and I think about Black Plum, one of the deepest blues in the Dulux Chart, because I think it would be a good colour for the bathroom. But a lot of my other thoughts are fairly shallow, like ‘Is it normal to wake up tickling your own arms?’ or ‘Can I justify the cost of a bat detector?’ And come to think of it, the skill-set required to write a book is almost the opposite of that required to maintain a relationship. I can sit alone in a dimly-lit room for three years’ worth of evenings hallucinating people and scenarios that have absolutely no relevance to reality. I can also occasionally get very angry at my temporary inability to do this and stay up all night watching DVD box sets of Frasier and when people ask me what I was doing so that I couldn’t join them for a drink I can convincingly say, ‘I had a lot of writing to do’. This isn’t something you’d put on a dating profile.
So, no. That’s not it. I didn’t write a book to impress women.
Reason 3: I want to be friends with Stephen Fry and Angela Lansbury
I’ve seen Bedknobs and Broomsticks several dozen times, many of these in adulthood. I have a cushion cover with Stephen Fry’s face on it that says ‘I Love Stephen’. Deep down, perhaps I’m really secretly hoping that either or both of these famous people find my book and read it and adore it and come to my home town to find me. Perhaps Stephen Fry will come to the bingo where I work. He’d burst through the doors and say, ‘Where’s Andrew? I’m looking for Andrew. It’s very important that I speak to him.’ And I’d be all like, quietly and modestly cashiering in the office, oblivious to the commotion and the people gathering in reception because, oh my God, Stephen Fry is in the bingo. And my boss will call me and I’ll come out and Stephen will be like, ‘Damn, your book was deep. Deeper than the Mariana Trench, and that mother**** trench is deep. I’ll just call my friend Angela Lansbury and we’ll go back to my place for tea. I have all eleven series of Frasier on DVD box set.’ That. Would. Be. Awesome.
Oh, my God. This is so absolutely the reason I wrote a book. I should never have embarked on this train of thought at all.