Guest Post from Ellie Phillips – Author of Dads, Geeks and Blue Haired Freaks
As part of the Dads, Geeks and Blue Haired Freaks blog tour, we have a guest post from Ellie Phillips
Hairstyle of the day
As Dads, Geeks and Blue Haired Freaks is set in Hackney I think we need a matching haircut – here’s a Shoreditch ‘do’ or is it a ‘don’t'?
My book is set in Hackney in East London which was where I’d been living for several years when I was writing. When you say you live in London people who don’t live there often remark ‘Oooh London is so big – it’s so impersonal!’ but actually what they don’t realise is that London is a series of small villages – and if you live near shops (which you generally do) you will find a ‘centre’ and community and after a while the faces start to become familiar and before you know it they know you! If you step outside of your boundaries then you don’t recognise anyone and you go ‘Oooh London is so big – it’s so impersonal!’ but actually you’ve just stumbled into someone else’s patch. So I wanted to set the book in ‘my’ patch – not because it’s anything remarkable but because I understand the layout and the boundaries and I needed to be able to picture it in my mind when I wrote about Sadie going to the playground, or to school, or past the newsagent. I also had to put myself in the character’s shoes and to imagine what it would be like to make the journey from home to Aunt Lilah’s and Uncle Ze’s place. I knew who would speak to me if I made that journey; the newsagent, the mini-cab drivers etc. Easy! Put my disguise on as Sadie and off I go! People say ‘write what you know’ and sometimes writing what you know is just a very simple technique to help you describe something and convey it to the reader – like the setting.
The characters are extremely loosely based on people I know. The clash of Jewish and Filipino cultures is what goes on in my extended family. It’s very comical because in lots of ways these groups are dissimilar but actually when you put them together they work; they’re pretty loud, they like food, they argue, they have opinions, they like food, they like food, they like food! They’re family and families find ways of connecting – food (love and importance of) is often the common denominator.