Today is publication day for Dead Flowers and I want to talk about Nottingham, where I live and where the novel is set.
I was born in Nottingham in 1971, moved away in the early 90’s, then moved back to the city, in part to study Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent University, in 2002. I had been writing exotic stories, set in exotic places, like Paris, Ecuador and New York City. But, when I moved back to Nottingham, I realised that my home town had far more interesting things to offer.
I absolutely believe I write differently about Nottingham. That I write with heart about my home city.
Nottingham has had its ups and downs. Around the time I moved back here, it built a reputation as Shottingham, the crime capital of the UK. Like most of these narratives we hear about places, it was far from the full story.
Nottingham has had its problems and, in many ways, it truly represents a microcosm of the UK. But, at the same time, it’s the city that was brave enough to premiere Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs at the Broadway Cinema (where I worked, for a while, in marketing). It’s a city famous for its rebels, and for its rebel writers. It’s where a river divides north from south. It’s the place that grew Vicky McClure, Charlie Resnick, and Dead Man’s Shoes. It’s the home of Raleigh, Player and Arthur fucking Seaton. It’s one of the furthest places you can get from the sea in the UK, but it builds its own beach every summer, in the market square. It’s urban to the core, and yet it has a huge cliff in the city centre, and a massive network of caves, as well as several of the oldest pubs in England. I love this city, except when I hate it. It’s fucked up, and it’s brilliant, too.
Whatever people say it is, that’s what it’s not.Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net)., Robin Hood statue, Nottingham Castle, CC BY-SA 4.0