The Story Remember when you were young and you emulated your sporting heroes in the streets or school playground? Remember the days when you were going to win the 100m sprint? The World Cup? Wimbledon? 'Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player is a short story about our dreams and our disappointments , our failures and our triumphs.
It's about a man of a certain age who lived those fantasies when he was young and never quite moved on as he grew up. It's a story of how he becomes sporting zero to hero and back again set against the backdrop of Wimbledon in 2013 when Andy Murray was the first British player to win there in decades.
Unsurprisingly, Andy makes surprise appearances throughout the book.
I've shown the manuscript to various friends and family members who all say they enjoy it and have encouraged me to get it out to a wider audience. A few years ago I self-published it on Amazon and it got some lovely reviews which said things like: A rollicking good read that had me laughing out loud. It had me entertaining the idea of joining our local tennis club, and I'm rubbish at tennis.
And... This is a riotous, rolling, rollicking read in the picaresque tradition. Eat your hearts out Henry Fielding and Herman Melville. As the hero hurtles through his ruthless pursuit of fame and glory, you too will probably receive an upgrade as you are laughing so much in your plane or train seat. Witty ( and wise) this is a cracking read. First in a series. and
I am at the ageing tennis player and this book hits the nail on the head with an incite and humour that made me laugh out loud. Great observation, no holds barred honesty through the arena of tennis that explores between our imagination and the actuality.
But it didn’t reach as wide an audience as I hoped for. It was also very text-heavy: and I learned very quickly that I needed to work with an illustrator who not only understood the story, but could heighten it, enlighten it and delight the reader with his or her vision.
I’ve been very fortunate to find that illustrator. He’s called Paul Warren, is from Derby in the East Midlands in the UK and has interpreted the essence of the book in a collection of illustrations which lift the text in ways I hadn’t thought possible.
My colleague and illustrator: Paul has always, as far back as he can remember, sketched and drawn and painted images. He attended the Joseph Wright Secondary Art School in Derby but didn't follow that with art college and an arts based career. He drifted through a range of full time jobs including the army, the building trade, milk delivery, postal delivery and counter work and architectural office assistance to name but several.
In 2013, after renting studio space at Harrington Mill Studios in Long Eaton, he began drawing on an iPad and he has drawn on an iPad ever since. A phrase he has coined is “the iPad is my sketch pad” and it fits very well. His drawing style is continually evolving and developing. He draws people, the human figure and add a sprinkling of artistic license. He doesn't strictly create pictures; he's interested in facial expression, stance, form, interaction between members of society, a moment in the workaday activities.
Spending a great deal of time drawing, daily, weekly, he produces many digital images, some of which go on to be printed, mounted, framed and, from time to time, exhibited.
Why this campaign? I want to make people laugh. Early editions of the book have shown me that the story does just that: but now, I want to spread the laughter further, wider and deeper and bring some humour to our lives. So I want this Crowd Funder campaign to generate £4,000 which will enable me to edit, produce, publish and market the book properly in both hard copy and e-book versions.
Who's been helping so far?
I've been lucky to enlist the help of several aspiring tennis players, all of whom were distracted away from the tennis court long enough to forge their careers in other unrelated directions. Jason Biggs, Alby James, Rez Kabir, David Llewellyn, Tayo Oluko, Janice Owen, Anand Torrents and David Robertson: I thank you all for your lending your support and voices to this campaign. Thanks to Billie Deen Owen too for making the Campaign Trailers who has shown Herculean patience with the rewrites, retakes and resourcing the sound effects.
What happens next?
If this campaign is successful, I will launch the book in an internationally respected tennis centre in the UK and will distribute it through various on-line providers and retailers in the Spring of 2020. If you are able to support the campaign, you'll be invited to the launch and be part of a very special group of friends.