Monday, December 23, 2013

The Outsider Syndrome: Guest Blog and Giveaway with Shane Filer

I was walking in the street yesterday and thinking of how we all are essentially made of the same atoms. All the atoms which make up our world today and the life on it come from the same stars that exploded billions of years ago. So we are all at least on an atomic level, interrelated. We are related to each other human, animal and the planet we live on. So why do I feel so disconnected? Is it because we have built a society where we bump into each other like hurried molecules, without ever having a chemical reaction where we deeply connect and stick to others?

I know almost no one in the city, Wellington where I currently reside. These people may be made of the same material, yet I do not fit with them. I wonder if it’s purely because New Zealanders lack a long history or deep meaningful culture or even for that matter nice architecture, and are big weather and sport small talkers - hence the heavy reliance on drinking alcohol for socializing. MSN Travel readers recently (and not without reason) voted this country “The Most Boring Place on Earth”.

But does that mean I would fit somewhere else? Or is it that once you don't fit, you never will. That there is something different in me, which won't ever really connect with people anywhere? Is it once an outsider, always an outsider?

Briar, the agoraphobic main character in EXIT doesn’t fit.  She doesn’t want to pass through life doing the same things society says she should. She doesn’t want to be a mouse on a wheel. She wants to stop the wheel and escape from the cage. She is the white mouse. Uncertain and unsure of what lies beyond the cage. Is there a world she can survive in, or is the whole world hostile and dangerous and likely to eat up a small white mouse?

EXIT explores these questions, and questions within questions.

There is a certain romance to the idea of the outsider in art, especially literature. J.D. Salinger's marginalized anti-hero, Van Gogh, Dostoyevsky, Jack Kerouac, Morrissey, and James Dean. The outsider has become a celebrated part of culture.

As for me I guess I could move to France and live reclusively like Bridget Bardot - with a dozen cats. Now that sounds quite appealing.

Shane Filer

Genre: YA, General Fiction, Contemporary

Publisher: Biblio Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-62249-142-1

Number of pages: 222
Word Count: 58,000

Cover Artist: Ekaterina Zagustina

Book Description:

"Did you know I spent the whole of my fifteenth year in my room?"

Briar’s impromptu, mid-afternoon confession stirs up distant memories of the lonely time she spent trapped in her home; suffering agoraphobia — fear of open spaces.   

Now it’s six years later.  

She’s free, but the year's isolation has left serious personality disorders; disorders which will resurface as she relates her own story, and that of those in her orbit; Melodie, a pretty valley girl who Briar desires to be, Justine, her oldest friend, who has her own dark secret, and Dermot, a man who thinks he's the reincarnation of Robin Hood — stealing from the rich to give to the poor. 

Slowly Dermot begins to draw Briar into his ever-so-exciting world, but who is leading whom on their slow descent into crime? Duel periods of Briar’s life intertwine like a rope around her neck as her lost year begins to overtake the present. It leads her to the answer to one very simple question:       
“Is it what I always feared — am I losing my mind?”

About the Author:

Shane grew up in provincial New Zealand, a small place where options are small, were people wear PJs to the mall, a small place where dreams of being a writer or artist are not only actively discouraged, they are actively quashed. Nevertheless he fell in love with books, comics and writing at a young age and his early influences include Oscar Wilde, Alan Moore and Dr Seuss.

After many years of trying to get books, documentaries and films accepted in his own country, Shane gave up and settled for working in the fairly creative world of video-making and advertising.

A trip to Europe and the USA rekindled his love of writing, and he wrote the American-based novel ‘Exit,’ submitted it this time to American publishers and immediately, received several offers for the work. He chose one and ‘Exit’ will be released December 2nd 2013 in the USA as his first novel from Biblio Publishing.

It is the story of Briar Averill who spent a year trapped in her room, suffering from agophobia. Six years on, she’s free, yet ripples from the year's isolation still lap at the edges of her life, and that of her friends: Melodie, a pretty valley girl who she wishes she could be… Justine, her oldest friend, who has her own dark secret and Dermot who thinks he's the reincarnation of Robin Hood — stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Ripples echo down through the years, leading her to the answer to one very simple question: Is it what she always feared — is she losing her mind?

Shane has since had comic book scripts accepted in the UK by DC Thompson, publisher of the long-running ‘Commando’ comic, fulfilling yet another dream for his child-self.

He lives with a very old and very vocal Tonkinese cat, and they both dream of eloping together to the USA or Europe.

He likes oranges, orange juice, and orange furniture — in fact even the color orange. Why? Well, because it's the best color, of course. While he believes that being a grown up is not all it's cracked up to be, he still enjoys ruining his appetite before dinner, and staying up past his bed time.

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1 comment:

Alexia561 said...

Interesting post! I think we all feel like outsiders at some point or the other, but not all of us outgrow it. I like the idea of moving to France to become a recluse with an apartment full of cats! :)