Monday’s Friend: Lee Mather
Today I am pleased to welcome Lee Mather to my blog. I connected with Lee through social media some while ago, before he joined the Lyrical Press family. The writing world can be very small sometimes.
The Music Of First Kiss, Last Breath
By Lee Mather
I’m not the sort of person who gets bored easily. I read a lot. I watch too much film and television if I’m honest, and I have a passion for a whole host of music. I’ve been the same since I was a kid, both fascinated and inspired by such creative works.
I think it started out as escapism, when I discovered the unbridled joy you could get in losing yourself in a good book, or being swept away by a pulsating film, or ‘feeling’ a great song for the first time. Books, and film and music became important to me as I grew up.
As I aged, I realised that these interests and the worth I placed on them could be both creative and destructive forces in my life. I became aware that these influences could bring people together but they could also drive people apart.
I remember one occasion when my class at primary school were asked to vote on our favourite songs. To a person, the other children voted for The Key, The Secret, by Urban Cookie Collective which was riding high in the charts at the time (a nice bit of UK Old Skool nostalgia as it happens!). Brought up on a diet of Motown and being a stubborn little chap, I stood my ground and voted for Tracks Of My Tears, by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. I recall the episode ending with fisticuffs in the playground after an afternoon of jibes.
Having said that, I think, more often than not, I’ve been drawn to people with similar interests. Some of my closest relationships have been based, certainly in their infancy, on a love of some collective passion. It’s a great feeling being able to share your thoughts and opinions on the things you love.
College and university were times in my life when I relied on my interests to meet new people. I was in an environment when I didn’t know anyone and I was forced to make new friends. Moreover, I was immersed in an entirely new culture. I could go to concerts, get served alcohol, go out to clubs. I was no longer confined to the suburbs of Stockport. The world was my oyster and many a burgeoning relationship was formed on the back of a “Are you a fan of the Stone Roses?” or something along those lines.
It found it amazing how people from a variety of different backgrounds – geography, class, ethnicity, sexuality – could be brought together by a special song, or a good book, or a great film.
It’s not surprising that my influences spill over into my writing. There are glimpses of me in most things I write – whether this is stylistic, or the way I develop plots, or even pieces of the story itself. Some of this, as you would expect, is driven by the authors that have inspired me most, but music and film also creep into my writing on many an occasion.
This isn’t a new thing. How many of your favourite writers reference a musical artist or a film director in their writing? For example, John Avijde Lindqvist is a big fan of The Smiths, something reflected in the title and central theme of his bestselling vampire book, Let The Right One In (a title taken from Morrisey’s song Let The Right One Slip In) and Joe Hill’s love of cinema is clearly apparent in his excellent collection of shorts, Twentieth Century Ghosts. The title story features Stephen Spielberg, and there is another short, Bobby Conroy Comes Back From The Dead, based on the set of what we are led to believe is George Romero’s “Dawn Of The Dead”.
October sees the release of my novella, FIRST KISS, LAST BREATH from Lyrical Press and some of my musical influences have sneaked in there.
Set in 1996, FIRST KISS, LAST BREATH is an urban fantasy about a teenage artist who believes he may have brought a demon into the world through his painting. At the heart of the plot is the relationship between the lead character, Andy, and a girl he meets, Nor. One of the things they bond over is music.
There was a certain nostalgia in writing a coming of age story and I purposely set it in a period when I was a teenager. I wanted to tap into the uncertainties of forming new relationships at that age. I wanted to show the thrill and the fear of chasing a kiss from that girl. I wanted my description of the concert in the story to match the feelings of euphoria I experienced, huddled in the dark with a few thousand people, singing and dancing together with a beer in our hands.
So in this blog, I wanted to divulge the musical influences that feature in FIRST KISS, LAST BREATH and also explain myself a little.
Here are some links to the songs, and why they are in there:
Somewhere Beyond The Sea – Frank Sinatra. I love this song, one of my favourites from the rat pack era. I felt it was a perfect fit for the music collection of Andy’s grandfather.
Octopus’s Garden – The Beatles. I got into The Beatles at University. Mum was always a fan. There was an old record shop in Broomhill in Sheffield that stank of musk and was crammed with students every day. I bought the Red and Blue albums there.
Made of Stone – The Stone Roses. My uncle bought me the eponymous first album when I was fifteen. I remember lying on my bed, revising for my GCSEs, with the album playing in the background. It barely registered until the final song, but when the revolving drumbeat of “I Am the Resurrection” kicked in I stopped working immediately and listened to the song again and again on repeat. This was the beginning of my love affair with “Indie” music that is still going strong today.
Supersonic, Live Forever and The Masterplan by Oasis. The band was massive in the UK when I was at college. I made sure I possessed every song they released back then. I even had bootleg copies of rare radio interviews Oasis gave. The concert at Maine Road that is referenced in First Kiss, Last Breath was one of the highlights of my final year at college.
Rebel, Rebel by David Bowie. David Bowie had to feature. Enough said.
Find out more about Lee and his writing at www.leemather.org.uk
Or follow Lee on Twitter, where he yaps about the things he loves.
“First Kiss, Last Breath” is available from October 8th from Lyrical Press.
“Bloody Parchment“, featuring Lee’s story, “Masks”, is available now from Amazon.
“Fading Light“, featuring Lee’s story, “Wrath”, is available now from Angelic Knight Press.
Lee Mather is a 34 year old writer from Manchester, England. His short, “The Green Man” was published as a standalone in December 2010 by Damnation Books, and he has stories featuring in the anthologies, “Corrupts Absolutely?”, “Fading Light” and “Bloody Parchment: Hidden Things, Lost Things”. Lee is a member of the Horror Writer’s Association.