I’m delighted to be hosting Martin Gore in my hot seat as part of his tour for The Road to Cromer Pier organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
Find out Martin’s inspiration, scenes that he enjoyed writing the most (as well as the hardest), which character he would choose to be and much more.
Janet’s first love arrives out of the blue after forty years. Those were simpler times for them both. Sunny childhood beach holidays, fish and chips and big copper pennies clunking into one armed bandits.
The Wells family has run the Cromer Pier Summertime Special Show for generations. But it’s now 2009 and the recession is biting hard. Owner Janet Wells and daughter Karen are facing an uncertain future. The show must go on, and Janet gambles on a fading talent show star. But both the star and the other cast members have their demons. This is a story of love, loyalty and luvvies. The road to Cromer Pier might be the end of their careers, or it might just be a new beginning.
The Road to Cromer Pier by Martin Gore is available to purchase in digital and paperback formats.
Hi Martin, welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
Please summarise The Road to Cromer Pier in 20 words or less.
It’s a fiction novel about the lives and loves of the cast and crew of the Cromer Summertime Special Show.
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel Martin?
It draws on my childhood holidays to Cromer, which we visited every summer. My father was from Norwich, and we lived in Coventry. The nearest beach was Cromer, seven hours away by bus!
I love musical theatre, and became fascinated by the lives of the performers in that unpredictable profession, where you are low but you can’t go sick, and you have that wonderful high of entertaining people. The book looks at those highs and lows, and how new relationships are forged season after season, in what is the only full season End of the Pier Show in the world.
If you could choose to be one of your characters, who would you be?
I’d go for Les Westley. He’s a comedian, but also the director of the show, so he’s good cop and bad cop combined. He has a past, which he still lives with, but has learned from previous mistakes and works tirelessly to get the best out of people. I love it when I write something which makes people laugh, but don’t have the comic timing to deliver the gags as Les does.
What scene did you enjoy writing the most Martin?
I think the station chapter where Lauren, the star of the show, heads for home. She is homesick and riddled with self doubt, and has taken knock after knock. She thinks that she has had her moment of fame and that her career is over. The Argos store opposite silently mocks her, as she sees it, as she used to be a checkout assistant at her hometown store.
Cyril arrives unannounced and sits by her. He quotes from an article from the local paper and tells her:
‘You will come back you know? The great talents always do.’
‘How do you know? How could you possibly know?’ She replies.
‘ Because I was where are now. You won’t remember me, you would only have been a little girl’
I like to write emotive scenes between people, often featuring the best and worst of human behaviour. I had this scene performed on stage at a scratch night, and loved the inter play between the characters.
… and the hardest to write?
The scene involving Paul and his wife Carol. I can’t give the plot away, but Paul is dealing with losing everything and isn’t in a good mental state. He can’t articulate his feelings and is bitter about events. Suddenly his wife arrives unannounced.
It is a very emotional scene, and I needed a good deal of time to work it through. It could have become so stereotypical. I tried to put myself in his place. How would I respond? What would Carol do in reply? In the end I came to a conclusion, and I’m very happy with the result.
Did you do any research? What resources did you use?
Cromer Pier Theatre were really helpful, and I interviewed not only management but also a cast member, James Bustar between performances. It is such a professional show that it led to a major rewrite of the book as a result. I used a number of real life locations in the book, and that helped both with descriptions and the mood I was seeking to create. The result is a fictional novel with fictional characters set in a real business and in some real locations.
One location that is completely fictional is the Majestic Hotel. Apologies….. I made that up!
Who would you cast in the role of your characters if your book were optioned for a movie?
Well any great British movie would have to feature Emma Thompson, as Janet Wells I think.
Keira Knightly as Karen Wells too. Now I just need a Welsh soprano? Kathryn Jenkins’ screen debut perhaps?
Do you have a theme for your book covers Martin? Who designs them?
I discovered Simon Hartshorne when I was writing my first novel, Pen Pals. I wanted a distinctive style, and Simon’s simple pen and ink drawings were ideal. He produced a perfect pen and ink drawing of an old mill, which was exactly my vision of the Murgatroyd Pen factory.
It was logical to carry on with Simon for the Road to Cromer Pier, but the mood needed to be different. I wanted the pier itself to resemble a road, leading to the theatre, and Simon generated a number of versions. I didn’t want it to show the pier in sunshine, which just seemed cheesy. The end result is weather and time neutral, and the shading seems to change in different light levels.
Covers are crucial, because the reader does judge you by it. I think that mine stand out from the crowd, so I’m really happy with the end result.
What inspired you to write?
When I was about nine years old I told my mother I wanted to be a Playwright, but she said I should get a proper job. She was right of course. In my fifties the opportunity came to write pantomimes, and now having had eight performed the joy of making people laugh is simply fantastic.
Since then I’ve written three plays, two of which are now novels. The third, He’s Behind You, has just been published. Feedback from novels is very different of course, but when an adopted child told me that the way I’d portrayed the feelings of her towards her birth mother was spot on it was very special. Pen Pals has achieved 4.5 on Amazon which is a pretty good start to my work in novels.
Finally, can you share with us what you are working on now Martin?
The Road to Cromer Pier was a play that became a novel, so having completed the book I’ve gone back to editing the play, adding more comedy to it. I’m hoping I might get it performed by my home group next year, but they have high standards! Wish me luck! I do have ideas for a third novel involving a retiring man returning to his home town, with a working title of Last Hurrah….. We’ll see how that develops.
Thanks for your questions. I hope you like Road To Cromer Pier as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Martin S Gore
Thank you for being my guest today. Wishing you success with all your writing projects.
I am a 61 year old Accountant who semi-retired to explore my
love of creative writing. In my career I held Board level jobs for over twenty
five years, in private, public and third sector organisations. I was born in
Coventry, a city then dominated by the car industry and high volume
manufacturing. Jaguar, Triumph, Talbot, Rolls Royce, Courtaulds, Massey
Ferguson were the major employers, to name but a few.
When I was nine year’s old I told my long suffering mother that as I liked English composition and drama I was going to be a Playwright. She told me that I should work hard at school and get a proper job. She was right of course.
I started as an Office Junior at Jaguar in 1973 at eleven pounds sixty four a week. I thus grew up in the strike torn, class divided seventies. My first career ended in 2015, when I semi retired as Director of Corporate services at Humberside Probation. My second career, as a Non Executive Director, is great as it has allowed me free time to travel and indulge my passion for writing, both in novels and for theatre.
The opportunity to rekindle my interest in writing came in 2009, when I wrote my first pantomime, Cinderella, for my home group, the Walkington Pantomime Players. I have now written eight. I love theatre, particularly musical theatre, and completed the Hull Truck Theatre Playwrite course in 2010. My first play, a comedy called He’s Behind You, had its first highly successful showing in January 2016, so I intend to move forward in all three creative areas.
Pen Pals was my first novel, but a second, The Road to Cromer Pier, will be released in the Summer of 2019.
I’m an old fashioned writer I guess. I want you to laugh and to cry. I want you to believe in my characters, and feel that my stories have a beginning, a middle, and a satisfactory ending.
Connect with Martin Gore
Don’t forget to check out the other hosts on tour.