Gary Engel: Making a Difference
I’m Gary Engel, a determined author looking to make a difference with a growing writing portfolio.
As an author I feel it is important to entertain but also to make your reader think and, to an extent, see themselves in a different light. If a writer can achieve that, they have every chance to gain a wide and excited readership.
As Charles Dickens wrote, ‘make them laugh, make them cry, make them wait…’
In the ‘The Barberry Fields’, a children’s/young adult novel, this is achieved firstly by creating a slightly dark undertone as we delve into England’s undergrowth, think Watership Down. We experience the everyday tussle of life, death, the spiritual and the fight for freedom for the wildlife who inhabit the fields, hills and copse.
The short novel charts the heroism and friendship of the animals within their under-threat habitat. At the mercy of humanity and the encroaching fox population, the heroic animals fight for their territory.
The work is loosely based on elements of the First World War, with subtle notes dropped in to inform and educate the young readers. It was pointed out a few years ago how so little is known by the younger generations with regards to the ‘Great War’, with only Black Adder to reference. Long-term I would love to change that, and there is no better time for that than the present with the centenary of that conflict being observed.
It also holds another sort of poignancy for me too. From the profits that I do make from this novel I have pledged to The Bradley Lowery fund. This was set up to provide lifesaving treatment for little 5 year old, Bradley, back in 2016. Unfortunately, after touching the hearts of the nation with his infectious smile and lust for life, despite a heroic fight to the end, he died a year ago from neuroblastoma.
Upcoming release and inspirations:
Writers must be good observers. We are living in very uncertain times, with problems too many people are happy to ignore. This is something I aim to address with coming works. Many of these are going to be based in the future. This includes a short story, the dark, tale of organ jacking called the Resurrectionists. It’s not to say these are necessarily Sci-fi, unless George Orwell’s final novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four can truly be classed as Sci-fi.
Some years ago, I heard someone say, ‘if you think that Orwell is still relevant today, then you are sorely-mistaken’. Those words spurred me on to alter perceptions and wake people from their apathy.
My answer to this was my futurist dystopia, Tomorrow Never Knows. In my early drafts, it predicted the current landscape of Snowflakes (my term, Adlers), Brexit, Terrorism, civil unrest, deportations and the frightening rise of extremist politics in Europe. It was originally set in 2018, which included the words, ‘the heatwave continued throughout England’. This might appear unremarkable, but all of those were predicted in my first draft in 2011 which now reads like the daily headlines.
I’m currently in the process of a final full rewrite, with the novel set further in the future. I avoid the normal dystopian trick of delivering the hero destined to lead the fightback early in proceedings. Instead, we slowly watch the new dictator blindsiding the government and move his pawns into place. The new leader, Anthony Mulhorn, takes full control and democracy is crushed by the Real Socialists.
“In the Fields the animals must quickly learn to adapt! If they don’t; then soon, they will perish! Adapt or perish!”
The very modern dictator is quick to use all the weapons available to rule the people with an iron fist. Even memory will be eroded as Mulhorn moves to create a new timeline, known as Reality (the ultimate metaphor of the modern age). Mulhorn knowing that ‘who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.’ As Orwell wrote. But his tyranny has only won the battle, but not the war. In the wake of destressing events, the heroes, Richard Bird and Tamara Wilde, decide to challenge the powerful dictatorship, risking their freedom and their lives in the process. It isn’t long before one of them is murdered, but can the new party still challenge by ‘winning the hearts and minds’ of the frightened nation?
In the long term, I see myself becoming a strong moral writer. Today, society is too preoccupied to look up from its media screens long enough to recognise its faults. As Orwell stated, ‘the people will not revolt. They will not look up from their screens long enough to notice what is happening.’ There are an endless number of stories to be told and people to be enlightened. If opinions can be changed, then that would be an even greater achievement.
No matter the creative field there will always be signs of your influencesand by looking a little closer, you will see who influenced those you wish to emulate.
Previously, I have blogged and written pieces for newspapers, but my desire is to have a large readership and become a successful author. My early life saw difficulties, but I have come through those upheavals. That only makes me want to influence people, make them reach for the stars and become the best that they can possibly be.
The Barberry Fields
- In the picturesque and old, worldly landscape of England exists the Barberry Fields, a unique society…
- Tyranny is a beehive, with one all-controlling master – or in this case, queen – while the rest toil for the good of the hive.
- Ripples on water are just like problems. They start small, then they grow, and perhaps like a reflection they distort things as they expand.
- In the Fields the animals must quickly learn to adapt! If they don’t; then soon, they will perish! Adapt or perish!
- Laugh with, cry for them as the rabbits, hares and owls face the new dangers as fox-kind takes over the once safe territory.
- The nature of the species can alter rapidly; the passive becomes the aggressive. Reduced to the level of wild beasts.
- ‘How do we get over there?’ he asked Scruffy.
‘Simple answer,’ he replied grinning. ‘Over the top!’
- The reason animals are so despicable to each other is a story as old as the Barberry Fields!
Gary Engel’s books are available to download straight onto your Kindle! Click on the book titles to find out more: