Merlin Fraser. The boring Bits.
Born: Aberdeen Scotland in 1947.
Scottish parents, Mother still going strong but my father died many years ago.
We moved to a tiny village high in the Cotswold Hills and for a young city kid miles from the nearest anything it was hate at first sight. Plus I couldn’t speak the language I may have invented culture shock that year. Of course I have long since reversed my opinion of city life versus life in the countryside. Having travelled extensively throughout my working life I am now enjoying live back in the heart of the Cotswolds.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is Inner Space Book One your first published book?
Yes, although actually there are three stories in the series.
I have written other things including a massive 300,000 word romantic magical/fantasy called ‘Nelly’s Secret.’ A literary critic who actually read it advised me that while it was a good story it fell between two stools as far as publishing was concerned. The romantic storyline would appeal to a female market but they probably wouldn’t like the magical bits. Those bits might appeal to the ‘Harry Potter’ type readers but as I had used historical characters and references in the plot the story would be lost on today’s kids. They suggested splitting the story into two, my problem with that is the storyline is intertwined towards one ending and doesn’t make sense otherwise. I will sit on it for a while I may even try a rewrite one day.
I was so disillusioned I have never shown it to anyone else.
Inner Space, is so completely different it is hard for people who read the draft manuscript of Nelly’s Secret to believe that it came from the same pen.
The inspiration comes from my love and interest in the paranormal and a host of other strange and weird human phenomena that surrounds us. Things like ESP, mind over matter, telepathy, astral projection and other out of body experiences. Although I have no personal experiences I believe there is more to the many dismissed reports than meets the eye.
I have learnt that people in general are uneasy with anything they don’t understand and are quite happy to dismiss such things as fantasy ignoring the possibilities. However, I also believe that the same people want desperately to believe that there is a God, and there might, just might, be reincarnation or life after death. I am fascinated with this contradiction.
Out of Body experiences, there are just far too many examples and reports for them to be completely dismissed. Again, I have no firsthand experience but I accept that there is something there.
The three Inner Space stories look at some parts of the paranormal world and explores the possibilities, I play with the notion ‘what if it was not only possible but controllable?’
Why Did You Write Inner Space?
Simply to get the stories out of my head, I don’t know if it happens to other writers but you get an idea, read something or see something on TV that triggers the story bug. Slowly it takes over, it’s as if you create a character in your mind and they seem to take charge. It disturbs your sleep and makes you absentminded even in the midst of doing something else. I will be sitting on a train or walking around in the supermarket and I’d catch a snatch of conversation and think, Nick Burton would say that… I’m a great people watcher.
Who Were Your Literary Influences?
That’s a tough one…far too many to list. I am an escapist reader, in the Navy and in remote Oil camps you read anything and everything you can lay your hands on. Reading my first Agatha Christie book led me to seek out many of her others. I read and enjoyed Jean Auel’s Earth Children series. Her female central character may have been the inspiration for Nelly. I found in Jean’s books stories of a time pre religion where man lived as part of nature and was conscious of his place in the grand scheme of things.
Merlin, of Arthurian times was an inspirational character in so far as he straddled the two worlds of Pagan and Christian and could see the inevitable clash.
P.G. Wodehouse and Douglas Adams of course, for their humour but I am also a great fan of Collin Dexter, even although he single-handedly managed to kill off a large percentage of the Oxford population.
From the champions of the ‘Who Dun It’ I think I have learnt that that is a skill best left to the experts. I have tried, but most of my efforts seemed to fall into the category of who cares who dun it.
Hopefully I have invented a new concept of mystery story telling. The ‘why did he dun it.’ It offers the same amount of twists and turns butI don’t have to worry about keeping secrets from the reader. Besides it’s a great way to hook the reader tell them who done it straight away and then make them wonder what the hell the rest of the book is about.
I hate the modern in your face attitudes of today. Stories you see on TV or in movies where you could care less whether the central characters live or die long before the end.
I have forgotten the authors name but I think the book was called ‘and save them for the pall bearers.’ It’s a World War 2 story that follows a small group of young Americans through Boot camp. The author takes time to build his characters into real people, people you start to care about. Almost friends I suppose… Then we follow them into the war in the Pacific…. then they started to die. It moved me to tears as if I had lost a close friend.
I thought then if only I could write like that. Create characters that you believe in, who you become emotionally involved with. Be happy when they are happy, laugh with them and yes, maybe cry when they do.
I also enjoyed Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull. It was so completely different from anything else I had ever read. I suppose it is easy to relate to the Jonathan’s of the world after all it is difficult to soar with the Eagles when you are surrounded by Turkeys. (Late American Proverb).
Are There Any More Nick Burton Stories To Come?
As I said earlier this is a trilogy, Inner Space Book Two; The Reluctant Nemesis and Book Three, The All Seeing Eye are all complete and in print.