Saturday, 4 June 2016

Clink Street Summer Blogival - Guest Post: Beyond the Rest of Us by Andrew Man

I'm excited to be part of Clink Street's Blogival which is happening throughout June.

Follow the stops with the calendar below:

Today I am hosting a guest post from Andrew Man, author of Beyond the Rest of Us.

About Beyond the Rest of Us:

 Blurb from Goodreads:

BEYOND THE REST OF US' is a thrilling journey of the contemporary human heart, intimate, magical, and subtly architected. A retired Swiss banker is kidnapped at a Geneva hotel for crimes he doesn't understand. An Italian cruise ship crashes into rocks in the Tyrrhenian Sea. A respected American scientist disappears into thin air. And a British secret agent follows a trail of corrupt power in this gripping third book featuring Andrew Man's ageing male protagonist James Pollack.

About the Author

Andrew was born in Exeter, Devon, at the end of the last war. His father served in the Royal Navy seeing action in the Atlantic and with the Italian landings, which may be why some of his stories are about Italy and Italian girls!

Educated at a school in the Midlands of England, he follows another old school boy D.H. Lawrence, in his quest for the purpose of life? Having shown little interest at school, he was sent to a School of Navigation and then apprenticed to the ‘Port out - Starboard home’ Steam Company. He served on some very old cargo vessels and some yellow funnel dream boats during the 60’s and 70’s. Then becoming disillusioned and bored he went back to study for a new career in finance. His career in finance was to last nearly thirty years, working with British, American and Swiss Banks and finally with his own finance company in downtown Beirut.

His writing developed after he retired through visits to the CERN centre in Switzerland, which also forms a basis for some of his stories. To write his books, he has moved through places where he worked in the past, from London, Lebanon, to Geneva and the Caribbean. Towards the end of 2014 he studied online with the Resonance Project, Kilauea, which helped him with the science in the final book of the trilogy. More recently he has been active as a script writer on - writing a pilot script for his second book – Forces of Retribution. Now back in 2015, he formed the Geneva Creatives Group and can sometimes be found at the Grutli, discussing new projects over a glass of wine.

Andrew remains pensive and lives in the Swiss Romande part of Switzerland with his wife and a teenage son. 


A life in the day
Andrew Man a conspiracy author who writes about dreaming, his heart illness and why he has to write.

Born in Exeter, Devon, at the end of the last war he was educated at a school in the Midlands of England and sent to a School of Navigation. He served on some yellow funnel dream boats just as the UK gave up its dream of Imperialism. Returning to the UK he went back to study for a new career in finance which was to last nearly thirty years. His writing developed after he retired in Switzerland and had time to think about his life. His first book Keeping God’s Secret, moved through places where he worked in the past, from London, Lebanon, to Geneva and the Caribbean. The final book of the trilogy Beyond the Rest of Us was published last November.

I’m woken at 6.30, by a young nurse in white scrubs, today is another day in Switzerland. The girl is French not more than 25 years, flashing metal braces on her teeth at me. I wince as she pricks my arm to draw off three vials of blood and leave a pink tablet on the bed table. It must be taken at eight; a calming pre-medication for the procedure. I check the sleep app on my iPhone to see I slept just over 5hrs last night, and then open twitter to see the real news. My room at the clinic is as big as a hotel suite, complete with sofa, table and chairs, unlike most hospitals. I shower with some red liquid and pull the hospital gown over my head; it’s raining outside a good day for an operation. 

It wasn’t always like this, it just happens when you retire and get to become a senior citizen. Back at home, I normally wake up around 7.0 in time to say goodbye to my wife and son who leave together for work and school. Then I make some tea, watch the BBC business news and flick over to Sky International for the latest news about the EU referendum. I’ve been an expat for over thirty years and go down to check my emails before I bath. If I’m working on a project there may be something urgent so I often reply and don’t make a shower much before 11. Sometimes I catch up on a YouTube hangout with Nassim from the Resonance Project, or write a new article for my blog. I take about two years to write a new book, the first year is all about reading and doing research. After that it’s a question of fitting the ideas to the characters and doing a lot of editing. Twice a week I have to be changed and out of the house by 11.15 to hit the gym for a workout with my personnel trainer. I always choose a young girl; they don’t push you as much as the guys at my age. I started boxing with a Czech girl called Jana who I made into a character in the last book. She was tall, strong and captain of the netball team and would thrash me round the mat, which was good exercise. Then things went a bit wonky with my heart rate so I’m in a Swiss Clinic, for the latest in medical science.

They come at 10 and take me down to the nuclear centre, which is where all the CAT/PET scans are done, or you can visit a parallel universe with a MRI. Down here there are many doors, one opens into a new laboratory, a big room, nothing like an operating theatre, it’s where science meets fiction, only this is for real. My Cardio consultant is there dressed in his white coat, and then I see the doctor in a green outfit, a leather belt across his chest, like Harrison Ford. I lie on the operating table and a nurse in scrubs attaches electrodes to my chest. Immediately a huge plasma screen comes to life with my heart rate moving across the screen and that’s me just a tiny electrical pulse, which is what all of us are in our daily life. 

Out of the corner of my eye I see the Belgium doctor who has flown down from Bruxelles to tutor the Swiss team. It’s not quite the Cannes film festival but I’m sure it’s being recorded. Do we see reality as it is, or are we here at the interface, where space and time is our desk top? Then people and physical objects are simply icons on that desktop. When the anaesthetist arrives a screen is placed in front of my head to protect us from the radiation? He places a mask over my face and I’m out cold, unconscious. Much later, I see a land rover driving up a col to the summit of Mont Fort, the snow and ice crystal clear. When it reaches the top, I open my eyes and see a clock on the wall. It’s exactly 1.30pm and I’m back in the recovery room. A nurse in scrubs tells me not to move. At around 3.30 they move the bed back to a different room marked ‘soins intensifs continue.’

I see my wife sitting in a wicker chair by the door to the balcony. She looks tense, holding her blackberry to her ear listening to a conference call, between two banking centres in the Gulf, her head office and her phone on a Swiss mountain. This is instant communication across the surface of our planet and all thanks to quantum mechanics. I look around the room and see all my personal things are here, just like before. My iPhone is on the bedside table, together with my book - vintage Atwood the Handmaid’s Tale. I’m curious why someone has been to so much trouble moving things around. Looking out the window, the mountains across the lake are barely visible in the mist and rain. My wife opens the door to the balcony and lets a cold fly into the warm room. The only sounds I hear are the bells on the cows in the fields below. 

The white scrubs tell me not to move my legs or try to get out of bed until 4 and when I look at my iPhone the time is precisely 3.38pm. There was a past here, but now is the present and I need to pee. I try to immerse myself in the Republic of Gilead as the minutes tick by. But I know the future in my small world. At exactly 4, two young nurses will enter the room, help me out of bed and lead me to the bathroom. They will be offered expensive chocolates du Rhone and all smile together in relief. My wife stays in the room until 5, but has to be back at the house for when our son comes back from school. I have suffered from Cardio Vascular disease since 2010, but six years on, it’s like writing in different universe…and so far it’s been a good one.

Andrew Man’s latest book Beyond the Rest of Us is available on Amazon with more details on the author’s website