A curiously brilliant nocturnal fable about a boy who cannot sleep . . .
'Funny and filled with heart . . . a sparky debut' – Alexandra Heminsley, The London Paper
"Dreaming of joining the brotherhood of Acapulcan cliff-divers, young Mikey Hough rigs a diving platform in the garden of his suburban Berkshire home. Two years later, when he awakes from his coma, Mikey befriends Roger, an elderly ex-pilot hospitalised when his precious Distinguished Flying Cross was violently stolen from him. Mikey soon learns that his own disastrous attempt at flight has damaged his Suprachiasmatic Nucleus, destroying his ability to sleep. The medical profession can do nothing for him. He is sent home from hospital to die. One night, a despondent Mikey stumbles across Livia, the cynical teenage ward of a neighbouring councilman. Together they decide to track down Roger’s stolen medal.
So begins a remarkable, picaresque journey into the dark heart of suburban England, during which the fearless Mikey and Livia confront a sprawling cast of pensioners, policemen and criminals – including the profoundly sinister man-child ‘The Fat Controller’. As they hurtle towards daybreak, they persuade Roger to undertake one last, gut-wrenching sortie into the night skies.
The Sleepwalker's Introduction to Flight is a heart-rending and riotous mini-epic, a brilliantly subversive coming-of-age tale about what happens when dark and light collide, and society’s marginalised find their voice.
'A humorous, moving and eloquent debut' Bookseller
About the author:
Siôn Scott-Wilson works in advertising and has won many industry awards for his television work, including a BAFTA nomination. He is married with two children.
Hi, Sion, tell us a little about your novel, Sleepwalker's Introduction to Flight:
"I’d written quite a few short stories and articles before embarking on my first novel about seven years ago. The Sleepwalker’s Introduction to Flight is my second and was born on a coach in Stuttgart during a tour of the Mercedes factory. I’d been short-listed for the Fish Publishing prize with my first work and David Mitchell said some nice things about it, which gave me the impetus to keep going. Also, I came across this somewhere - Authors are just writers who never gave up.
My first novel was written organically from a central premise and took about four years. I was much more disciplined with Sleepwalker’s and made extensive chapter and character notes. I feel this method suits me better and allows me to keep control of my characters.
I try to explore serious issues and themes, but hopefully with a little humour - I’m not a preacher. I’d describe Sleepwalker’s as darkly comic novel about risk and reward and the way society treats the marginalised. If Sleepwalker’s entertains while provoking a bit of thought then I’ve achieved what I set out to do."
How did you and Macmillan New Writing "meet"?
I’d heard about MNW on a writers’ website that I’d been a member of for a while. One night I fired off the first three chapters of what was then called ‘Somnambulant’ by e mail with a very short note. Not long after they requested the full manuscript, at which point I panicked and asked for more time to edit.
Eventually I sent off the full ms. One night I was working away at my laptop when an e mail came through from Will informing me that they’d like to publish the novel. I remember flying backwards in my seat, literally, I practically fell off my chair.
What is your typical writing day?
I’m a night owl rather than an early bird. I don’t write every day, usually three nights a week. From about 7.30 or 8 p.m when my kids are in bed. If I’m on a roll I’ll keep going until 2 or 3 in the morning. I usually have a few projects on the go: I’m currently working on the next novel and a six-part radio series. I recently finished a play, which is to be performed in Leeds next month (June).
Four random facts:-
Worst thing about writing:
The viruses. God, it infuriates me that these witless, pasty-faced, no-girlfriend, dickless wonders spend their entire lives closeted in rancid bedrooms writing pointless code just to screw up my computer. I’ve already smashed up two laptops. Now I use a Mac.
That and the isolation.
Best thing about writing:
Making people laugh, out loud. On a tube. With their mouths full.
Writers you most admire:
John Kennedy Toole & J.P Donleavey – sublime.
Most ludicrous moment in your life:
My Citroen 2CV was tipped upside down one night. I discovered this when the police came round the next morning to inform me that it was illegally parked. It’s one of the reasons I endeavour to create such compassionate, sensitive, flattering portraits of the British Constabulary in my novels.
Thanks, Sion, and best of luck with the book. Sleepwalker's Introduction to Flight is available now from all good booksellers. For more information visit:
Sion's promotion site
Or click here for an extract