Former Bishop Luffa student Daniel Ross is fund-raising towards the publication of his debut novel.
The book has been accepted by for publication by Unbound, which means Daniel is currently trying to galvanise people to pledge their support.
“It’s an untraditional model wherein readers buy the book before it’s been printed, and if the project reaches its funding target then it becomes a normal, published book,” explains Daniel who grew up in Bognor Regis and went to school in Chichester.
“I can very much trace my interest in writing and journalism back to my childhood. I had one or two fantastically-supportive teachers at Bishop Luffa and have always been inspired by the wonderful faded glamour of Bognor.”
Daniel reckons he needs between 200 and 300 people to pledge to buy the book, at which point it will go ahead. You can find out more and promise to support it at https://unbound.com/books/bobby-denise.
The novel is called Bobby Denise Is Reigning Rampant, and Daniel calculates he is currently about 34 per cent funded. The tale is the darkly-comic story of a retired Las Vegas stage magician and big cat enthusiast, dragged back into the spotlight by the consequences of one huge mistake.
In 1985, one of the best stage magicians in Las Vegas ended his career in front of a horrified paying audience. When Dusty, his prized white tiger, mauled and killed an audience member during a sold-out show, Bobby Denise did something awful that he’s been trying to live with ever since. Incensed, heartbroken, distraught and irrational, Bobby took vengeance on his manager, Leo, in the most brutal way possible.
31 years later, Bobby is back: out of jail, out of friends, out of everything. That is, until the machinations of an obsessive journalist, his strong-willed housekeeper, a neighbour in a tracksuit, an eagle-obsessed former colleague down on his luck and a faux-Amazonian lizard-handler send Bobby hurtling back towards the terrifying glare of the limelight, totally unprepared to face all those people who ever wondered, what happened to that guy who shot his manager in the eye?
“Bobby is now 78 years old and feels himself out of step with how entertainment works these days. He reconnects with old colleagues of his who try to cajole him back into the spotlight. But he is also pursued by a much younger female journalist who is desperate to expose him to her readers, basically to throw light on the crimes that he committed and that sent him to prison all those years ago. She does not feel that he should be welcomed back into the entertainment world.
“The book is told from his perspective, but it becomes a weird power struggle between Bobby and this journalist, whom he very much dislikes.”
Daniel added: “Bobby Denise is Reigning Rampant is a journey through the lower echelons of celebrity and the grim reality of falling from grace, with a cast of over-reaching has-been magicians and deluded hangers-on. There are themes of guilt, lust for attention, moments that define entire lives and, crucially, murderous white tigers in stage magic shows.”
Daniel is a music journalist and writer. He’s the online managing editor for Classic FM. As a freelancer, he’s written for BBC Music, The Quietus, Rolling Stone etc.