I wrote the first, rough, draft of this book about twenty years ago, I suppose. And then it got put away into the cupboard as I focussed on work, and other writing projects. A couple of years ago, I pulled it out and scanned through it and thought "hmm, I think I could make something of this" - and so I have done!
As with many novels, its foundations are formed from personal experience: I once had a relationship with someone who was addicted to amphetamines - speed - as is Fitz, one of the main characters in Dependence. I witnessed the way the drug, and the need for it, gradually ground away at the essence of both the relationship, and the person I loved. One or two of the situations that occur in the book actually happened, but most are woven from imagination or developed from a small occurrence into something more dramatic. Fitz is physically completely different from the person he is based on, but retains a certain vulnerability and desperation caused by his dependence on a drug he both loves and hates. Anna - his other love - has parts of me in her although she developed into her own self, with her own character, as I wrote the book.
Extracts from Reviews of Dependence
A superb book, which had me hooked from the first page, I really felt that I got to understand the characters well, and went through all the emotions with Anna,with whom I developed a certain degree of empathy! I understood the pain and torment of the main characers, Anna desperate to stand by her man and Fitz, desperate to do the right thing in a seemingly impossible situation. The author clearly writes from the heart - her descriptive text and attention to detail is excellent... Let us hope that there is a sequel!
I really enjoyed this book. The characters became very real to me and I could understand how each was thinking. The writing style is fluid and easy to read... Once I started reading this book, I had to read it right through, non-stop! It's just one of those books! I'm really looking forward to the next book from this author.
A moving and poignant insight into the multi-faceted issues of dependency, in both addiction and relationships. Sue's emphatic portrayal of her characters will re-connect a raw nerve within many of us who "enjoyed" the new found "freedom" of the 70s but had to struggle with the consequences of our choices. Vividly written, encapsulating many aspects of the 70s that I had long forgotten, it kept me turning the pages to the very end. Sheila Mackie
(To read reviews in full and see star-rating go to http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dependence-ebook/dp/B00BV5F0IU
Of course, I'd love you to buy my novel, but I know it's always useful to be able to skim through a few paragraphs to see if it's the kind of book you'd like to read. Below are the first 4 pages to help you make up your mind!
If you'd like to buy (or order) Dependence online you can do so from:
Amazon (for paperback)
Amazon (for Kindle)
I would watch him preparing it. He'd sit at the table, or kneel down on the floor with a tray upside down in front of him, and that reverential expression would settle onto his face and I'd be reminded of a priest setting out the bread and wine for a communion.
The sound of him cutting into the powder never failed to set my teeth on edge. Chop-chop-chop with the edge of the razor-blade, his pale fingers delicate as a dancer's, his silver puzzle-ring glinting in the light. The repetitive movements were mesmerising. Chop-chop-chop until the speed was as fine as sieved icing-sugar.
His face would change in an almost indefinable way; his features would become taut and then set with a rigid concentration while his mounting excitement permeated the room. The intensity of it would flood me with an overwhelming urge to shatter the ritual and I longed to sweep my hand through the air and send everything flying. I could see it all - the mirror, the blade, the fine white powder - scattering in smooth slow motion. I imagined the expression on his face, his reaction, and I kept my hand to
When the cutting part was completed he would manoeuvre the speed into a neat and narrow line and then out would come the pound-note (still around then, back in the Seventies). Any old piece of paper would have done, and did do later on when Fitz was broke and all his pound notes went to pay for the vile stuff. Then he used old bus-tickets, straws, whatever was handy. He always took ages rolling it up, making a perfect tube. Prolonging the pleasure of anticipation. As he did when we made love, but then it was different because I would be involved. With the speed I was always on the outside looking in.
The sound of his long indrawn sniffs made me squirm. The line of boogaloo, which is what he sometimes called it, disappeared up the tube and into Fitz. I'd think of it, voyaging through his body. Before long he would be buzzing and something indescribable altered in him. It was as if he went Whoosh! and took off.
I'd never tried it. It didn't appeal, somehow. Before I met Fitz I had always regarded speed as reasonably harmless. Being with him I soon discovered how mistaken I'd been. I found out about the highs and the lows and all the empty, wild craziness in between.
Fitz was a speed freak. He was addicted to amphetamines.
Amphetamines are a stimulant. They arouse all body systems, including the brain. Fitz, too, was a stimulant and he aroused all my body systems, including my brain. And my heart. And everything else. Which was why I fell in love with him.
I first met him on a Thursday afternoon in the middle of August 1975. I was browsing along Munster Road, humming, feeling the pavement hot through my flip-flops, glancing into the windows of the antique shops and enjoying the warm, lazy freedom of an unexpected day off. And then suddenly, my foot turned over and before I knew what was going on I was on my knees in the gutter. A squealed "Ow!" escaped before I could stop it, and I immediately felt stupid and embarrassed. I tried to heave myself up but found I couldn't put any weight on my left foot; all it did was tremble and then slide out from under me. I cursed tautly behind my clenched teeth.
A young girl with a plethora of thin plaits and a floaty skirt looked down and smiled benignly, but she didn't ask if I was all right. No-one did. This was London. It was clearly quite normal for a person to be kneeling in the gutter, muttering to herself and, even if it wasn't, it was still best not to interfere.
When Fitz came along he stopped at once.
'Help you up,' he said. It was more a statement of intent than an offer of assistance, but I still nodded, trying not to appear too grateful and attempting to retain some semblance of dignity.
His mass of fiery hair tumbled forward when he bent over and slid his arms underneath mine. He counted to three under his breath before gently hoisting me up. My head whirled with suddenly being vertical again. I put out an arm to steady myself, and accidentally knocked an old lady. She tutted crossly, and looked ready for battle, even though I had only brushed the edge of her shoulder.
'Whoops,' I said. I grimaced and then grinned at the guy with the hair and he grinned back conspiratorially.
'Are you okay?' he asked.
I nodded. Now that I was upright my foot felt fine. I looked into the wishy-washy blue-green eyes of this stranger who had not been afraid to stop and help. Within the blue-green his pupils were like black sequins. He wasn't much taller than me and he had wide cheeks and thin lips and a nose which would have looked better on a woman. It was an odd face. Bewitching. I had to stop myself staring.
The tinkling sounds of 'Tubular Bells' drifted from somewhere nearby. Cars hooted. I looked away and then looked back again. He - whoever he was - was still staring at me. He smiled and asked me my name and after I'd told him he said that he was Fitz. It was an abridgement of his surname, Fitzpatrick, although he didn't tell me that until another time. And then he said "Come for a coffee" and I nodded and said "All right then" and that was the start of it.
We went to the Wimpy around the corner. It was hot and stuffy and I wished we had bought a couple of Cokes and gone to the park instead. But we sat down at a table by the window and before long it didn't much matter where we were.
We talked. Or rather, Fitz did. He was speeding that afternoon, although I wasn't aware of it then, of course. I was entranced by him. I loved his exuberance and the way his voice slithered up and down and how, every now and then, the tip of his tongue wiped over his lips. I missed a lot of what he said because I was distracted by other things - the pale skin of his neck beneath his hair, and his hands dredging the air as he made pictures of what he was saying. He had narrow nails and long, shapely fingers and I imagined them describing pictures across my stomach and up and down my legs. And that lizard tongue doing the same. I hoped my eyes weren't giving my thoughts away...........................