As a Social Worker, I’ve worked in various roles across the health and social care sector over the last thirty five years. I’ve always had a passion for writing stories, but I started writing more seriously about seven years ago when, inspired by an MA in Creative Writing at Keele University, I finally started to put down on paper the story that has been in my head for most of my adult life. I’ve released this story in three novellas, but, as a complete novice to the craft, I’ve used the process as a way of learning about all aspects of creative writing, including the development of plot, character and voice, plus, in my opinion, the most essential craft of editing. The fruit of this labour of love was published on the 28th May 2021 and is called Fractures, Dreams and Second Chances.
I write under my full name of Stephen Anthony Brotherton.
Fractures, Dreams and Second Chances
Fractures, Dreams and Second Chances is the story of Freddie and Jo-Jo. My life, like Freddie’s, was fractured by my dad’s death when I was seven years of age. As a teenager, at the end of the 1970s, I had a first love relationship that I dreamed would last a lifetime. My partner, like Jo-Jo, was strong, independent and had her perfect world dreams, but she was haunted by her own fractures, particularly her relationship with her father and mother. In 1980 a traumatic event killed our love and, for us, there has been no reunion. But I’ve always wondered, what if? This is what this book explores. Through a series of first person flashbacks, it tells the story of Freddie and Jo-Jo’s fractures, their teenage romance, their lives apart and their attempt to reignite first love after being separated for over three decades. Their story is a love story, but it also asks questions about the impact of early life trauma, the degree to which this travels with us down the years and the impact it can have on our relationship with others and the wider world. I hope you enjoy my stories. Here’s a short extract from the book:
Freddie - July 2015
The jangling brass doorway bell heralded my arrival at the coffee shop. Several of the regulars looked up, but they quickly returned to their gossipy chatter about families, friends and neighbours, hushed voices backdropped by the sound of a gushing steamer, grinding beans and clattering crockery.
‘Skimmed milk latte,’ said the waitress, already pouring the red top milk into the jug.
It used to make me feel special, the fact that they knew me, knew what I wanted, but it had soured with repetition. I’d become my drink order – that’s what it felt like. But it was okay. People watching in this place made me feel part of the world, got me away from the house for a few hours.
And it was here she came back to me.
I hadn’t seen her for three decades and suddenly there she was, standing next to my table.
Freddie – November 1979.
She walked across Max’s nightclub dance floor towards me as Blondie’s ‘Dreaming’ started up.
‘I thought you’d never ask,’ she said.
I wouldn’t. What would have been the point? She was first division and I was Sunday pub league. I stood in silence, mouth open, waiting for the punchline, waiting for my mate, Jack, to burst out laughing. Piss-take of the century.
‘I’ll take that as a no then,’ she said, turning to walk away, jolting me back to my senses.
‘Wait. Dance. Yes.’
Monosyllabic, but at least I’d found my voice.