Monday, 7 October 2019

Friday Fiction Feature: The Space Between Time

I am delighted to have Charlie Laidlaw on here to talk about his wonderful book, The Space Between Time.

The inspiration for The Space Between Time flowed from my last book, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead.  It was inspired by a quote from the Roman philosopher and emperor, Marcus Aurelius, who said that “our life is what our thoughts make it.”

To me, it’s quite a profound quote as most of us think that our lives are shaped by experience.  But. Looked at in a different way, our lives are actually shaped by our memories of those experiences.

My first book’s central premise was what would happen if we were to remember our past slightly differently?  Would we also become changed?  The answer: yes, we would.

The Space Between Time takes that idea forwards.  It asks the question: do our memories of childhood shape who we are now and, just suppose, what if those memories are false?

I think that a life well lived is also about failure and making bad decisions.  The trouble is that it can take many years for us to realise that, and how small decisions can have unintended consequences. 

The Space Between Time is a book about love, loss and mental illness, but told with humour. I hope it balances poignancy with laughter, charting the central character’s story as she finally comes to terms with who she is and finds her second chance.

I hope the book is uplifting, largely because I like happy endings!  However, the book is also about the big stuff like family bereavement, and the smaller stuff that we live through every day.  It’s a portrait of a mentally fragile young woman who gets some things right, and gets other things wrong.

It's a book told in the first person and, as she admits, she is an unreliable narrator.  She sets out to write a story in which her father is the bad guy, and her mother is pure perfection.  It’s a narrative she wants to believe and, more than anything, it’s a narrative that she wants us to believe.

But as the book progresses, her mother isn’t as perfect as she’s portrayed, and her father probably did nothing wrong.  The book is therefore about her coming to terms with false memory, and finally coming to terms with her past.


I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault. That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father. That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.

I have worked in national newspaper journalism and defence intelligence and now live in East Lothian, where my books are set.  I am married with two children, and that’s about it.

F: charlielaidlawauthor
T: @claidlawauthor

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