Physics for Poets

I was inspired in part by Arthur Nersesian’s The Fuck Up which catalogue’s in gritty and loving detail the urban chaos of New York in early 80’s.  I loved the way NYC received as much lavish attention as any of the other characters of the book.  I started Physics because I wanted to capture a sense of Durban on the cusp of the nineties, a cultural snapshot of the moment.  I’m not saying that’s what I’ve actually done! But it’s what I set out to do.

Physics is my first novel.  I had a short story published before called Table 18, about an upmarket restaurant manager’s wrangle with a celeb.  I had written scenes for Physics through the years, all very badly.  One night, armed with a South Australian Shiraz and a book of post-its, I plotted out a possible story on the wall. Over 8 months I wrote pretty close to the scenes I had plotted out that first night, until I had 50k words.   And then I edited and edited some more.  And when I was done with that I had someone who knew what the hell they were doing edit the first three chapters.  I submitted those 3 chapters to six South African publishers.  Penguin SA came back about 6 months later and asked to see the rest of the novel.  I still remember the beer and pub where I saw the email come through on my phone.  What a great beer.  So I spent a crazy week fixing the bejesus out of it with my editor and gave him an insulting amount of money in return.  I sent it off.

And every day for the next 6 months I woke up expecting to get the email.  The email that said Yes!  We love your manuscript.  Some days I knew it was going to be a no and others I let myself hope.

When they finally said thanks, but no thanks I took it my stride, going on a three bender, smashing up a 7-11, a children’s shoe shop and a drive through bottlo.  After the trial I decided to publish anyway and here we are.  All up, it’s been 2.5 years since I wrote the first line.  I hope you like it.

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