This week David Tate is sharing his 5 things with us. He is the author of Tourist Trap and is talking to us today about 5 works that have inspired his writing. (Castaway is one of my favourite films!) David can be found on Twitter as davidtatewriter.
5 Works That Inspired TOURIST TRAP by David Tate
Thank you, Liberty, for asking me to contribute to your blog. ‘5 Things’ is a great idea!
My novel TOURIST TRAP is about a young couple who take their children on what ought to be a dream holiday on a beautiful island in the Adriatic. Instead they find themselves pitched into a nightmare. The book is first and foremost a thriller, but it’s also an attempt to reflect some of the craziness that has afflicted the world since the financial crisis of 2008. In writing it, these are the stories that inspired me:
1. MISERY by Stephen King
I’m a huge fan of King, who excels at producing vast works of fiction with multiple viewpoints and action that spans whole continents. However, he’s equally adept at stories like this, a close and claustrophobic tale with only two principal characters. The setting for my novel couldn’t be more different from the snowy wastes of Colorado, but what I took from this was the desperation, the helplessness that afflicts poor Paul Sheldon when he finds himself at the mercy of the psychopathic Annie Wilkes. When someone has taken your freedom and holds a god-like power over your fate, how can you fight back?
Well, as my characters find out, when your children are similarly threatened the question is: how can you not?
2. THE MAGUS by John Fowles
I read this rather sprawling literary novel when I was in my teens, some three decades ago, and I must admit it I found it quite baffling. Fortunately, in those days I was determined to finish every book I started, and whilst my recollection of it now is far from clear, what’s stayed with me is a haunting atmosphere of uncertainty, of mystery and confusion, as a young Englishman employed as a teacher on a Greek island falls prey to the elaborate charades and mind games of the mysterious, reclusive Maurice Conchis, the magus – or magician – of the title. I wanted to capture a little of that confusion, that unreality, along with the sense of a dazzlingly hot climate, which in itself can seem both alluring and fraught with danger to those who come from the chillier, gloomier climes of northern Europe.
3. TREASURE ISLANDS by Nicholas Shaxton
This is a work of non-fiction that looks at the frankly terrifying proliferation of offshore finance. Its theme is probably best explained by the book’s full title: ‘Treasure Islands – Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World’. It opened my eyes to what is arguably the gravest problem facing humanity today: namely the fact that large corporations and super-rich individuals are plundering the world’s resources, sucking out trillions of dollars from the international economy and squirreling that money away in tax havens. If you’ve ever wondered why once prosperous societies like ours appear no longer to be able to afford even the most basic of public services, this book helps to explain why. With this in mind I intended TOURIST TRAP to be an allegory of sorts, a slightly wry look at how the one percent treat the other ninety-nine.
4. DR FISCHER OF GENEVA by Graham Greene
This is one of Greene’s lesser-known stories, which the publishers describe as a powerful satire on “the limitless greed of the rich.” It’s a short novel about a hugely wealthy man whose toadying friends will accept any humiliation – even at the risk of death – in return for the gifts he bestows upon them. It was that sense of corrupted power, the idea that the super-rich believe they exist outside of the laws and rules of human behaviour, that I wanted to capture and reflect in my own story.
5. CAST AWAY by William Broyles, Jr; Robert Zemeckis; Tom Hanks
This one’s not a book, but a movie – and what a brilliant movie it is. Even thinking about that plane crash makes me wince (I used my own fear of flying in TOURIST TRAP, and the opening scenes of the book are based on a real incident while travelling on holiday with my young family.) Tom Hanks gives an extraordinary performance here, carrying virtually the whole movie single-handed, though we mustn’t forget the admirable support of Wilson the volleyball!
What the film conveys so well – and what I have tried to convey in my book – is the extraordinary shock of a violent displacement from the normal world most of us enjoy, where food and water are plentiful, and warmth and shelter are taken for granted – and then have to adjust to a sudden, urgent battle for survival, where every tiny comfort requires ingenuity, effort and risk. As a compelling tale of struggle, sacrifice and redemption, it’s an inspiration to any novelist.
Thanks again to David! His book is available to buy from Amazon and Amazon UK Want to do your own ‘5 Things’ guest post? Message me on twitter @libertyfallsdwn or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!