I have a confession to make. I took part in a literary fraud a while back.
The fraud involved me pretending to have a conversation with a person who didn’t actually exist.
The person is CK Blaine and is the creation of local writer Alison Dilnutt.
Alison is one of the people I deliver to on my postal round.
She used to run a blog called Living the Dream, supposedly written by this character, Conrad Blaine.
Conrad is a DFL, and an annoying one at that. He is somewhat delusional, thinking he’s fitting in with the locals when he’s not, and he has some patronising views on women.
Alison has been using this character satirically, as a way of observing our town.
In the blog post I took part in Conrad has been going through a mid-life crisis, having found grey hairs in his beard, which has prompted him to dye it.
Unfortunately the dye came out wrong, and he decides he needs a role model: someone who is not afraid to let his hair go grey. He picks on me.
So this is the conceit: Conrad Blaine accosts me on the street while I’m going about my postal round and tries to ask me questions about my beard.
In fact the questions came in the form of an email, which I answered by email, and which were then incorporated into the blog. The result is enjoyably absurd.
The blog has been going for over a year now, and has picked up quite a following.
Lots of people found CK Blaine suitably annoying, which was the point.
What many people didn’t realise is that Mr Blaine is in fact a character from a book.
The book is called Down From London: Chasing the dream, Stalked by a nightmare, and it is set in Whitstable.
Twenty copies will be available in Harbour Books over the weekend.
A number of my friends have read it, and say it is unputdownable. The reviews on Amazon are universally positive.
Alison published the book herself through print on demand.
It will be interesting to see how it sells.