A Mapperley man who started writing a year ago while recovering from two brain haemorrhages has completed his first novel due to be published this month.
Soon after being rushed to A&E, Sci-Fi fan Bruce Roberts experienced vivid images of the novel he was about to write.
Advised to lie flat for a month, the narrative took shape as he lay looking at the ceiling. Although he couldn’t physically write, he spoke his ideas into his phone or dictated them to his wife Sue.
Bruce, a self-employed e-learning content developer from Mapperley, hadn’t written any stories since he was at school decades earlier. His novel features characters he created for a sci-fi convention four years previously. He said the haemorrhages released his creativity.
“My brain did a rewire. It was like being hit by a sledgehammer. Everything was brighter and became better. I started to have vivid dreams about characters I’d created for EmCon and the novel stemmed from there.”
As soon as he could use a computer, he wrote prolifically, penning more than 1,000 words a day to complete his 103,000-word novel.
“I’d wake up at stupid o clock at night, creep out of the bedroom and start scribbling.”
Bruce’s book The Godot Orange, is a multi-media experience, containing QR codes that when scanned take the reader to a whole new interactive world including images and music.
It tells the story of the TimeTech Team – who Bruce describes as ‘A breakdown organisation like the AA or RAC for time travellers’. It’s a journey of discovery through time and space with locations including New York, Berlin, Brussels, and a secret airbase between Cleethorpes and Mablethorpe.
The blurb reads: “Saving the universe one day before yesterday wasn’t high on Eddie and Will’s to-do list as the wheels of their Vulcan bomber left the tarmac on that cold winter’s day. Impending doom can quickly change your priorities. Have you ever wondered, when disaster strikes, how great it would be to be able to turn back time, or at least call for help from a time technician?”
The novel, which Bruce says is a ‘humorous take on the 1970s’ has received glowing endorsements from a Dr Who Book Author, a Cambridge Biophysicist and a former Vulcan pilot.
Some of Bruce’s vivid dreams were about locations, including a pub in Lincolnshire which turned out uncannily similar to a real setting which Bruce had never visited. On a day out in Lincolnshire, Bruce and Sue also found places that fitted some of his other visions including a ruined monastery and an airfield.
Bruce’s wife Sue took him to hospital a year ago when symptoms he’d been experiencing for a week – which he attributed to an ear infection – grew suddenly worse.
“I started to feel drunk when I hadn’t touched a drop,” said Bruce. “Although my symptoms eased off at night, they’d return in the daytime and by Friday I was like someone staggering out of the pub.”
He then experienced a catastrophic bleed on the brain and within 15 minutes couldn’t walk, speak, or operate his phone.
Because lockdown restrictions were in place, Sue was not allowed to stay with him.
“I had 30 seconds to explain what had happened. They promised they’d see him next,” she said.
A CT scan revealed the brain haemorrhages. Fluid had been leaking out of his spine causing a bleed on the brain into his frontal lobe which led to memory problems.
Because of COVID, he was discharged quickly and told to rest. Despite a relapse in August with similar symptoms, a scan in October revealed the haemorrhages had healed.
Sue said: “Writing has really helped Bruce with his recovery. Going within a year from being incapacitated to finishing a novel is amazing.”
Whilst writing his novel, he has been trying to rebuild his business with the aid of his colleague who is based in Kyiv.
The Godot Orange is due to be published on 28th May by Lady Adey Publications. Copies will be available through bookshops including Blackwell, Barnes & Noble, Foyles, Waterstones and Amazon.
Bruce is launching his novel at the Em-Con Convention in the Motorpoint Arena on 28th & 29th May where he’ll be signing copies.