This week sees local author Ryan Bracha release his third major paperback. Bogies is a collection of stories of varying lengths, and other equally messed up tales of love, lust, drugs and granddad porn, based in and around the north, mostly in Barnsley and Sheffield. The book is available on both kindle and paperback.
Ryan’s work, which has been compared to Chuck Palahniuk, has reached the top three in the amazon comedy/crime charts and has sold well in the States. I spoke to Ryan back in May to talk about the release of his second book, and here’s what he had to say then.
Speaking now to Ryan, he explains ‘I started this collection in March of 2013, with the express intention of releasing six individual stories of varying lengths as standalone tales throughout the year, and then putting them together with some exclusive stories in a full-sized book. These individual stories would be sold as cheaply as possible, or free whenever possible. I’d written two novels, and as much as I love the process of writing a full length book, I had this itch where I wanted to create several oddball characters, and put them in equally strange situations.’
And what about Barnsley? Many of the stories in the collection are based here. He says, ‘I live in Barnsley, so as a result most of my characters live in Barnsley. It’s a town just bursting at the seams with creativity, from musicians to visual artists to writers. We’re a very creative town. I wanted to give nods and winks to everything about The Tarn, and I will in the future too.’
And tell us about this extract, I asked. Ryan says, ‘I love telling stories. I love making my reader chuckle, or gasp, or wretch at the audacity of what my characters do or say. But most of all, I love creating characters. The following extract is a prime example of what crap flows through my head at the best of times. I hope it sounds like your cup of tea. If not, then don’t worry. My motto is It wouldn’t do if we were all the same.’
Ryan has allowed us to exclusively show an extract of Bogies. If you like what you see, get buying.
You can visit Ryan’s website here > ryanbracha.webs.com/
Joe absent-mindedly guides a finger to his nostril and begins to pick so I turn to watch the back of the camel coated pyjama man and wonder what his story is. In my head he’s called Jack. John on a Sunday. His Sunday name. My mind then wanders to Granddad. I wonder if he’d approve of Joe. I’m sure he would. He’s a really nice boy. He has the same silly ideas as me. He gets me. He thinks like I do. He’s cute. He’s a good kisser. Okay, so kissing good isn’t at the top of Granddad’s list of priorities for any potential boyfriends of mine, but still. His tongue was so eager. I’m smiling and thinking of the kisses when I turn back to Joe, to witness him, eyes closed, pulling the slimiest and stringiest bogey from his nose and swing the thing straight onto his tongue as if he were eating an oyster. I see the bobbing up and down of his Adam’s apple as he swallows it. Joe eats his bogies. That tongue. It was in my mouth. I feel a wave of nausea as he opens his eyes, fresh from appreciating his recent snack. He registers my face. My eyes open wide. The frown. The heavy breathing. The struggling to keep my gag reflex under control, but I can’t do it. I can’t keep the nausea at bay. I feel the rush of my cheese salad baguette being evacuated from my guts, up my throat, and uncontrollably from my mouth. It sprays against Joe’s face. His shoulder. His chest. His little trouser torpedo which has shown no sign of abating. His knees. Then somewhat ironically onto the floor and splashing up against his shoes. One spray. All I can taste is onion from the salad. My chin feels cold from the rapidly cooling sick that drips from it into my lap. Joe is speechless. Just sits. His dark brown eyes blink beneath the orange, and beige, and white, and green. His too-blue jeans turned darker from the liquid. His savage snow tiger contained in a cage of bile.
“I’m-” I try to say I’m sorry. But am I? He was the one who put his tongue in my mouth when he eats his bogies. He should be wearing a sign to warn people like me off. Still he says nothing.
“You,” I croak, “you eat your bogies.”
It’s all I can do to not coat him in sick again so I rise from the bench. I use the sleeve of my cardigan to wipe away the sick from my mouth and chin, and I run. I shouldn’t. I’m better than that. But I can’t help myself. The sound of the world is drowned out as I stumble away from Joe. I leave him there. Silent. Dripping. Covered in my dinner. From our date. Our pre-date date. There won’t be another. There can’t be. Not after this.
Teenage hit men, dildo tycoons, council estates, a choice of porn, insane father in laws, sex with your best friend’s mum, Dickinson’s Real Deal, Jesus on drugs, the smelly kid at school, down on their luck gamblers, how to acknowledge two Keiths in the same room, thirty years in half an hour, erratic bus drivers with a death wish, and a man who really can’t abide by bad grammar.
Just another day in The North then…