“Did you make friends at school?
Are they still your friends now?
Do you trust them?
Will is on his way to prison. His life is a mess, but who is to blame?
Set over thirty years, Lazy Blood is a dramatic tale of the endurance of friendship, the frailty of life, the drama of love and how they can all be ruined by broken people, random events and idle choices.”
‘THIS BOOK WILL BLOW YOU AWAY.’ – White Books
‘FUNNY, SHOCKING, SAD.’ – Reader’s Select
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to my stop on the Lazy Blood blog tour. I have a fascinating guest post from debut author Ross Greenwood to share with you (I do love a guest post!) so without further ado I will hand over to Ross…
People in Prison
I began my book over five years ago and felt I had a good idea; it just lacked a little drama. With the birth of my children I placed it in a drawer where it gathered dust. I took a job as a Prison Officer in our local jail to pay the bills and ideas abounded. Eventually I had to finish it.
One of the main things that surprised me about prison life was it wasn’t what I expected. I thought it would be a cross between Bad Girls, Screwed and Porridge, but the truth was different. I believed the prisoners would all be criminals and getting what they deserved, but as with many things in life, the lines are blurred.
Obviously there were career criminals, but the majority were normal people who had done crazy, stupid or impulsive things. What I quickly realised was that being sent to prison was something that could happen to anyone. We all have our ups and downs and make mistakes, or do things we later regret. Sometimes they can have far-reaching consequences.
Dangerous drivers are easily sent to prison as a car accident is such a violent incident. For example, people texting and looking up to see they had lost control and hit someone else. Clearly stupid, but that person wasn’t a criminal before that moment, and suddenly they have ruined someone’s life. They need to be punished and being sent to prison is appropriate, but it can ruin their lives too. Jobs will be lost, mortgage payments missed, children will be bereft as well as the stigma from friends and family. The ripple effect can be breathtaking.
Drink was often a factor. A fight that got out of hand and the person pushed, falling over, banging their head and dying was a story I heard numerous times. One minute you are ticking along, the next you could be staring at ten years.
The other side of the coin is those who never stood a chance. Some had parents who were dealers or burglars and they got involved in the family business. They never knew a sense of right and wrong. Are they criminals and victims? Others got hooked on drugs and the need to satisfy those urges overwhelmed any reasonable part of their personality.
Finally, there are the innocent. Surprisingly few protested at being victims of the legal system. However, even though we probably have the most transparent and respected legal system in the world, it would be extremely naïve to believe it is infallible.
Prison is an unnatural place and, despite what the papers would have you believe, is far from cushy. For every one of us the act of being locked up and having our freedom taken away is one of the worst things that can be done to us. There is a sense of waste and life ticking by without you. The choices we take for granted are removed.
I wanted to include some of these themes in my book, told with an insight that many will hopefully never experience.
I also wanted to make people laugh at the vagaries of life and tell a tale of people dealing with what life throws at us, both good and bad. The message through the book is the people we choose to be friends with at school often follow us through life. Over the years the places we are born and where our families live will often pull at us. It is often where we are most comfortable. Familiar roads, welcome memories and friendly faces all aid our well-being. Coming home can be peaceful and give an opportunity to re-build and heal. It can also destroy us.
I hope you enjoy Lazy Blood.
Thank you very much for this interesting piece, Ross. It’s as close as I hope to get to the inside and workings of a prison, I have to say!
I am delighted to have a review copy of Lazy Blood on the #terrifyingTBR so look out for a review on damppebbles in the near future.
I was born in 1973 in Peterborough and lived there until I was 20, attending The King’s School in the city. I then began a rather nomadic existence, living and working all over the country and various parts of the world.
I found myself returning to Peterborough many times over the years, usually when things had gone wrong. It was on one of these occasions that I met my partner about 100 metres from my back door whilst walking a dog. Two children swiftly followed. I’m still a little stunned by the pace of it now. It did make me want to set my novel in Peterborough though.
This book was started a long time ago but parenthood and then four years as a HMP Peterborough prison officer got in the way. Ironically it was the four a.m. feed which gave me the opportunity to finish the book as unable to get back to sleep I completed it in the early morning hours. Connect with Ross via Twitter @greenwoodross or his website.