The Lek Series
I call it the Lek series, although it is always billed as the ‘Behind The Smile’ series, which is its official title. It is just that the name Lek trips off the tongue more easily, and after writing about her for ten years, I am more comfortable calling her by name. In fact, so much so, that it was not unknown for me to call my wife Lek, which she did not appreciate, but, like Pavlov’s dogs, I have learned not to do it any more, although I couldn’t remember my stepson’s daughter’s name today, even though I have known her since she moved in with us three days after she was born more than a year ago.
The only name that would come to mind was Shell, the name of the baby in the Lek series.
At this point, you might be thinking that that is understandable, but my stories do not mirror their lives at all. The real reason, and my headmaster told me that a reason is only an excuse with substance, is that I become so engrossed in my writing that I lose touch.
I go too far away.
Some of you will know what I mean.
I become so engrossed in the story, the lives, of the characters, the people, in my novels that I am no longer where my body is. No, that is too far, but certainly no longer where my real-life friends and family are. It usually takes me a good thirty minutes, after stopping writing, to be able to talk to living people again. Perhaps less with my wife, but certainly thirty minutes with others.
What do you make of that?
I know that it sounds weird, but that’s how it is.
I have written forty-odd books, but the Lek series is the only one that affects me that intensely. I get it with the Lily Series too, but not as much.
I mean that I am deeply involved with every book I write, but they don’t all stay with me, like Lek and Lily do.
They are constant companions, the others are more like good friends that you don’t see very often any more. Great when you do, but not a part of your life.
Lek is a part of my life and has been for ten years, Lily is too, but only for three. The common factor is not that they are women or Thai, I think, but that they have had bloody hard lives but are doing their best to overcome their pasts and make a better future, not only for themselves but for everyone around them.
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Podcast: The Lek Series