Today I’m bringing to you an exclusive interview with Samuel Darte, lead character of M Jonathan Lee’s upcoming release ‘337’. When Sam was just a boy, his mother disappeared without a trace leaving him and his younger brother, Tom, at home with their father. This forced family relationships to breaking point to fracture. The disappearance of Sandra Darte changed his life forever.
Hi Sam, thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Please make yourself comfy!
So we’ve read all about what happened to your mum and the events after, but how would you describe your experience of it all when you were just a young boy?
Well, I guess like you said, I was quite young when it all started and there are bits that don’t remember all that well. When she first disappeared, I just remember being scared and confused, I just couldn’t fathom how she could leave us. I think that’s why I pursued it for so long – none of the conclusions answered all my questions. It was a weird feeling of betrayal too, when Tom and I read that note addressed to Dad it just said “I’ve left you. Look after the boys”… glossing over the fact that she was leaving us too. Then with everything that came out afterwards, some things made sense and other things just didn’t fit, it was so confusing.
I can only imagine how overwhelming it was for you. If you could go back and change anything, is there anything you regret doing, or not doing, during that period of your life?
It was a tough time for all of us and I’ve definitely done things I’m not proud of. But my biggest regret is not talking to Gramma sooner and trying to make things right. It’s shameful that she had to be on her deathbed for me to be brave enough to go and talk to her, but at least I did go in the end. Better late than never. But yeah, I wish I’d been kinder to her, understood more.
You were just a boy, it can’t have been easy. Now you’re older, how do you think the events of your youth changed you?
Well I’d never heard voices before it all, I can tell you that much. [He chuckles grimly] I think it’d be impossible to pinpoint something it didn’t change. I’ve lived with it for so long now that what happened… it’s part of me. I guess after going through so much, I felt justified in closing myself off from stuff, relationships and all that. But I don’t know what I’d have turned out like if it hadn’t happened so who knows, just got to work with what I’ve got and make the best of it.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Sam. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you today. I can’t wait to read more about your story when 337 is released on 30th November!
My Review: 5-Stars!- One added simply for ingenuity!
What’s unique about 337 is the simple fact that you can read the book from both directions. Yes, you can start at the beginning or you can start at the end. The cover is cleverly designed to be the same, with the exception of color, no matter which way you hold the book. It’s an intriguing device to get you to think ‘outside the box’, to consider what you wouldn’t usually consider the norm as the norm. The characters step out from the crisp pages like person you meet on your travels through the day. Some stay, some disappear, but you are left with an indelible memory of them.
Emotive and poignant, the gentle story picks up its pace, weaving imagery like a painter transposing a landscape. I became aware of a heaviness within the main character, Sam, and quickly understood how sad he was, how the confusion he faced as a child permeated his entire life.
A powerful story about perceptions and learning how to look beyond, 337 is a quiet thriller…. if that’s possible. A mystery memoir…so to speak. It’s not what you anticipate when you dive in and suddenly, just when you think you’ve got things sorted, the ending happens.
Beautifully written and ingeniously devised, 337 is a book you need to experience.
Yes, its Available to pre-order on Amazon now!
Author Bio and Handles: @mjonathanlee @hideawayfall
M Jonathan Lee is a nationally shortlisted author and mental health campaigner. His first novel The Radio was nationally shortlisted in the Novel Prize 2012. Since that time he has gone on to publish five further novels with ‘337’ being his sixth novel. Jonathan is a tireless campaigner for mental health awareness and writes his own column regularly for the Huffington Post. He has recently written for the Big Issue and spoken at length about his own personal struggle in the British national press on the BBC and Radio Talk Europe.
Endlessly fascinated by the human condition and what leads people to do the things they do to one another, Jonathan is obsessed with writing stories with twists where nothing is exactly how it first appears.