Backstories by Simon Van Der Velde @SimonVdVwriter #TheBackstoriesChallenge #FinalGuitarChallenge #WinSignedCopy

Backstories by [Simon Van Der Velde]


These are people you know, but not as you know them. Peel back the mask and see.


Dreamers, singers, heroes and killers, they can dazzle with their beauty or their talent or their unmitigated evil, yet inside themselves, they are as frail and desperate as the rest of us. But can you see them? Can you unravel the truth?

‘Oh, how I enjoyed these stories. A highly original and beautifully crafted collection that explodes into the reader’s consciousness like fireworks’ – Kate Horsley, award-winning author of The American Girl.

‘Tightly written, technically accomplished, light-footed, wryly ironic and genuinely affecting. Excellent stuff’ – Professor Graham Mort, Director of The Centre for Transcultural Writing and Research and winner of both the Bridport Prize and The Edge Hill Prize.

This book is dedicated to the victims of violent crime, the struggle against discrimination in all its forms and making the world a better place for our children. That is why 30% of all profits will be shared between Stop Hate UK, The North East Autism Society and Friends of the Earth.

Backstories is published by Smoke & Mirrors Press.



Find the lost little boy in this story for you chance to win – one of three signed, limited edition review copies of the Amazon bestseller, Backstories.

The Guitar: No doubt about it, he was a bright kid, talented even. He
was quick on his feet and with his mouth too, and he could smack a
baseball out of the park. But he was a Jew, and he was short. I mean
like really short. The kid was the size of your average third grader
when he was twelve years old. When he was taking those first steps
towards manhood. When it mattered most.
And this was back in the fifties, with Sinatra top of the charts,
John Wayne High and Mighty on the big screen and New York
thrusting itself into the heavens, one skyscraper taller than the next. It
was a one-size-fits-all sort of time, but it didn’t fit him.
If a girl laughed away down the street, he felt the heat in his
cheeks. Even a simple smile was met with squinty-eyed suspicion.
He felt like the whole world was laughing at him, and there was truth
enough in that.
The other kids couldn’t resist. Let loose from class they could
forget about their failures and rejections, their overbearing fathers and
screaming mothers, their secret fears and pigeon chests. For that hour
at lunchtime they could be free of themselves, laughing fearlessly while
they pushed the little guy around the yard and asked him what he
was doing out of kindergarten, or where he’d left Snow White. That
was the best one. They banged away at it for months, with raucous
renditions of ‘Hi-ho, hi-ho,’ booming across the yard, reprised with
hums and whistles in the classroom


Sign up here The Backstories Challenge — to post your answer and get the full story for free.
The first three correct entrants out of the hat will receive a signed,
original review copy of Backstories and a chocolate treat.
Entries Close 11:59pm Saturday 24th April, 2021



Simon Van der Velde has worked variously as a barman, labourer,
teacher, caterer and lawyer, as well as travelling throughout Europe and
South America collecting characters and insights for his award-winning
stories. Since completing a creative writing M.A. (with distinction)
in 2010, Simon’s work has won and been shortlisted for numerous
awards including; The Yeovil Literary Prize, (twice), The Wasafiri
New Writing Prize, The Luke Bitmead Bursary, The Frome Shortstory Prize, The Harry Bowling Prize, The Henshaw Press Short Story
Competition and The National Association of Writers’ Groups Open
Competition – establishing him as one of the UK’s foremost
short-story writers.
Simon now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, with his wife,
Nicola, their labradoodle, Barney and two tyrannical children.

ps. I am proud to be sharing 30% of all profits from Backstories with
Friends of the Earth, Stop Hate UK and The North-East Autism Society.
See for further details.

Twitter: @SimonVdVwriter·

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