Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Island of Dreams by Gregory James Clark
About the book
In 2107, twenty-four year-old Gary Loman is disillusioned with life. There are scant opportunities in the capitalist world that surrounds him. When he receives a prestigious invitation, Gary knows that the change he has been waiting for has finally arrived; it’s a ticket to fame and glory as a skater.
Leaving the old world behind, Gary embarks on a new adventure on The Island of Dreams, led by the world’s newest monarchy, where he is introduced to the woman who will become his wife and a wildly different social order, one which has evolved over the previous seventy years by virtue of a slow, quiet and largely unnoticed revolution. By 2107, however, The Island is poised to become one of the most powerful states in the world, acquiring, most notably, the territory of Kamchatka.
The Island Queen, Queen Katie of Kamchatka, with the help of her devoted Prime Minister and her faithful staff, then attempt to educate and train the 240 receivers of the distinguished Queen’s Ticket, both for their roles as skaters and within the Kamchatskiy organisation, for whom they will be working under a completely new concept in political economy, based on quality rather than profit motives, and which is replacing Marxism as the world’s rival to capitalism.
As Gary progresses on The Island, and as its Queen seeks out her new King, the world is on the brink of a breath-taking transformation.
Due for release on 5th September,
The book has a skating theme and Gregory explains why…..
I developed a passion for ice skating in my early 20s having discovered a new found freedom when I first stepped onto the ice in 1982 at Richmond Ice Rink (now demolished). I continued to skate for a further fifteen years, aspiring to possibly develop a career as a trainer and perhaps also find a partner. This never transpired, but I continued to be inspired by the work and achievements of Torvill and Dean, and especially their approach to the pursuit of excellence. I knew I would never live the skating dream, so writing a story around it was the next best thing.
The Dancing on Ice series helped me to develop the skating theme, with the idea of taking celebrities and training them over a number of months to achieve a good standard. In The Island of Dreams the concept is modified such that it takes people who have already achieved some standard and places them with an expert trainer for a year. Torvill and Dean would know better than I how well such an idea might work in practice. Their work, and the pursuit of excellence that they demonstrated certainly provided the impetus to develop a skating theme in parallel with the quality theme.
Gary is clearly out of place in his present environment, but he is about to be offered a lifeline:
“How many times a week do you skate?” Deirdre asked.
“About five,” said Gary.
“Quite good really. Then again to tackle the Tango Alcantara must take at least that. Tell me, am I right in understanding that you are now twenty-four, have no brothers and sisters and have never had a full-time job?”
“I’m afraid that is true, yes. But I am doing something about it. I am going to see a psychiatrist next week to find out what’s wrong with me.”
“That won’t do much good,” Deirdre suggested, “When a system lets a person down the only cure is usually a change of environment.”
As the dance session progressed Gary thought for a moment about this comment, but quickly forgot about it as the dance club disbanded and the public streamed in, screaming, pushing, and shoving with scant regard for anyone or anything that might happen to be in its path. The heavy beat started and the mob took to the ice racing, turning, swerving and spraying each other with ice. The odd ice ball was thrown and, as for the skating the time for dedication had well and truly gone for another week, save for the handful of new beginners who crept round, hugging the barrier, and the lone girl who sought, with difficulty to master a spin somewhere toward the centre of the rink.
At the far end of the rink, Timothy and Patricia prepared the cones that would seal part of the rink off so that the children who were lined up could collect their small badges in exchange for performing a series of moves. There was joy, initially, for these keen boys and girls, until it eventually became tempered by some judge on some day, and in most cases killed off in time as a consequence of multiple failure. It was inevitable, though, in a profession that was determined to accommodate no more than two per cent of its would-be entrants. The tears on one girl’s face told it all. No wonder did so few children even bother to attempt the learning process.
Sunday passed, and there was nothing unusual about Monday other than it was the day that Gary had to go into Reading to continue his registration as a jobseeker, and the small matter of a strange card which had somehow found its way onto the floor behind the front door……..
About the author
Born and raised in Lancashire, Gregory James Clark went on to graduate with a BSc Honours in Maritime Studies from the University of Wales followed by an MBA from Manchester Metropolitan University. In his professional life he has enjoyed working in the field of Quality Management and the design of programmes including; The Programme for Global Quality Promotion (PGQP) in Russia and the African Nations. Previous publications include Quality Matters: The Decade of Quality 1989 – 2000 (Spire City Publishing 2002) and Deming and Juran: Gift to the World (Spire City Publishing 2007). He is currently the editor of The Electron Newsletter for the Institution of Electronics. In his spare time he enjoys ice dancing, ballroom dancing, golf, chess and snooker and speaks numerous languages including; Dutch, German, Portuguese and Swedish.