When we were kids, my brother and I tried our hand at a number of different professions. We ran a Boglin protection agency which, despite our best intentions, quickly became an excuse to shoot imaginary mercenaries in their imaginary faces as the helpless rubber gremlins looked on. For a while we were wrestlers, but no matter how many Speedo sponsored pay-per-view events we organised, we just couldn't attract an audience. Our singing career also went tits up, as the world just wasn't ready for our dub-step, country hybrid.
For a while we fancied ourselves as authors. We tended to ape the format of the Point Horrors that were all the rage, but occasionally we would branch out with topics that felt closer to home, such as cyborg cowboys and time travelling zombies. Unlike our other early ventures, this one endured.
I would take pride in creating a gruesome font cover for my pulp horrors, usually featuring a mixture of blood, axes and teen-hunting corpses. Once I had finished my masterpiece, I'd invariably lose interest in the actual story writing, rarely churning out more than a couple of pages before calling it quits. Cemetery Attack was the high point of my literary career, but for my brother Ben it was just the start. I stopped at the cover, but he kept writing and I'm happy to say that his continued efforts have paid off.
Ben's debut novel - Noughties - is out today in the UK, to follow in the US and Canada in the autumn. Seeing his name and face in the national newspapers has been rather strange, and the thought of his book being in the shops has me so excited that I have literally shit myself. We'll be down in London for the next two days to attend the launch, drink free wine and attempt to get as many 3DS streetpass hits as possible.
Although he didn't consult me on the cover design, I'd like to think that I've had some kind of influence on his writing. I was excited to count no less than two video game references in Noughties, including a mention of everyone's favourite big eared boy, Alex Kidd. I consider this a personal victory, being that Ben hasn't been a gamer for over a decade and I thought my attempts to re-educate him had fallen on deaf ears.
Today, I'm even prouder than usual to be his big brother. I'm greatly looking forward to raising a glass to his continued success, and am happy to see that of all our childhood professions, he chose the best.