Author John Levis, or “Leslie Charles” (his pseudonym), has recently released Shimaura, a thriller where all profits from the first 500 copies sold will go to The Big Issue.
“Money problems and a failing marriage pale into insignificance when an accident on a late night shopping trip leads Edward Patterson to question the things he sees, the people he meets, those closest to him …. and his own actions.”
We thought this was a great way to support Big Issue vendors, so we got in touch with John to ask him some questions.
Q: Tell us about your book!
A: Essentially, the book is about a couple who have secrets from each other that come to the fore after an accident. It explains how they got there and how the aftereffects from the accident and of their secrets change their lives. There’s a sub-plot involving the husband character who starts to visualise things and the explanation intertwines with the main plot.
Q: What was the inspiration for the story?
A: I’ve always been interested in stories where people’s lives get out of control through no fault of their own (a bit like how homelessness can come out of the blue I guess). The story comes from an idea that people can simply go missing and an imagination of what could cause this to happen in some cases.
Q: What made you decide to give the profits to The Big Issue?
A: I think homelessness is the unspoken issue of our times and especially now, it could affect anyone. I can honestly see a time when not only homeless adults but potentially children will die on the streets of one of the wealthiest countries in the world and it’s shameful. I’ve always admired the work The Big Issue does and it’s my way of supporting you.
Q: Why did you use a pseudonym and is there any significance to the name?
A: The reason for the pseudonym was that Leslie Charles were my late father’s first names (Leslie Charles Levis). Unfortunately, he passed away before the book was completed so won’t have known, although my Mum saw it being published online before she too passed away in May 2020 and was happy I did that.
Q: Do you plan on writing more books in the future?
A: I’d love to write more books in the future, I’ve got some ideas bubbling up in my head and I need to make time to get them down on paper (screen). Retirement is due in 6 or 7 years so maybe that will be the ideal time.
Q: How did you get into writing or have you always had a passion for it?
A: I’ve always been interested in writing and I’m told I’m good with words. I love the way you can immerse yourself in a book and the idea for Shimaura just seemed too good an opportunity to miss.
When most people think about the Big Issue, they think of vendors selling the Big Issue magazines on the streets – and we are immensely proud of this. In 2022 alone, we worked with 10% more vendors and these vendors earned £3.76 million in collective income. There is much more to the work we do at the Big Issue Group, our mission is to create innovative solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunity for the 14million people in the UK living in poverty.