I've been a fan of the band Joy Division for more years than I care to mention. I was too young to be into them at the time, but when I was about 15 years old I was introduced to their records and I fell in love. There was something so unique about the music, it was so different, so deep, so edgy. I loved the way it fitted together and the way it made me feel. Over 20 years later it still has that same magic, but there was more to Joy Division than just the music, there was also the tragic story of Ian Curtis.
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!
If you haven't read the book look away now! Or better still go buy it ;)
I wanted to write a story about a creative and passionate young man who was driven to suicide. I didn't want it to be a depressing story and I didn't want him to be a copy cat of Ian, but I did want to draw some paralells, and luckily coincidence gave me more than I bargained for!
It was a very difficult subject to approach. I wanted to make his life as worthwhile and fulfilling as possible but I had to give him a pretty big reason to end his life. I didn't want to glamourise suicide so I made him suffer from a genetic and ultimately terminal health condition, Huntington's disease. It wasn't until I started researching the Huntington's that I discovered it could cause seizures, similar to Ian Curtis's eplilepsy. That was just another fluke but it fitted well with the story.
I involved Joy Division's music in the story by making the main characters Angela and Simon fans of the band, it's what brings them together in the first place and they find new friends following Unknown Pleasures, a Joy Division tribute band.
As I wrote the story I drew what I knew about Joy Division, adding little jokes about signing the contracts in blood and I also used a Joy Division song in the last chapter, when Miles sings 'Ceremony' for Angel. The fact that the song 'Ceremony' was recorded and released by New Order and that the song in the book signified the characters moving on from the past just seemed to work so well. I took the book title from the lyric 'Heaven knows it's got to be this time' because it just seemed to fit so perfectly.
You don't have to be a fan of Joy Division to enjoy the book, but I hope that knowing the songs and a little about the history of the band will help to enrich the story. If you're not familiar with their music take a listen to the soundtrack.