Ways to Live Forever
My name is Sam. I am eleven years old. I collect stories and fantastic facts. By the time you read this, I will probably be dead.
True Facts About Ways to Live Forever
I really did run up down escalators when I was writing this book. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for ages and I thought, if Sam can do it, so can I. I did it in the same place Sam does – at the Cornmill Centre in Darlington.
The chapter Visits is based on something my mother did after I was diagnosed with diabetes as a child. It was supposed to be a funny scene – but it didn’t turn out that way when I wrote it.
I deleted over 20,000 words while writing this book (the finished novel is around 32,000 words long). Some of the scenes I deleted include a list of famous last words, a description of how a dead body decomposes and a scene where Sam and Felix try and break their world record by dropping water bombs on Sam’s dad.
There are a few real names and places in this book. Auntie Nicola, Auntie Sarah and Auntie Carolyn are named after friends of mine, as is Raoul, the airship pilot. Stanley Rhode (the airship captain) gets his name from Stanley Road, the street I lived on at university. My friends and I always meant to put Stanley Rhode into one of our essays but never did, so I put him in the book instead. High Strawberry – on Sam’s list of favourite things – is also a real place. We used to stay there when I was a child.
The first words I wrote when I began this book were:
List No. 1 – Five Important Facts About Me
1. My name is David Oliver Robinson.
2. I am eleven years, two months and seven days old.
3. I have one sister. Her name is Katherine Anne Robinson and she is nine years old.
4. I have acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
5. By the time you read this, I will already be dead.
Reviews of Ways to Live Forever
“impressed by Sally Nicholls’ sensitive handling of terminal illness in Ways to Live Forever”
“Sympathetic, touching, and surprisingly funny…”
“Sally Nicholls has precisely captured the contents of an 11-year-old boy’s head in all its humorous, list-making splendour.”