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  • Writer's pictureReece Willis

The Process of Writing What We Become

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

The writing of What We Become commenced in late 2017, once the final draft of Towards the Within was complete. Initially it was a small idea of obsession with the main character pursuing his lost love across Thailand, but as the early drafts developed, the story blossomed into something so much bigger. The conclusion was the first section of the story I had in mind with everything else centred around this idea.

Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand

The story opens up with the song Closer by Kings of Leon. I trawled through my iPod to find a suitable piece to commence Ben’s journey, and found Closer to be a superb start with such a poignant theme for his path. Music is an integral part of my life. Most of my memories are bookmarked and easily accessed by a piece of music should I wish to travel back to a certain aspect of my past, and often I’m caught off guard by a song which can trigger a recollection I may have forgotten. I like to think Ben held himself together with the comfort and solace his music collection provided him. It’s often been a source of escape for me when times have been tough.

Temple grounds, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Ben’s character to a degree is based on elements of my past, especially his struggles with mental health. With the patience and support from my family I have long overcome my anxieties. These days I'm very happy and live a clean and healthy lifestyle. But I know only too well how post traumatic stress disorder can take hold and erode one's soul, appearing unexpectedly at a moment's notice.

Maya Bay, Phuket, Thailand

It was great to revisit Thailand, a favourite of the countries I have travelled, along with Hong Kong. I have some wonderful memories of Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket and the beautiful people who reside in these special places. I also have a close connection with Sandgate, Hythe and Seabrook in South East England and it was a pleasure to write these personal locations into the book. It was nice to include my love of photography and Martial Arts as recurring themes throughout the story-line. I have practised Muay Thai Kickboxing, Jeet Kune Do, Wing Chun Kung Fu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Sandgate, England

It’s been very emotional writing What We Become, and at times I found myself close to tears, being utterly absorbed into Ben’s world. As with all of the characters in my books, it’s hard to walk away from them, having been completely invested and committed to the conviction of their development.

Hong Kong Skyline

The story closes with The Silence. Manchester Orchestra is one of my favourite bands and the song seemed a perfect way to end Ben's traumatic journey.

The Silence by Manchester Orchestra


What We Become is available now from Amazon

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