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Summary

Can you find the famous person hidden in every story? And once found, can you understand them?

"Ingenious idea, brilliantly executed." (Daily Mirror)

"Humanity shimmers at the heart of every tale...and it is this that resonates, long after each mystery has been solved." (Caroline Ward Vine, winner of the Costa Prize)

These are the stories of our heroes, back when they were just another black or Jew or queer. Back when they were nobody. But the real key to these stories is that the protagonists’ identities are withheld. This means that your job is to find them - leading to that Eureka moment when you realise who's mind you've been living inside for the last 20 minutes.

A little like LSD, Backstories sweeps away your pre-conceptions and lets you rediscover your heroes as they truly are.

These are people you know, but not as you know them. Peel back the mask and see.

This book is dedicated to the victims of violent crime, the struggle against discrimination in all its forms and making the world a better place for our children. That is why 30 percent of all profits will be shared between Stop Hate UK, The North East Autism Society, and Friends of the Earth.

Backstories is published by Smoke & Mirrors Press.

My Backstories Quest

“Whatever happened to, all of the heroes?” The Stranglers 1977

I was 12 years old when I first heard this song, and although there was something in the feral tone that grabbed me, I didn’t really understand it. I do now. I get the angst and the loss and the emptiness, which I why, in Backstories, I aim to answer the question.

So join me on my quest, and together we’ll uncover the passions and prejudices that made our heroes what they were, and perhaps catch a glimpse of ourselves along the way.

Whatever happened to all of the heroes?

They turned out to be human beings, in all their diverse glory.

Simon Van der Velde January, 2021

Editorial Reviews

"Unique, astonishing, and magical, Backstories is the most entertaining book I have ever read." (The Book Magnet)

"Ingenious idea, brilliantly executed." (Daily Mirror)

"Backstories is a thrilling and at times shocking read that bravely addresses the fundamental questions of human identity." (Dr. Sara Northey, Director Forensic Psychology, Sussex)

©2020 Simon Van Der Velde (P)2020 Simon Van Der Velde

What listeners say about Backstories

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Excellent Read!

Well, that was super enjoyable. Bite sized chunks of brilliantly written mystery. Absolutely loved reading through each one, picking up clues to discover who is hidden beneath each story. Give it a go! You won’t be disappointed.

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An excellent read.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I worked out many of the clues, but there are still a couple that puzzle me. Once I know who the character is, I find myself wanting to read their story again. Brilliant!

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Thoroughly enjoyable read!

Backstories is instantly engaging. Your mind starts ticking over straight away wondering whose ‘backstory’ you’re reading. The author avoids the usual good/bad one dimensional stereotypes. Instead he gives you a very human insight into some of the worst people in history. There are heroes in there too and again the author gives you a very human insight into their frailties and vulnerabilities. Humans are undeniably complex and we’re all the product of our backstories - good and bad. Can’t wait for backstories 2!!