The Cookie Tin (published by Greyhart Press) originally had a working title of Empathy, and was initially driven by two thoughts. One, what would it be like to be able to feel someone else’s pain; and two, how do you write for an audience that’s not home-grown? In terms of the first it soon became clear that physical pain, bad though that can be, was perhaps not where the real hurt happens. Sure, if you could go to an empathic doctor and literally pass to them your physical symptoms then you would likely get treatment pretty quickly! However, such an empath would have to interpret the received pain in terms of their own complex, emotional makeup, and would perhaps fail to understand the full nuance of your own distress. IMHO emotional pain is far, far worse than any physical pain, so the story driver diverted and the working title became The Emotion Machine. The eventual title, The Cookie Tin, came about because of the second driver. I wanted to see if I could fashion a tale that, though still (hopefully) of universal appeal, was tuned to a non-British audience. Since my knowledge of foreign languages and cultures is limited (be honest: practically nil) the obvious alternative was to write for the American reader (hence the American feel to the final title; calling it The Biscuit Tin just didn’t have the same ring) who at least shares some cultural common ground with the British, even if we do sometimes disagree on spelling! British TV is well supplied with transatlantic material (bring back Boston Legal!) and just about all IT-related books are written in American-English, so tailoring to the United States wasn’t too difficult.
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