• Title: Backstories
  • Author: Simon Van der Velde
  • Publisher: Smoke and Mirrors Press on March 25, 2021
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Pages: 116
  • Formats Available: Paperback & Digital
  • Rating: 5/5

Trigger Warnings: Violence, Rape, Bullying

Many thanks to Simon Van der Velde for providing me with a digital copy of Backstories with a request for an honest review.

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Backstories Blurb

Dreamers, singers, heroes and killers, they can dazzle with their beauty or their talent or their unmitigated evil, yet inside themselves they are as frail and desperate as the rest of us. But can you see them? Can you unravel the truth? These are people you know, but not as you know them. Peel back the mask and see.


My Review

Simon Van der Velde has done something extraordinary with Backstories. It’s not just a fun book to read, but it is also a game. I had so much fun with this novel!

Each short story tells a mysterious tale of famous people, and you have to try to guess who the story is about. Some of them I got right away, but others I had to look up. There is one that I still can’t identify, and it is driving me mad! 

Though, I do recommend reading the stories twice. You get so much more out of the story after you know who it is and can catch other nuances that you missed the first time.

I am happy to award Backstories a full 5 out of 5 stars. If you love guessing games, you will love this novel. I hope you pick it up!

About the Author – Simon Van der Velde

Simon Van der Velde has worked variously as a barman, labourer, teacher, caterer and lawyer, as well as travelling throughout Europe and South America collecting characters and insights for his award-winning stories. Since completing a creative writing M.A. (with distinction) at The University of Northumbria in 2010, Simon’s work has won and been shortlisted for numerous awards including; The Yeovil Literary Prize, (twice), The Wasafiri New Writing Prize, The Luke Bitmead Bursary, The Frome Short-story Prize, The Harry Bowling Prize, The Henshaw Press Short Story Competition and The National Association of Writers’ Groups Open Competition – establishing him as one of the UK’s foremost short-story writers.

Simon now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, with his wife, Nicola, their labradoodle, Barney and their two tyrannical children.

Author’s Social Media Links: Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Bookbub | Website

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