Hi guys and welcome to today’s blog tour post! Today I have the privilege of sharing an exclusive extract of Chroma by Oscar Wenman-Hyde with you. I really liked the sound of the book but unfortunately didn’t have the time to read and review the book myself. Instead, I am sharing a small snippet of the book with you, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
If you want to read more after the extract, I’ll provide the details of the book for you.
The following extract is from Chapter One of Chroma. Before the chapter, the book starts with three opening monologues on the Roberts family, Jean, Paul and Riley. Chapter One is the first time you get to meet Riley’s best friend Eli, and he tells you just as much about Riley as he does himself. These moments were heavily influenced by my childhood shenanigans, especially the description of the school and the low hung back packs!
Riley stands in the entrance of Lydean Junior School with his best friend Eli. They are both wearing the cutest rocket designed backpacks, with the shoulder straps lowered all the way down so that the bag hangs at the back of their knees. They still think this is how the cool kids do it, but if you take a good look around the playground, this phase seems to have worn off. Maybe their parents finally told them off for bad posture. Sadly, Riley and Eli didn’t get the memo and continue to rock the look like it’s two thousand and fifteen.
Riley’s mother Jean has just dropped him off and due to the rural nature of Lydean, it is not unusual to drop off an eight-year-old before the bell rings. In this town, everyone knows each other and looks out for one another.
The school itself has been built inside an old chapel, originally by the name of Christ Church in the eighteen hundreds. It has brick walls, moss growing around the edges, and a large dungeon looking wooden door which the children enter through. There are several teachers and playground assistants patrolling the playground, as dozens of kids already start to use their energy on football, tag, and for the girls, a gossip, they’re never too young! But Riley and Eli are different from the other children, they stand alone, just the two of them, whilst the other children all mingle with much larger friendship groups.
These two are clearly the outcasts and prefer to stand by the entrance of the school. They aren’t eager to go in, but they know that if anyone tries to pick on them or make fun of Eli’s weight, like they so often do, then most likely, a teacher will see it and give that so-called child a detention.
A detention in junior school doesn’t necessarily mean anything, because all they miss is five minutes of lunch time, but for a child that’s an eternity, because the other children have already adapted the hierarchy and decided who will be tag first. If a child misses even five minutes, then how do they know who to run from? They don’t. They’d be walking onto the playground, tiptoeing out onto the gravel as if they were coming out onto the German frontline, which is an even scarier thought for year fours who have just started learning about world war two.
For some children, this instils a sense of bravery, the ones that thrive in this situation are the ones most likely to go into a life of fighting, whether that be the military, pro-wrestling or just a back-alley brawl, after they’ve got hammered down the pub.
Eli and Riley want none of it, they just want to be left alone and live freely without the aspect of war and junior school politics, they don’t even want girlfriends, girls are gross! The two of them just want to nerd out on movies, tell each other stories, and eventually, without even meaning to, grow up without any damage. A difficult path to go down with the brutality of school.
Eli is a very unique person, and even though he acts like a movie buff try hard in front of Riley, he hasn’t seen half the movies Riley has because his mother isn’t as willing to bend the rules of cinema certificates, and we can’t blame her, a movie is an eighteen for a reason and Eli is only seven. However, that doesn’t stop him from further fuelling Riley. The thought of someone that knows much more than him is exhilarating, because every day is a surprise, and without even watching a zombie film, he already knows all the ways to kill one. The easy option is to stab it straight in the head, or if you want a bit of fun, you chop off all its limbs and then do it, but that would take skill and bravery, a job more suited to Riley.
However, much like Riley, none of these images or thoughts change Eli, he knows it’s all just part of his best friends’ imagination. Plus, if the apocalypse that Riley always goes on about does happen, Eli is sure he’ll be safe because he’ll have the most experienced and knowledgeable best friend in Lydean to look after him.
Eli’s mother Cecilia isn’t as keen on the Roberts family, but there’s not much she can do about it. Similar to Riley, Eli has no other friends. He is constantly being bullied for his weight, that his mother seemingly keeps encouraging with fish finger or turkey dinosaur dinners, with cheesy chips and beans. In her eyes, that is the perfect meal for a child, and Eli agrees, you can’t get much better than turkey dinosaurs!
But the real reason is that she just can’t cook, she’s tried again and again but always ends up coming back to the effort lacking, frozen food option, and anyway, if it makes Eli happy and fuels his appetite then it can’t be that bad.
One of the reasons why his mother Cecilia lets him continue to hang out with Riley, and let him be influenced by his madness, is because she knows how alone Eli has been since his father left their house a couple of years ago. She knows she can’t get him through it alone, and she believes that it is important for Eli to have a strong male figure in his life, even if that is an eight-year-old boy. Also, with the current circumstances of Riley’s family, she knows that Riley needs Eli just as much. Two boys with big imaginations need a big level of distraction from all the sadness they feel inside, and luckily for them, two brains are better than one.
Chroma – Oscar Wenman-Hyde
When Riley watched Chroma, the latest movie by Armani Manora, he had no idea how much his life was about to change. Riley’s parents, Jean and Paul, are currently getting divorced, and they have managed to keep the situation hidden from Riley, until now.
They were unaware of the effects this was having on Riley’s emotional and mental well-being, and as tensions rose at school and at home, he was visited by a voice in his bedroom. Before too long, he began a journey that was not only dangerous, but eye opening.
Chroma explores the rapidly changing family dynamic throughout divorce, and how a child’s imagination can take them to unknown places. It is emotional, insightful and a moving story which not only teaches us how to be an adult, but how to be a child.
Oscar Wenman-Hyde is a writer living in Gloucester, UK. Born and raised in the quiet towns of North Devon, Oscar would spend the majority of his time as a child writing and directing short films with his brother and neighbours. From here, Oscar’s passion led him to explore all aspects of his creativity, by graduating with a BA Hons in Songwriting at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. He now finds joy in all mediums of writing and although he has worked and trained in many areas, he is always inspired by film and remains grounded in storytelling.
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