Hi, readers! I’m so pleased to take part in the blog tour for Chroma by
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 an emotional, insightful, and moving story that
not only teaches us how to be an adult, but how to be a child.
Read an excerpt of Chroma
The following extract is the opening paragraphs from part three of the prologue ‘RILEY’. Within this small and intimate chapter, you can really gain an understating of who Riley is, his psychology and the story that is about to unfold, not only that, but it offers a glimpse of the affect that divorce is having on Riley already, which sets up the story for the rest of the book.
Riley is an eight-year-old child with an imagination larger than life itself. The majority of his inner thoughts come from cinema, and he has already written a synopsis for the next forty-two ‘Star Wars’ films, and produced his very own movie called ‘Jurassic Shark’ that is a crossover of ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Jaws’. It’s amazing what a child can do with a bathtub, his Dad’s smartphone and a set of figurines! But beyond the obvious choices, his favourite director is none other than Armani Manora, the next big thing in Hollywood, he’s written and directed films based on superficial bananas that infect monkeys, turning them into rabid killers that take over London, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, he has developed a drama that roots itself in exposition of the human brain, a psychedelic watch but nonetheless inspiring to Riley.
Manora’s most recent release ‘Chroma’, is due to hit streaming services in a matter of days, and when it does, it’ll sweep the country like an extra-terrestrial pandemic, especially the people of Lydean that got to live and breathe the production when filming took place in the village last year.
It’s also worth noting that Riley’s imagination doesn’t come from nowhere, it comes from Jean and Paul who injected the visual freedom into Riley from a young age. He’s allowed to watch anything that isn’t a straight out gorefest, or something that has a large amount of sexualised nudity. If that is the case, he’ll just have to have his mother’s fingers pressed tightly over his eyes. What she doesn’t realise is that there’s a little gap between her index finger which is perfect for viewing the nipples of Narnia’s centurion beasts!
However, luckily for them, he hasn’t turned to violence or acted upon some of the darker things he has seen. Instead, the struggle for his parents is trying to keep a lid on his creativity, which is a much harder task than they needed. Even though their modernised parenting may seem like it has a positive impact at home, his multi-dimensional imagination has led him to become an outcast at school, due to his brain being much more aware of things that some of the other children may not know about.
Riley knows all about Zombies, Killer Space Wizards, Aliens from the nethersphere, and Emma Stone’s physical attributes from her starring role as Mystique, in the all-female version of X-Men, and yes, Beyoncé as a bold mind reader in a wheelchair is as strange as it sounds.
But right now, for the first time that he can remember, none of that is on his mind, because at the bottom of the stairs leant against the front door is his mother, in a certain level of conflict that he hasn’t seen since Luke Skywalker found out who his real father was.
Riley pushes the pop culture references as far out of his mind as he can and watches the pain engulf his mother, anchoring her down into the depths of her own emotions as her sadness continues to tear open an already infected wound. But for Riley, a fresh wound is only just opening, for the first time in his life he is seeing something that he has never seen or even thought of. His mother’s outward appearance shows him that she isn’t the woman he thought she was. To Riley, she doesn’t seem strong at all, she’s sat against the door with her head in her hands, crying in conjunction with the rain fall against the windows.
The mirrored response from the weather is overwhelming for Riley. He debates going downstairs to comfort her, but he is more worried as to how he would even do such a thing. As after all, he’s only eight-years-old, and he hasn’t learnt the life lessons he needs to get through a situation like this, but then again, neither has Jean or Paul.
Sadly, like millions of other people around the world, they have to make it up as they go along, but much like the water rushing from Jean’s swollen eyes and the rain outside accentuating every beat, it only forces Riley into a frame of mind that he tries so hard to hide from.
Tears fill his eyes and his face reddens with fear as he attempts to fathom a cocktail of emotions. Riley isn’t as experienced in crying quietly, his mother on the other hand, is crying almost silently, a skill she has picked up these last few months as she consistently puts in the hours.
Jean soon hears the snuffling sound of Riley from the top of the stairs and slowly lifts her head to inspect, but before she gets a chance to see him, Riley jumps up from the top of the stairs and rushes along the landing, crashing into his room.
Jean can hear his small feet against the floorboards loud and clear, it’s as if Harry Henderson has broken in and he is trying to attempt a burglary. She slams her head back against the door in frustration, punishing herself at the fact that she allowed Riley to see her in this state. She also blames Paul, mainly for dropping the box, but she knows deep down that they are both to blame for the way they are deciding to deal with this, and eventually, she lets him off the hook.
She wipes her eyes on her sleeve between the strands of her perfectly straightened hair, which now sticks to her cheeks and forehead with her sweat and tears, and lifts up the bottom of her top revealing her belly. Then, just like a teenage boy, she wipes her eyes, mouth and face with the fabric.
Seconds after, she looks to her left at her reflection in a clear vase that is holding Lilies. Jean puts on a brave motherly face and then decides that it is time to walk upstairs to deal with the growing situation. The fate of her child’s happiness now rests on how she can communicate the complexity of divorce to an eight-year-old boy. She wishes she had better odds.
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.
Social Media Links
- Instagram: @oj_scriptwriters & @oscarwenmanhyde