We chatted to Second Home roaming member Rose Cartwright about writing her brilliant novel Pure and how it got turned into a new six part Channel 4 series:
Pure started as a secret that I kept for over a decade about my OCD and my intrusive sexual thoughts.
When I was 27, I’d already been working as a writer in advertising for a few years but I felt this burning desire to write about something that was a little bit more meaningful to me – so I decided to tell my story about OCD. I pitched it to the Guardian and they ran a big feature, which touched a nerve with a lot of people. The idea of intrusive thoughts seemed to resonate with readers, regardless of if they had OCD or not.
I was buoyed by that, so I decided to write a book on the same subject. I got a traditional publishing offer but decided to crowdfund it because I wanted to do a campaign around the book and shoot a video. I managed to raise about £12k and Pure was first published in 2015.
It felt very cathartic to write Pure: I had got to the point where I didn’t really care. I had already judged, shamed and censored myself for so many years – no one could say anything worse to me than I’d said to myself so I wanted to blow the roof off it.
Quite quickly, the story got picked up by Channel 4. I spoke to various production companies and settled on Drama Republic, who made The Honourable Woman and My Mad Fat Diary, and that’s how the TV show happened! So now my true story is getting turned into a six part drama series which is coming out at the end of summer, also called Pure.
The book was read by people in the OCD community, but first time books by unknown writers don’t often sell many copies so it didn’t have a wide reach. I don’t really know how the story will go down with the wider public until it’s on the TV. I live in a media bubble in London where I feel safe to say anything I want, so I’m interested to see if that will change when it’s suddenly on the Daily Mail! It’s easy to talk the talk. It’s a really personal story and I don’t know how I am going to feel in six months. But that’s currently massively overweighed by the feeling of excitement though.
We’re shooting six episodes and have just finished shooting 1-3. The lead character based on me, Marnie, is played by the actress is Charly Clive, she’s new talent and hasn’t done TV work before. She’s absolutely amazing: so natural, raw and real. The two leading boys are Joe Cole, best known for Peaky Blinders and Black Mirror and Anthony Welsh who was also in Black Mirror recently.
I’ve been really involved with the whole team, consulting and reading every draft of the script. The screenwriter is still writing episodes 4-6, so it’s ongoing at the moment. I have just taken on a Creative Director role at a wearable tech company that uses data analytics to measure your stress via a wearable on your wrist. I’m also writing a film for FKA twigs.
When I joined Second Home (in November 2017), the show was already in full swing. I had been working in a shared space in Dalston, but there wasn’t much of a community. I wanted people around me and to feel like I was building relationships. My work needed to stay flexible to accommodate the TV show and I wanted somewhere that felt like home.
Find out more about membership at Second Home.