Friday, 24 May 2019
The Forgetting School
We're really getting there - we're very close to our target. With a handful more plegdes we'll be 3/4 of the way there. Last week Unbound were promoting the novel in their 'Almost There' campaign, and it's exciting to see us getting close. With each new pledge I remember that's one more person reading the story I've written. I am grateful for everyone who has bought a copy of the book. I have one more favour to ask... if every person who has pledged thinks of one more person who might like a copy of the novel, and asks them to pre-order, then we'll be over our target, and the book will be in your hands all the sooner.
One of the questions I'm often asked - like all writers I supose, is - where do I get my ideas from...?
Stories seem to envelope me slowly like a mist. The story starts thin; just a few wisps that gradually join and thicken. That’s happening to me now as I start to think into existence THE FORGETTING SCHOOL, my follow up novel to SAVING HITLER. To begin with everything is bare with just a few un-joined naked ideas. Then in the waiting and reading for research state stuff happens. A young woman comes to me and tells me her code name is Artemis and she’s an SOE agent and she’s working undercover in Paris and while she works for victory she confesses to me she doesn’t really want the war to end. AND THERE’S THE THING. The thing I need. The story thing, and with it the mist swirls in and I am lost in another world.
War is hell – but this has been shown and written so often it is no longer story but accepted fact; too flat to surprise. Now I have my surprise; a young woman who is enjoying war. Why? Because the absence of war was for her not peace. War is wicked and wasteful but if it has a minor quality it is to indicate by contrast what peace might be. Only the lucky and privileged can want life to go back to what it was before a war. The oppressed, the abused, need change. Artemis, in the midst of the death and destruction finds she is more alive in the Paris Resistance than she ever was in the Dorset village where she cared for her widowed, alcoholic father. And now I know she needs to be cherished and to be loved in a way she’s never been before. Artemis needs romance. That ultimate act of defiance, of resistance; to experience love in a time of hate. Now I am lost in the fog and I probably won’t emerge for the next eighteen months.
SAVING HITLER tells the story of a young man, Jago, who’s a prisoner of his own shame, who only finds liberation and victory by finally embracing his shame. For him the war is a conflict between lies and the truth, and his half lies almost defeat him. Both Jago and Artemis are fighting for the liberation, not of a city but of minds. Peace is a more complex goal than military victory.
The two books hinge on a single incident on an airfield. Two people, Jago and Artemis go in separate directions and their stories seem to diverge, but like swirls of mist they find themselves brought back together as part of something bigger, something huge, something enveloping. Please join them on their journeys, first with SAVING HITLER, and after that enrol in THE FORGETTING SCHOOL.