I published my most recent book, Earthquake two days ago, and I’ve been overwhelmed with the people who have already acquired it! One friend downloaded it seven minutes after it was published as an e-book on Amazon! Thank you, everyone, thank you!!
I started writing the story over a year ago, but the genesis of it was much earlier; it started with a set of photos I found in a newspaper of thirteen unnamed, unknown Japanese schoolgirls from the 1930’s. They were head and shoulders shots, school photos, of thirteen teenage young women. Their ages seemed to vary, some seemed only about eleven or twelve, some seemed older, sixteen, maybe seventeen even. An artist had found them in a junk shop and had made an exhibition using them… I don’t remember what the exhibition was like now – I didn’t ever see it, I only saw the review in the newspaper with the photos of the girls. As soon as I saw it, however many years ago, eleven I think, I wanted to write a story about these thirteen.
I knew I couldn’t write a historical novel set in Japan, I didn’t have the resources or the wherewithal to do the research needed; and also it would take a very long time for a writer like me to be able to do it, starting off in total ignorance. Many writers who write historical novels, or work set in different societies, cultures or ages have researchers who can support them, have access to resources and archives which I don’t, so it was clear to me from the beginning that I had to do something different.
I have written four books about Thomas Radwinter; he started as a character investigating his own family history, but he became someone whose eccentric way of looking at a problem helped solve little mysteries. Quite early on in writing about him, I realised that at some point he would be presented with the thirteen photos of the thirteen girls and would be asked to find out about them…
Another interest I have is in the 1607 tsunami which affected the coastline here where I live in Somerset; it was caused by an earthquake or tremor out in the Irish sea. I once experienced a minor earthquake in Lancashire, and I also knew there had been a severe tremor in 1931 centred on the Dogger Bank… Thomas says:
… the Dogger Bank earthquake! It was so far away, but the earthquake caused the church spire to twist, chimneys to fall in Hull, Beverley and Bridlington, Dr Crippen’s head to tumble from his wax work figure in Madame Tussaud’s…
So I had the photos, I had the earthquake, I added a haunted hotel and some complications to Thomas’s already busy work and family life, and after a lot of thinking and mental planning I began to write what became ‘Earthquake’.
Thanks once again to everyone who has bought my latest novel, and here is a link to it and my other stories: