Are they ever finished?
Few things are as difficult as finishing a book. That's not so much a creativity problem as knowing when to stop. My first novel, The Larks, appeared in print in 2013, and I've spent much of the time since then forcing myself to leave it alone. So this section is as much for me as it is for site visitors. It gives me an excuse to revisit the people I met for the first time three years earlier, and seemed to have known them all my life.
And to become better acquainted with some new ones...
Andy Palmer is a few days short of his eighteenth birthday when he arrives in Northern France to report for duty as a newly-qualified pilot. Ahead of him is a life expectancy to be measured in days. It's a life of inconceivable horror and lunatic humour, a life that happens in accelerated time as he passes from eager, bright-eyed Brummie boy to a battle-worn shell, unable to relate to the normal life that still exists in England. Powerful friendships are forged and torn apart, but Andy finds his anchor in the optimism and strength of Stainton, his only contact with a lost humanity ...Read more >
It Never Was Worthwhile
Co-written with Malcolm Havard, It Never Was Worthwhile is a collection of human stories from the Great War. Each story is self-contained, but they're arranged in chronological order through the course of the conflict.
Malcolm and I worked individually, but found repeated cases of synchronicity, where we'd find that each of us had chosen a similar topic at exactly the same time. Our viewpoints were never the same, though, giving a 3D perspective on the circumstances, culminating with two views of an iconic poster.
The Larks begins and ends with one of its principal characters being taken prisoner after crash-landing behind enemy lines. The Kingfishers follows his progress as a POW in Holzminden Prison Camp, where he encounters the bizarre - but historically genuine - Kommandant Niemeyer.
This book is currently paused while I work on my new WW2 novel. I hope to return to it in Autumn 2016.
Maybe It's Tonight
I never planned to write this book. It came into my mind while looking at the profoundly moving seated statue at the centre of the Battle of Britain memorial.
Although the young figure is a fighter jockey, for some reason I pictured a bomber pilot sitting at the end of the runway, waiting for his friends to come home. In my mind he'd been over-eager to report a dud engine and so avoided tonight's mission. Now, nagged by guilt, he waited for the sound of engines.
It was over a year later that I wrote those thoughts down as a short story. Rewritten slightly, it now forms the prologue of a full novel to be completed in the third quarter of 2016.