Politicians and Spooks

Bee HiveNow that election is all over I can mention politicians, a group of people who play important, if sometimes secondary, roles in my books. From Arnold Donaldson in The Last Dance to Sir Arthur Lacey in A Set of Lies via Tim Johnstone in Her Parents’ Daughter none of them are particularly likeable characters. No, delete ‘particularly’, there is little to be said for any of them other than that they were ambitious and hungry for political power (especially Sir Arthur).

My spooks tend to be much more sympathetic.

Sir Bernard Lacey (A Set of Lies), Richard Mackenzie (Her Parents’ Daughter) and David Redhead (Walking Alone and Runaways) are particularly nice (if ambiguously painted) people – well, at least, I like them.

And the ones you cannot be sure of (could what they did be called espionage?) are people whose motives are generally good. Elizabeth and Jane (Her Parents’ Daughter) may just have been caught up in the lives of those close to them; Max Fischer, the central character in all three volumes of The Iniquities Trilogy, may just have been a man of his time (the 1930s) in his place (middle Europe).

I have lived with some of these characters for getting on for fifteen years and have got to know them well. Carl Witherby, for example (he is an academic neither a politician nor a spook – though he influences other characters who are) spans my books from almost the first chapters of The Last Dance to the last page of A Set of Lies and I think of him every day. There is so much to these people I write about that cannot be included in a book, however long it may be, and much of their personality and character must lie in the imagination of you, the reader.

I wonder whether you see them the same way as I do?

A Set of Lies

Front Book coverA SET OF LIES now exists.

It is sixteen years since Colin and I were waiting to be served in a restaurant in Plymouth talking about the map and the portrait of Napoleon on the wall by our table.

In that time we have moved house five times and I have written and published five other books but ‘The Napoleon Book’ has always been there, in the background, on at least five different computers gradually coming to life .

This was the book I have always wanted to write…. historical mystery, a detective story with political implications…

The lives of many of the characters contain much that is true history – the American wars of Independence, the Australian mineral rush, the South African wars, many different European wars, two hundred years of English social and political history – and I have had great fun researching the details.

But it also contains much that may not have happened but should have done…

I just cannot believe that the British Secret Services of 1815 would have let an asset as important as Napoleon Bonaparte slip through their fingers… not at a time when enemies other than the French were circling and revolution was fomenting in the towns and cities of Britain.

I just hope there really was a man like Sir Bernard Lacey who could see this and whose actions changed the course not only of the 19th Century but also of the 2015 general election!

Here’s to 2015

2014 has seen HER PARENTS’ DAUGHTER out into the world and 2015 will see the next one A SET OF LIES published in June (though available before that!)

There are still six months to go before official publication date (28 June 2015) but so much is happening. The book is back from the editor and final amendments are being made, the cover has been designed and the marketing information (press release, author information) written and approved but the ‘to do list’ grows ever longer. Marketing materials have to be designed (posters, postcards, bookmarks, business cards, point of sale material), contacts made in 2014 relating to HER PARENTS’ DAUGHTER have to be maintained (newspapers and magazines that did reviews, bookshops that did signing events) and, of course, the web-site has to be updated and pre-orders to be taken…….. Luckily it’s Christmas so the world quietens down and stuff can be done!

I hope 2015 is a good one for all my readers, and, of course, everyone else.