. . He left the ridge and followed the winding rabbit path down, climbed the low fence that separated the yard from the field and crossed towards the house.
Looking up, she saw him then. She smiled, her eyes lighting with genuine pleasure and welcome, filling him with so much happiness that he could hardly bear it.
Then, slowly, reluctantly, he raised the shotgun. He could see her clearly, even glimpse the strands of grey in her soft blond hair.
He fired both barrels
Glass shattered. The woman fell.

I have a new book out today, in the Rina Martin series. The lines, above, are from the first chapter.

Books rarely take you where you expect they will, even when you think you have a basic plot figured out. Characters sometimes seem to have their own ideas about what they are going to do – or refuse to do! – and sometimes a little piece of research will strike a chord and send everything off in a new direction.

The funny thing about this book is that is really sent me not in a new direction but in a very old one and back to memories of a writer I met right back at the start of my writing career, before I was published, before I really had any idea of my writing direction.

When I first started writing, I belonged to a postal folio called SCRIBO. This was a collection of disparate writers who produced a chapter each and then posted round the group to get feedback…in the days before Internet and online forums! I still have friends made in SCRIBO and it was a fabulous way of getting opinions on my writing – I was far to shy about my work back then to have joined a face to face group!
When I came to write Forgotten Voices the media was full of remembrances for both World Wars and as the Rina Martin books are set on the south coast, an area that is replete with souvenirs of WW2 in particular, it seemed right to try and integrate some of this interest into the book.
And it also seemed like a good time to pick on some of the rather random conversations I had with Alan.
Long ago we had talked about collaborating on a book set on the island of Crete and concerning one of his SOE associates. It was a place he badly wanted to revisit – and it was a story that neither of us had the skill to write at the time or the wherewithal to do the research. We had planned to call it Searching for Irlanthos and one day….maybe….it’s something I would love to be able to do.
So, this book, as I said in the dedication, is a little something on account. Here’s to you, Alan.forgottenvoices cover