Ive been a national newspaper journalist for many years but have always nursed an ambition to write novels about my favourite historical period - before, during and after the two world wars. I hope my present effort is the first of many.
Henry Porter, Robert Harris, Robert Goddard, Philip Kerr, Ken Follett and Jack Higgins are some of the authors Ive been inspired by. The novel itself arose out of my life-long sense of amazement that Neville Chamberlain and the British appeasers couldnt see how they were being fooled by Hitler and that their actions were making war more likely - not less.
Everyone has to start somewhere - and my first journalistic job was operating an old-fashioned plug-in telephone switchboard for a City of London financial weekly newspaper.
When Id cut off one too many calls and theyd sent me on my way, I managed to find reporting jobs around the London suburbs for weekly papers at Hayes, Southall, Harrow and Wembley. This was followed by sub-editing at an evening paper in Shropshire. Next step, the Daily Express in Manchester, and finally London.
I also managed to fit in writing and producing magazines on film, medicine, travel and finance. Some of the highlights were interviews with Jack Higgins, Marti Caine and Robert Ludlum. Other obsessions: rambling, gliding, flying, railways, locomotives.
TWO MUNICH NOVELS
Is there room for two novels on the same subject? An interesting question which arises with the simultaneous publication of new fiction about Munich mine story MUNICH - THE MAN WHO SAID NO!(now on sale) and that of best selling thriller writer Robert Harris (MUNICH on the 21st)
In this instance the novels use the same event when Mr C went off to meet Herr H at Munich but in every other respect theyre quite different takes on what was effectively the worlds first Summit meeting.
His plot entails two friends involved on opposite sides during the four days of the Munich negotiations with themes of secrecy and betrayal.
My story concentrates on one man desperate to stop the appeasement of Hitler. His intervention to try and prevent the pact being signed ends with him being disappeared.
The story then progresses to a mystery about what happens to him afterwards: does he survive? Does he escape? His granddaughter follows the trail.
Im really excited that my first novel is now on sale. Its a story Ive always wanted to tell and reflects my fascination for events of the recent past. Those big stories within living memory, the current events of yesteryear.
As a small boy I was in awe of my grown-up uncles. I used to ask them about their experiences. What was it like to be shipwrecked? What was it like to be captured by the enemy?
Of course, this was the wartime generation, phlegmatic and retiring. They just laughed off my questions, so I went on my own voyage of discovery, digging into the why and the how, reading up on the big questions of war and peace. Thats how I came upon the incredible episode of Chamberlain flying off to Munich to talk peace to Hitler, one of the key stepping stones leading up to the catastrophe that was the Second World War.
The result is my novel Munich out now as an ebook and as a paperback in February.