Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Writing - The duties of a writer

If one was asked to detail the duties of a writer I would feign embarrassment at being asked, at first, but then plunge into the unknown with gusto.
One of the things I would say is that a writer should be socially aware and current, and that they should comment at every opportunity on the issues of the day.

Image result for The Archers

Now the above is perhaps more obvious to TV and Radio writers as they are trying to engage an audience on a daily basis in some cases and so the drive to remain up-to-date is more immediate. That doesn't mean the writers of books, poetry, articles and diaries don't have the same responsibilities. It is just that their presentation will probably be slightly different.

The reason I have the Archers headlined above is because they have been running a storyline about abuse of a wife by her husband. It was beautifully written because it began with emotional manipulation and took time to develop before there was any actual violence. So well done the writers.


The story is a speculative journey into a possible future that may lie ahead of us all. There is evidence that such a future may not be impossible. We have been warned that unless we increase the ability to produce electricity there could be power cuts in the next ten years. Our modern day lives are permeated through with the need for electricity and its production.
Although Cessation could be categorised as a dystopian story I find that rather a negative word and the purpose of writing the tale is to allow elements of hope in a seemingly desperate situation.
The story begins in 2023 a couple of years after the lights go out for the last time. Our group of survivors are thrown together on a farm in the low Pennines north of the M62 motorway and within striking distance of a number of northern towns which could prove useful for supplies. Initially the group is small and live on a farm called Serendipity but as time passes the size of the group waxes and wanes for a variety of reasons.

The reason that I include my 6th novel is that it fits the bill as described above. It was written when the country was struggling with the production of electricity, which we still are! It was my glimpse into a possible future if the current policies regarding energy production continued unaltered. The conclusions in Cessation may seem a little extreme but bad things do happen and as Edmund Burke said, for evil to succeed it just requires good men to do nothing.

Slightly off subject but the writing of Cessation was a bit of a watershed. Up to that time I hadn't written my novels in anything other than the first person but this story required a third person viewpoint, partly because of the nature of the subject behind the tale. 

Another duty of being a writer is to be adaptable.

Since I wrote Cessation my novels have returned to the actions of the character Patrick A Steele but all written in the third person and considerably more firmly linked with 'real' current affairs.

In a slightly different way the pendulum has swung in a slightly different direction. It is still inextricably linked with current affairs but there is an element of the conspiracy theorist in my last two efforts. 

What did happen to Flight MH370?


Steele has to travel back to Japan to justify recent behaviours that may have revealed his connection with the Gurentai. He is given a task to complete that finds him on the ill-fated Flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur. Hours later he awakens in a cell in a place and country of which he has no knowledge. 
Being the resourceful man he is, Steele manages to escape and travels north meeting up with his fiancĂ©e Naomi Kobayashi in Astana the capital of Kazakhstan. 
Steele is naturally curious about the fate of the other 238 passengers from the plane which drives him onward to investigate further. He discovers that there are links between Russian organised crime and a Muslim group which stirs fears in his mind regarding the fate of MH370. This causes him to go to the Venice of the North, St Petersburg, where he finds the leader of the Russian mafia and a link with the Muslim pilots of the plane. 
All does not go well however, and Steele and Kobayashi are captured by their mafia enemy and incarcerated in MH370 on the way to the target that Steele suspected all along - in London.
Can Steele extricate himself from this seemingly hopeless situation? 
Has Steele convinced the Gurentai that he is trustworthy enough to deserve their support?
Will Steele manage to deflect the missile in which he is incarcerated from killing thousands in London?
This story is a speculative journey based upon the data and misinformation surrounding the loss of Malaysian Flight 370 in March 2014.

Really the synopsis above tells of the issue that I have tackled and there is a factual addendum at the end of the book.

My current project couldn't be more up-to-date as it is embedded in the current Presidential election process in the States. However there is a link to the conspiracy theories surrounding the events on 9/11 and particularly Building 7 - the provisional title for the story.

So if you write stay current, comment openly and keep nipping at public consciousness.

God Bless