I was going to write some ritzy, flippant piece entitled ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’, but felt it would be so out of step with current political events and what can only be described as a bloody and violent week on the world stage, I frankly didn’t have the stomach for it. Social media, blogging and the like seem pretty pointless tools when set against a context of downed airplanes and a Middle East that is on fire. I’m not alone to state this. One sage Twitter follower said much the same this week. One of my daughters, loosely described as ‘non-political,’ surprised me a few days ago when she asked, ‘Has the world gone mad?’ It was hard not to respond, ‘Yes, it has.’
As a writer and self-confessed news junkie I often base a story on real world events. ‘The Last Exile’ emanated from the Stockwell Underground shooting in 2005. ‘Land of Ghosts’ emerged after I’d read extensively about Russia’s violations in Chechnya, a place whose occupants have been involved in an armed struggle for independence for centuries. For ‘Wicked Game’ I researched a vile brand of biological weapons, a central part of the novel. I am no stranger to finding fiction in the truth and I daresay there will be thriller writers tapping away as I write, strongly influenced by events so tragic that it’s hard to find the right words to adequately describe them. For this reason, as I often suggest to new writers, I’m going to follow my own advice: ‘Less is more’.