Birth of a Book


Originally a guest post which featured on Murder Underground Broke the Camel's Back


First of all I have to state categorically that I did not plan on writing Palindrome. I was adamant there would be no sequel to my debut novel Six Dead Men as I was already working on several other ideas. Denial is futile. This prequel insisted on being written. Its conception is due to a vivid dream I had in which a woman was remembering the day her baby was born. I woke with the realisation that it was Robert’s mother I was hearing. I grabbed a notebook and hastily jotted down the gist of what she had to say.

At the time I was concentrating on other projects but several of the characters kept demanding I tell the world more about them. So Six Degrees a la Kevin Bacon style was conceived. It’s a series of 6 vignettes which focus on the back story of Six Dead Men. This little collection hints at links between characters and situations.  I thought this would mollify my nagging characters. But Robert’s mum, Rowena Deed kept speaking to me.

Eventually I got my notebook out and began typing up the bare bones of a monologue from my dream encounter. Before I knew what had happened I’d written almost 5000 words. At this point I realised Robert & his mum’s story needed telling. So I resigned myself to the fact and got cracking. I blame my good friend Victor Zaiger for this. He repeatedly told me how much he loved Robert’s character and wanted more Robert Deed stories. I hope where ever he is, he's happy with the end result.

Initially I thought the novella would be from Rowena’s perspective. Then young Robert began to creep in and I had to imagine myself as a weird 13 year old boy with burgeoning psychic powers, living in the 1970s. No easy feat I can tell you. To complicate matters even further, the book decided it needed to be set in Scotland. So Google and I went in search of a suitable location. I decided proximity to Edinburgh needed to be a factor just because I liked the idea. Haddington came up and when I did an online scout of the area it seemed to suit my needs perfectly. I hasten to add at this point that I’ve done that cheeky thing authors do and have changed bits of the town to suit my story’s needs. I hope the inhabitants of Haddington will forgive me in time.

When a character insists on existence there's no fighting it. Ultimately, I'm grateful for Rowena Deed's tenacity and my friend Victor for sowing the tiniest of seeds.


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