Here is my extend piece which was published last week in Ireland’s most comprehensive writing magazine (writing.ie) on the inspiration behind:
Under the Bridge, my second novel, conceived in 2014, when a first draft was written. I’d been toying with the idea of being able to tie a few different styles together for a year before putting fingers to the keypad. Once I started the aim was to deliver three different books in one; to keep a modern readership engaged. Those who are time-poor and constantly distracted by gadgets. And so the concept for Under the Bridge grew to being the final vehicle for this challenge. The story had to have a journey, a treasure hunt and a soul search to achieve my aim. Here is the Blurb:
When Will’s father dies in South Africa, he is left dazed and bewildered. Why should he go to the funeral? Quite apart from having no money for the trip, Will is still full of resentment about the way his father, James – tied up with his demanding and top-secret job – neglected him as a child. But when a box of James’s personal possessions arrives in England some weeks later, Will makes an unexpected discovery. Why are there so many maps of apparently random regions of France? And why is one covered in markings, including, in his father’s hand, the word ‘START’?
Will sets out for France, determined to get to the bottom of his mysterious legacy, and to reconcile himself with the sudden death of his father. However, he immediately finds himself caught up in a seventy-year-old secret that has lain hidden since World War II. It’s the treasure hunt rather than the soul-search that unwittingly brings him into contact with some extremely menacing people. Eventually, even his own home can provide no refuge from his pursuers…
Under the Bridge is a real-life, imaginative thriller that traverses a myriad of landscapes and emotions, and challenges our perception of quest and pursuit.
Think a hybrid of H for Hawk combined with Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male and layered in chapters of nature writing.
Under the Bridge was conceived to be a quest with a charged significance. A novel set-to-work with two familiar narratives, both of which have at once specific and generalised cultural implications. These are the treasure hunt and the search for the father. But the treasure hunt has a broader meaning: it is the quest for the grail. The goal here is for consolation. Will’s quest for his dead father, albeit impossible, is simultaneously the search for treasure. And the best treasure hunt is to arrive at yourself.
My book’s title is an abbreviation of the saying, ‘it’s only water under the bridge,’ – don’t worry, forget about it; as being a part of the healing process. We can all make painful personal issues in our lives as big or as small a deal as we want them to be. Either we can dwell too much on our problems, disproportionally inflating them, or we can scrunch them up and discard them. Obviously, ignoring them is fatal. But… in the end the choice is ours. We must all move on at some point, unencumbered and as hang-up-less as possible. To not let others destroy us, or hurt us or cripple our enjoyment of life is of paramount importance to a fulfilled existence. For us to live our lives as baggage-free as possible is essential to happiness.
Walking is always therapeutic and inspirational and a treasure hunt, well… it’s the one journey better than a long walk with a pub half way! I walked the route featured in the book, on the map, from Blaye to Bourg, near Bordeaux, in SW France, there and back in mid-winter. A pared-down, deserted and bitterly cold landscape. The walk was as much a challenge as it was inspiring and was the nub of the research I did on Under the Bridge. Done on the hoof, making notes as I went with my dog, Mr B, a Patterdale terrier. I then rented a winter holiday let in the Dordogne, in a village called Collonges-la-Rouge, and penned that first draft over the 2014/5 winter. It is perishing down there. One of those places that is as cold in the winter as it is hot in the summer. Thank God, the let had a wood burner. I kept that going 24/7.
I deliberately chose the pace of the book to be a gradual assent from ease to a frenetic conclusion. Without snipping off drama in the timeline, posting it at the start of the book and then explaining it all through backstory, I wanted the tension to build and to end with a climax and not end ‘happily ever after’. I trust there is just enough intrigue in the early chapters to keep my readers hanging in there to get gripped and feeling satisfied at the end. I hope you enjoy it…
Release Date is 12th June 2017 but you can pre-order a paperback on Amazon through this link:
Please stay in touch with me through my Facebook Page: