Reminiscing

I was sitting down discussing with my granddaughter how we’re going to approach what will become an author interview.

We were talking about how old I was when it was I first wrote a story, and what was that story about.

OK, that sent me back a long way into the distant past.

There was also a trick question; “What was the first story you read that put you on the path to wanting to become a writer”.

That was easy, Alistair Maclean’s HMS Ulysses.  I showed her a copy of the book.

But, back to the main question.

Grandparents are old, I said, older than your parents, so that should give you some idea.

When did I start writing, that required a little thought, and there were several triggers that gave me a date, where we lived at the time, the fact I used my mother’s old portable typewriter, and the fact I had not been long out of school.  I was, in fact, about 17.  It was 45 years ago; I’ll let you do the math!

What was it about; that I couldn’t tell her, but I said I had rescued a lot of old scribbling of mine and put them in a box to look at later when I had the time.

I guess that time had arrived.

And, yes, there was the book, the individually typed pages, some with corrections, unfinished.

The pages were brown with age.

The story, well, I read the first few pages, and it seems I’d started down the thriller path then, the story so far, an agent comes ashore from a trawler to a bleak and isolated village, perhaps on the Scottish coast,

The next question, understandably; “What was the first book you ever finished?”  That was The Starburst Conspiracy, soon to be published on Amazon.

It also led to a few more discoveries, including a book I had forgotten I’d written. And all of the short stories I’d written when at University.

The interview is proceeding.

The memories it is bringing about my earliest forays into the world of writing are priceless.

“Sunday in New York”, it’s a bumpy road to love

“Sunday in New York” is ultimately a story about trust, and what happens when a marriage is stretched to its limits.

When Harry Steele attends a lunch with his manager, Barclay, to discuss a promotion that any junior executive would accept in a heartbeat, it is the fact his wife, Alison, who previously professed her reservations about Barclay, also agreed to attend, that casts a small element of doubt in his mind.

From that moment, his life, in the company, in deciding what to do, his marriage, his very life, spirals out of control.

There is no one big factor that can prove Harry’s worst fears, that his marriage is over, just a number of small, interconnecting events, when piled on top of each other, points to a cataclysmic end to everything he had believed in.

Trust is lost firstly in his best friend and mentor, Andy, who only hints of impending disaster, Sasha, a woman whom he saved, and who appears to have motives of her own, and then in his wife, Alison, as he discovered piece by piece damning evidence she is about to leave him for another man.

Can we trust what we see with our eyes or trust what we hear?

Haven’t we all jumped to conclusions at least once in our lives?

Can Alison, a woman whose self-belief and confidence is about to be put to the ultimate test, find a way of proving their relationship is as strong as it has ever been?

As they say in the classics, read on!

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“The Devil You Don’t”, a thriller

John Pennington’s life is in the doldrums.  Looking for new opportunities, prevaricating about getting married, the only joy on the horizon was an upcoming visit to his grandmother in Sorrento, Italy.

Suddenly he is left at the check-in counter with a message on his phone telling him the marriage is off, and the relationship is over.

If only he hadn’t promised a friend he would do a favor for him in Rome.

At the first stop, Geneva, he has a chance encounter with Zoe, an intriguing woman who captures his imagination from the moment she boards the Savoire, and his life ventures into uncharted territory in more ways than one.

That ‘favor’ for his friend suddenly becomes a life-changing event, and when Zoe, the woman who he knows is too good to be true, reappears, danger and death follows.

Shot at, lied to, seduced, and drawn into a world where nothing is what it seems, John is dragged into an adrenaline-charged undertaking, where he may have been wiser to stay with the ‘devil you know’ rather than opt for the ‘devil you don’t’.

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“Echoes From The Past”, a thriller

What happens when your past finally catches up with you?
Christmas is just around the corner, a time to be with family. For Will Mason, an orphan since he was fourteen, it is a time for reflection on what his life could have been, and what it could be.
Until a chance encounter brings back to life the reasons for his twenty years of self-imposed exile from a life only normal people could have. From that moment Will’s life slowly starts to unravel and it’s obvious to him it’s time to move on.
This time, however, there is more at stake.
Will has broken his number one rule, don’t get involved.
With his nemesis, Eddie Jamieson, suddenly within reach, and a blossoming relationship with an office colleague, Maria, about to change everything, Will has to make a choice. Quietly leave, or finally, make a stand.
But as Will soon discovers, when other people are involved there is going to be terrible consequences no matter what choice he makes.

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“One Last Look”, a thriller

A single event can have enormous consequences.

A single event driven by fate, after Ben told his wife Charlotte he would be late home one night, he left early, and by chance discovers his wife having dinner in their favorite restaurant with another man.

A single event where it could be said Ben was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Who was this man?  Why was she having dinner with him?

A simple truth to explain the single event was all Ben required.  Instead, Charlotte told him a lie.

A single event that forces Ben to question everything he thought he knew about his wife, and the people who are around her.

After a near death experience and forced retirement into a world he is unfamiliar with, Ben finds himself once again drawn back into that life of lies, violence, and intrigue.

From London to a small village in Tuscany, little by little Ben discovers who the woman he married is, and the real reason why fate had brought them together.

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“What Sets Us Apart”, a mystery with a twist

David is a man troubled by a past he is trying to forget.
Susan is rebelling against a life of privilege and an exasperated mother who holds a secret that will determine her daughter’s destiny.
They are two people brought together by chance. Or was it?
When Susan discovers her mother’s secret, she goes in search of the truth that has been hidden from her since the day she was born.
When David realizes her absence is more than the usual cooling off after another heated argument, he finds himself being slowly drawn back into his former world of deceit and lies.
Then, back with his former employers, David quickly discovers nothing is what it seems as he embarks on a dangerous mission to find Susan before he loses her forever.

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A new start for my next Zoe the Assassin novel, ‘First Dig Two Graves’

Here’s the thing.

I’ve written the story, and editing after leaving the story for about a year, and it’s coming along.

But…

Yes, there’s always a but in there somewhere.

But, I don’t like the start, or for that matter, I can’t get a feel for it.  I have about five different starting points, but none of them feel right.

I’ve been thinking of writing it from John’s perspective, but there are so many peripheral characters that need to be drawn in, people he doesn’t really know much about, or that some have a vested interest in his current girlfriend if she could be called that.

So I thought I’d throw a few words down and see how they sit.

 

You would not know by looking at MaryAnne that she was probably one of the best assassins in the world.  You would be more inclined to consider she was just another spoilt American brat on the loose on holiday.

She was certainly one of the most beautiful women I’d ever met.

And she was certainly one of the most deadly.  I could personally attest to that having seen her in action.

I could also attest to the fact that somewhere under that hard, conscienceless exterior, there was a heart, and sometimes it was visible.  After all, I was a target, her target, once, and I’m still alive thanks to her.

It was a small detail I omitted when I introduced her to my parents, but that was one little step on a long road that I thought was going somewhere.

Perhaps, after all this time, I’d misinterpreted the signs and I was wrong.

We were sitting on the balcony of our hotel room on the 45th floor of the hotel we were staying at in downtown Surfer’s Paradise, a mecca for holidaymakers from the rest of Australia, and overseas.

It was perfect for tourists.

The champagne was cold, and although it was a hot 35 degrees Celcius out in the sunlight, the mood on the balcony was a decidedly cool as the champagne.

Today was the six month anniversary of the first day we had spent together as, well, I was not sure, now, what we were.

She turned to look at me.  She was nothing like the Zoe of old, and I had finally got used to Mary Anne.  It was an amazing transformation, but with it, I had thought she had finally shrugged off the Zoe persona.

She hadn’t.  That hardened expression that I had hoped would be gone forever, had returned.

“It’s time to go back home, John.”

It was also that tone, the one when she spoke, that sent shivers down my spine, not the good shivers, but the one that told me trouble was ahead.  Deadly trouble.

“I need to do something.  Don’t get me wrong, this had been a delightful rest, and I could not ask for a better companion, but it’s time.  We both knew this was going to happen.”

I noticed her features had softened a little when she mentioned my name, but the message was the same.  We had talked about this moment at the outset.  There was always going to be a use by date on this adventure, for me at least.

It was also the time when she would, she said, decided where I would fit, if I fitted, in her future.  When we originally spoke about it, she was still unsure of her feelings towards me.  Over time, I had also hoped that they would be the same as mine for her.

Perhaps I had been expecting too much.

“When did you decide?”

“About thirty seconds ago.  That’s when I realized it doesn’t matter where we are in the world, I still want to be with you.  So, how do you like the idea of going into the assassination business?”

 

I’m not sure what John might think of this development, but I think you will agree with me, so long as he is with Zoe, he’s happy.

 

© Copyright, Charles Heath 2018