So, why did I write this book, Tribute Of Babylon, which is a trilogy?
Samuel Johnson, often known as Dr Johnson, the famous diarist of the 1700s once said ‘No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.'”
Writing isn’t a particularly lucrative profession unless you happen to be JK Rowling or Stephen King or some other notable author who regularly makes it into the Sunday Times Best seller List.
There are a number of reasons that could have prompted me. It could be to overcome a challenge. Perhaps it is to prove an elusive publisher wrong. All those naysayers who regularly dole out a pro forma rejection letter? We can’t choose what life throws at us, but some writers are spurred by obstacles and opposition.
It could have been to achieve a goal. Like writing 2000 words a day. There is without a doubt a sense of satisfaction in achieving this but I can think of other goals I would prefer to attempt.
Some writers get their chief satisfaction from the creative process of writing. The means matters more than the end. They spend hours if not years perfecting their prose and are avid users of writing how-to books and sites, which help them keep improving. Stephen King once said he writes to stop all the voices in his head! This seems to be bordering on some kind of neuroses, and having read some of his darker work perhaps it is good therapy for him
Some writers want above all to leave their mark. To have an impact. They want a response from readers or to inspire change.
I fall into the latter two categories, a hybrid of them both I think.
When I left full time education I yearned to write. For a living. What was called ‘Composition’ but is now called ‘creative writing’ was my most enjoyable subject.
I could lose myself in the world I created with words. Being an author was not as easy then as it is now. It usually entailed having reams of manuscripts jammed into a filing cabinet or under a single bed. More than likely in a dimly lit room at the top of a winding rickety staircase in some tenement block. Often in a less salubrious part of town!
This didn’t seem a particularly enjoyable way to earn a crust, so I leaned toward journalism. My parents had other ideas.
Journalism was a far too precarious venture and I was steered towards a trade. Apprenticeships were the way forward, they thought.
They were right, but it was creatively stifling.
But for me creativity is not enough. I could paint to be creative. There has to be a Raison d’etre
And I found it while working on the manuscript.
That was back in 2016, a time of immense events on both sides of the Atlantic. In America Trump had confounded all the pundits and become 45th President of the USA. Closer to home in the UK people voted in great numbers to leave the EU en-masse.
But other issues also came to the fore.
Britain had social problems that were not being concealed any more. The political elite, household names from entertainment and sport were being exposed as being a hotbed of corruption and sleaze. And the public wanted answers.
I had found the back story. Now I could create a (hopefully) exiting and fast paced thriller that grips the reader while simultaneously raising awareness of what is happening in our world without preaching.
It starts with two investigative journalists, he is familiar with societies underbelly, she, glamorous yet worldly wise. Maybe there is a love interest?
Let me introduce you to Alexander Day, a reporter who, through doing something foolish when he was young and impulsive, gets sent to prison. He is a character I can live with, I hope you can too. When he gets released, having paid his debt to society, wants to now make a difference. To not be like so many other inmates who swear they are never coming back but usually do. Often they don’t know any different.
Alex has long had a love of reading. Of how the written can inspire change or elicit a response.
Have you ever felt, when you hear a song, see a film or read a novel that the artist somehow knew what you were feeling? That they could articulate it in such a way that it suddenly sprang to life, as if they were speaking to you?
It has happened to me at various times in my life. Often they were pivotal moments. But sometimes what I heard, saw or read communicated that that what I was experiencing was not unique, that it was shared. A ‘me too’ moment if you like.
The characters in The Tribute Of Babylon do that for other readers too it seems. Peridically I get an email or message from readers saying just that. A few I have met in real life, but most I don’t.
One email I had said “I liked how in TTOB some of the scenes seem to have been lifted out of my life. I often have these feelings, these thoughts. After book 3, I feel I know the characters intimately, what makes them tick, what drives them. I hope you do a sequel..”
The story starts with both the lead characters working for the RealLiveNews network, an online news service An anonymous tip off one day leads them to a breaking story, but quickly they realise this is a much darker operation.
The two reporters need to move fast if they are to stay beyond this far-reaching network. They will also need to call on their underworld contacts.
Can they move fast enough, can they get help? And will it come in time?
The reporter and his trusted allies come under increasing threat as they dig deeper in the swamp. It leads to a sinister conclusion that no one could have predicted.
I won’t spoil the plot but there are some questions I have deliberately left unanswered.
Who is driving this plot they have uncovered?
How deep does the swamp go?
How big an influence is the technology we are all dependent on involved in making the sinister plot a success and does it have any flaws that can be exploited?
Will the two reporerts relationship develop? Can they both make it out alive or will a sacrifice need to be made? And if so, what sort?
All this being played out in a modern and even dystopian backdrop we are all familiar with, you can find out more here