I was asked what I would like for Christmas last year and I couldn’t think of anything in particular – except more time. Neither of my children felt able to conjure this up. I was very happy with their substitutes but still had a long delay in getting any writing done: my husband and I were moving house. Decluttering, packing and cleaning took precedence.
Shortly after we moved to our new place, the Lockdown was declared and having no small children to attempt to educate, I now had much more time to write. Be careful what you wish for is a well-known phrase and even the title of an Eminem song and many, many books. But please don’t blame me for this terrible virus!
And so I come to the reason for writing a book which is dedicated to ‘The Swan’.
It all started many years ago when I was still reading ‘once upon a time’ stories. I heard the story in the Bible about a rich man who ignored the needs of a poor man. The rich man went to Hades, where he was in torment. The poor man went to Heaven. The rich man called out for relief but Abraham (in Heaven) said, more or less, ‘Tough. No can do.’ The rich man begged for someone from Heaven to return to Earth to let his family know of his terrible fate, to warn them. He was denied this with these words ‘…they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ It’s a story by that expert story-teller (no, not Jeffrey Archer) Jesus.
I remember my mother saying I always supported the underdog so you can imagine that this story captured my imagination and there it lay for many years until the main character kept making himself a nuisance in my head. I had to let him out and he was much better once he began his adventures.
Writing was exciting but also a bit worrying until I read a quotation by Charlotte Bronte. It’s too long to quote here but its essence revolves around the creation of Heathcliff. Charlotte Bronte tells of how we ‘are not always master’ of the ‘creative gift’. She states that ‘be the work grim or glorious, dread or divine, you have little choice left but quiescent adoption.’ Heathcliff was stronger than the muse which is a gentler giver of inspiration.
I like many of Mark Twain’s quotations and this one seemed to hit the nail on the head for Chester’s story.
‘The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.’ —Mark Twain
Let me warn you, you aren’t going to like Chester; he’s not sure he likes himself. Having achieved his burning ambition to become a successful investigative reporter he is forced to hide from others who don’t like him either, in fact, they want to kill him.
Living off the grid in New Zealand, his quiet life is shattered when a stranger knocks on his door and takes him to the gates of Hell and back. He holds onto his sanity through the promise of returning to the only girl he has ever loved.
You are invited into this mystery: intriguing, exciting and deadly.
I hope you will accept the invitation and tiptoe into Chester’s strange life.
And why is it dedicated to the swan? One overcast day, when I was alone and worried about something, I sat on the beach with a book. No one else was on the beach. A swan waddled up to me and sat directly beside me. It tucked its head under its wing and stayed there with me until I left, some hours later. It was so close I could have stroked it. Shortly after it arrived, its mate sat on the other side of me, this time a couple of yards away. It settled but stayed on watch. I had no food to offer them in thanks, so years later… a dedication is all I can offer.
If you’re interested in getting your copy, you can get it here
My thanks to Alex for letting me loose on his blog.