Well, not exactly. But I have been asked a few times what set me off writing ‘The October Men’.
I like to give an expansive answer that starts with “I was enjoying a particularly large gin and tonic in the bath…” That ends to have them nervously glancing at their watch. But the truth is relatively prosaic and summarised in the first sentence of the novel: Have you ever noticed how many documentaries about World War Two now seem to be in colour?
Although a lot of colour footage was shot in the latter stages of the conflict, especially when the Americans brought their cinematographic skills into the theatre of war, there are a few ‘colourised’ films purporting to the ‘World War Two in Colour’. If I may express an opinion on that, I think colourising film is dishonest. And clunky.
From the simple premise of colour footage of the 1940s, I then went off on a mental tangent asking myself whether or not people were going back in time to take this footage. Did this constitute evidence of time travel?
A few long drives (work took me all over Europe and beyond) with the radio off and the kernel of an idea took shape. Time travel would have a multitude of effects at all levels of society – finance, security, gambling, politics – and it would be something of which knowledge would have to be strictly limited to a few. And if the news got out…
So I decided that I would write the novel from no one person’s perspective. It would be a mosaic of stories which would all come together to form a coherent arc. This would place the reader in the unusual position of protagonist and it would be he or she who would have to make sense of it all – especially in the early stages of the novel.
I hope you enjoyed it.