Self Published in ebook & Paperback 11 April 2017
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
It’s a pleasure to welcome to the blog, Lizzy Mumfrey. I was due to post this several weeks ago but each time I had scheduled it, tragic and shocking events in Manchester and then London meant that it was not the right time to post it. Whilst there may never seem to be a good time, this is certainly a very relevant post in our current times. Thank you Lizzy for taking the time to write this for my blog.
Guest Post by Lizzy Mumfrey
Readers seem to get quite a surprise when they read Fall Out. It starts out being cosy and gossipy about village politics and secrets and then explodes, literally, into a story about the aftermath of a terrorist dirty bomb. So where did that suddenly come from? It is fascinating how our minds and imagination work all by themselves to create stories that turn into novels.
I started with the premise “what happens if you fall down the stairs and it stops you going somewhere and then something happens….” I have a strange and vivid imagination and my mind tends to wander off all on its own accord. The avenue that it trotted down was “suppose someone else you really care about goes in your place and is killed – how would you feel?”
I then became rather over excited about the fact that if it were a really big “something” that it could affect a whole community in many different ways.
I had been intrigued by 9/11 and how people reacted to it. It was quite straightforward where people working in the buildings were killed, everyone expected them to be there, but what about people who should have been there but weren’t. Then there were people who were there and shouldn’t have been. Stories abounded of people who used it as an excuse to disappear. Others used it as an excuse to “disappear” others. All of this is just the most amazing fodder for a big story. How could I resist?
It was vital to me that everything to do with the nuclear attack was correct and realistic, we all know how people are picky about getting details right whether it is in costume drama or in their books, and that includes me.
I spent ages on the web and found an amazing modelling tool where I could put in the size of bomb, pinpoint exactly where it was detonated and the direction of the wind and voila – there was a map showing the extent of the damage, the number of casualties and where the fallout would drift. I researched the effects of a bomb on physical structures and people, the treatment and possible outcomes.
I took it a step further when I consulted widely about major incident management. One person I went to was Peter Power of Visor Consultants, a renowned, indeed notorious, man after his incident management rehearsal just happened to exactly mirror the actual bombings on 7/7.
I also visited my local Police Headquarters and was shown how they were set up to handle a major incident and to get the detail right on ranks and secondment to London. I was warned to expect a visit from a spook because GCHQ were sure to have picked up my sudden interest in improvised uranium bombs but no-one has appeared on my doorstep yet.
With all this information at my fingertips I just imagined myself right in the middle of it all. To me writing a novel is a bit like method acting, thorough immersion in the subject and then just let the feelings flow. I wrote each characters story in one go and then wove them all together so that I could really involve myself in their characters and live their lives with them.
It surprised me how the characters started out as amalgams of all sorts of people that I have met over the years but then they started taking over and just started writing themselves. I found myself at times being taken by the hand and led down all sorts of side paths. I wonder if this happens to other authors.
I ended up killing vast swathes of people, a rather sinister thing to even contemplate but I ended up protecting my own sensitivities and hopefully those of my readers.
I realise that I quite deliberately didn’t get attached to most of the people who were killed off and in terms of characterisation the ones that die are far less well defined. There were a fair few characters that I was happy to see the back of!
Such power in our hands to make anything, anything at all, happen.
About the book:
WHAT IF THE TIES THAT HOLD TOGETHER A COMMUNITY ARE IRREVOCABLY DESTROYED?
The sociable commuter village of Charlton is an ordinary neighbourhood, typical of many, home to a colourful range of residents, many of whose teenagers go to the local academy. An ordinary day becomes extraordinary when a school trip to London coincides with an appalling terrorist attack and everyone’s cosy, humdrum life is shattered.
The fallout affects every resident in dramatically different ways. Who lives and who dies is just the start – irrational suspicions, prejudice and misunderstandings lead to blame and persecution. Buried secrets are revealed, friendships fractured and trust destroyed.
IS IT POSSIBLE THAT LIFE WILL EVER BE NORMAL AGAIN
About the author:
It is easy to say that I am “just a housewife”. I am but I have had a wonderfully capricious life being many other things as well – all of which I draw upon in my writing.
I have a large extended family, a wealth of colourful friends and colleagues and endless triumphs and embarrassments which add colour to my writing.
I was brought up as a Kent farmer’s daughter, one of four girls, went to a typical old fashioned all girls boarding school, got thrown out of Bristol University and then spent the customary years in London having an outrageously fun time.
I got married stupidly young and then consequently “unmarried”. I became a single parent working all hours that God gave (all in IT) to keep my two wonderful twin daughters in ponies whilst playing hockey under various aliases (Moet Chandon, Tulip van Dyke – don’t ask, it’s complicated).
I then met and married my beloved Bob and since then I have had a wonderful time as a farmer’s wife (full circle?) putting on a any number of madcap events to raise money for charity, creating a life skills course for children with special needs, sailing the Atlantic and pottering around the many islands of the Caribbean documenting my travels in what became an avidly read blog … which started me writing.
Oh and I have broken my back on three separate occasions, falling off a horse (entirely my fault) and falling down the stairs – twice!