What is it that has pushed aside, yet again, the young adult novel I began all those years ago when writing was merely an idea not a habit? The novel – set in the deep Devon lanes and rolling fields which provide solace for a stressed London musician, as a family saga reveals and heals itself – has been relegated to the back shelf for the umpteenth time. Maybe it will never be done and the sole purpose of it was to act as a catalyst to encourage me to write, perhaps? What about the novel begun about a school teacher who takes a professional break to work for a charity overseas and, in an exploration of what truth is, finds corruption rife in unexpected places? Yes, that too sits gathering virtual dust.
Instead, an adventure began with the beginning of lockdown, March 2020. Lots of time to write, I thought, and then a genealogist from Australia got in contact wanting some information on my father’s family. I was reluctant to uncover my files. I get a bit addicted to research, but I did it. Unrelated to the genealogist’s query I asked some of my own questions and step by incredible step a family story surfaced introducing me to some amazing people along the way. This was a story I had never bothered about before and one I felt there had always been a sorry silence surrounding. Now I understand it better I think really the silence was unspoken grief.
Increased information on the internet coupled with lockdown gave me time and sources to research. But the best were the original sources our family archives revealed. These were things we did not know even existed. A bit of a chore to get them copied over to me from Australia, but oh so worth it! What a voyage of discovery! What a story! What beautiful characters! There’s still so much to uncover but the writing has begun.
And another beautiful thing has been who I have met of real people along the way too, people who relate to the story, or who relate to characters in the story. I could not have forged those meetings in any more unique a way. That feels like another story.
While the writing might be a solo act the gathering together of facts to make this piece of ‘faction’ (yes, it is a word) a reality is definitely collaboration. So I am excited to attend a book launch of one remarkable historian whose writing and expertise is in another league and one who has an incredible knack of unearthing forgotten facts. But our paths have crossed and, because of the revelation of this story, we meet. I will finish reading his book before then: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55186698-bletchley-s-secret-source