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A different week this time: no writing, but a lot of frustration with getting a book jacket image loaded up to Ingram Spark. I’m taking advantage of their free offer to have a hardback copy of my latest book, Where the Wicked Dwell, published. I have to confess that most of the problem was my own lack of experience in working with templates. I eventually worked out the best way to use the template with the image of my jacket. It meant a lot of adjustments using Photoshop, and insertion of guides to ensure I had everything right. I received the e-proofs today and found there is a missing page break after a one of the chapters. It’s ironic because I was extremely careful with the interior file (so I thought), and didn’t expect any errors. I checked the paperback from CreateSpace, and the error isn’t there. The jacket is OK, but needs a little tweaking. Not essential but because I’m going to upload a new interior file, I might as well titivate the jacket.

Yesterday, my wife and I visited the small town where I was born seventy six years ago. It’s a place called Cuckfield, and happens to be in West Sussex, the same county in which we are now living. It was a notion I had when we settled back here. I was born during World War 2. We lived in London and, because of the war, the blitz and constant bombings, pregnant mums were moved out to countryside hospitals to free up the much needed hospital beds in London. So my mother was whisked off to Cuckfield, to a hospital that was once a workhouse. It was the kind of place that, in its early years, would have been a place where “fallen women” were taken to have their offspring. No, my mother wasn’t “fallen”; she was married and had two children when I was born. The hospital has been modernised and exists as a block of flats. It is now a world heritage site. The surrounding area is beautifully landscaped and looked after by a professional company.

I had a bit of luck on my side. Our son, Terry, is a Captain with the airline, EasyJet. One of his pilot friends actually lives in the old hospital. This meant we were able to not just visit the place, but to step inside. Although the hospital is just a block of flats now (apartments for my American readers), it felt odd to think that somewhere in that building, my mother gave birth to me as Hitler was doing his best to bomb us all into submission (not in Cuckfield of course). My mother wanted me to be born on St. Patrick’s Day, and had already decided to call me Patrick in honour of my Irish grandfather. But I had other ideas and turned up a day late, so she called me Michael instead.

Now I look back and see how history has unfolded since that day, and how much, or how little, I have been a part of it. There are a million stories out there, and mine is just a single thread in a whole pattern woven over the years. I should be able to pluck that single thread and watch it vibrate into a story that would grace the pages of any book. But I can’t; I have to stick to thrillers. And that’s the rub; I’m having trouble coming up with a plot. Now, where was I? Ah yes, searching for ideas for my book. I did think of one: it was about this baby who was born….. I don’t know; no-one would believe it.

Just one other thing: my Debbie Mack interview is now available to see on YouTube and Debbie’s website. http://www.debbimack.com/blog/2017/03/29/the-crime-cafe-interview-w... Wish me luck!

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