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Thursday, 23 November 2017

What was my Inspiration for Writing Fallen Men

A couple of years before I wrote Fallen Men, I was approached by a nervous and extremely agitated lady who asked me if I would write her story for her. I said I would be happy to do so. Over the next few weeks we met on five occasions, during which time she unsparingly delivered to me the most intimate details of her life.

In her forties she had been Manageress of a large office, Lady Captain of the Golf Club, very extrovert and fun-loving. She liked to party and was generally the life and soul of any occasion she attended. One morning she woke up with a sore shoulder. She lived with it, but as the days and weeks passed, the pain traveled to her neck and down into her back. In addition, she began to suffer from a deadening lethargy and the onset of depression. Her personality suffered, and she began to take time off work and spend all of her time at home, afraid to go anywhere, or even to go outside.

A visit to the doctor was inevitable. He prescribed painkillers which, of course, were useless and did not get to the root of the problem. Further visits to the doctor were followed by visits to specialists, none of whom could diagnose her problem.

Eventually, one of the specialists recommended a visit to medically qualified hypno-therapist. One session was enough to provide the appalling reasons for her plight. She had lived her life telling friends about her wonderful childhood and loving mother. In fact, she had repressed all memories of the truth of her childhood, because from her earliest years her mother abused her most shamefully, both physically and sexually. The mother had even hired the three-year old child out to local pedophiles. The details of the abuse were shocking to me, and I was totally relieved when at the beginning of my last visit with her, she told me she had lost her nerve and didn't want to publish the story after all.

In a sense I was sorry to hear that. It would have been cathartic for her. But for me, to have had to write that book would have been torture. To be relieved of the task was a blessing. I commiserated with her, said goodbye, and never saw her again.

But one night, lying in bed, I was thinking about writing a story about an honourable young priest who falls in love with an underage choir girl and gets into all sorts of trouble. My problem was, I could not find any way to justify an 'honourable' young priest behaving like that. But that night I found the answer, and the new chapter that I began to write the next day began with the young priest wakening up with a sore shoulder.

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