A story ripped from today’s headlines. That’s the tag line they use sometimes for a novel that’s especially topical.
But what happens when you unknowingly write a novel that, it turns out, could have been ripped from the current headlines? You’re faced with a dilemma, that’s what.
Next February the fifth Richard Nottingham novel, entitled At the Dying of the Year, will be published. It’s set in late 1733 but there are strong parallels to events that have happened very recently in 2012 – events that occurred after I’d completed the book, I hasten to add. I’m not going to offer any details or even say what events – you’ll have to wait and see, but I will give one hint, that, in the wake of a greater outrage, an allegation was made about the late politician Peter Morrison (I refuse to call anyone Sir or Lord). Enough said. If you want to know more then Google is your friend and follow the trail.
Writing a novel is one thing. It’s a work of the imagination, and the events aren’t even the emotional centre of the novel; they’re the trigger for everything else. But realising that reality goes further than fiction is disturbing. And with the dawning of that fact comes an epiphany: I’d rather keep quiet about the connection than exploit it. I know, I’m writing this blog which is almost a signpost, but no one will remember it come February. Let the fiction stand on its own. Better than that piggyback on what has been hell for some people.