News Archive - April 2016
Behind the Scenes - first in an occasional series exploring the background to characters, scenes and storylines…
So who is Patrick Gillard? Is he based on a real person or merely a figment of an author’s imagination? The answer is both, he’s someone I met when I was a lot younger and about whom I shall say nothing more, a person who I have changed slightly, perhaps ‘embroidered’ is the right word, to form the character in my novels. The looks, thoroughly bad temper when driven too far and the amazing powers of mimicry I borrowed from the real man. My own invention when I started writing about him in the early eighties was making Patrick an army officer having an affinity with any weapon that was placed in his hands.
It’s not quite true that the character sprang fully formed into A Murder of Crows, the first novel I had published. He had appeared in two or three — I can’t remember exactly how many as it’s quite a long time ago — sci-fi novels that I wrote before that in the shape of one Ric Dancey. Dancey came out of the wallpaper — no, I know they don’t have wallpaper on spaceships — and was created to be a minor character in a tale about a prison satellite. He refused to be a minor character. In short, he took over the novel. Suddenly, without my seemingly having had any input, he had revealed that he was Major Patrick Gillard and that he was a security officer. When it became obvious that no one wanted to publish my science fiction stories I brought him back to the present day as he was simply too valuable to discard. End of story, only of course it was actually the beginning.
Badly injured in an accident with a hand grenade during undercover operations, not his fault, he was then recruited by a senior officer, Colonel Richard Daws, to work for MI5. Socialising while he recovered was among his initial duties; watching foreign diplomats, MPs and certain civil servants who the security services were interested in for various reasons. He was told to find a female working partner as it was thought that lone, somewhat saturnine, men were too obvious. All he could think of was to recruit, or rather beg, his ex-wife, Ingrid, to help him. They had always got on famously in public.
That’s where it all began.
Dust to Dust
April 17th, 2016