Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Don't leave things too late.



 “We’ve come to kill you,” the one with the 2” X 2” piece of mahogany said.  Then the other two grabbed me, and he did his best.  They were young and strong, and in their twenties.  I was not…

After 3 or 4 blows to the head the blood was running into my eyes.  After 8 or 9 I remember shouting “DON’T KILL ME!” with a certain amount of urgency.  By then they had beaten me to the ground and taken the keys to the house out of my trousers pocket.  My wife was locked inside and the alarm was going off: so their time was limited and it was money they were really after…

As is fairly obvious we lived to tell the tale.  A neighbour screamed up in a car, lights blazing, and they ran.  At the hospital the surgeon who put the sixteen stitches into my head wounds said my hands had saved my life: I’d clasped them over my head and they’d taken the brunt of the blows.  It was months before I had full use of them again.  My wedding ring had to be cut off…

We identified our attackers, and the police arrested one of them.  We both picked him out in an identity parade.  Then the police said they would hurry through a gun licence for me: because his family and friends would certainly try and kill us both to prevent us testifying at his trial.  That was when Amy and I decided enough was enough.

So within a month our three year adventure had come to an end, and we were back in England with our assets in Belize unsold: a lovely house, 31 acres of land along the coastal highway, and a part share in a penthouse suite overlooking a fabulous lagoon in Placencia.

But as one door closes, another opens…

In the 1970s I had written some stories for children, sent them to Penguin and they had published them (The Ice Warrior and Other Stories).  But at the same time I had wanted my own school to play with, and when the Inner London Education Authority gave me a BIG one in Hackney, I played with it for nearly fifteen years.  It took all of my waking hours.

I promised myself I would again write for children when I retired...

Have you noticed that the best laid plans o’ mice and men gang aft agley?  In life as well as war, the first casualty is the plan.

My parents became ill – one with increasingly severe dementia and the other with galloping motor-neurone disease.  For seven years my wife and I looked after them, until it was a 24 hour job for both of us and we were doing shifts.  Then, between 1999 and 2001, first one, and then the other, didn’t need us to do that any more…

…by which time the first of the daughters I acquired in 1995 had reached university age, and needed help on to the first rung of the property ladder.  Her younger sister was just two years behind her.  Amy and I did the sums…

…and for the next five years I found myself back where I had started my professional life: in a classroom doing what I did best (for some unfathomable reason) – teaching children English.

I retired for the final time in 2007, and at the beginning of 2008 we started our Caribbean adventure.  My idea was to write for children in a tropical paradise; but instead we found ourselves helping a charming Taiwanese couple communicate with the English-speaking world while running a small, successful hotel.

And all this time I had an idea for an amazing story.  I just had to find the time to write it.  I had the cause and will and strength and means; and of course the time…

And then I nearly died.

So on getting back to England I threw myself into that story.  For the last three years I have written for eight hours a day, seven days a week (with the odd wee break here and there); and in that time the first five volumes of what has turned out to be a mega-long story clawed their way towards the light of day.

The next five are almost finished: I have only to write them; and with Myrddin’s help (and the healing power in Grace’s hands) I hope I will have the time.  And there may even be four more after that…

…because Gordon’s story is FAR longer than Bilbo’s or Frodo’s.  It is longer than Peter’s, Susan’s, Edmund’s and Lucy’s.  It may EVEN turn out to be longer than Harry’s…

I really hope you’ll visit www.myrddinsheir.com to find out more.  There, among other interesting things, you will find the first ten chapters of Book 1. See if they float your boat.

“I loved them!” said the first agent I sent them to.  “I was laughing with tears in my eyes…”  But that’s another story.

I am so keen that as many children as possible (between the ages of 10-110) should read them, that I have made each volume available from Amazon Direct Publishing for 99p!  That’s less than half the price of anything that costs more than twice as much – like a cup of coffee on the High Street…  How good is THAT?!