Friday, 29 February 2008

Kent author’s chilling past inspires new crime thriller

Kent based author Darren E Laws drew on some real-life grisly experiences for the inspiration behind his new novel ‘Turtle Island’. The 45-year-old novelist, who lives in Medway, remembers exactly what it was that led to him writing the first in a series of crime thrillers featuring his lead character, Georgina O’Neil.

“I used to work in Tonbridge and spend my lunch hours’ running parallel with the River Medway from Tonbridge toward Maidstone. One particular wet summer’s day I ran past some items that were abandoned by the river’s edge. What was curious was that it was raining and left out in the open was some clothing, an open packet of cigarettes and an almost empty bottle of whisky. I though this was odd. So I investigated further and found a heel mark where the water met the bank of the river."

Darren ran back to work and contacted the police where the next day a team of police divers sadly found the body of a man. “The experience made me inquisitive, especially as it was in such a tranquil and peaceful setting.”

A few months later the experience repeated itself again, when on another run to town the following winter, Darren saw the body of another young man who went missing over the Christmas break. The body had floated to the surface after the frozen river thawed. These macabre incidents stayed with me and got me thinking about how life in a peaceful environment could be unsettled by such incidents and the seeds to Turtle Island started to form.

"Obviously I have not drawn on anything form either tragic event in the book in terms of any of the people involved. Instead I explored the emotions the incidents invoked in me, and used the ideas to form the basis of this novel. Though Turtle Island is set in Missouri, the book has its roots in Kent."

“This is not a case of only the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Turtle Island is a work of fiction inspired by true events. I know people always ask authors where they get their ideas from and the truth is they come from everywhere. Just because my story and characters are based in the United States does not mean to say that the book is not aimed at readers here in the UK. Turtle Island is very much a British book.”

Turtle Island is published by Caffeine Nights Publishing on February 4

Review copies are available and Darren is also available for interview.

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