As mentioned in the previous post, which was incorrectly entitled ‘First Landmark’ (it was actually the second – sorry), the new book is intended to be in two parts. This is something that I have done a couple of times before in my ‘Rutter Books’ series. ‘Rutter’s Revoilt’ and ‘The Secret Angels’ (books four and five in the canon respectively) are both split into two parts. The latter of them also has a Prologue and an Epilogue. The same format suggests itself here. There is a Prologue, in which Bruno and Alice are introduced and we learn a little of the back story of each. It is set in 1938, before the outbreak of war.
Following the Prologue is Part One, which is set in 1940. It is entitled ‘Heimat’, the German word for ‘Homeland’, because it is set, mostly, in Germany. Part Two, which I have just begun to write, is entitled ‘Blighty’, an old English slang term for Great Britain. It carries the subtitle ‘Ausland’, the German word for ‘Abroad’. From Bruno’s point of view, of course, he is abroad, in a country that most of the readers of the book, I expect, will regard as home.
The region of Blighty in which Part Two is set is the North East of England, a place of rich tradition and, incidentally, my home. I was born in Newcastle upon Tyne and have lived in the area ever since. The city of my birth is mentioned in the story, but, as yet, no scenes are set there. No do I have plans to include any, although that may change. In fact, I make a point mentioning that, although Alice has lived in only thirty miles from Newcastle all her life, she has only visited it once. That was how things were in the days before everybody had a car. Her travelling is limited to a weekly bus ride to Ashington (eight miles away) to go shopping, or to ride her bicycle about a mile and a half in each direction to either Widdrington Station or Cresswell, where she can pick up milk and bread.
It is set on the fringe of the Northumbrian coalfield. Today, the pits are gone and the area has to look elsewhere for employment, but when the book is set, they were very busy providing the munitions factories and the shipyards with coal to power their machines. The only town described so far is Blyth.
An Epilogue will follow Part Two, but that is still a long way off.
I will leave it there for now. I don’t want to give too much away.