‘Thank you‘ has got to be my most favourite phrase, as it implies that something nice has been done or a service provided. I know that it can also be used in a sarcastic vein, but keeping with the positive, I will keep it at the top of my favourite phrases list.
The reason for my rambling on this subject is my own awareness of the need to say A BIG THANK YOU to those readers who have taken the trouble to write reviews of my books
Having written several reviews of other author’s work, I appreciate the time in consideration and the actual phasing required by the writer. It is, however, a way for the reader to say thank you, and like the tip given to a waiter for good service, is highly appreciated by the receiving author, and this author in particular. It is only by this method that we know that our writings have met the reader’s expectations. If you are puzzled as to where to send them, may I suggest the ‘Good Reads’ or ‘Waterstones’ websites or of course ‘Amazon’. THANK YOU.
My return to work at Tokyo Headquarters was embarrassing as I was treated as if I were the hero of the hour and not Ian Vaughan. Everyone wanted to know how my shoulder was healed after being shot, and my boss Ishii-san has recommended me for some reward. I keep telling them that my part was so small and that the mysterious Iwaki escaped so the victory was not really complete, but they pay no attention. Ariyoshi-san makes matters worse with his version of events, not mentioning that he was sensibly obeying orders in London whilst I disobeyed orders by allowing myself to become involved at Yealmstoke Head on that terrible day.
I keep in touch with Penny Heathcote and she has told me a little about what has happened to Ian. He text me a couple of times asking how I was, but no more than that. It was from Penny that I heard how bitter his divorce proceedings were, and felt so sorry for him. She told me how much he fears losing contact with his daughters, and that he had to go to court to obtain the right to see them from time to time. Then last week Penny emailed me to tell me her news and tell me about Commodore Campbell’s marriage to Caroline Tucker. She sent some photographs, they look so happy together and she is so beautiful.
Penny also mentioned that Ian’s divorce is through; and I am sat here at my desk with my mobile phone wondering whether he will want to hear from me. I thought that something happened between us, that spark, but I am not sure and as a result I do not know what to do.
For the plot of ‘BATSU’ I chose to set it in another part of the country that I know well, the South Hams of Devon. Critical parts of the action tack place in the town of Kingsbridge and along the road to Plymouth. Southampton and the Solent area also feature. I find that by using actual locations the plot takes on a greater reality and the limitations imposed by the natural features keeps the lid on my imagination, hopefully ensuring that the action is believable.
I am particularly grateful to The Kings Arms hotel in Kingsbridge for allowing me to use the name in the book. I am again grateful to HM Coastguard’s Lucy Tanner for her clear explanation of inter service co-operation.
There were three strays in terms of location accuracy the first was the US air force base. The site was actually a Second World War bomber base, long since closed. I also changed the name, but the airfield, and surrounding road layout is based on a real location. The second were the two buildings used by Vaughan and the terrorist gang in Kingsbridge; these are fictitious as is the third, the Government Establishment at Yealmstoke.
Like ‘A Cast of Hawks’ the plot crosses oceans and continents; for international terrorism today is a multi cultural affair, where political affiliations are just as binding as religious fanaticism. At one time or another most governments, even those espousing democracy, have supported what others would call terrorist organisations, cloaking their support with the title ‘Freedom Fighters’. History tells us that enemies in most cases will end up as political friends, and often through greed and envy friends become enemies. Such is the sad nature of our world on which authors like me feed their imaginings.
My first actual meeting with Vaughan was when he stepped through the aircraft door into the airbridge at Heathrow Terminal 5. The immediate impression was of a good-looking man, alert and confident in his manner, in fact instantly likeable. We had been tracking his ordeal as best we could up until he reached the US coastline and frankly I had expected him to return home immediately he had made contact with, and been debriefed by the FBI. To my surprise he accepted their request to stay and assist them in tracking down Murata’s henchmen. That I feel was the start of his marriage breakdown, though his wife denied it when I asked her, and without his help God knows what would have happened.
The next day I recall visiting the safe house his family had been staying at, and recording in detail his experiences from the fateful day the terrorists arrived at Bosham to his departure from Washington. By the end of his tale I knew that I could do with him as part of my team, but I could not recruit him on the basis of so little information, and of course there was his family and marriage to consider. The traumas that he and his family had endured during the Kinoko Kumo affair changed their lives beyond recognition. Being very brave has a price tag, and Vaughan’s was his marriage. There was nothing we could do apparently to help, and my word we tried. When he decided to, as he put it, get on with his life, none of us even dreamt of what would happen.
Sarah Vaughan ( Married to Ian Vaughan at the time the yacht they were sailing was high jacked but now divorced ) See ‘A Cast of Hawks’ and ‘BATSU’.
The first time I met Ian was on a sailing challenge. I was an innocent really, though maybe not, I had had boyfriends but. Ian was the yacht’s skipper for the event and the moment our group stepped on board we all felt that he was good, solid and experienced in the black arts of sailing. Thinking back I was probably biased by his good looks and energy and promptly fell head over heels for him, a bit school girlish really. Even now, after the divorce I still have the occasional flutter when I see him.
Brought up in middle England I had never been on a yacht before, dinghy sailing on the local gravel pit yes, but not a yacht. I recall Rebecca being quite jealous at not being invited, but she knew less about sailing than I did; anyway she was taking every opportunity to meet up with Gerry Johnston-Lacey. Poor Gerry he didn’t stand a chance.
Rebecca and I go back a long way, in fact, back as far as St Edith the Martyr Boarding School for Girls, run by nuns who were not averse to caning when they thought it was needed. Both our parents worked abroad at the time, Daddy in banking in Hong Kong and Rebecca’s in the Middle East, something to do with oil production. We became friends from the very first day and have remained each other’s very special confidante ever since. When the kidnapping was over I naturally turned to Rebecca for support, with Ian, God knows where, I had no one else. Mummy and Daddy were not much help really. I don’t think Mummy wanted me to have a third child anyway, so the miscarriage was probably something of a relief for her; it was bloody devastating for me though. Sorry I must not go on about it but I find it difficult to be brave.
Now the divorce is through and the girls and I settled up here in Derbyshire I feel happy again, though I dreamt of Ian the other night, which put me back a bit. If only I could get my head round it all.