Since that day, sitting at Heathrow and seeing the two individuals who inspired my thoughts, I have learnt a great deal. I would like to think that much of it has been about human emotion, for understanding and describing that, is the only way an author can bring a character to life. To some extent a thriller writer has it easier with regard to creating situations where people’s emotions are accentuated; and trauma effects people in strange ways. The character of Ian Vaughan’s wife, Sarah, is dramatically altered by her imprisonment and the loss of her unborn child. So frightening and tragic were the events that her reactions, though extreme, I thought would be understandable.
I found it difficult to clearly portray Ian Vaughan however. Not that I did not understand his character but, especially in ‘A Cast of Hawks’, he was so rarely in a position to show his true personality. I learnt in Africa that when you are looking down the wrong end of a gun barrel, to stay alive one must block all emotion, show no fear and concentrate on humouring the person with their finger on the trigger. Prolonged exposure to such threats and torture would make a person retreat inwards emotionally as a means of defence. The journey back to his real self was not possible to achieve in the events of ‘BATSU’ so Ian Vaughan starts to learn to live with the man he has become. Time will tell whether in his new career in counter terrorism he will allow himself to have feelings again.
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.