Saving Churchill was the easy bit – Fifty-One coming soon

My time-travellin’, love-trianglin’, history-muddlin’ novel Fifty-One will be published by Filles Vertes Publishing on Monday 12 February.

Exciting for me, obviously. But we’ve reached the point in the publication journey where the writer can start to feel helpless. The words have been writ and re-writ, and then they have been through the editing wringer.

Design by Kate Cowan, Broken Arrow Designs

The cover has been designed and re-designed. (Have I mentioned the cover, by the way? I love it so much I’m worried I’m turning into Catherine Cookson.)

And now it’s at the actual physical printers, so what can you do but worry?

One worry that has plagued me recently is the question of Winston Churchill. Here in the UK, we’re mildly obsessed with Churchill, and that period of the War when it looked inevitable that all was lost, Britain would have to surrender and Europe would be at the mercy of Hitler.

In fact, as we know, during 1940 and 1941 Churchill helped the nation rally, and we stubbornly held on until the USA and USSR helped remove the chestnuts from the fire.

It sometimes feels like the 1940s were the last period when Britain really had no doubts about what it was doing as a nation. Ever since, we’ve not been sure whether we’re European or Atlantic, a big country or a small one. All this means that Churchill – despite his faults – remains a hero. Recent movies- such as Dunkirk and Darkest Hour – suggest the fascination with those days remains strong. And the muddle over leaving the European Union shows we still aren’t sure what we’re doing.

Credit: Kate Cowan, Broken Arrow Designs

In my book, Fifty-One,  Churchill plays an off-stage part early on. My hero, Jake Wesson, is sent back from 2040 to 1941 to foil Churchill’s assassination. That mission is accomplished suspiciously easily, and the book heads off in other directions. But the recent Churchill worship got me worried that my compatriots might feel I had committed the sin of doubting Churchill’s importance.

Early on, Jake and his partner Lew Brockley are being given their orders by their boss Ed Robinson. When Robinson tells them there has been an unauthorized time jump back to 1941, and their mission is to counter it, we get this exchange:

Robinson said, “We’ve checked it out and the system says it’s at least 90 percent likely they’re behind the assassination of a politician, a guy called Winston Churchill.”

“Should I know him?” Jake didn’t share Lew’s interest in obscure periods of the past, but the thoughtful expression on Brockley’s face said he’d heard of Churchill.

“Well, he was prime minister for a year, as I’m sure Agent Brockley could’ve told you,” Robinson said. “I’ve had it checked out: if Churchill isn’t shot after a year in the job, he turns out to be an inspirational war leader.”

“How can anyone know that?”

“You know I can’t talk about that, Jake. But you can trust me on it. Churchill shouldn’t die, and your job is to save him.”

“Hold on.” Lew frowned. “What’re these guys trying to achieve by killing Churchill?”

“I assume they want Britain to lose the war.”

“But the Allies won without Churchill,” Lew said. “So they failed.”

“Maybe their computers aren’t as good as ours. But we still need to undo the damage,” Robinson said.

The recent Churchill worship got me worried that my compatriots might think I had committed the sin of doubting  Churchill’s importance.

So – for the record – I don’t. It’s FICTION!

Now, what else can I worry about….?

Watch the Fifty-One video trailer here

Order Fifty-One at Filles Vertes Publishing

or Amazon US

or Amazon UK

Let me know what you think