Front cover – manipulated version of Shutterstock Image ID: 84477763 (c) Syda Productions (duly paid for)
Back cover – photograph taken by me of a gravestone featured in the story at Stratford Upon Avon – see it on Lulu.
Orphan Lucy Tasker is searching for answers and guarding a supernatural ability. When the secrets of her father’s last will and testament are revealed she is forced to delve deep into the murky underworld of terrorism and secret security services.
Lucky is the contemporary story of Lucy Tasker, nicknamed ‘Lucky’, searching for answers to her parents’ deaths and learning how to control her supernatural ability. Her ability could be of great value to secret service organisations or terrorists and so she keeps it hidden. After her father’s death she is bequested a number of items which help her solve the puzzle of his secret life.
Originally thought of as Misfits-meets-Nikita the story took on a life of its own and sees Lucy studying photography in Berlin while singing in a Depeche Mode tribute band and infiltrating a feminist-anarchist organisation in her spare time. Throw the attempted assassination of a world leader into the pot and stir vigorously…
I usually try to provide some explanation of where I got my inspiration from for each story I write. So please step into my confession booth, draw the curtain across and let me begin.
As usual this book is the result of me watching far too many films and television shows about mutant humans such as Misfits, X-Men and Heroes, and reading James Bond books.
Of course if I dig a little deeper into the nooks and crannies of that spongy thing inside my cranium there’s a little more to it than that. For instance I would suggest that films like Nikita, Colombiana and Hanna also had an influence in addition to all the comic book conversions I’ve been watching of late.
I also recall seeing a spoof trailer in 2002 for a non-existent film, called Lucky Star, which was actually a Mercedes advert in which Benicio Del Toro could not fail to win on stock market trades, card games and roulette. The kernel of the story lodged and germinated in my mind for over a decade until turning up here. How could a man be right all the time? The clue is in the last word of the question.
Stephen King’s Firestarter and Carrie also seem to have influenced Lucy’s story a little. The idea that super powers are valuable to secret services and only show themselves at puberty or first blood is inherent in those stories.
Another influence, especially in choosing a first-person female protagonist (apart from my enjoyment in writing in a female voice – read Muta for more), was Nicholson Baker’s The Fermata a rather disappointing book about a man who can stop time. Baker’s book descends quickly into pornography and the main character fails to do much with his power beyond sexing up the ladies. My question was would a female character with the same power waste it in the same way? This book was an opportunity to find out.
Ultimately I wanted to write a book about a girl who could stop time and I also wanted to write a book about a Depeche Mode tribute band and I wanted to write a James Bond book. None of these three ideas really had the legs to go the whole way and become a novel in its own right. The solution was obvious and hopefully makes for more of a story than the sum of the three parts.
The photography angle just happened along the way as did the lesbian aspects and the assassination plot. Lucy’s love interest was originally a fellow male student, but in writing about university romance I thought I was verging on going into The Magpie Diaries territory and I didn’t want to return there. Also Lucy’s manipulation of men in stopped time in the quick notes I wrote early on were too close to the dislikable behaviour in The Fermata.
The assassination plot, the car bomb and the jewellery heist were late additions as was the return of the white rabbit, although the cliff hanger start and end were in there pretty much from day one of writing. The identity of who stood at the cliff’s edge looking down on Lucy changed several times. The consultant was always a human McGuffin and it was always intended as a fabrication of the Russian secret services.
In one version of the story which never made it to the writing stage the Berlin Wall had not come down and Lucy was going to reverse time all the way to a period before 1989. This would’ve allowed me to base the story in a modern day but soviet controlled East Berlin. However I didn’t want this to be an overtly sci-fi alternate future story like Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, but fall more into the grounded reality of Broken. You never know, maybe Lucy will meet Danny some day?
I freely admit that the idea of stopping time is completely silly. But it’s cool isn’t it?
Gareth Jones will be back in the prequel short story The Sun & The Rainfall and the reader should assume that Danny O’Brien survives his trip to Skiathos, as described in Broken, Jessica Ennis wins her gold medal etc. in Lucy’s replay of 2007 onwards. Photographers Douglas Owen and Joy Fourier are characters from The Magpie Diaries.