Today sees one of those books I really wish I’d had time to read but unfortunately haven’t got round to, Blue Gold by David Barker. Thankfully, however, David has written a lovely guest post for Linda’s Book Bag on why he writes that I’m delighted to share with you today.
The near future. Climate change and geopolitical tension have given rise to a new international threat – a world war for water. This most vital of resources has become a precious commodity and some will stop at nothing to control its flow.
When a satellite disappears over Iceland, Sim Atkins thinks he knows why. He is given the chance to join the hallowed Overseas Division and hunt for the terrorists responsible. But his new partner Freda Brightwell is aggrieved to be stuck with a rookie on such a deadly mission.
Freda’s misgivings are well founded when their first assignment ends in disaster – a bomb destroys a valuable airship and those responsible evade capture. Seeking redemption, the British agents follow the trail to a billionaires’ tax haven in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and uncover a web of deceit that threatens global war. Whom can they trust?
As the world edges ever closer to destruction Sim and Freda must put their lives on the line to prevent Armageddon – and protect the future of ‘blue gold’.
Why I Write
A Guest Post by David Barker
George Orwell wrote a short article in 1946, entitled, ‘Why I Write’. Apt to mention that, since he’s one of my reasons. Men of vision, like Orwell, HG Wells, Arthur C Clarke, who could seemingly predict the future and turn it into a gripping story inspired me from an early age. At the time, I didn’t even realise or think it odd that all those writers were male. I’m glad my daughter is growing up with so many women to inspire her.
The journey from there, to here – with my debut novel Blue Gold out this month – has been rather circuitous. Many people, including my family, were surprised to learn that there was a destination at all! But I’ve always enjoyed writing. Working as an economist in the city, I liked the challenge of making some analytical report clear, succinct and interesting just as much as I liked the analysis itself. When I got bored at the Bank of England, I contemplated a role in financial journalism. But then an offer that was too good to refuse came along and the shift towards more direct involvement in writing was postponed for another decade.
After my daughter was born, we re-discovered the joys of reading out loud to her. When she was old enough, she asked me to make up stories at bedtime. If that was good enough for Tolkien, it was certainly a good enough excuse for me to start writing fiction. Around the same time, I started to research the issue of water shortages more carefully. Two images got stuck in my head and I knew that I had the start and end of a novel.
What I didn’t realise was quite how much hard work and commitment it took to turn an idea into a 90,000-word story. Especially while holding down a full-time job. Coming home in the evenings, tired and surrounded by distractions, it can be very difficult to keep going. I did a good chunk of the first draft on the train during my commute.
And then I discovered that it’s even harder to write well. A good plot isn’t enough. On the Faber Academy How To Write A Novel course we all had to submit our work-in-progress to peer review. That can be a bruising experience, especially when you are making so many rookie errors like I was.
But none of this has put me off. I love trying to create something polished, something that will grip the reader’s attention. I don’t mind the editing process. Or the knowledge that I’ll have to start again from scratch for the next book. I’m already on draft three of the sequel to Blue Gold. (It’s called Rose Gold and should be available in May 2018). And I’ve even started to plot out the final instalment, White Gold.
I woke up at 3am just before Easter. I should have been thinking about the launch campaign for Blue Gold, or how to solve some of the sticking points in the current draft of Rose Gold. Instead I had the opening paragraph of a completely new story and a new voice inside my head. I didn’t ask it to be there. But I had to get up and put pen to paper (or at least put fingers on a keyboard) while it was fresh in my mind.
That’s why I write. Because my mind conjures up people that want to live and places that ought to be seen. The best way I can serve their needs is if I put them into a book and set it loose upon the world. Whether the world is interested in me and my imagination, we’ll just have to wait and see…
About David Barker
David was born in Cheshire but now lives in Berkshire. He is married to an author of children’s picture books, with a daughter who loves stories. His working life has been spent in the City, first for the Bank of England and now as Chief Economist for an international fund. So his job entails trying to predict the future all the time. David’s writing ambitions received a major boost after he attended the Faber Academy six-month course in 2014 and he still meets up with his inspirational fellow students. He loves reading, especially adventure stories, sci-fi and military history. Outside of family life, his other interests include tennis, golf and surfing.
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